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.

Perchance to Dream14

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.

Perchance to Dream8

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 …

For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 08/06/2011, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. Creepy! I love this episode, too–it’s on on top favorites: http://fpdorchakrealitycheck.wordpress.com/2012/08/09/twilight-zone-my-25-favorite-episodes/. But how cool that Mr. Serling did what he did! Thanks for this cool historical trivia! [Tongue-in-cheek, I ask I] Wonder how many writer/producers today do this….

    • Very few, from what I hear. Although it seems that TV writers are accorded more respect than film writers.

      Glad you enjoyed it, Frank!

  2. spotmagicsolis

    Vaseline on the lens :)

  3. So here’s a question. In the original short story, which was released in the TZ original-short-stories anthology in the mid ’80s, Richard Conte’s character says something at the end – just before his exit from the story – about knowing who “she” (Maya) really is. I had trouble understanding that at the time (I was 12) but I’m not sure that I know the answer now 35-odd years later — anyone have an answer to that?

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