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Recap / The Twilight Zone S 5 E 132 Ninety Years Without Slumbering

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Rod Serling: Each man measures his time: some with hope, some with joy, some with fear. But Sam Forstmann measures his allotted time with a grandfather's clock, a unique mechanism whose pendulum swings between life and death, a very special clock that keeps a special kind of time - in the Twilight Zone.

Air date: December 20, 1963

Aging Sam Forstmann spends much of his time keeping his grandfather clock running, worrying his daughter and son-in-law. While talking to a psychiatrist, Sam confides a deep conviction passed down from his father and grandfather — he must keep the clock wound, lest he die when it stops. Chaos ensues as Sam and the others try to figure out what to do with the clock.

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Ninety Tropes Without Slumbering:

  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: Sam's father and grandfather's deaths (and the attacks Sam seems to have when the clock ticks slowly) turn out to have resulted from their beliefs that their lives were tied to their clocks. Sam tells his "spirit" that he doesn't believe in him and therefore he doesn't exist.
  • The Insomniac: Sam doesn't sleep, and he says it runs in the family. It's implied that the insomnia comes from anxiety over the clock.
  • Multigenerational Household: Sam lives with his granddaughter Marnie Kirk, who is expecting a baby, and her husband Doug.
  • Never Sleep Again: Sam stays awake as much as possible so that he can ensure that the clock remains wound.
  • Titled After the Song: The title is a sample from the chorus of "My Grandfather's Clock", which talks about a clock that ran for its owner's entire lifetime and stopped for good when he died. Sam even sings the song during the episode. An instrumental version of the song is also heard on two occasions.
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Rod Serling: Clocks are made by men, God creates time. No man can prolong his allotted hours, he can only live them to the fullest — in this world or in the Twilight Zone.
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