The Four of Us Are Dying

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Harry Townes: Arch Hammer
Phillip Pine: Virgil Sterig
Don Gordon: Andy Marshak
Ross Martin: Johnny Foster
Peter Brocco: Pop Marshak
Beverly Garland: Maggie
Milton Frome: Detective

"The Four of Us Are Dying" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Contents

Synopsis

Arch Hammer is a conman who can change his face to make it look like anyone he chooses. He first walks into a night club where he impersonates deceased trumpeter Johnny Foster in order to steal Foster's girlfriend, a sultry singer. Hammer then pays a visit to Mr. Penell impersonating murdered gangster Virgil Sterig in order to extort money out of Penell, the man who had Sterig killed. But Penell figures out the deception and sends his men after him.

Trying to escape down an alley, Hammer changes his face to one he sees on a poster of boxer Andy Marshak. But, thinking he is in the clear, he then runs into Marshak's father at a street newsstand, who mistakes him for the son who broke his mother's heart, and ruined a young girl's life. Hammer pushes the old man out of the way and returns to his hotel room. A detective comes to the hotel to pick him up for questioning at the police station. In order to escape from the policeman in a revolving door, Hammer assumes Marshak's appearance again.

But on the street he bumps into Marshak's father again, who pulls a gun on him. Hammer tries to show the old man he is not who he thinks he is, but before he can concentrate and change, the old man shoots him. As Hammer lies dying, his face shifts from one person to another until he dies wearing his own face.

Production

"After the first half-dozen stories had been written, part of the hustle was getting an agent. Through those years I found several who would let me use their names, though few cared to sign a contract with me. One of these men, Jay Richards - at the time head of the television department of the Famous Artists Agency, long since absorbed by I.F.A. (International Famous Agency), and since embedded in I.C.M. (International Creative Management), which represents me now in television and movies - agreed to read something. I showed Jay 'All of Us Are Dying.' After reading it, he crossed out the title with a ballpoint pen and wrote in 'Rubberface!' Then he sent it to Rod Serling, who had a new series that season called The Twilight Zone." —George Clayton Johnson writing in the August 1981 issue of The Twilight Zone Magazine.

In 2005, The Four of Us Are Dying was produced for the stage by 4 Letter Entertainment.

In popular culture

"The Four of Us Are Dying" was the title of an instrumental on the album The Slip by industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails.

References

  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

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