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"A World of Difference" is the twenty-third episode of the The Twilight Zone.
From the CBS Video Library cover:
"Arthur Curtis is going about his workday, talking to his secretary, making a call. But the cry of "Cut!" shatters this image—Curtis is on a soundstage, surrounded by a film crew, his office merely a set. Everyone but Chris insists he's actually Jerry Raigan, a drunken, fading movie star playing the role of Arthur Curtis. There's no sign of Curtis' family, his house, even the street he lives on. Curtis is frantic to find some doorway to the life he remembers, to escape the nightmare existence of Raigan for the idyllic one of Curtis. But one nagging question confronts us—is Curtis trying to emerge from the Twilight Zone or plunge into it?"
"You're looking at a tableau of reality, things of substance, of physical material: a desk, a window, a light. These things exist and have dimension. Now this is Arthur Curtis, age thirty-six, who also is real. He has flesh and blood, muscle and mind. But in just a moment we will see how thin a line separates that which we assume to be real with that manufactured inside of a mind."
Arthur Curtis is a businessman planning a vacation with his wife. One day, he finds that his phone no longer works, and discovers his office to be a set on a sound stage. He is told that Arthur Curtis is merely a role he is playing, and his real name is Gerry Raigan, an alcoholic movie star caught in the middle of a brutal divorce and a declining career. He tries to locate Arthur Curtis's house, but cannot find any evidence of it, and Raigan's agent tells him that the movie called "The Private World of Arthur Curtis" is being cancelled because the filmmakers believe that Raigan has had a nervous breakdown. Raigan/Curtis rushes back to the set, which is being dismantled, and demands not to be left in the uncaring world of Gerry Raigan. Curtis reappears in his office as it was before, just as his wife arrives. As he hears echoes of the studio sounds, he tells her that he doesn't want to lose her and that they should leave for their vacation immediately. Curtis and his wife board a plane, which takes flight and fades away into the sky. Raigan's agent shows up on the set to find that Raigan has vanished. As the set is being dismantled, a teaser shows the "Arthur Curtis" script left on a table, waiting to be thrown in the trash.
"The modus operandi for the departure from life is usually a pine box of such and such dimensions, and this is the ultimate in reality. But there are other ways for a man to exit from life. Take the case of Arthur Curtis, age thirty-six. His departure was along a highway with an exit sign that reads, "This Way To Escape". Arthur Curtis, en route to the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, the culprit is Charles Beaumont, the gentleman responsible for a story unlike any you've ever seen. You talk of immortality, the business of being able to live for as long as one wants. Well, next week, you'll see Kevin McCarthy at the tail end of a life that's gone on for 2,000 years. The play is called "Long Live Walter Jameson" on The Twilight Zone.
- Howard Duff as Arthur Curtis
- Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
- David White as Brinkley
- Frank Maxwell as Marty Fisher
- Eileen Ryan as Nora Reagan
- Gail Kobe as Sally
- Peter Walker as Sam
- Susan Dorn as Marion Curtis
- Bill Idelson as Kelly [Credited as William Idelson]
- Chet Brandenburg as Technician; uncredited
- Michael Jeffers as Technician; uncredited
- Thomas Martin as Technician; uncredited
- Robert McCord as Camera Crew
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- Harkness Smith (director of photography)
- Joseph Gluck (film editor)
- Millie Gusse (casting; credited: Mildred Gusse)
- George W. Davis (art director)
- William Ferrari (art director)
- Rudy Butler (set decorator)
- Henry Grace (set decorator)
- Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
- Edward O. Denault (assistant director; credited: Edward Denault)
- Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
- Jean G. Valentino (sound; credited: Jean Valentino)
- Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Pacific Title (titles and opticals)
- Nathan Van Cleave's score, which sounds like an accompanied solo soprano, caps the electrifying hurl of events. In fact, this was not a vocalist but an organ-like synthesizer.
Notes and References
- CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0322 "The Silence/Kick the Can/A World of Difference/And When the Sky Was Opened" ; UPC: 000322060003, EAN: 0000322060003, ASIN: B0007LHU6O; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)