"The Trade-Ins" is the 31st episode of the third season of The Twilight Zone, and was first broadcast in April of 1962. It starred veteran actor Joseph Schildkraut (last seen in Deaths-Head Revisited) as John Holt, who, along with his wife, are seeking to find a way to deal with his old age. Other than Joseph Schildkraut, the other actors are character actors.

The opening shot of this episode is a door with the writing "The New Life Corp." and that gives you a hint that we might have some creepiness and bioethical dilemmas ahead of us. And indeed, in short order, we learn that John Holt and his wife Marie Holt are looking for new bodies: it is the future, and when people get old enough, they can purchase a new and healthy body for the low price of 5,000 dollars. (Which seems to be a bit low, even for 1962.) John Holt is older than his wife, and also in more pain. They are relieved when they are shown beautiful youthful bodies that they can transfer their consciousness into. But they come across a problem: they only have $5,000, enough for only one body. What decision will they have to make in order to preserve their love and health?

Despite the promising set-up, I was somewhat disappointed by this episode. After the initial set-up, the story has a somewhat non-sequitur middle act, and then takes a sentimental turn. What could have been a much more cutting story about people's desire for youth and the industrialization of health became a more pedestrian story about one man's choices. The question of how those young, healthy bodies are made, and what is going on in their vacant, happy eyes goes unasked. However, I take that as a deliberate choice on the part of Rod Serling. Sometimes he wanted to make large statements about society. And sometimes he wanted to use science-fiction or the paranormal to tell simpler stories.

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