The Twilight Zone

Season 1 Episode 9

Perchance to Dream

Aired Unknown Nov 27, 1959 on CBS
out of 10
User Rating
201 votes

By Users

Episode Summary

A man is terrified of falling asleep for fear he might die.

Who was the Episode MVP ?

  • Woo-OO-woo!

    Great, engaging story. But that "spooky" music was just annoying. That must have been the cutting edge effect in the day.
  • Edward Hall is a man with a bad heart who is afraid that if he goes to sleep he will die.

    I love episodes like Perchance to Dream where you are kind of left wondering what the story was really about. What did the nightmare mean? Why was the girl in the nightmare trying to kill him? And isn't strange how the receptionist looks exactly like the dream girl, Maya? And at the end it turns out that he died as soon as he fell asleep on the psychiatrists couch. But that is what is so great about the Twilight Zone it makes you wonder even after an episode has ended what was really going on, and what the whole story was really about.moreless
  • Good idea, but poor execution.

    There's a lot to like in "Perchance to Dream." Richard Conte gives a great performance as a man scared out of his mind and the cinematography is fantastic, evoking a spooky, almost European influence on the dream scenes. But, unfortunately, the episode as a whole falls flat.

    Maybe it's because we're rushed into the premise - it's all explained in a first act packed with exposition. We hear about Conte's childhood discovery of his very over-active imagination, but it doesn't resonate. Good as he is, Conte is still filling in background, and it's not very exciting.

    The framing device of the shrink's office is interesting too, but it leads to a very static episode. And lastly, the "twist" is neat, but could have packed a much bigger punch if the set-up had been better planned.moreless
  • Scary and fun, with a trippy homage to the American carnival.

    Long before Freddy Krueger, The Twilight Zone brought us the beautiful, voluptuous, and deadly "Maya," a charactor in a man's dream determined to literally scare him to death. "Perchance to Dream" plays like a carnival dark ride, full of cheesey fun, nightmarish imagery, and low-rent thrills and chills. Richard Conte plays Edward Hall, a man terrified to fall asleep lest the exotically seductive Maya take him away in his dreams to a place that will cause his weak heart to fail. It's a story perfect for The Twilight Zone, helped by the series' low budget, black and white cinematography, and make-do special effects. It plays like German Expressionism done with a distinctly 1950's rural American vibe. Highly recommended!moreless
  • Dreamlike TV noir from the Zone..

    One of the Zone's best, a sterling example of what this series was all about. "Perchance to Dream" plays like a little noir fable for television, pushed just over the edge of dreaming into the realm of nightmare and the supernatural. The minimalist sets are wonderfully claustrophobic, and that cat-eyed stripper Maya is one sexy tour guide to hell, laughing like a demon as she urges you to JUMP! Probably this episode has a special resonance for me because I used to work in Studio City, and the tricky switchback drive back to L.A. over Laurel Canyon every night was just as hairy as Richard Conte's character describes.moreless
John Larch

John Larch

Dr. Rathmann

Guest Star

Suzanne Lloyd

Suzanne Lloyd

Maya/Miss Thomas

Guest Star

Eddie Marr

Eddie Marr

Girlie Barker (uncredited)

Guest Star

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions


  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (2)

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: They say a dream takes only a second or so, and yet in that second a man can live a lifetime. He can suffer and die, and who's to say which is the greater reality: the one we know or the one in dreams, between heaven, the sky, the earth in the Twilight Zone.

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: Twelve o'clock noon. An ordinary scene, an ordinary city. Lunchtime for thousands of ordinary people. To most of them, this hour will be a rest, a pleasant break in the day's routine. To most, but not all. To Edward Hall, time is an enemy, and the hour to come is a matter of life and death.

  • NOTES (3)


    • The title is taken from Shakespeare's Hamlet. It is part of the "To Be or Not to Be" soliloquy wherein Hamlet ponders the nature of life, death and his very existence. The full line reads:
      "To die, - To sleep, -
      To sleep ! Perchance to dream: - ay, there's the rub;
      For in that sleep of death what dreams may come,
      When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
      Must give us pause: there's the respect
      That makes calamity of so long life;"