When his doctor tells him that he could die at any moment, the wealthy Jason Foster gathers his heirs including his daughter Emily Harper, her husband Wilfred and their children Paula and Wilfrid Jr. Jason doesn't think much of any of them and it's clear they can't wait to get their hands on his fortune. It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans and he has one last request - for each of them to wear a carnival mask. Each of the masks is meant to reflect some aspect of their personality - and leave a lasting impression on them.Written by
This was Robert Keith's final acting role before his death on December 22, 1966 at the age of 68. See more »
[of the Mardi Gras masks he's presented them with]
Father, you don't mean... We have to WEAR these ugly things?
Only for a few hours. Only 'til the unmasking at midnight.
Well, I won't wear mine.
Wilfred Harper, Jr.:
Me, neither. It's stupid.
Well, Father, it seems that we're somewhat at odds here.
Not really, Wilfred. You all came here for one purpose: To watch me go and cry "bon voyage." To put coins on my closed eyes and with your free hands, start grabbing things from my shelves.
Father, that's cruel.
[...] See more »
Straightforward morality plays were nothing unusual on "The Twilight Zone", but (especially during the last season of the series) most of those tended to be pedantic and unconvincing. Nothing could be further from the truth here.
Dying millionaire Jason Foster (Robert Keith) brings his venal family together on what will likely be the last night of his life, during Mardi Gras. However, rather than allowing them to make their perfunctory goodbyes, the patriarch forces them them to wear masks -- reflecting their true natures (his daughter's self-pity, his son-in-law's avarice, and his grandchildren's vanity and cruelty) -- as a condition of receiving their inheritance.
While this episode could have been unbearably preachy, what prevents this is Serling's well-written script, and the magnificent lead performance by Keith, who plays the role with such sarcasm and Mephistophelean charm that the payoff is richly anticipated, rather than dreaded. Moreover, the payoff itself is worth the price of admission.
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