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A Nice Place to Visit

"A Nice Place to Visit" is an episode of the American Television anthology series The Twilight Zone and 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."

In 1965, a slightly modified version of this story was broadcast on the radio program Theater Five. The episode "The Land of Milk and Honey" retained all of the important aspects of this episode, including the innuendos and the surprise ending.

Opening Narration

Part One

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.

Part Two

A scared, angry little man. He thinks it's all over now, but he's wrong. For Rocky Valentine, it's just the beginning.

Synopsis

Henry "Rocky" Valentine is robbing a pawnshop. He shoots a night watchman, and then a policeman, but before he can get away he is shot by another police officer.

He wakes up to find himself seemingly unharmed by the encounter. He is in the company of a pleasant individual named “Pip” who tells Rocky he is his guide and has been instructed to grant Rocky whatever he desires. Rocky is suspicious, having never received anything for free in his life. He believes Pip is trying to con him, and asks Pip, "Are you a cop?" Irritated by the information Pip quotes about Rocky's personal desires and tastes, he holds Pip at gunpoint, following him to a luxurious apartment that Pip claims is Rocky's place.

Demanding to know what he must do to acquire all this luxury, Rocky remains skeptical when he is told it's all for free. Despite his suspicions, Rocky begins to relax, changing his clothes and taking a shower, after which he is presented with a meal served on a silver platter. He suddenly becomes suspicious and demands Pip taste the food, believing it to be poisoned. When Pip claims he can't remember how to eat, Rocky shoots him in the head but finds the bullets just bounce off, leaving Pip unharmed. Rocky now realizes he is dead and immediately assumes he has died and gone to heaven and Pip must be his guardian angel. Pip does not confirm his theory and merely says "yes, something like that."

Later, we see Rocky in a casino, surrounded by beautiful girls and winning every game he plays. Outside he sees a tall policeman and is able to make him smaller and thus pick on him. He returns fully contented to his apartment with the girls and Pip, and asks to see some of his former friends who have died. He is told by Pip that this will be difficult, this "paradise" is his own private world and none of the people are real except for them. Rocky becomes curious as to why he was allowed into heaven. "I must have done something good that made up for all the other stuff. But what? What did I ever do that was good?" With Pip he visits the hall of records but it merely contains a list of all his sins. Rocky is puzzled but he decides to that if God is OK with him being there then he needn't bother worrying.

Soon, however, after a month he becomes so thoroughly bored by always having his whims satisfied and predictably winning at anything he attempts, he tells Pip "I don't belong in heaven, see? I want to go to the other place". Pip retorts "Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea that you were in heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!"

Valentine tries vainly to leave while Pip laughs uproariously.

Closing Narration

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.

Preview for Next Week's Story

Next week, you'll spend a few rather unforgettable hours in this living room, watching Ms. Janice Rule and Mr. Shepperd Strudwick partake of a dramatic delicacy that is one part nursery rhyme, one part terror. This is designed for those of you who are getting too much sleep. Next week on The Twilight Zone, "Nightmare as a Child." I hope we'll see you then. Thank you and good night.

Production

Some aspects of the episode changed during production. Rod Serling was originally offered the role of Rocky Valentine, but declined.

One version of this episode has Valentine throwing an apple at a table which changes into a pool table-although another version has this scene cut out.

"A Nice Place to Visit" was also 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", since that word had more than one meaning. In another "Nice Place" sequence, a voluptuous young lady tends to Blyden’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.

Influence

  • The TV show Futurama parodies this episode with a fictional show-within-a-show called The Scary Door in which a man wakes up after a car accident to find that he is in a casino. He wins the jackpot on a slot machine, causing him to think that he is in heaven, then wins a second time and, finding it boring, assumes that he is in hell.
  • A spoof of this episode can be found in the webcomic 8-Bit Theater. In one comic, a character named Thief (who is, naturally, a thief) dies and is told that he is now in Hell. Looking around, he sees unimaginable riches, and realizes that everything he can imagine, he owns. He remarks that this does not seem like Hell, only to be told that there is nothing to steal.
  • Ray Kurzweil's 1999 book, The Age of Spiritual Machines, contains the text, "If death were to be indefinitely put off, the human psyche would end up, well, like the gambler in the The Twilight Zone episode." This text is also included as part of the "R.K. on Death" track on Our Lady Peace's fourth album Spiritual Machines, which is named after Kurzweil's book.
  • This episode was referenced in the season 6 The Sopranos episode "Chasing It", when Carlo finds Tony's current gambling situation similar to that of Valentine.
  • Similar storyline is in Kentucky Rye
  • The song Hell Hotel by They Might Be Giants, is based off of this episode, and was supposedly written during a Twilight Zone marathon.

External links

References

  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

Notes

Also the name of the May 10, 1983 A-Team Season 1 Finale

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