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"The Jeopardy Room" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.
"The cast of characters: a cat and a mouse. This is the latter, the intended victim who may or may not know that he is to die, be it by butchery or ballet. His name is Major Ivan Kuchenko. He has, if events go according to certain plans, perhaps three or four more hours of living. But an ignorance shared by both himself and his executioner is the fact that both of them have taken a first step into the Twilight Zone."
Trying to defect, former KGB Major Ivan Kuchenko (Martin Landau) is trapped inside a hotel room. Commissar Vassiloff (John van Dreelen), a hitman; and Boris (Robert Kelljan), his assistant, are watching him from a room across the street. Vassiloff is a sadistic killer who has tricked Kuchenko into drinking a sleeping potion in the hotel room after pretending to surrender to Kuchenko. Kuchenko wakens to learn that Vassiloff has planted a bomb in the room: Ivan must find it within three hours, or he will be shot by Vassiloff and Boris, who have a gun trained on him at all times. Vassiloff has hidden the bomb in the room's telephone, where it will be triggered by picking up an incoming call. Ivan manages to escape and avoid being shot. Later, Vassiloff and Boris enter the room and try to figure out what went wrong. The phone rings, and Boris—without thinking—picks it up; Vassiloff, realizing what is happening, yells at Boris, but the telephone bomb quickly goes off. On the other end of the phone line is Ivan Kuchenko at the airport. When the operator notifies him of the bad connection, he reassures her that the message was indeed delivered and as the loudspeaker announces that his plane is about to depart he walks to his freedom. The scene cuts to Vassiloff and Boris's charred corpses.
"Major Ivan Kuchenko, on his way west, on his way to freedom, a freedom bought and paid for by a most stunning ingenuity. And exit one Commissar Vassiloff, who forgot that there are two sides to an argument - and two parties on the line. This has been the Twilight Zone."
Preview for Next Week's Story
Next time out on The Twilight Zone, we enlist the talented typewriter of Earl Hamner, Jr. and present a stunningly conceived show called "Stopover in a Quiet Town". It will star Barry Nelson and Nancy Malone and it will provide the kind of shock ending that punches the emotional eye with unexpected force. Next time, "Stopover in a Quiet Town".
- Cayuga Productions
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (in association with)
- Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)
- Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series