The Four of Us Are Dying

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"The Four of Us Are Dying"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 13
Directed by John Brahm
Written by Rod Serling, adapted from "All of Us Are Dying", an unpublished story by George Clayton Johnson
Featured music Jerry Goldsmith
Production code 173-3618
Original air date January 1, 1960
Guest actors

Harry Townes: Arch Hammer
Phillip Pine: Virgil Sterig
Don Gordon: Andy Marshak
Ross Martin: Johnny Foster
Peter Brocco: Mr. Marshak
Beverly Garland: Maggie
Milton Frome: Detective

Episode chronology
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"What You Need"
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"Third from the Sun"
List of The Twilight Zone episodes

"The Four of Us Are Dying" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on CBS on January 1, 1960.

Plot summary[edit]

Arch Hammer (Harry Townes) is a con man who can change his face to make it look like anyone he chooses. He walks into a nightclub where he impersonates deceased trumpeter Johnny Foster (Ross Martin) in order to steal Foster's girlfriend Maggie, a sultry singer. Hammer then pays a visit to Mr. Penell (Bernard Fein), impersonating murdered gangster Virgil Sterig (Phillip Pine) in order to extort money out of Penell, the man who had Sterig killed. Penell sends his men after Hammer.

Trying to escape down an alley, Hammer changes his face to one he sees on a poster of boxer Andy Marshak (Don Gordon). But, thinking he is in the clear, at a street newsstand he runs into Marshak's father (Peter Brocco), who mistakes him for the son who broke his mother's heart and ruined a young girl's life. Hammer pushes the old man out of the way and returns to his hotel room. A detective comes to the hotel to pick him up for questioning at the police station. In order to escape from the policeman in a revolving door, Hammer assumes Marshak's appearance again.

But on the street he again bumps into Marshak's father, who pulls a gun on him. Hammer tries to show the old man he is not who he thinks he is, but before he can concentrate and change, the old man shoots him. As Hammer lies dying, his face shifts from one person to another until he dies wearing his own face.

Production[edit]

"After the first half-dozen stories had been written, part of the hustle was getting an agent. Through those years I found several who would let me use their names, though few cared to sign a contract with me. One of these men, Jay Richards - at the time head of the television department of the Famous Artists Agency, long since absorbed by I.F.A. (International Famous Agency), and since embedded in I.C.M. (International Creative Management), which represents me now in television and movies - agreed to read something. I showed Jay 'All of Us Are Dying.' After reading it, he crossed out the title with a ballpoint pen and wrote in 'Rubberface!' Then he sent it to Rod Serling, who had a new series that season called The Twilight Zone." — George Clayton Johnson, writing in the August 1981 issue of The Twilight Zone Magazine

In 2005, The Four of Us Are Dying was produced for the stage by 4 Letter Entertainment.

In popular culture[edit]

"The Four of Us Are Dying" was the title of an instrumental on the 2008 album The Slip by industrial rock artist Nine Inch Nails.

"The Five of Us Are Dying" was an early working title for My Chemical Romance's Welcome to the Black Parade.

Further reading[edit]

  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links[edit]