"The Mind and the Matter" is the 27th episode of the 2nd season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in May of 1961. It starred Shelley Berman as disgruntled office worker Archibald Beechcroft. Although this episode has many more extras than the average Twilight Zone episode, it seems that it was basically written as way to showcase the comedic talents of Berman, much as the earlier episodes Mr. Bevis and Night of the Meek were.

Beechcroft is an office worker at the urban headquarters of an insurance company who is tired of the constant jostling on the subway and the hubbub of his office. When a co-worker gives him a book about mind over matter, Beechcroft concentrates really hard and then everyone else in the world disappears. This large scale genocide is not commented on, besides that Beechcroft finds himself getting bored and lonely. Will a misanthrope really be happier in a world all his own?

This episode, although made as a comedy, continues a debate that has been ongoing in The Twilight Zone for some time. "Time Enough At Last" is one of the most famous episodes in The Twilight Zone, and this episode repeats its premise in most details, although perhaps because the silly premise of "wishing people away" being less dramatic and topical than nuclear warfare, it has nowhere near its amount of fame. In that episode, as well as in episodes like Mr. Bevis, The Eye of the Beholder and Static, people who refuse to conform to modern life's schedules and appearences are portrayed as being in touch with a more authentic reality. This episode, on the other hand, along with A Thing About Machines, The Trouble with Templeton and The After Hours, portray people who leave the group or refuse the modern world to be selfish or foolish. And some episodes are ambiguous in which they are endorsing: A Stop at Willoughby, for example. Conformity versus individuality is an important human issue, and was especially important as the prosperity and good feeling of the post-war period melted into the discontent of the 1960s. It says a lot for The Twilight Zone that it was able to honestly look at both sides of this issue.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.