A “Dream” Come True
It’s not uncommon for writers to be unhappy with how their work is depicted on screen. So many things can go wrong — a bad actor, ham-fisted directing, a skimpy budget — that it’s a marvel, really, when things go right. The norm, unfortunately, is for something to go wrong.
That certainly wasn’t the case when “Perchance to Dream” was filmed for season 1 of The Twilight Zone. Charles Beaumont’s first Zone script (the first non-Serling story of the series, in fact) is a bizarre, imaginative ride. Here’s what the author wrote shortly after production of the episode, which was based on one of his short stories:
Serling told me to dramatize it, but to make no changes. He advised me to forget everything I had learned about television taboos. They didn’t exist on Twilight Zone. I should do the script the way I saw it. Believing the instruction to be well-meant, but hardly to be taken seriously, I nonetheless did write the script precisely as I saw it.
To my amazement, it was happily accepted. Nothing was changed. Not one line. Not one word. Not even the wild technical directions, which called for an impressionistic amusement park, a roller coaster ride and a car crash.
It was filmed exactly as written. I know because I was on the set, watching, unable to believe that any of this was truly happening. An author was seeing his work treated with respect.
The result was one of The Twilight Zone’s most memorable episodes — one that I include in my top 25.
And not just because of Maya. Although she certainly helps …
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