Thursday, May 13, 2010

TZ Promo: "The Chaser" (5/13/1960)

Meet Roger Shackleforth.  A nice guy (if a bit nebbishy), who finds himself hopelessly in love with Leila, a top-shelf beauty who rebuffs him at every turn.  In real life, he'd eventually get the hint and find someone in his own league.  But this isn't real life.  It's The Twilight Zone.  And here, even the lovelorn can find help.

Help in this case comes in the form of Professor A. Daemon, who sells him a sure-fire love potion for a measly buck.  Will the potion work?  And if it does, will the hapless Roger be happy with the results?

"The Chaser," scripted by Robert Presnell Jr. from a short story by John Henry Collier, is essentially a romantic comedy (even in its darker moments, it never feels less than buoyant).  It's a light, simple story with a twist, something of a trifle when lined up next to Zone heavyweights like "Eye of the Beholder" or "The Obsolete Man," but it works well enough.  The direction by Douglas Heyes isn't quite as elaborate as some of his other efforts, save for the massive bookcase that occupies the Professor's office.  Heyes speculated some years later that this set alone probably doubled the episode's budget.

"The Chaser" celebrates its 50th anniversary tonight.  Maybe I'll open a bottle of champagne in its honor....

Next week:  Jack Klugman stars in his first Twilight Zone episode (he'll do a total of four over the show's five year run).  He's a down and out trumpet player who's at the end of his rope.  It's an amazing episode, not to be missed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

John Collier's "The Chaser" is a classic and often anthologized. The short story literally hits you over the head with the plot twist and (if you're a bit naive about drinking terms) the ending _still_ comes as a surprise.

A similar story is Al Nussbaum's "An Easy Score," where a pair of muggers choose the worst possible old lady to knock over.
(Anthologized in _100 Malicious Little Mysteries_.)