★★★★ March 11, 1960 Season 1 Episode 23
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This is the kind of story that the Twilight Zone excels at. Vanishing into a fantasy world of your own design forever. They explored this plot device more than once in episodes like The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine and A Stop at Willoughby just to name a few. Don’t worry though because the variations are so good that you would not mind more.
You think Arthur Curtis is just a white-collar worker until you hear the word “cut.” He is an actor on a set but to him…he is the character he is playing. Howard Duff plays Arthur Curtis who is really Gerry Raigan. You get the feeling you would not like Raigan at all. It seems he has a drinking problem and an ex-wife that just despises him. You start seeing the reason why Arthur Curtis was born.
Duff is very believable as Curtis…You see the worried look in his eyes yet he is hanging on to Arthur Curtis.
When Gerry’s ex-wife demands he give her a check, she spells out the last name as “Raigan”. This isn’t the expected way to spell it, which may have been deliberate, so as to not associate the character with Ronald Reagan, the then-President of the Screen Actors Guild.
Look for David White…who became famous a few years later for the character Larry Tate in Bewitched.
This show was written by Richard Matheson
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
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 sitting his office chatting with secretary about plans for his daughter’s birthday party and that he and his wife will be flying off for a couple of days of rest and relaxation. Suddenly he hears someone yell “cut” and he realizes he on a movie sound stage. He can’t understand what has happened to him. Everyone refers to him as Gerry Reagan, but he insists that he is Arthur Curtis. He runs off but can’t find any of the familiar landmarks he knows such as his house or his place of work. He is desperate to return to the world of Arthur Curtis but that window of opportunity may be closing on him.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
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.
Howard Duff … Arthur Curtis / Gerry Raigan
David White … Brinkley
Frank Maxwell … Marty Fisher
Eileen Ryan … Nora Raigan
Gail Kobe … Sally
Peter Walker … Sam
Susan Dorn … Marion Curtis
Bill Idelson … Kelly (as William Idelson)