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“Doomsday” Denied

The Twilight Zone can be an unforgiving place. Think of Henry Bemis clutching his broken eyeglasses in “Time Enough at Last.” Or Samuel Conrad trapped in a human zoo on Mars in “People are Alike All Over.” Or the mayhem that erupts in “The Monsters are Due on Maple Street.”

But it can also be a place of redemption.

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Ask Al Denton (Dan Duryea) — a resident of the Old West who, we learn in “Mr. Denton on Doomsday,” has “begun his dying early.” He’s also a man destined to take a special place in Rod Serling’s pantheon of broken heroes.

A former fast gun, Denton has devolved into the town drunk. He’s so pathetic that he lets the local bully (played with relish by Martin Landau in the first of two Zone roles) regularly push him into singing “How Dry I Am” just to get a free shot of whiskey.

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But all that changes one day. A travelling salesman named Henry Fate rides into town and ensures that a special gun falls into Denton’s hands. Now he can shoot straight again. The bully is humiliated. The townspeople respect him. Read the rest of this entry

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