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Recap / The Twilight Zone (1959) S3E31: "The Trade-Ins"
aka: The Twilight Zone S 3 E 96 The Trade Ins

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Rod Serling: Mr. and Mrs. John Holt, aging people who slowly and with trembling fingers turn the last pages of a book of life and hope against logic and the preordained that some magic printing press will add to this book another limited edition. But these two senior citizens happen to live in a time of the future where nothing is impossible, even the trading of old bodies for new. Mr. and Mrs. John Holt, in their twilight years, who are about to find that there happens to be a zone with the same name.

Air date: April 20, 1962

John and Marie Holt (Joseph Schildkraut and Alma Ptatt) are an elderly married couple who are still very much in love with one another. They visit the New Life Corporation, a company which specializes in giving aging people a new lease on life by placing their minds inside younger, healthier bodies. The Holts learn that they only have enough money for one of them to go through with the procedure, and at Marie's insistence, John undergoes it to rid himself of his near-constant pain. In his new body, John attempts to win money in a poker tournament so Marie can go through the process herself, but finds that his skill at cards is severely lacking.

The Trope-Ins:

  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The episode is set during a period of the future where body-swapping is a commonplace feature.
  • Bittersweet Ending: John decides against getting a younger body, thereby allowing himself to continue experiencing his great amount of pain, preferring instead to be with Marie and live out the remainder of their lives together.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Mr. Farraday may be a competitive card shark, but when he learns why John wishes to win his tournament and how horrible he is at cards, he lets John win out of sympathy.
  • "Freaky Friday" Flip: The New Life Corporation serves to let men and women have their minds placed in newer, healthier, more attractive bodies from a custom selection of models.
  • Happily Married: John and Marie have been married for 50 years, and they still remain completely dedicated to each other. They wish to have 100 more years together by transferring their minds into newer, younger bodies, but they only have enough money for one of them to do so. As John is in near-constant pain, Marie convinces him to go ahead with the transformation. When he does so, John can't bear the thought of Marie still being old when he is young and strong. He has the process reversed so that he and Marie can spend the rest of their lives together, with John telling his wife that she is worth the pain.
  • May–December Romance: Defied. At Marie's insistence, John gets the procedure and comes out a young man. However, when he sees that Marie is still old, he decides it's not worth it and changes back.
  • Professional Gambler: In the hopes of winning enough money for a second procedure, John takes part in a high stakes poker game run by professional gambler Mr. Farraday. He loses most of his money over several hands, but Farraday is moved when he learns why John is playing, as well as the fact that he's desperate to have the procedure done due to the terrible pain that he is experiencing. Although Farraday has three aces while John has five kings, he takes sympathy and allows John to win.
  • Throw the Dog a Bone: Mr. Farraday, upon learning why John wants to win his game and seeing how terrible his luck is, purposefully folds to let John win the pot, not wanting his wife to be alone.
  • Video Phone: The New Life Corporation's receptionist tells Mr. Vance that a call for him has come in on the video phone.

Rod Serling: From Khalil Gibran's The Prophet: "Love gives not but itself and takes not from itself, love possesses not nor would it be possessed, for love is sufficient unto love." Not a lesson, just a reminder, from all the sentimentalists in the Twilight Zone.

Alternative Title(s): The Twilight Zone S 3 E 96 The Trade Ins