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"The Four of Us Are Dying" is the thirteenth episode of the The Twilight Zone.
From the CBS Video Library cover:
"Arch Hammer is a penny-ante con man with a unique talent—he can change his face to look exactly like men he's seen in photographs. Using this skill, he impersonates a dead trumpet player in order to seduce the man's girlfriend, then duplicates a murdered hood to extort money from the gangster who had him killed. Later, to elude some pursuers, he imitates the face of a boxer from a weathered fight poster. But Hammer hasn't counted on the fact that wearing other people's faces can lead to walking in their shoes..."
His name is Arch Hammer, and he's 36 years old. He's been a salesman, a dispatcher, a truck driver, a con man, a bookie, and a part-time bartender. This is a cheap man, a nickel and dime man, with a cheapness that goes past the suit and the shirt; a cheapness of mind, a cheapness of taste, a tawdry little shine on the seat of his consience, and a dark-room squint at a world whose sunlight has never gotten through to him. But Mr. Hammer has a talent, discovered at a very early age. This much he does have. He can make his face change. He can twitch a muscle, move a jaw, concentrate on the cast of his eyes, and he can change his face. He can change it into anything he wants. Mr. Archie Hammer, jack of all trades, has just checked in at three-eighty a night, with two bags, some newspaper clippings, a most odd talent, and a master plan to destroy some lives.
Arch Hammer is a con man who can change his face to make it look like anyone he chooses. He walks into a nightclub 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. Penell sends his men after Hammer.
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, at a street newsstand he runs into Marshak's father, 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 again bumps into Marshak's father, 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.
He was Arch Hammer, a cheap little man who just checked in. He was Johnny Foster, who played a trumpet and was loved beyond words. He was Vergil Sterig, with money in his pocket. He was Andy Marshak, who got some of his agony back on a sidewalk in front of a cheap hotel. Hammer, Foster, Sterig, Marshak- and all four of them are dying.
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next week, we'll give you a lesson in astronomy, but the kind of lesson not taught in schools. Fritz Weaver, Edward Andrews and Joe Maross appear in "Third from the Sun". This is a story that takes place on the eve of doomsday. I hope you'll join us on The Twilight Zone. Thank you and good night.
- Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
- Harry Townes as Arch Hammer
- Phillip Pine as Vince Sterig
- Ross Martin as Johnny Foster
- Don Gordon as Andy Marshak
- Harry Jackson as Trumpeter
- Bernard Fein as Penell
- Peter Brocco as Mr. Marshak
- Milton Frome as Detective
- Beverly Garland as Maggie
- Pat Comiskey as Man in Bar; uncredited
- Bob Hopkins as Man in Bar; uncredited
- Sam Rawlins as Ramón; uncredited
- Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
- Buck Houghton (producer)
- George T. Clemens (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)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1960) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- United Productions of America (UPA) (animated title)
- Though Hammer, Foster, Sterig, and Marshank had been planned to be performed by a sole actor using different makeup, the production crew timed the planned scene and noted his time wearing makeup would exceed that of him in front of the camera, so four actors were used.
- The "Hotel Real" sign, in front of Arch Hammer's hotel, is an MGM prop, originally used in a Mexican street setting in their 1953 feature film Take the High Ground!, starring Richard Widmark and Karl Malden.
Notes and References
- CBS Video Library: Twilight Zone #0327 "Mr. Dingle, The Strong/Of Late I Think of Cliffordville/The Four of Us Are Dying" ; UPC: 000327060008, EAN: ?, ASIN: ?; Format: NTSC, VHS, Collector's Edition (1987)