The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 8

Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice (15 Nov. 1985)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery
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Ratings: 6.6/10 from 126 users  
Reviews: 2 user

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 »


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Title: Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice (15 Nov 1985)

Act Break/The Burning Man/Dealer's Choice (15 Nov 1985) on IMDb 6.6/10

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Episode credited cast:
Maury Winkler (segment "Act Break")
Landlord (segment "Act Break")
Aunt Neva (segment "The Burning Man")
Little Boy (segment "The Burning Man")
Doug (segment "The Burning Man") (as André Gower)
Man (segment "The Burning Man")
Nick (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Peter (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Jake (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Marty (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Tony (segment "Dealer's Choice")
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
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:

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




Release Date:

15 November 1985 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


In "Dealer's Choice", Jake remarks that he thinks the Devil lives in New Jersey. In, "I of Newton" the Devil appears in human form with a T-shirt that temporarily says in one scene, "Hell is a city much like Newark". See more »


Tony: [after learning that the Devil was in disguise] Ain't nothing about the money, it's the principle of the thing, you know?
Peter: Yeah, yeah that's right. You know, a guy wants to sit in and play poker with some guys, he should come up and say, you know, 'Hello, hi, I'm the Prince of Darkness. Can I sit in for a few hands.'
See more »


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 (United Kingdom) – See 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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