Today, March 11th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1960 premiere of "A World of Difference."
In this typically unsettling Richard Matheson episode, Howard Duff portrays seemingly average real estate man Arthur Curtis, who arrives at work, says hello to his secretary (Gail Kobe), gets on the phone... and suddenly feels like he's being watched. He is – by an entire filmmaking crew and an impatient director (Frank Maxwell).
It seems that Arthur isn't an average real estate man; he's not even Arthur Curtis. He’s actor Jerry Raigan, a working thespian with an agent (David White), an alimony-demanding ex-wife (Eileen Ryan) and a starring role in a new movie. Jerry really believes that he's Arthur Curtis the real estate man, but he can't convince anyone else.
Howard Duff was another polished American actor with tremendous charisma. He had once been married to fellow TZ vet Ida Lupino and the two starred in their own television series, Mr. Adams and Eve. I remember him in the terrific 1960s crime series Felony Squad and in one of my favorite '40s prison movies, Brute Force, in which he played Soldier, a convict/vet who bunks with Burt Lancaster, Whit Bissell and fellow TZ vet John Hoyt.
Meanwhile, Gail Kobe would return opposite Don Gordon in "The Self-Improvement of Salvadore Ross" and David White, of future Bewitched fame, would return in as the kindly dad in "I Sing the Body Electric."
So let's hoist one to pure Richard Matheson brilliance, an always watchable Howard Duff, and the ultimate world of difference: The Twilight Zone.