The Twilight Zone (1985–1989)
6 user

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:

28 June 1986 (Netherlands) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:




Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In "The Burning Man," the lake that Aunt Neva and Doug swim in is the same lake that was previously seen in the Episode 2 segment, "Dreams for Sale." See more »


Narrator: [closing narration for "Dealer's Choice] There's an old saying, oft told, but seldom heeded: never deal with the devil. But if by chance you must, it's nice to know he can be a good sport. Just a friendly game of cards among a friendly group of guys, who have just come back... from the Twilight Zone.
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References Tramlijn Begeerte (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Go back in time to write literature/ the devil returns as a young boy/ and a game of red hot poker with the devil!
16 November 2007 | by blanbrnSee all my reviews

Episode eight of "The Twilight Zone" of the 1985-86 season was overall okay, yet the segments had a devilish and depressed economic theme I will give my take on each segment.

First segment was "Act Break" that stared virtually unknowns James Coco and Bob Dishy as in this twisted tale of a struggling playwright who can't even put food on the table or pay his rent all of a sudden has an unexpected twist happen to him. Upon trying to write a play and finish it when his sidekick literally kicks the bucket he disappears back into the old ancient days of William Shakespeare! Now the struggles are over he gets to write for William the Great! Overall okay yet a mediocre episode.

Second segment "The Burning Man" is a story of reincarnation that sends a strange tale. During the 30's in a summer heat wave a woman and her nephew encounter a strange man who tells of the past, future, and fire. The episode ends strange when he returns in the form of a little boy. Overall weak entry from Bradbury.

Last segment "Dealer's Choice" has star power but falls short due to it's weak story. Directed by Wes Craven("A Nightmare on Elm Street") has a sit down of four New Jersey friends who participate in a poker game in the recession filled mid 80's. Only they have a stand-in player who turns out to be most unusual the old horn man himself(the devil). The segment features good acting from future superstar and Oscar winner Morgan Freeman and as always a direct and bold performance from veteran Emmet Walsh. The friendly game is cunning and it turns out okay, yet the episode lacked a lot of excitement or suspense. Really a letdown episode.

This episode was okay, yet it falls short due to weak stories and plots the series had much better to offer than this.

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