February 3 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1961 premiere of 'A Penny for Your Thoughts'

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Feb 3, 2018

Today, February 3, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1961 premiere of "A Penny for Your Thoughts."

Dick York stars as mild-mannered bank employee Hector B. Poole, a young man going nowhere until he throws a coin into a paperboy's box and it stands perfectly upright. From this moment on, Hector can suddenly read everyone's thoughts – a distinct advantage as he moves through his day at the bank.

June Dayton portrays the fellow bank employee who suddenly becomes a romantic interest for Poole, and Dan Tobin is the quite vulnerable bank manager whose devious mind is suddenly an open book.

In "A Penny for Your Thoughts," Dick York was perfectly cast as Hector Poole, a man with nothing really going for him until he drops a quarter in a paperboy's box. 

The Twilight Zone offered whimsical episodes on a regular basis. As I've mentioned before, creator Rod Serling had a terrific sense of humor, and he took full advantage of the mandate of anthology to bring a wide variety stories, settings, and tones to the Zone. Director James Sheldon gave writer George Clayton Johnson's episode the required light touch.

Meanwhile, Dick York had previously co-starred opposite William Reynolds in the first season's "The Purple Testament." This performance was perhaps a perfect audition for York's future role as fellow TZ veteran Elizabeth Montgomery's co-star in the upcoming Bewitched series, which presented whimsy on a weekly basis.

The ability to read thoughts brings Hector Poole (Dick York) closer to the girl of his dreams (June Dayton) in "A Penny for Your Thoughts."

So let's all celebrate the odyssey of Hector B. Poole, a man who tossed a coin into a paperboy's box and wound up with a fortune in rented thoughts, only to be found in The Twilight Zone.

Bank employee Hector Poole (Dick York, left) gets an earful of his lusting manager's (Dan Tobin) thoughts in "A Penny for Your Thoughts."