The Twilight Zone

Season 2 Episode 1

The Once and Future King

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Sep 27, 1986 on CBS

Episode Recap

Gary is an Elvis impersonator whose resemblance to the King is uncanny. Gary is stuck doing small venues and is depressed over his lack of success when his manager, Sandra, notifies him that she has signed him up to do a series of shows in Las Vegas. Gary instantly rejects the idea, saying Vegas was one of the reasons why Elvis killed himself. Sandra tells Gary the story of how she met and received a scarf from Elvis when she was just 18 years ago, which infuriates Gary, who storms out of the room.

As Gary is driving down the road, a drunk driver forces him to swerve his vehicle violently and makes him roll over. Hours later, Gary wakes up only to find out that his car is upside down, although he has not been hurt at all. Walking down the road looking for a ride to the closest town, a driver in a 50s truck offers him a ride. The driver is Elvis Presley himself, which Gary can't understand until he reads in the newspaper the date: July 3, 1954: . one day before Elvis recorded his first album ever. Gary is now sure that he has traveled back in time. Once they arrive in Memphis, Elvis' boss mistakenly thinks that Gary is Elvis' brother. Elvis starts to think the same and Gary sees this as an opportunity to be close to the King. They plan to meet later that day to practice some songs for the next day's recording session.

Later that day at a warehouse where Gary and Elvis are practicing, the differences between the two start to arise: Elvis wants to perform slow-moving ballads while Gary wants him to sing rock n' roll. A fight results from all this and Elvis ends up impaled on a broken guitar neck. Saddened by the whole situation Gary digs a hole out in the fields to bury his idol and suddenly has a great idea: He will impersonate Elvis and nobody will notice it. The next day he goes to the studio and starts recording as planned. He plays "That's All Right Mamma" and the rest is history.

Years later in the 70s, we find Gary-as-Elvis in a Vegas hotel room talking to a young fan whom he gives a scarf just before going to perform. The girl is Sandra, his manager in the future. In the end, Gary-as-Elvis sits down and looks sorrowful while "Are You Lonesome Tonight" plays in the background.