Escape Clause

Escape Clause

Infobox Television episode
Title = Escape Clause
Series = The Twilight Zone

Caption = David Wayne in Escape Clause
Season = 1
Episode = 6
Airdate = November 6, 1959
Production = 173-3603
Writer = Rod Sterling
Director = Mitchell Leisen
Guests = David Wayne (Walter Bedeker)
Thomas Gomez (Mr. Cadwallader)
Virginia Christine (Ethel Bedeker)
Episode list = List of Twilight Zone episodes
Prev = Walking Distance
Next = The Lonely


“Escape Clause” is an episode of the American television anthology series "The Twilight Zone" and aired on CBS on November 6, 1959.

Opening narration


A mean-spirited, abusive hypochondriac sells his soul to the Devil in exchange for immortality, adding enough conditions to keep him out of Satan's clutches forever. He is puzzled when the Evil One doesn't put up much of a fight, only stipulating an escape clause which allows the man to die if he so wishes, but doesn't worry too much about it.

He uses his newfound invulnerability to collect insurance money and cheap thrills by hurling himself into life-threatening accidents. Soon growing bored with this game, he confesses to the murder of his wife (who actually died by accident), hoping to experience the electric chair. His lawyer is too good, however, and he is sentenced to life in prison without any chance of parole. In the last scene, the Devil shows up and reminds the man of the escape clause. Facing eternity in jail, the man nods and suffers a fatal heart attack.

Closing narration

Preview for Next Week's Story


Disney's Twilight Zone Tower of Terror has a reference to this episode in the basement, the elevator has a plaque that says the last time the elevator was checked. It was checked on October 2 1959 (the date The Twilight Zone first aired) and was checked by Mr. Cadwallader.

"Escape Clause" was one of the three episodes-in-production mentioned by Rod Serling in his 1959 promotional film pitching the series to potential sponsors, the others being "The Lonely" and "Mr. Denton on Doomsday" (referred to as "Death, Destry, and Mr. Dingle").

Wendell Holmes played Walter Bedeker's lawyer. Holmes was a regular voice actor in the 1950s science fiction radio shows Dimension X and X Minus One.

Critical response

“Here was a little gem. Good work, Rod Serling. This little piece about a hypochondriac who gets tangled up with an obese, clerical devil ranked with the best that has ever been accomplished in half-hour filmed television.” —"Excerpt from the Daily Variety review."


*Zicree, Marc Scott: "The Twilight Zone Companion". Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)*DeVoe, Bill. (2008). "Trivia from The Twilight Zone". Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
*Grams, Martin. (2008). "The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic". Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

External links

* [ TV Tome episode page]

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • escape clause — n: a clause in a contract that allows a party to avoid liability under the contract for specified reasons; esp: a provision in an insurance policy that denies coverage when other insurance covers the risk Merriam Webster’s Dictionary of Law.… …   Law dictionary

  • escape clause — ➔ clause * * * escape clause UK US noun [C] ► COMMERCE, LAW a statement in a contract that allows you to break all or part of the contract under particular conditions …   Financial and business terms

  • escape clause — ► NOUN ▪ a clause in a contract which specifies the conditions under which one party can be freed from an obligation …   English terms dictionary

  • escape-clause — index dispensation (exception) Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

  • escape clause — escape′ clause n. bus a provision in a contract that enables a party to terminate contractual obligations in specified circumstances • Etymology: 1940–45 …   From formal English to slang

  • Escape clause — An escape clause is any clause, term or condition in a contract that allows a party to that contract to avoid having to perform the contract (also often referred to as a Natalie Clause).If an agreement was drawn up for the sale of a house, for… …   Wikipedia

  • Escape Clause — Filmdaten Deutscher Titel Escape Clause – Tödliche Rache Originaltitel Escape Clause …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • escape clause — UK / US noun [countable] Word forms escape clause : singular escape clause plural escape clauses legal a statement in a contract that allows you to avoid doing something that the contract is intended to make you do …   English dictionary

  • escape clause — a provision in a contract that enables a party to terminate contractual obligations in specified circumstances. [1940 45] * * * noun, pl ⋯ clauses [count] : a part of a contract that allows you to get out of the contract in a particular situation …   Useful english dictionary

  • escape clause — A clause in the lease of a tenant stockholder in a cooperative apartment which permits him to assign his stock and lease to the cooperative association without receiving compensation therefor but enabling him to escape continuing liability to the …   Ballentine's law dictionary

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