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'Dead Run'
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no.Season 1
Episode 19b
Directed byPaul Tucker
Written byGreg Bear
Alan Brennert
Original air dateFebruary 21, 1986
Guest appearance(s)

Steve Railsback: Johnny Davis
Barry Corbin: Pete
Ebbe Roe Smith: Gary Frick
John de Lancie: The Dispatcher
Brent Spiner: Draft Dodger
John D. LeMay: Gay Man
Paul Jenkins: Trucker

Episode chronology
'The Leprechaun-Artist'
'Profile in Silver'
List of The Twilight Zone (1985 TV series) episodes

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'Dead Run' is the second segment of the nineteenth episode from the first season (1985–86) of the television seriesThe Twilight Zone.


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Johnny Davis is a truck driver unemployed due to his many accidents. Johnny asks Pete, a friend of his father, for help in getting a job. Pete is reluctant and warns Johnny that the jobs he takes require unusual resilience and fortitude. Johnny insists that he understands and Pete agrees to take him on his next run. Johnny quickly discovers that the run involves delivering souls to Hell via semi-trailer truck. Where did gaming come from. He also finds out that the souls of the newly dead have been causing disturbances in Hell and it is making the truckers nervous.

Dropping their cargo in Hell, Pete and Johnny witness anarchy. Souls run around loose and some of the dead plead with Johnny to rescue them. Other souls attack the drivers, but Gary Frick (another dead man) comes to Johnny's aid. Gary tells Johnny that the cause of the commotion is that people who don't deserve it are being sent to Hell.

Gary explains that a new bureaucracy has taken over the job of deciding who goes to Heaven or Hell. Pete and one of the guards in Hell find Johnny, who is summoned to a meeting with upper management. Johnny relates what he heard and saw, and the manager explains how the process works. Johnny thinks the standards used to determine who is sent to Hell are excessive and biased and people are being damned for minor offenses. The executive reasons that they're simply using 'time-honored Biblical standards'.

Johnny decides to interview the dead that ride with him and then he can decide which of the dead should go to Hell and which he should release (in hopes that they can find a way to Heaven). When one of the souls asks why he is doing this, Johnny replies that he remembered a story from the Bible: between the Crucifixion and Resurrection, Jesus went down to Hell to give the souls there another chance. Johnny reasons that he is just using his own 'time-honored Biblical standard.'

Closing narration[edit]

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Centuries ago, Hell was reached by chalk-white horses pulling shuttered coaches; by Spanish galleons borne on black sails through uncharted seas. Legend has it Leonardo da Vinci was once commissioned to build a flying machine to carry souls to Hell, but it never returned from its maiden flight. But along this particular road to Hell lies redemption for the damned as well as for drivers who have found work.. in the Twilight Zone.


This episode is based on the short story 'Dead Run' by Greg Bear, first published in Omni (April, 1985).


  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)

External links[edit]

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  • 'Dead Run' on IMDb
  • 'Dead Run' at

Twilight Zone Casino Hell Game

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