Wordplay / Dreams For Sale / Chameleon

The Twilight ZoneWordplay: Words are just part of a salesman’s trade, but when those words begin getting switched with other words, resulting in a seemingly nonsensical new version of the English language, Bill Lowery finds himself unable to communicate with anyone at all and must start learning the language all over.

written by Rockne S. O’Bannon
directed by Wes Craven
music by Merl Saunders and Jerry Garcia, Bob Weir & Mickey Hart

Twilight ZoneCast: Robert Klein (Bill Lowery), Annie Potts (Cathy Lowery), Adam Raber (Donnie), Robert J. Downey (Mr. Miller), Brian Bradley (Hotshot), Bernard Behrens (Older Salesman), Anne Betancourt (Admitting Nurse), William Peugh (Man #1), Helene Udy (Woman #1), Mimi Neyer-Craven (Receptionist), Brynja Willis (Secretary), Russ Marin (Doctor), Alexandra Morgan (Nurse #1), Lee Arnone (Nurse #2), Raye Birk (Bearded Man), Joseph Whipp (Doug Seaver), Dwier Brown (Robbie)

Dreams For Sale: A woman’s idyllic dream of the perfect domestic lifestyle – a husband, two children, picnics in the park – is interrupted by the realization that she is not the person in her dreams…and she doesn’t want to be who she is in reality.

Twilight Zonewritten by Joe Cannon
directed by Tommy Lee Wallace
music by Merl Saunders and The Grateful Dead

Cast: Meg Foster (Jenny), David Hayward (Paul), Vincent Guastaferro (Dream Technician), Lee Anthony (Rescue Technician One), Kristi Purdy (Twin), Deanna Purdy (Twin)

Chameleon: A piece of equipment aboard a space shuttle mission exhibits a momentary blue glow in space, and then does so again when it is returned to Earth. The first NASA technician who picks it up vanishes in a flash of blue light, reappearing later while the equipment is studied in isolation. The crew chief who last handled it appears in the isolation chamber and demands to be set free, before changing his shape, repeating the plea for freedom and revealing that it is not of this world. When the scientists it perceives as captors refuse to release it, the being proves that it is capable of more forceful negotiations.

Twilight Zonewritten by James Crocker
directed by Wes Craven
music by Merl Saunders and The Grateful Dead

Cast: Terrance O’Quinn (Dr. Lockridge), Ben Piazza (Dr. Heilman), John Ashton (Brady Simmons), Steve Howell Bassett (Gerald Tyson), Iona Morris (Annie), Alma Martinez (Teresa Rojas), Chad Hayes (Peter Iverson), Lin Shaye (Woman in Tank)

Notes: Terrance O’Quinn is better known as Terry O’Quinn, future star of Lost and future guest star on Tales From The Crypt, Star Trek: The Next Generation, The X-Files, Earth 2, and Alias. If Bernard Behrens doesn’t look familiar, maybe he sounds familiar: he was the voice of Obi-Wan Kenobi in NPR’s 1980s radio adaptations of the Star Wars saga. Chameleon saw The Twilight Zone Twilight Zoneusing a special effects resource that simply didn’t exist during the first season of the original Twilight Zone: NASA footage of astronauts working in space. Since the footage includes flights of the Manned Maneuvering Unit (MMU), this narrows down the real missions in question to STS-41B, STS-41C, and STS-51A, all flown in 1984, the previous year. That’s the same year that Wes Craven’s horror megahit A Nightmare On Elm Street landed in theaters, making the director a superstar, and a major coup for the new Twilight Zone.

LogBook entry by Earl Green