Director: John Brahm
Writer: Richard Matheson
Cast: Phyllis Thaxter, Alex Nicol, Wallace Rooney, Helen Brown, and Rickey Kelman
Composer: Nathan Scott
Air Date: 5/11/1962
Production Code: 4813
Immediately after marrying his fiancée Virginia (Phyllis Thaxter), Alex Walker (Alex Nicol) prepares to sell the home of his late mother Henrietta—a domineering woman whose treatment of Alex leaves him incapable of living a functional, independent life. Despite loving her husband unconditionally, Virginia reaches her breaking point when Alex—now strangely affected by his childhood environment—refuses to break free of his mother’s influence.
It should be noted that “Young Man’s Fancy” benefits from the combined pathos of Phyllis Thaxter and Alex Nicol. Nevertheless, this offering is marred by sluggish pacing and a predictable twist in the final scene.
“Young Man’s Fancy” deserves praise for portraying both main characters in a sympathetic light. For example, Alex remains unable to let go of his wonderful childhood experiences and embrace the duties of a husband, choosing instead to surround himself with toys, chocolate fudge, and pictures of his mother—actions that, though quite selfish and unfair to Virginia, will resonate with those who possess a childlike spirit. Virginia, on the other hand, exhibits remarkable patience and understanding when confronting her husband, whose juvenile mental state and attachment to his mother would likely offend the majority of women.
“Young Man’s Fancy” should be commended for exploring the consequences of dependent behavior, clinging to the past for comfort, and refusing to accept the responsibilities of adult life—all relevant topics given the infantilized nature of modern society.
Fans of The Twilight Zone should enjoy this episode for its topnotch performances and emotional subject matter. Casual viewers, however, may wish to forgo “Young Man’s Fancy” in favor of the aforementioned “Walking Distance” and “The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine”—two similarly themed installments from season one.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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