The Twilight Zone (1985–1989)
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Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice 

In ACT BREAK, selfish second-rate playwright Maury Winkler wishes for a better writing partner than his ailing colleague Harry. THE BURNING MAN appears on the road and tries to hitch a ride... See full summary »


Rod Serling (created by), Haskell Barkin | 4 more credits »


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Episode credited cast:
James Coco ... Maury Winkler (segment "Act Break")
Bob Dishy ... Harry / William Shakespeare (segment "Act Break")
Avery Schreiber ... Landlord (segment "Act Break")
Piper Laurie ... Aunt Neva (segment "The Burning Man")
Danny Cooksey ... Little Boy (segment "The Burning Man")
Andre Gower ... Doug (segment "The Burning Man") (as André Gower)
Roberts Blossom ... Man (segment "The Burning Man")
Dan Hedaya ... Nick (segment "Dealer's Choice")
M. Emmet Walsh ... Peter (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Garrett Morris ... Jake (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Barney Martin ... Marty (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Morgan Freeman ... Tony (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Charles Aidman ... Narrator (segments Act Break and Dealer's choice) (voice)


In ACT BREAK, selfish second-rate playwright Maury Winkler wishes for a better writing partner than his ailing colleague Harry. THE BURNING MAN appears on the road and tries to hitch a ride during a heat wave in the 1930's. In DEALER'S CHOICE, four poker pals sit down for a game with a mysterious stand-in named Nick. Written by Anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

poker | heat | 1930s | playwright | wish | See All (38) »





Release Date:

15 November 1985 (UK) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"The Burning Man" takes place in 1936. See more »


Narrator: [opening narration for "Act Break"] Maury Winkler, struggling playwright and occasional bill payer. Maury knows that all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players. What Maury doesn't know is he is about to take center stage in an off-Broadway production in the Twilight Zone.
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References A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Struggling scriptwriters and complete boredom/star studded poker game
3 April 2015 | by Leofwine_dracaSee all my reviews

ACT BREAK is the first segment of episode 8 of series 1 of THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE and it's real bore and a chore to sit through like most of these episodes. The jokey, homemade-looking story sees a scriptwriter struggling to make ends meet; when his partner dies he finds new inspiration in the past.

It's the dumbest story ever, and the twist is just ridiculous; it's the kind of thing I would have thrown in the bin had the script landed on my desk and I can't help but wonder why anybody would bother producing it in the first place. Needless to say that the unknown cast members are barely effective and there's nothing here that could favourably be called TWILIGHT ZONE style: no atmosphere, no suspense, nothing.

The last segment is a huge improvement. DEALER'S CHOICE tells an entire story based around a game of poker. The star-studded cast includes such luminaries as M. Emmet Walsh, Morgan Freeman, and Dan Hedaya (COMMANDO). It involves a group of men who discover they're playing a game with Satan himself with life or death stakes. It's not a perfect story but it's a huge improvement on the usual quality level of this series.

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