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"The Chaser" is the thirty-first episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"Mr. Roger Shackleforth: Age: youthful twenties. Occupation: being in love. Not just in love, but madly, passionately, illogically, miserably, all-consumingly in love with a young woman named Leila who has a vague recollection of his face and even less than a passing interest. In a moment you will see a switch; because Mr. Shackleforth, a young gentleman so much in love, will take a short but very meaningful journey into the Twilight Zone."
Roger is a young man hopelessly in love with a girl named Leila. He calls her endlessly and in there most recent call she tells Roger to stop calling and "Take one big jump to the moon". At the recommendation of a stranger, Roger goes to a man named Professor A. Daemon who can "solve any problem". The professor offers Roger power, fortune or knowledge but all Roger wants is for Leila to love him. The Professor, disappointed at such a simple request, sells Roger a love potion for 1 dollar. When Roger goes to Leila's house, she attempts to shut the door in his face but he stops her and gives her flowers, insisting they have one glass of champagne. She lets him in and he puts the love potion in her glass. Shortly after saying she doesn't love or even like him, She falls under the power of the potion. For the first 6 months it was everything Roger could have ever wanted and the two get married. But Roger slowly grows tired, annoyed and angry at Leila's constant attention and affection, never leaving his side and constantly looking for his approval and permission for the simplest of things. Roger returns to the Professor and tells him Leila loves him too much and wants a solution to this unbearable affection. The professor offer Roger a "Glove cleaner", poison that is utterly undetectable and painless. After assuring Roger there is no way to undue or lessen the effect of the love potion, Roger takes it and plans to poison Leila. After returning home and putting the glove cleaner in Leila's glass she tells Roger that she has great news. She holds up a knitting needle with little socks which means she is pregnant. Shocked, Roger drops the glasses and states he could never have gone through with it. Leila holds Roger tightly and happily says they will be together forever, one big happy family. The Professor is seen smoking on the couples balcony blowing a heart shaped ring of smoke before vanishing.
"Mr. Rodger Shackleforth, who has discovered at this late date that love can be as sticky as a vat of molasses, as unpalatable as a hunk of spoiled yeast, and as all-consuming as a 6th-alarm fire in a bamboo-and-canvas tent. Case history of a lover boy, who should never have entered... The Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, you'll stand in this alley at the shoulder of Jack Klugman, who plays the role of a trumpet player who has run out of music and run out of dreams. "Poignant" is the best word for Mr. Klugman's performance. Next week on The Twilight Zone, "A Passage for Trumpet". I think they're unusual notes indeed and we hope you'll be listening to them. Thank you and good night.
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- George T. Clemens (director of photography)
- Bill Mosher (film editor)
- George W. Davis (art director)
- Merrill Pye (art director)
- F. Keogh Gleason (set decorator; credited: Keogh Gleason)
- Henry Grace (set decorator)
- Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
- Donald C. Klune (assistant director; credited: Don Klune)
- Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
- Philip Mitchell (sound)
- 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)
- United Productions of America (UPA) (animated title)
- The character of Leila utters the line: "Why don't you take a flying jump at the moon?!", this is the same line used by the character Fred Renard in the earlier episode "What You Need" and by the character Michael Chambers in the later episode "To Serve Man".
- 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, the episode's director 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."
- The short story also was adapted in 1951 for Tales from the Crypt, where it was retitled "Loved to Death!!" This was adapted in 1991 as "Loved to Death" (no exclamation points) for the HBO adult-horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt. The 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, so that the repeats of season one episodes would fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.
- As originally aired, this was the final episode of the series with the original UPA "pit and summit" title sequence.
- The first opening narration to contain, as did closing narrations, the words "The Twilight Zone".
- The only first-season episode that was not written by one of the Big Three (Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, Richard Matheson).