One for the angels, indeed

Further confirmation that Lou Bookman made that sales pitch, Ed Wynn is still dead, but if he weren’t–the actor and comedian would be 127 years old today. Wynn starred in two Twilight Zone episodes: “One for the Angels” (1959) and “Ninety Years Without Slumbering” (1963), both of which dealt with the issue of mortality.

Series creator Rod Serling, who had been a devoted fan of Wynn’s, penned “One for the Angels” specifically for him. In it, salesman Lou Bookman delays the final bill from the Angel of Death until he can give one last, great sales pitch–“one for the angels”, as he phrases it. It was only the second Twilight Zone episode.

Lou Bookman (Ed Wynn) makes his pitch to Death (Murray Hamilton).

Lou Bookman (Ed Wynn) makes his pitch to Death (Murray Hamilton).

Screenwriter George Clayton Johnson (LOGAN’S RUN) wrote “Ninety Years Without Slumbering” as a script entitled “Tick of Time” in which an elderly man believes if his grandfather clock stops ticking, he’ll die. Unfortunately, Johnson’s original script was reworked so extensively, he refused credit for the episode.

Sam Forstmann (Ed Wynn) confronts his own mortality.

Sam Forstmann (Ed Wynn) confronts his own mortality.

Prior to his late dramatic turn, Wynn was a noted vaudeville comedian beginning his career in 1903 and later starred in radio and film roles, in addition to his work in television.  Wynn died of throat cancer on June 19, 1966–eleven years shy of that elusive 90 years his Twilight Zone character achieved.

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2 Responses to “One for the angels, indeed”

  1. And, let’s not forget, he was the voice of the Mad-hatter in Disney’s animated Alice in Wonderland (1951) and the character looks just like him 🙂 ‘One for the Angels’ is one of my fave episodes and it harkens back to a lost age when sole proprieters and salesmen had to pound the pavement to make a living.

    • Of course, he was brilliant in ALICE IN WONDERLAND (as he was in all his roles). It’s funny, though, for someone who was essentially a comedian, I know him mostly for these two dramatic roles.

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