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.
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.
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.