Original air date – 4/8/60
Watch it here.
Bolie Jackson (Ivan Dixon) is a boxer who is past his prime and is returning to the boxing ring for another fight. Henry (Steven Perry) is a little boy who worships Jackson. The night of the fight, Henry makes an earnest wish for Jackson to win.
And he does… While Jackson is beaten and about to be counted out by the referee, he miraculously changes place with the opponent. It looks like Henry’s wish is granted. The man lying on the canvas is Jackson’s opponent. And the referee holds up Jackson’s hand, pronouncing him the winner.
Henry later explains to Jackson that he had made a “big tall wish” for him to win the fight but Jackson refuses to believe and insists he won the fight on his own. With his inability to believe in the miracle, Jackson is transported back to the ring. He is lying flat on his back, beaten almost unconscious. The referee counts to ten. Jackson loses the fight.
Back with Henry, Jackson tells the boy, “Maybe there is magic…I guess the trouble is, there’s not enough people around to believe.”
The Big Tall Wish, the first Twilight Zone episode with almost all black characters, came out five years after Rosa Park and the same year the Woolworth’s lunch counter sit-in would spurn several other sit-ins in the nation. It was 1960 and the fight for civil rights was at its height. The wish for Americans to live side by side with no regards to the difference in skin colors seems plausible in the near future. Although a lot of progress has been made, 55 years on since it was aired, equality is still unfortunately a “big tall wish.”