Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

It Happened Tomorrow


“You’re traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That’s the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone.”

This would have made an excellent Twilight Zone episode … in fact, it may actually have been one. I certainly recall something similar. What if you were given a copy of tomorrow’s newspaper? Well, in the Twilight Zone, as here, you will certainly fuck it up. Otherwise, where’s the story?

Dick Powell is a newspaper reporter in the 1890s. He is given the paper by a ghost (he doesn’t realize it’s a ghost). The top story is of a robbery at the opera, so what does he do? He goes there so he can get the story, and idiotically blabs about his foreknowledge to all sorts of people. Naturally the cops are suspicious. (The chief is the great Edgar Kennedy, famous for the “slow burn” all the way back to 1911.) With the help of the “mentalist” woman he quickly falls in love with (Linda Darnell, lookin’ lovely) he is able to clear his name. Then he gets another paper from tomorrow, and the headline is that he will be killed at 6:25 at a certain hotel. He is immediately plunged into despair, and has little appetite for carrying out his scheme of parlaying the winners of all five races at the track. But he does, all the while proclaiming that he knows the outcome. Couldn’t he have had the brains to at least act a little surprised and happy? Oh, well, I guess not.

You will already have figured out that he does not die at the hotel. The explanation for the headline holds water. It’s a nice idea, but I thought it could have been developed better with someone who was just a little bit smarter. It was directed by René Clair.