Trisha Shetty (Editor)

One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty

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Episode no.  Season 1 Episode 11b
Original air date  December 6, 1985
Directed by  Don Carlos Dunaway
Written by  Alan Brennert (Based on the short story by Harlan Ellison)

"One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty" is the second segment of the eleventh episode from the first season (1985-1986) of the television series The Twilight Zone.



Gus is an angry middle aged man, very dissatisfied with his life. One day, one of his old collectible toy soldiers breaks and Gus knows he must go back to his old house in Ohio and bury his toy soldier like he did when he was a child. While Gus sits under a tree, he is transported back to the 1940s where he is able to see himself as a child.

Older Gus begins to follow his younger self. One day, when Gus saves his younger self from bullies, they start to be friends. He tries to be a go-between for young Gus and his father. He tells young Gus how he decided he would show the kids in his day that he would be successful and famous when he grew up. Older Gus also starts getting young Gus reading. Young Gus's dad, Lou, confronts the older Gus, telling him he is jealous of the relationship he has with young Gus. Lou tells older Gus that he tries to understand young Gus but he can't. Older Gus tries to explain that he only needs to listen to his son and let him know that he loves him. He tries to explain to Lou that he and his father didn't have a good relationship and his father died before he had a chance to make him proud of him. Older Gus admits he was the same way when he was a kid and he wanted to give young Gus a different chance. Lou tells older Gus that he is a good man for doing what he did and he is happy he has been a part of their lives, for young Gus' sake.

Older Gus tells younger Gus he has to leave and go back to his life in Los Angeles. Apparently, being in the past has made older Gus sick and he tries to explain that to younger Gus. Younger Gus becomes angry and runs away, cruelly proclaiming he will become "a big something" when he grows-up and spit on older Gus if he is ever reunited with him as an adult. Older Gus remembers that this is the time that he does meet his older self and makes the claim that he will make himself into "a big something" and show him. Gus then returns to his own time. Gus hails a cab and the driver happens to be one of the kids that used to bully Gus. Gus then realizes that although he did not have the greatest childhood, he is now happy.


This episode is based on the short story "One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty", by Harlan Ellison. The story was first published in the anthology Orbit 8 in 1970.


This episode is similar to the original series episode "Walking Distance", where Gig Young plays a man, escaping from his adult rat-race life, who finds himself in his hometown, during the time when he was a boy.


One Life, Furnished in Early Poverty Wikipedia

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