Time Enough at Last

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{film, series, show}
{work, book, publish}
{theory, work, human}
{god, call, give}
{build, building, house}
{son, year, death}
{day, year, event}
{ship, engine, design}
{war, force, army}
{system, computer, user}

Burgess Meredith (Henry Bemis)
Jacqueline deWit (Helen Bemis)
Vaughn Taylor (Carsville)

"Time Enough at Last" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It was adapted from a short story by Lyn Venable, which had been published in the January 1953 edition of the science fiction magazine If: Worlds of Science Fiction. "Time Enough at Last" became one of the most famous episodes of the original Twilight Zone, and has been frequently parodied since. It is "the story of a man who seeks salvation in the rubble of a ruined world"[1] and tells of Henry Bemis, played by Burgess Meredith, who loves books, yet is surrounded by those who would prevent him from reading them. The episode follows Bemis through the end of the world, touching on such social issues as anti-intellectualism, the dangers of reliance upon technology, and the difference between aloneness (solitude) and loneliness.

Contents

Synopsis

Bemis is shown working at his post in a bank, reading David Copperfield at the same time, which causes an impatient customer to complain about being shortchanged by $1. As Bemis's day progresses, both his boss and his wife are shown to think his reading of "doggerel", as they call it, is a waste of time. At one point, his wife, as a cruel joke, asks him to read her poetry from a book; he eagerly obliges, only to find that she has drawn lines over all the text on the pages.

The next day, Henry takes his lunch (and reading) break in the bank's vault, where he won't be disturbed. The camera shows the newspaper's foretelling headline: "H-Bomb Capable of Total Destruction." Moments later, loud explosions can be heard outside, violently shaking the vault and knocking Bemis unconscious. In the aftermath of the apparent war, he regains consciousness and emerges to find that he is the last person alive on Earth, everybody else having been killed by the bomb.

He finds himself in a world of both abundance and emptiness, with food to last him a lifetime but no one to share it with. As he is about to commit suicide, he sees the ruins of the public library. He investigates, and finds that the books are still intact and readable; all the books he could ever hope for are his for the taking, and he finally has all the time in the world to read, with no one to stop him.

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