In the 1963 Twilight Zone episode "A Kind of Stopwatch", the main character Patrick McNulty meets a strange man in a bar named Potts. The latter seems to have a foreign accent, and uses outdated phrases such as "E. pluribus unum" and "54-40 or fight". Both characters appear lonely, and McNulty buys Potts a drink. Appreciative of the gesture, Potts gives McNulty a stopwatch. McNulty states that he does not know what to use the stopwatch for -- it does not keep time -- and Potts says that it could be used to time a racehorse. After Potts leaves, McNulty discovers that this particular stopwatch can stop time.

Did the previous owner (Potts) know that the stopwatch could stop time?

(Extended sources such as early drafts, novelizations, and adapted works are acceptable references.)


It's an interesting question, The episode in question in a 2 minute cut,

Is a tale about wasting the time of others, and using a rare and special gift for nothing, and the costs that come along with it.

Potts, the previous owner is caught using older sayings, from the 1800s, heard from the audiobook uploaded to youtube

Here, summed up to the end, the character says

"Now you've got a stop watch to time yourself...Heheh!"

"I've been looking for someone to give it to"

"I myself am.....finally finished with it"

"Goodbye old Pal!"

The man doesn't have such much as a foreign accent, but simply an 'oldtimey' one. Garnered from another era, and not another place.

This is shown through his knowledge of things over the last 200ish years

  1. The earliest known reference of baseball was in 1744 according to wiki
  2. E. pluribus unum, was the american defacto motto until the 50s, starting in 1782
  3. "Fifty-four Forty or Fight!" The slogan that was associated with the presidential election in 1844.

The power of the stop watch is to stop time for the holder, though it's never explained how it does this, nor how it affects the holders time. Do they also never age? We also don't know if it has any other powers, given the right knowledge or use.

It seems like the previous owner was able to stop time for himself, and waited for appropriate times to jump back into the normal time stream.

Regardless, in the audio book, simply by how the character talks, it seems obvious that, through his hesitation, he was more than well aware of the fact the watch could stop time.

This episode came out in October 1963 and according to wiki is:

(based on an unpublished story by Michael D. Rosenthal).


The book, "The Girl, the Gold Watch & Everything" was published in 1962.

Details almost nearly the exact same storyline. However in this case the protagonists Uncle was the owner of the watch, who had suddenly changed his entire life, becoming rich, and after death, only passes off the single watch to his nephew, who eventually finds out its power, and does the same with his girlfriend/wife.

It's a little uncanny how similar both stories are. But without reading the script or drafts, (of which my googling turned up none of) or talking to Ron Serring, it's quite difficult to tell if the story wasn't based off an unpublished story that was ripped off The Girl, the Gold watch & Everything.

But the timing seems....well timed.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .