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A man receives cryptic messages and is offered the opportunity to buy a robot replica of himself to take his place while he lives the life he always dreamed.
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Computer salesman John Braling settles down to breakfast with his talkative yet shallow wife Marjorie. He secretly takes antacid and leaves for work as she nags him about everything out of concern for his health. Braling arrives at work and his secretary informs him that a man has been calling but refuses to leave his name. He files the number with a pile of others and turns on his computer, only to receive a transmission from a company calling itself Marionettes, Inc. It has a complete file on Braling and prints out its logo on his printer, including its motto, "We Shadow Forth."..Read the full recap
The series began on HBO with this episode.
Story based on "Marionette's, Inc.", first published in Startling Stories (March 1949). The story also appears in the book, The Illustrated Man (1951).
Host: It's a new age. Even the coffee machines are talking to us. Maybe the next thing will be they'll tell us not only what to drink, but when to drink. But what if they're wrong. I wonder if old Geppetto had any idea of what notions he let loose on the world.
Changes from the short story:
* The character of Fantoccini, and the company motto, "We Shadow Forth," are taken from Bradbury's "I Sing the Body Electric."
* The first half of the episode is new material: the short story begins with Braling already having purchased his duplicate.