The Twilight Zone (1985–1989)
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Wordplay/Dreams for Sale/Chameleon 

"Wordplay": A salesman at a medical firm finds everyone around him undergoing a linguistic transformation. "Dreams for Sale": A woman finds that her idyllic picnic may not be what it seems.... See full summary »


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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Bill Lowery (segment "Wordplay")
Cathy Lowery (segment "Wordplay")
Adam Raber ...
Donnie Lowery (segment "Wordplay")
Mr. Miller (segment "Wordplay") (as Robert J. Downey)
Brian Bradley ...
Hotshot (segment "Wordplay")
Older Salesman (segment "Wordplay")
Admitting Nurse (segment "Wordplay")
Man in Elevator (segment "Wordplay") (as Willard Peugh)
Woman #1 (segment "Wordplay")
Receptionist (segment "Wordplay") (as Mimi Meyer Craven)
Brynja McGrady ...
Secretary (segment "Wordplay") (as Brynja Willis)
Alexandra Morgan ...
Nurse #1 (segment "Wordplay")
Lee Arnone ...
Nurse #2 (segment "Wordplay")
Raye Birk ...
Bearded Man (segment "Wordplay")
Joseph Whipp ...
Doug Seaver (segment "Wordplay")


"Wordplay": A salesman at a medical firm finds everyone around him undergoing a linguistic transformation. "Dreams for Sale": A woman finds that her idyllic picnic may not be what it seems. "Chameleon": Something unusual returns with a Shuttle mission. Written by A. Nonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

4 October 1985 (UK)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


"Wordplay" has no opening narration. "Dreams for Sale" has no narration, at either the beginning or end. See more »


Jenny's dream badge identifying her as #17 is located on the left side of her chest until the end, where it switches to the middle. See more »


Cathy Lowery: How was your morning?
Bill Lowery: Pretty good, I guess. Except for one really strange thing that happened. I was leaving work, and this kid - Robbie? works in the mail room? - he stops me and he says...
Cathy Lowery: Excuse me, sweetie, I don't mean to interrupt you, but this is gonna be done pretty quick and I wanted you to look in on Donnie before we eat.
Bill Lowery: Is something the matter?
Cathy Lowery: His cold's getting worse. He's so pale and awfully congested and he didn't touch his dinosaur when I took it in to him.
Bill Lowery: [startled] What? What...
See more »


References The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) See more »

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User Reviews

Facing the language barrier/broken reality/NASA nastiness
25 March 2015 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

WORDPLAY, an early story from THE NEW TWILIGHT ZONE, deals with a classic sci-fi idea of altered reality. In it, a brash salesman finds the world turning to chaos when the everyday language used by people begins to change; what was once "lunch" is now "dinosaur", for example.

It's different, that's for sure, although the choice of horror director Wes Craven to helm the episode is an odd one. Still, this is a tale of intellectual horror and one that works well mainly because it feels original. Forget demons and monsters, this is about mental disintegration in a familiar world turned strange, and it's all the more effective for it. A shame the running time wasn't longer (this is a 15 minute one) to develop the idea further.

The second story in this episode is DREAMS FOR SALE, featuring the memorable Meg Foster (her of the icy blue eyes) playing an ordinary woman who's enjoying a romantic picnic with her partner. Unfortunately for her, reality begins to glitch and break down, so much so that the truth about her real situatin is revealed. This tale's very short but has neat shades of THE MATRIX and VIRTUAL NIGHTMARE, and I liked the execution.

The last segment of the episode is CHAMELEON and it's a lot more interesting, feeling like an episode of THE OUTER LIMITS instead of an episode of this disappointing show. The underrated Terry O'Quinn stars as a NASA scientist who uncovers an odd situation when an astronaut returns to Earth: the astronaut isn't human at all, instead some kind of alien shapeshifter who demands his release. The premise of this one is solid and the execution quite acceptable, with the emphasis on the atmosphere. A shame the ending is weak but hey, it could be (and often is) worse.

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