Twilight Zone – Shadow Play

★★★★★  May 5, 1961  Season 2 Episode 26

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

This one is a Twilight Zone classic. Dennis Weaver stars in this episode as Adam Grant. Weaver has always been a favorite of mine. He starred in the movie Duel, as McCloud, and in the first 9 seasons of Gunsmoke as Chester. Again and again The Twilight Zone cast these episodes perfectly.

This one is about a nightmare that Adam Grant finds himself trapped in. Grant has created this world with many of the same faces but different characters. It starts with him in a court room being convicted of first degree murder. We don’t see the crime…just Adam being thrown in jail and on death row…but something is off and he knows it. This episode is one of the must see Twilight Zones.

The writer Charles Beaumont once again explores a nightmare in Shadow Play as he did in Perchance for a Dream.

From IMDB: The title refers to the ancient art of shadow play or shadow puppetry using opaque figures that cast shadows on clear curtains. Such entertainment is known in countries throughout the world and is presented in theaters and by traveling troupes.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Adam Grant, a nondescript kind of man, found guilty of murder and sentenced to the electric chair. Like every other criminal caught in the wheels of justice, he’s scared, right down to the marrow of his bones. But it isn’t prison that scares him, the long, silent nights of waiting, the slow walk to the little room, or even death itself. It’s something else that holds Adam Grant in the hot, sweaty grip of fear, something worse than any punishment this world has to offer, something found only in – The Twilight Zone.


When Adam Grant is found guilty of first degree murder and sentenced he lashes out telling everyone that he will not be murdered again. Grant claims to be having a recurring nightmare where he is found guilty and executed. The characters around him change and so he argues that all of them will vanish if he dies. It leads newspaperman Paul Carson to question what is real and what might just be a figment of someone else’s imagination. DA Henry Ritchie visits Grant in jail and decides to try and do something about his claims, no matter how far-fetched his claims might be.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

We know that a dream can be real, but who ever thought that reality could be a dream? We exist, of course, but how, in what way? As we believe, as flesh-and-blood human beings, or are we simply parts of someone’s feverish, complicated nightmare? Think about it, and then ask yourself, do you live here, in this country, in this world, or do you live, instead, – in The Twilight Zone?


Rod Serling…Narrator
Dennis Weaver…Adam Grant
Harry Townes…District Attorney Henry Ritchie
Wright King…Paul Carson
Bernie Hamilton…Coley
William Edmonson…Jiggs
Anne Barton…Carol Ritchie
Tommy Nello…Phillips
Mack Williams…Father Beaman
Gene Roth…Judge


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

16 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Shadow Play”

    1. It is a powerful one…3 more to go in season 2…I thought season 1 was the best but now I’m leaning toward this one. Two of the remaining are excellent and only one below average.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Great episode Max. Kind of far out in that he’s stuck in this dream a d can’t get out but he knows he’s stuck. I liked the philosophical ideas as well like what is reality? Is everything just your own mental creation? Or someone else’s?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh man…our email server went down at work Saturday…I had posts ready to go but I’ve been really off the blog…so I know how you feel…
      I didn’t know a hurricane hit the southern states until yesterday…I’ve been knee deep in Azure getting everyone’s email back up.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Wow thats in pretty deep man. Hope it’s getting better and you’ve been able to get on top of it. Hope you enjoy my draft pick tomorrow 😀.

        Liked by 1 person

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