Act Break

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"Act Break"
The Twilight Zone episode
Act Break.jpg
Scene from "Act Break"
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 8a
Directed by Ted Flicker
Written by Haskell Barkin
Production code 9
Original air date November 15, 1985
Guest appearance(s)

James Coco: Maury Winkler
Bob Dishy: Harry/Shakespeare
Avery Schreiber: Landlord

Episode chronology
← Previous
"Paladin of the Lost Hour"
Next →
"The Burning Man"
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

"Act Break" is the first segment of the eighth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]


Maury is a playwright who is desperately behind in his rent. After incessant hounding by his landlord, and arguing over their latest play, his partner Harry dies of a heart attack. Harry, in his last moments, hands Maury an ancient relic and explains to Maury that the bearer of this relic grants the individual one wish and one wish only. He continues on to tell Maury that he had already given up his wish and needs Maury to hold the relic and use his wish to heal him. After pondering for a moment, as he watches his partner fade, Maury apologizes to Harry and tells him that the wish should be used for something a whole lot more. Harry dies and Maury then wishes he could have the greatest playwright ever as his partner.

There is a flash and Maury is dressed in Elizabethan-era clothing; he's gone back in time. He sees a man speaking to himself as he paces back and forth. Maury recognizes the man as William Shakespeare himself. Realizing that he had made a serious miscalculation in his wish, he informs Shakespeare that he cannot work with him and that he does not belong there. However, before he could think of a way to return to his own time period, Maury also notices that the relic is no longer in his possession and sees that William has it in his hand. Maury cautiously asks for the relic back and, clenching it in his hand in a gesture of thought, William says to Maury, "I wish for you to work with me."

Suddenly Maury is filled with thoughts of all the plays that William has written and filled with ideas for possible other plays. Finally realizing that his fate has been set, he succumbs and sits at a desk and begins to write, knowing he has truly become a "ghost writer".


The premise of this episode is similar to "The Bard", in the original series of The Twilight Zone. Shakespeare appeared in that episode, but the situation there brought him into the present.

See also[edit]

External links[edit]