Director: Ronald Winston
Writer: Rod Serling
Cast: Rod Serling, Ivan Dixon, Steven Perry, Kim Hamilton, Walter Burke, and Henry Scott
Composer: Jerry Goldsmith
Air Date: 4/8/1960
Production Code: 173-3630
Aging boxer Bolie Jackson (Ivan Dixon) sustains a hand injury prior to an important match, prompting Henry (Steven Perry)—an optimistic child—to make a wish for Bolie. Inexplicably, Bolie manages to defeat his athletically superior opponent; but refuses to attribute his victory to Henry’s wish.
“The Big Tall Wish” benefits from Ivan Dixon’s portrayal of Bolie, whose perpetual cynicism implicitly stems from class and racial discrimination endured throughout his life. That being said, a sloppy execution detracts from the poignancy inherent to Rod Serling’s character study.
A scarred visage and allusions to a past filled with hardship encourage sympathy for Bolie, the jaded perspective of whom would otherwise seem inconsistent with his triumph over a skilled competitor. Dixon’s embodiment of the suffering, disappointment, and negativity that would naturally plague a lifelong victim of abuse should likewise be commended; notably, Bolie repeatedly informs his young companion that “magic” cannot defend against a cruel and harsh reality, almost as if to convince himself, not Henry, to ignore the possibility of a higher power and the hope, strength, and courage that one may attain from believing in such.
By employing still photos in a haphazard fashion, “The Big Tall Wish” fails to generate excitement when depicting Bolie’s victory and the reversal thereof.
“The Big Tall Wish” warns against the potential consequences of unwarranted pessimism; specifically, by dwelling exclusively on his unfortunate circumstances, Bolie forfeits his one and only chance at a career comeback.
Marred by slapdash editing, “The Big Tall Wish” is a technically flawed episode. Fans of The Twilight Zone may nevertheless appreciate this effort, the emotionally stirring nature of which will appeal to those of a sensitive disposition.
Overall Quality: 6/10
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