The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
21 user 4 critic

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.


John Brahm


Charles Beaumont, Rod Serling (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Dennis Weaver ... Adam Grant
Harry Townes ... Henry Ritchie
Wright King ... Paul Carson
William Edmonson ... Jiggs
Anne Barton Anne Barton ... Carol Ritchie
Bernie Hamilton ... Coley
Thomas Nello Thomas Nello ... Phillips
Mack Williams Mack Williams ... Father Beaman
Gene Roth ... Judge


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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-PG | See all certifications »






Release Date:

5 May 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (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

Dreams and Nightmares
27 October 2014 | by AaronCapenBannerSee all my reviews

Dennis Weaver plays convicted murderer Adam Grant, awaiting execution but desperately tries to convince anyone(especially the District Attorney, played by Harry Townes) that in fact they are all a part of a collective dream he is having, and has in fact had countless times, and will quite possibly continue to have forever. Initially skeptical, a concerned newspaperman convinces the D.A. to postpone the execution, but it may indeed already be too late... Brilliant episode with a superb performance by Dennis Weaver perfectly encapsulates everything the series is about, in chilling, unforgettable fashion, and a stunner of an ending, with Rod Serling's narration being among the best.

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