The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
24 user 4 critic

Perchance to Dream 

A fatigued man fights to stay awake as he explains to a psychiatrist that if he falls asleep it will trigger a nightmare, which will cause his heart to fail.



Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
Edward Hall
Dr. Eliot Rathmann
Maya / Miss Thomas


Edward Hall visits the psychiatrist Dr. Eliot Rathmann that was recommended by his doctor and he explains that he is extremely tired since he has not slept for many days. Edward believes that if he sleeps, he will die and explains that he is dreaming in "chapters" with the evil Maya, the Cat Woman that will kill him in his next nightmare. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

27 November 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title of the episode, and the Charles Beaumont-written short story that inspired it, is taken from William Shakespeare's Hamlet's "to be or not to be" speech. "To sleep, perchance to dream-ay, there's the rub." The very next line, "For in that sleep of death what dreams may come," was used by fellow The Twilight Zone (1959) writer Richard Matheson as the title of his novel/movie What Dreams May Come (1998). See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Closing Narration] They say a dream takes only a second or so, and yet in that second a man can live a lifetime. He can suffer and die, and who's to say which is the greater reality: the one we know or the one in dreams, between heaven, the sky, the earth - in the Twilight Zone.
See more »


Referenced in Atop the Fourth Wall: Twilight Zone #9 (2011) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Waking Nightmare
25 October 2014 | by (North America) – See all my reviews

Richard Conte stars as tired and sleepless Edward Hall, who visits a psychiatrist(played by John Larch) out of desperation, and tells him his sad tale of childhood sickness, close calls with death, and recent insomnia, where he is both attracted to but terrified of an alluring figure of death in a carnival cat-lady(played memorably by Suzanne Lloyd) who beckons him to join her on just one more ride, which Hall is certain will lead to his death, since he has a bad heart, and another shock may kill him... Seriously underrated episode creates a most effective mood of menace and dread, with an appropriately weary performance by Conte and a fine score, all leading to an effective twist ending.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

Contribute to This Page

Create a character page for: