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The Ray Bradbury Theater: Let's Play Poison

A teacher starts becoming highly worried that his students may be attempting to kill him.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 5x19
Airdate: Friday February 14th, 1992

Director: Bruce Pittman
Story: Ray Bradbury
Teleplay: Ray Bradbury

Guest Stars
Richard BenjaminRichard Benjamin
As Mr. Howard

Co-Guest Stars
Shane MeierShane Meier
As Charles Scott Jones
Adam DergesAdam Derges
As Michael McDonald
Warren GravesWarren Graves
As Donald Bowers
Main Cast


At an elementary school, teacher Mr. Howard turns from the window to find a student working equations on the board. The student, Michael McDonald, explains that whoever worked the equations on the board got it wrong, and the principal told him to come to Howard's class. As some children run by, yelling, Howard snaps at them and tells them to stop behaving like animals. Michael compliments Mr. Howard on his cuff protectors and finishes the equations, and Mr. Howard says that they'll be fine together...

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Episode Notes
Based on the short story "Let's Play 'Poison'" by Ray Bradbury. The story was first published in Weird Tales (November 1946).

Episode Quotes
Mr. Howard: You are not human. You are, shall we say, invaders from another dimension. And as such, you are the enemy. And it is my task to reform your uncivilized little minds. You may think I do not understand you. You are wrong. I understand you all too well. I know that children are as far removed from adults, as monkeys are from men. And it is my duty to forge the missing link. That link is, of course, made of iron. It is called discipline. My thankless task is to train you, even though we look at each other from the opposite sides of the bars of the cage. Sometime I believe that you are little monsters, thrust out of Hell because the Devil can no longer cope with you. You are another species entirely. Your motives, your beliefs, your disobediences. But remember, you have no rights and no privileges and no choice.

Changes from the short story:

* In the episode, the relationship between Michael and Mr. Harmon is more developed, adding more tragedy to Harmon's breakdown and subsequent tough attitude.
* In the episode, Michael dies when he is accidentally hit by a car while chasing after a bully. In the story, the students shove him off a three-story stairwell.
* in the episode, Principal Corliss is introduced as a character, both to bring Harmon back to the school and at the end to wonder where Harmon is. This saves on budget, since it eliminates a speaking role (a passing mother tries to figure out where Harmon is at the end of the story).

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRay Bradbury
Executive ProducerRay Bradbury  |  Larry Wilcox  |  Peter Sussman
Supervising ProducerTom Cotter (1)  |  Mary Kahn
ProducerRandy Bradshaw  |  Doug Macleod (3)  |  Tom Cox  |  Don Reynolds
Production DesignerJohn Blackie
EditorDoug Forbes
CastingLeslie Swan  |  Susan Forrest  |  Darlene Kaplan
First Assistant DirectorJim Long
Second Assistant DirectorColin Leadlay
Music SupervisorDavid Greene (4)
Costume DesignerWendy Partridge
Make-upGail Kennedy
Key GripOstap Toroshenko  |  William Mills
Camera OperatorJohn Holbrook
Set DecoratorLouise Middleton
Location ManagerMurray Ord
Transportation CoordinatorColeman Robinson
Property MasterDoug Blackie
Construction CoordinatorBill Rayment
Production AssistantBrenda McCormick
Production CoordinatorNancy Gullett
Post Production SupervisorJohn Harcourt
GafferBruno Bittner
Director of PhotographyJohn Spooner
Art DirectorScott Dobbie
Post Production CoordinatorSteve D'Onofrio  |  Catherine Hall (2)  |  Paul Winestock
Production ManagementLes Kimber
Sound EditorDavid Evans (4)  |  Jane Tattersall
Dubbing MixerJessica Casavant  |  Austin Grimaldi
Sound RecordistGarrell Clark
Third Assistant DirectorEhud Ellman
Boom OperatorPeter Wugalter
Production AccountantMarilyn Moyer
Transportation CaptainDennis Pugh
Set DresserJim Murray  |  Avery King
Wardrobe AssistantDiane Routly
Assistant Production ManagerDavid McLeod (2)
Executive In Charge Of ProductionNicholas Wry
Production ExecutiveRick Weaver (2)
Assistant To The Executive ProducerDel Mehes
ContinuityLeslie Druker
Focus PullerJim Stacey
Assistant Sound EditorJudy Kemeny  |  Richard Harkness
HairRosemary Diekmann
Best Boy GripGerry Mackie
ComposerChris Dedrick
Still PhotographerDouglas Curran
Assistant Set DecoratorAllan Marx
Best Boy ElectricianMartin Wilde
WranglerCaroline Girdlestone
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