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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 1 E 27 The Big Tall Wish

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Rod Serling: In this corner of the universe, a prizefighter named Bolie Jackson, one-hundred and eighty-three pounds and an hour and a half away from a comeback at St. Nick's Arena. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who, by the standards of his profession is an aging, over-the-hill relic of what was, and who now sees a reflection of a man who has left too many pieces of his youth in too many stadiums for too many years before too many screaming people. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who might do well to look for some gentle magic in the hard-surfaced glass that stares back at him.
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Air date: April 8, 1960

Washed up boxer Bolie Jackson is preparing for his comeback fight and talks to his girlfriend's son, Henry about his hopes to win the match. Henry promises to make a big tall wish for Bolie to win the match.


The Big Tall Tropes:

  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The big, tall wish is undone at the end because Bolie refuses to believe that he only won because of a wish.
  • Comic-Book Adaptation: This episode was adapted as a graphic novel by Walker Paperback in 2009.
  • The Cynic: Bolie Jackson.
  • Downer Ending: The wish is undone, meaning Bolie loses his comeback bout, and Henry, who seemingly doesn't remember the alternate timeline, tells Bolie that he's not going to believe in wishes anymore, as this one failed to come true.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: Happens when Henry makes the wish for the boxers to switch places
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  • Jade-Colored Glasses: Henry gives up on wishes after his Big Tall Wish was undone, meaning it didn't work at all.
  • Monochrome Casting: In an inversion of the usual application of this trope in 1960, all of the actors with speaking roles, with the exception of Walter Burke, are African-Americans. It is especially notable as the episode did not concern racial issues.
  • Pride: Bolie Jackson's Fatal Flaw. He believes he was the one who won the fight doing it his way, and will not accept that it was Henry's wish that did it. It costs him the fight and ruins his comeback attempt.
  • Real After All: There really is magic, but as Bolie ultimately surmises, There just isn't enough people in the world left to believe in it.
    "Or maybe...maybe there is magic. And maybe there's wishes, too. I guess the trouble is...there's not enough people around to believe..."
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  • Ripple Effect-Proof Memory: Bolie Jackson is the only one to remember the timeline in which he defeated Joey Consiglio in the ring after Henry Temple's wish is undone.
  • Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers!: Bolie Jackson refuses to believe in magic and that Henry's wish made him win his comeback bout, on grounds that he's "too old" to believe in magic. He ultimately comes out as a loser, his comeback attempt failed.
  • Title Drop:
    Henry: I'm gonna make a wish Bolie, I'm gonna make a big, tall wish.

Rod Serling: Mr. Bolie Jackson, a hundred and eighty-three pounds, who left a second chance lying in a heap on a rosin-spattered canvas at St. Nick's Arena. Mr. Bolie Jackson, who shares the most common ailment of all men, the strange and perverse disinclination to believe in a miracle, the kind of miracle to come from the mind of a little boy, perhaps only to be found in the Twilight Zone.
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