A World of Difference

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"A World of Difference"
The Twilight Zone episode
Howard Duff Eileen Ryan Twilight Zone.JPG
Howard Duff and Eileen Ryan
in "A World of Difference"
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 23
Directed byTed Post
Written byRichard Matheson
Featured musicVan Cleave
Production code173-3624
Original air dateMarch 11, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street"
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"Long Live Walter Jameson"
The Twilight Zone (1959 TV series) (season 1)
List of The Twilight Zone episodes

"A World of Difference" is episode 23 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

You're looking at a tableau of reality, things of substance, of physical material: a desk, a window, a light. These things exist and have dimension. Now this is Arthur Curtis, age thirty-six, who also is real. He has flesh and blood, muscle and mind. But in just a moment we will see how thin a line separates that which we assume to be real with that manufactured inside of a mind.


Arthur Curtis is a businessman planning a vacation to San Francisco with his wife Marian. After arriving at his office and talking with his secretary Sally, after finding that his telephone is not functional and hearing someone yell "cut," he discovers his office to be a movie set on a sound stage. He is told that Arthur Curtis is merely a role he is playing, and that his real identity is Gerald Raigan, a movie star who is caught in the middle of a brutal divorce from a hostile wife Nora, his own alcoholism, and a declining career. He leaves the studio with Nora, as she wants money.

He tries in vain to locate Arthur Curtis's house, and mistakes a little girl for his daughter, scaring her. Nora drives him to their actual home. Inside, he meets his (Raigan's) agent, who tells him that if he fails to continue work that day, he will drop him as a client. Curtis still protests that he is not Raigan, and tries to call his workplace, but the operator cannot find any listing of it. His agent believes that he is having a nervous breakdown, and shows him the shooting script of a movie called The Private World of Arthur Curtis. He then tells him that the movie is being canceled due to his outburst in the studio.

Raigan/Curtis rushes back to the set, which is being dismantled, and pleads not to be left in the uncaring world of Gerald Raigan. Curtis reappears in his office as it was before, just as Marian arrives. Sally gives Arthur his plane tickets. As Arthur hears echoes of the studio sounds, he tells Marian that he never wants to lose her, and that they should leave for their vacation immediately. Meanwhile, in the other world, Raigan's agent shows up on the set to find that Raigan has vanished. As the set is being dismantled, a teaser shows the "Arthur Curtis" script left on a table, waiting to be thrown into the rubbish bin. In the last scene, Curtis and Marian board a plane, which takes flight and fades away into the sky.

Closing narration[edit]

The modus operandi for the departure from life is usually a pine box of such and such dimensions, and this is the ultimate in reality. But there are other ways for a man to exit from life. Take the case of Arthur Curtis, age thirty-six. His departure was along a highway with an exit sign that reads, "This Way To Escape". Arthur Curtis, en route to the Twilight Zone.

Further reading[edit]

  • 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]