A Perditious Poll: Who’s the Best Devil on Twilight Zone?
“Please allow me to introduce myself,” goes the opening line of “Sympathy for the Devil.” An introduction is especially important if you’re a Twilight Zone fan. After all, the fifth dimension is home to no fewer than four different people claiming to be the Prince of Lies.
But which Beelzebub is best? That’s up to you. Not that it’ll be an easy choice. Each performance is a solid one, making this a diabolically difficult decision. In chronological order, we have …
Thomas Gomez (“Escape Clause” — November 6, 1959)
He may be going by the name “Cadwallader,” but when his newest
sucker client says, “You’re the Devil,” Gomez’s character gives a wicked grin and replies, “At your service.” You want immortality? Just sign the dotted line, relinquish your soul … and enjoy.
Oh, repeated suicide attempts don’t thrill you for long? It’s not his fault that you have such a low threshold for boredom. Judging from his unholy laugh, though, it doesn’t sound like he cares.
Robin Hughes (“The Howling Man” — November 4, 1960)
There are no contracts, no deals, no flattery with this Devil, arguably the most recognized depiction of Lucifer in the whole TZ canon. He’s just an innocent man locked in a cell, held against his will by these crazy monks, right? He’s about pleas, not promises.
All he wants is for you to release him. And being a
gullible fool nice guy, you listen and let him go. Oops. That escalated quickly. Uh, sorry, Brother Jerome?
Burgess Meredith (“Printer’s Devil” — February 28, 1963)
His roles as Henry Bemis in “Time Enough at Last” and Romney Wordsworth in “The Obsolete Man” are so famous that they overshadow this Season 4 gem. But from his twinkling eyes to his crooked cigar, “Mr. Smith” proves to be a uniquely unforgettable fiend.
As the rescuer of a small-town paper that’s about to go under, Meredith plays the infamous soul-stealer with such devilish delight that it’s hard to root against him. He’s even clever enough to roll out the inevitable contract AFTER he’s got his hooks in you.
Julie Newmar (“Of Late I Think of Cliffordville” — April 11, 1963)
For many men, a Devil who looks like Catwoman could dispense with the formalities altogether. Never mind the patter — where do I sign? O_O So it’s to Mr. Feathersmith’s credit that he actually tries to forge an airtight deal with the erstwhile Angel of Light.
Alas, pride and greed are his undoing. Besides, attempts to out-lawyer Lucifer nearly always end badly. Now you have all eternity to ponder how you should have examined the fine print.
I know it’s a tough choice, but as voters, we’re frequently asked to pick between devils. So who’s it going to be?
UPDATE, Sept. 4: I don’t think anyone’s surprised to see Robin Hughes won this one, but it was great to watch the battle for second place see-saw back and forth between Meredith and Newmar. Thanks to everyone who voted!
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!
Posted on 08/28/2015, in Twilight Zone Polls and tagged Burgess Meredith, Escape Clause, Julie Newmar, Of Late I Think of Cliffordville, Printer's Devil, Robin Hughes, The Howling Man, Thomas Gomez, Twilight Zone. Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.