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May 25 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1962 premiere of 'Cavender is Coming'

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May 25, 2018

Today, May 25th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1962 premiere of "Cavender is Coming."

Relative newcomer to television Carol Burnett stars as Agnes Grep, most likely a cousin of Mr. Bevis – in other words, a free spirit who is friends with everyone in her apartment building, but can't seem to hold onto a job... even the lowly position of a movie theater usherette/slave to a tyrannical manager (Frank Behrens). Coming to her rescue is Cavender (Jesse White), a fumbling guardian angel who still needs to win his wings. After showering Agnes with riches and society standing, he's surprised to see these worldly gains fail to put a smile on Agnes' face.

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Bursting with talent and energy, Carol Burnett would soon become the queen of television comedy.  

This comical episode perfectly blended Rod Serling's love for his favorite movie It's a Wonderful Life with Burnett's own real-life experiences as a Hollywood Blvd usherette. Meanwhile, Jesse White (1917-1997) was another comic genius who brought his signature sarcasm to every role he took, long before he was the lonely Maytag repairman. He had previously portrayed the Honolulu bartender in "The Time Element" and the electrical repairman who helps Buster Keaton in "Once Upon a Time." And Howard Smith, Mr. Push Push Push in "A Stop at Willoughby," returns as Cavender's angelic boss, along with John Fiedler, who previously played the stern department store manager in "The Night of the Meek."

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Guardian angel in training Cavender (Jesse White, left) takes his orders from Polk (Howard Smith, right) in the comedic "Cavender is Coming."

So let's hoist a movie theater fountain soda to the magic of Carol Burnett and Jesse White, an unbeatable team of comic energy on display for your personal consideration in The Twilight Zone.