The Chaser (The Twilight Zone)
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|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 1
|Directed by||Douglas Heyes|
|Written by||Teleplay by
Robert Presnell, Jr.
Based on the story "The Chaser" by
John Henry Collier
|Original air date||May 13, 1960|
Roger Shackleforth is desperately in love with Leila. He visits an old professor named Daemon for advice on how to win her. The professor, after some resistance, sells Roger a love potion for $1.00. After its administration, Leila falls madly in love with Roger and marries him, but soon her love becomes stifling. Roger returns to the professor to buy his "glove cleaner" (really a poison), for $1,000 which is all Roger has in the world. Daemon cautions Roger that the "cleaner," which is odorless, tasteless, and completely "undetectable," can only be used once before the user loses his nerve. After Roger leaves, the professor muses, "First, the 'stimulant'. . . and then the 'chaser.'"
When he gets home, Roger prepares a glass of champagne with the new potion. Just as he is about to give Leila the glass, she reveals that she is pregnant, which shocks Roger into dropping the glass. He tells himself he could not have gone through with it, anyway. On his terrace, Daemon is relaxing with a cigar, puffing smoke rings that turn into little hearts before the professor disappears.
This episode was adapted by Robert Presnell, Jr. from the short story "The Chaser" by John Collier. The script was originally written for and produced live on television on The Billy Rose Television Theatre in 1951.
In Serling: The Rise and Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man, the episode's director Douglas Heyes said, "That was one of the great things about The Twilight Zone. I had total freedom. Sometimes I would think of an idea that make the episode more Twilight Zone-y [but] that would require some expense. I remember one episode, 'The Chaser', in which I devised a huge bookcase that must have doubled the budget, but [Serling and producer Buck Houghton] never blinked an eye. They just said, 'Okay, great!' I didn't have to argue with anybody over the money—they'd argue about the money and let me have it! I knew that they were having problems with Jim Aubrey, but they kept them away from me. My responsibility was to get the job done."
The short story also was adapted in 1951 for Tales from the Crypt, where it was retitled "Loved to Death!!" This was adapted in 1991 as "Loved to Death" (no exclamation points) for the HBO adult-horror anthology series Tales from the Crypt. The episode starred Andrew McCarthy and Mariel Hemingway.
This is one of several episodes from Season One with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for Season Two. This was done during the summer of 1961, so that the repeats of season one episodes would fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season. As originally aired, this was the final episode of the series with the original UPA "pit and summit" title sequence.
- Sander, Gordon F.:Serling: The Rise And Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
- 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