A World of Difference

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For the book by Harry Turtledove, see A World of Difference (novel).
"A World of Difference"
The Twilight Zone episode
Howard Duff Eileen Ryan Twilight Zone.JPG
Scene from A World of Difference
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 23
Directed by Ted Post
Written by Richard Matheson
Featured music Nathan Van Cleave
Production code 173-3624
Original air date March 11, 1960
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of season 1 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

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

Plot[edit]

Arthur Curtis is a businessman planning a vacation with his wife. One day, he finds that his phone no longer works, and discovers his office to be a set on a sound stage. He is told that Arthur Curtis is merely a role he is playing, and that his real name is Gerald Raigan, an alcoholic movie star caught in the middle of a brutal divorce from a hostile wife, his own alcoholism, and a declining career. He tries to locate Arthur Curtis's house, but cannot find any evidence of it, and Raigan's agent tells him that the movie, called The Private World of Arthur Curtis, is being cancelled because the filmmakers believe that Raigan has had a nervous breakdown. Raigan/Curtis rushes back to the set, which is being dismantled, and demands not to be left in the uncaring world of Gerald Raigan. Curtis reappears in his office as it was before, just as his wife arrives. Arthur Curtis' secretary Sally then gives Arthur his plane tickets.

The character of Sally is unique in this episode. In Gerry Raigan's world, the character of Sally is an actress playing Sally, the secretary of Arthur Curtis; however, in Arthur Curtis's world, she is Sally, the secretary of Arthur Curtis. Arthur Curtis notices that very fact as she hands him his tickets and gives her a questioning look as he walks out the door with his wife Marian into his private world probably not only puzzled but wondering if Sally will remain in his world or go back to Gerry Raigan's.

As he hears echoes of the studio sounds, he tells Marian that he doesn't want to lose her and that they should leave for their vacation immediately. Meanwhile, in the "real" 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 in the rubbish bin.

In the last scene, Curtis and his wife board a plane, which takes flight and fades away into the sky.

Episode notes[edit]

This episode shows similarities to John Cheever's short story The Swimmer as both main characters are delusional yet this Twilight Zone episode has a much happier ending.

This episode of the Twilight Zone is one of ultimate fantasy. It is an escape-type episode not dissimilar to A Stop at Willoughby. Also as an aside in Rod Serling's show the male character - in this case Arthur Curtis - is often depicted as 36 years old whereas the female lead is usually depicted in her mid to late 20's as Serling often gives the age of his main character in his opening narration.

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]