Perchance to Dream (The Twilight Zone)

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Richard Conte: Edward Hall
John Larch: Dr. Rathmann
Suzanne Lloyd: Maya/Miss Thomas

"Perchance to Dream" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.



Edward Hall (Conte), a man with a heart condition, believes that if he falls asleep, he'll die. On the other hand, keeping himself awake will put too much of a strain on his heart. He seeks out the aid of psychiatrist Rathmann and explains that he has been dreaming in chapters, as if in a movie serial. In his dreams, Maya, a carnival dancer, lures him onto a roller coaster in a funhouse in an attempt to scare him to death. Realizing that Rathmann cannot help him, Hall starts to go, but stops when he realizes that Rathmann's receptionist looks exactly like Maya. Terrified, he runs back into Rathmann's office and jumps out of the window.

In reality, the doctor calls his receptionist into his office, where Hall lies on the couch, his eyes closed. Rathmann tells the receptionist that Hall had come in, lain down, immediately fell asleep, and then a few moments later let out a scream and died. "Well, I suppose there are worse ways to go", the doctor says philosophically. "At least he died peacefully..."

Radio drama

The episode was adapted for radio in 2002 featuring Fred Willard as Edward Hall. It was then released as part of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas - Volume 9 collection.

Episode notes

This was the first episode aired that was written by Charles Beaumont (and also the first that was not written by Rod Serling). The title of the episode, and the Beaumont-written short story that inspired it, is taken from Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech.[1]

"Throughout the TV filming, Florey strove for quality. It might have been the most expensive MGM feature. He rooted out the meanings of certain lines, frequently surprising me with symbols and shadings I'd neither planned nor suspected. The set was truly impressionistic, recalling the days of Caligari and Liliom. The costumes were generally perfect. And in the starring role, Richard Conte gave a performance which displays both intensity and subtlety." —Charles Beaumont writing in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science-Fiction, December 1959.

This is one of several episodes from Season One with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for Season Two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.

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