A Nice Place to Visit
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"A Nice Place to Visit" is episode 28 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The episode first aired on CBS on April 15, 1960. The title comes from the saying, "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
|"A Nice Place to Visit"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1|
|Directed by||John Brahm|
|Written by||Charles Beaumont|
|Original air date||April 15, 1960|
In 1965, a slightly modified version of this story was broadcast on the radio program Theater Five. "The Land of Milk and Honey", episode number 154, retained all of the important aspects of this episode, including the innuendos and the surprise ending. On November 14, 1935, the radio program The Fleischmann's Yeast Hour hosted by Rudy Vallee broadcast a play titled The Other Place starring Colin Clive and Leo G. Carroll. It was written by John Balderston and dealt with a similar theme.
|“||Portrait of a man at work, the only work he's ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine, but he calls himself "Rocky", because that's the way his life has been – rocky and perilous and uphill at a dead run all the way. He's tired now, tired of running or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him, never to Rocky Valentine.
A scared, angry little man. He thinks it's all over now but he's wrong. For Rocky Valentine, it's just the beginning.
After robbing a pawn shop, Henry Francis "Rocky" Valentine (Larry Blyden) is shot by a police officer as he tries to flee. He wakes up to find himself seemingly unharmed by the encounter as a genial elderly man named Pip (Sebastian Cabot) greets him. Pip explains that he has been instructed to guide Rocky and give him whatever he desires. Rocky becomes suspicious, thinking that Pip is trying to swindle him, but Pip proves to have detailed information on Rocky's tastes and hobbies. Rocky demands that Pip hand over his wallet; Pip says that he does not carry one, but gives Rocky $700 directly from his pocket and says that he can provide as much money as Rocky wants.
Thinking that Pip is trying to entice him to commit a crime, Rocky holds him at gunpoint as the two travel to a luxurious apartment. Pip explains that the apartment and everything in it are free, and Rocky starts to relax. He even picks out a nice suit to change into. However, his suspicions rise up again when a meal is brought in, and he demands that Pip taste it first to prove that it is not poisoned. When Pip demurs, claiming he has not eaten for centuries, Rocky shoots him. When the bullets have no effect, he thinks Pip has a bulletproof vest and shoots him in the head, but the bullets have no effect. Rocky realizes that he is dead, and he concludes that he is in Heaven and Pip is his guardian angel. As Pip says he can have anything he wants, he asks for one million dollars and a beautiful woman. Pip directs him to a desk drawer, which he opens to find his money. The stereo starts to play on its own and a lovely woman dances into view. When Pip asks if they'll be anything else, Rocky, dancing with the girl, tells him to stick around.
Rocky visits a casino with his three lovely ladies, winning every bet he makes as beautiful girls gather around him, and enjoys being able to torment a policeman after Pip shrinks him. Later, Rocky asks Pip if he can see some of his old friends who have also died, but Pip says that this world is for Rocky alone. Except for the two men, no one in it is real. When Rocky wonders what good deeds he could have done to gain entrance to Heaven, Pip takes him to visit the Hall of Records. Rocky looks through his own file and discovers that it only contains a list of his sins, but decides not to worry about it. Pip leaves him, saying to dial P-I-P on his phone if he needs anything.
One month later, Rocky has become bored with having his whims instantly satisfied. He wins every game at the casino, the ladies defer to him and comply with every whim. He calls Pip and asks for a challenge in which he might run the risk of losing. Pip offers to arrange for him to lose once in a while at the casino, but Rocky isn't happy with that - he'd still know it was a set up. It's the same with the girls. When he doesn't have to work at getting them to love him, it's no fun. Pip suggests his old profession and they settle on a bank robbery. When Rocky asks if there's a chance of him getting caught, Pip says he can arrange that, and makes a note of it. Rocky abandons the idea, saying that a pre-planned outcome would take the fun out of the crime. He then tells Pip that he's tired of Heaven, if he has to stay he'll go nuts, and wants to go to "the other place," to which Pip retorts, "Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea you were in Heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!" Horrified, Rocky tries in vain to open the now-locked apartment door and escape his "paradise" as Pip laughs malevolently at his torment.
|“||A scared, angry little man who never got a break. Now he has everything he's ever wanted – and he's going to have to live with it for eternity – in The Twilight Zone.||”|
Mickey Rooney was the first choice to play Valentine. In a memo to Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont suggested, should Rooney not be available, that Serling consider playing the part. Serling declined and Rooney became unavailable. He later guest starred in "The Last Night of a Jockey".
Guest star Cabot had to bleach his hair white for the role; it took three months for the actor's hair to return to its original dark color.
"A Nice Place to Visit" was singled out for its brazen sexual innuendo. Program Practices requested that Valentine not refer to a girl as "a broad [...] really stacked", even though the crudity was essential to establishing the unsavory qualities of the character. Nor could the protagonist refer to a party as "a ball" because that word had more than one meaning. In another sequence, a voluptuous young lady tends to Valentine's every need, then says "is there anything else I can do for you?" CBS's comment: "Please be certain that the girl's third speech be delivered in a sweet manner, as described."
- Old Time Radio Researchers Group. "Theater Five - Single Episodes" – via Internet Archive.
- "Boris Karloff - OLD HOLLYWOOD IN COLOR". oldhollywoodincolor.com.
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