The Chaser (The Twilight Zone)

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George Grizzard: Roger Shackleforth
John McIntire: Professor A. Daemon
Patricia Barry: Leila
J. Pat O'Malley: Homburg

"The Chaser" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.



Roger Shackleforth is desperately in love with Leila. He visits an old professor looking for advice on how to win her. The professor, after some resistance, sells Roger a love potion cheaply ($1.00). After its administration, Leila falls madly in love with Roger, but soon, her love becomes stifling. Roger returns to the professor to buy his "glove cleaner", an expensive potion ($1000, which is all Roger has in the world, and Professor Daemon knows it) that's odorless, tasteless, and completely "undetectable", that can only be used once, before the user loses his nerve. After he leaves, the professor muses, "First, the 'stimulant'....and then, the chaser."

When he gets home, Roger prepares a glass of champagne with the new potion. Just as he is about to give Leila the glass, she reveals that she is pregnant, which shocks Roger into dropping the glass. He dazedly admits to himself that he could not have gone through with it anyway. Unseen, on his terrace, a triumphant Professor Daemon is relaxing with a cigar- puffing smoke rings that turn into little hearts....

Episode notes

This episode was adapted by Robert Presnell, Jr. from the short story The Chaser by John Collier. The script was originally written for and produced live on television on The Billy Rose Television Theatre in 1951.

In Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man, writer Douglas Heyes said, "That was one of the great things about The Twilight Zone. I had total freedom. Sometimes I would think of an idea that make the episode more Twilight Zone-y [but] that would require some expense. I remember one episode, "The Chaser", in which I devised a huge bookcase that must have doubled the budget, but [Serling and producer Buck Houghton] never blinked an eye. They just said, 'Okay, great!' I didn't have to argue with anybody over the money—they'd argue about the money and let me have it! I knew that they were having problems with Jim Aubrey, but they kept them away from me. My responsibility was to get the job done."

This episode was remade in 1991 as "Loved to Death", an episode of the HBO adult-horror anthology series, Tales from the Crypt. That episode starred Andrew McCarthy and Mariel Hemingway.

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. This was the final episode of the series with the UPA title sequence.

See also

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