The Twilight Zone (80's version) Season 1 Episode 1

When CBS brought back The Twilight Zone Rod Serling had been gone for 10 years. The movie which recreated several episodes of the original show had come out, but it was only moderately successful. Still, CBS decided to move forward (like they would two more times in the future). These first season episodes were narrated by Charles Aidman, doing his very best Rod Serling impersonation. The first episode has two stories, Shatterday and A Little Peace and Quiet.

Shatterday stars a young Bruce Willis. He is sitting in a bar waiting for his girlfriend. She is running late so he asks for the phone to give her a call. He accidentally calls his own number and is shocked when the phone is answered. The voice on the other end sounds just like his, and claims to be him. He thinks one of his friends is pranking him, but amazingly quickly comes to the conclusion that something strange is going on. The doppleganger tells him that he is taking over his life. He is moving his mother in with him, has patched up the relationship with his girlfriend, and is making amends for all the bad things he has done. The original tries his best to reclaim his life, but it appears the doppleganger is dug in too deeply. The original gives in surprisingly quickly (they did only have 20 or so minutes to tell their story I guess) and resigns himself to fading away to let the better version of himself take over his life.

A Little Peace and Quiet is about a housewife who has the loudest, most obnoxious family in the world. Her kids are noisy and always causing trouble. Her husband is so self involved that he won't help her out around the house. As she is digging in her flower bed she finds a box with a necklace in it. She discovers that if she yells shut up time freezes. Just like Bruce Willis, she comes to accept this amazingly quickly. When she goes to the store, we learn that everyone in her town is just as noisy and obnoxious as her husband and kids. She uses the necklace to get out of the store without having to deal with the busy bodies and inconsiderate jerks. She uses it again a bit later when two pushy political activists come to her door and begin to berate her (with some of the most wooden acting I've ever seen) for not being involved enough. This being 1985 and the middle of the cold war, nuclear war breaks out. The housewife uses her necklace to stop time before the missiles hit. After freezing everything she wanders out of her house and into the frozen chaos of the street. Looking up she sees the missile hanging in the air and realizes that she cannot unfreeze time without killing everyone she knows and loves.

Both segments of this episode were directed by Wes Craven (of A Nightmare on Elm Street and Scream fame). The first segment was written by Harlan Ellison and the second by James Crocker.  The theme music for this version of the show was done by The Grateful Dead (far out man!). No one from the second segment would reach the same height of fame as Bruce Willis, but Joshua Harris, who played the young boy, would be a regular on Dallas. Coincidentally, his first episode of Dallas aired on the same night as this, in fact directly after it, on the same station.  A fun detail, after the housewife freezes time to stop the bomb and is walking through the street, she passes a movie theater which is showing Dr. Strangelove and Fail Safe. 


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