The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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Shadow Play 

Adam Grant is trapped in a recurring nightmare, in which he is sentenced to death by execution. He tries to convince the people around him that they are imaginary and that they will cease to exist if the execution is carried out.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Wright King ...
Paul Carson
William Edmonson ...
Anne Barton ...
Tommy Nello ...
Mack Williams ...


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. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

5 May 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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. See more »


Adam Grant: I'll tell you what it's like. You walk out of your cell, pass two gray doors. Seventy-eight steps to the final door, it's painted green. There's a guard that opens the door for you, and you go into a room. It's tan, it's all tan. There's nothing in it except one chair. It's like a chair you used to sit in when you were a kid. It's hard and solid. They strap your arms and legs, then they attach the electrodes. It's funny, they always feel cold to the touch at first. Then they drop the mask. It's...
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Referenced in The X-Files: Monday (1999) See more »


Red River Valley
Traditional folk song
[Played on harmonica by inmate Coley]
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User Reviews

Solipsism meets The Angels With Dirty Faces
18 December 2013 | by (Ireland) – See all my reviews

Adam Grant (Dennis Weaver) is sentenced to death by electric chair in a recurring dream in which he tells all around him that they will die when he dies. Solipsism is an interesting concept (that all the world's back story and other people's consciousness are only plot devices for oneself, the existential being) and it gets death-row-as-in-old-movie treatment here. Probably Adam Grant should never have watched James Cagney in 'The Angels With Dirty Faces' or Susan Hayward in 'I Want To Live', as he is aware of the movie-like inaccurate details of the whole procedure. There's a great moment when the D.A (Harry Townes from 'The Four of Us Are Dying', season one) and a reporter acknowledge that it's strange that movies are 'technically accurate' in their world. Grant knows that his recurring nightmare is 'unreal' but it happens again and again.

An interesting episode well played by all. Dennis Weaver is best remembered now for starring in Steven Spielberg's 'Duel' and he did a DVD commentary for 'Shadow Play' in which he said he believed in reincarnation.

Don't have nightmares! Watch something pleasant after this.

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