One of the quintessential episodes from the original run of The Twilight Zone (episode 8, from 1959). Spoliers ahead!

Burgess Meredith plays a bepsectacled, bookworm bank clerk, Henry Bemis, who is hounded by his boss and his wife for his rather excessive love of reading. His boss forbids him to read at work, and his wife defaces and mutilates his books. During a lunch break, he sneaks into the bank vault for a crafty read, and in the process survives a nuclear holocaust that kills (literally) everyone else. He wanders for a while and isolation soon leads him to the brink of suicide, but then he discovers the library, where the H-bomb (kinder on books than people) has scattered books hither and yon. Bemis realises that he can finally spend as much time as he likes with his beloved tomes, without fear of persecution... time enough at last. Bending down to pick up a volume, he drop his spectacles - which shatter to pieces, leaving him utterly unable to read.

Ah, the irony. And this is a particularly unjust Twilight Zone... Bemis' only 'crime' is love of reading... to an irregular degree, certainly, but after experiencing the poor man's treatment at the hands of his tormentors, and his initial reaction to post-holocaust isolation, the viewer is glad to see him finally get a break... only to witness the crushing final blow. But then, that's war for you.

The episode was written by Rod Serling, of course, and is based on the short story of the same name by Lynn Venable, first published in 1953. It is available on the second Twilight Zone DVD from Image Entertainment.

'Time Enough At Last' is pure Serling, and pure Zone. The ending has passed into pop mythology - it was most recently referenced in The Simpsons, where a mailman trapped beneath a car cheerfully announces he has plenty of reading material to occupy him until help arrives. "Hey, Twilight Zone Magazine... oh no! My glasses!"

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