[SIZE="7"][font="Times New Roman"]Where "The Sopranos" meets "The Twilight Zone"…..[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="4"][SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]“I have this, not really a serious, theory, which is that that show (The Twilight Zone) primed my generation of Americans for psychedelic drugs. We were opened up, ready for it, because of that show. Levels of reality, other worlds, the unreliability of the senses, dream states, paranoia, hallucinations — it’s kind of like we almost developed a taste for it.”-David Chase[/font][/SIZE][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]You're traveling through another dimension, a dimension not only of sight and sound but of mind; a journey into a wondrous land whose boundaries are that of imagination. That's the signpost up ahead—your next stop, the Twilight Zone.—Rod Serling[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]Of course anyone making modern day surrealist TV or film owes a huge debt of gratitude to the show “The Twilight Zone”,for practically laying the blueprint, or better yet “TV surrealism for dummies.” Rod Serling served as our weekly guide through trips through the subconscious and psychological realms of the deep. Of course we can already see the parallels if not straight up homages to “The Twilight Zone” especially in the visual styling and storytelling on “The Sopranos”. David Chase makes no secret about his love for the show, even naming the band in his first feature film “Not Fade Away” none other than “The Twylight Zones”. But way before that even we see in the episode “From Where to Eternity” on “The Sopranos” an example of Chases infusion of Rod Serling. When Chrissy has a near death experience after being shot, he describes his experience to Paulie and Tony.;[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"]"I'm going to hell, T.”-Chris
"You're not going anywhere but home.”-Tony
"I crossed over to the other side.”-Chris
"I saw the tunnel and the white light and i saw my father in hell.”-Chris
"Get the fuck out of here.”-Paulie
"And the bouncer said that i'd be there too when my time comes.”-Chris
"'The emerald piper', that's our hell. It's an irish bar where it's st. Patrick's day everyday forever.Mikey palmice and brendan filone were there too.
They were friends.”-Chrise
"Those two guys hated each other.”-Paulie
"You gotta relax, you just need some rest.”-Tony
"They're friends now. They were playing dice with two roman soldiers and a bunch of the irish guys.”-Chirs
"Doesn't make sense.”-Paulie
"The irish, they were winning every roll. And then mikey gave me a message for both of you.”-Chris
“Yeah. Yeah, he said 'tell Tony and Paulie……..', This fucking morphine drip , i don't think it's working. I don't feel a fucking thing.”-Chris
"You gotta be careful with that.”-Tony
"That was all he said?”-Paulie
“He said '3:00’”-Chris
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]There is a fairly well loved episode of “The Twilight Zone” famously named “4 o’clock” so we can clearly see a nod to that in this whole “3 o’clock” business that we see continue to haunt Paulie all the way until the shows finale. But even more we see a nod to “The Twilight Zone” purgatory that later gets confirmed by a conversation between Carlo and Tony in “Chasing It.";
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]Tony Soprano: [about Hesh] Did you see that pissy attitude? Come all the way out here to pick him up. Not to mention, give him his fuckin' vig in person. I mean, you believe this fuckin' guy?
Bobby 'Bacala' Baccalieri: You should tell him to go fuck himself and his 200K. And what's he gonna do about it?
Tony Soprano: And not pay my debts? Head of the family? How's that gonna look?
Carlo Gervasi: Who's gonna know? It's like Eddie Valentine.
Tony Soprano: The guy from Philly? With the polio leg and the built up shoe?
Carlo Gervasi: Nah, from the fuckin' "Twilight Zone". You musta seen that one. He's a small time hood, he gets shot… [/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]The episode Carlo is referring to is called "A Nice Place to Visit” and it very much resembles where Chris describes being. But even more important it very much parallels Tonys adventures in Season 6 post Near Death Experience particularly. Lets take a look at Wikipedias synopsis of "A Nice Place to Visit”:
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"]"A Nice Place to Visit" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone first aired on CBS on April 15, 1960. The title comes from the saying, "A nice place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there."
In 1965, a slightly modified version of this story was broadcast on the radio program Theater Five. The episode (number 154), "The Land of Milk and Honey", retained all of the important aspects of this episode, including the innuendos and the surprise ending. On November 14, 1935 the radio program The Fleischmann's Yeast Hourhosted by Rudy Vallee broadcast a play titled: The Other Place starring Colin Clive which dealt with a similar theme.
“ Portrait of a man at work, the only work he's ever done, the only work he knows. His name is Henry Francis Valentine, but he calls himself "Rocky", because that's the way his life has been - rocky and perilous and uphill at a dead run all the way. He's tired now, tired of running or wanting, of waiting for the breaks that come to others but never to him, never to ROCKY VALENTINE. A scared, angry little man. He thinks it's all over now but he's wrong. For Rocky Valentine, it's just the beginning. ”
Henry "Rocky" Valentine is a criminal who is robbing a pawnshop after taking out a night watchman. Before he can get away, he is shot by an offscreen police officer while trying to climb a fence. He wakes up to find himself seemingly unharmed by the encounter and in the company of a pleasant individual named "Pip" who tells Rocky that he is his guide and has been instructed to grant him whatever he desires. Rocky is suspicious, having never received anything for free in his life. He believes Pip is trying to con him and asks him if he is a cop. Pip proceeds to quote personal information about Rocky's tastes and hobbies from a notebook. Irritated, Rocky demands that Pip give him his wallet. Pip says he has no wallet but obligingly gives him a large amount of money and is willing to give him as much as he desires. Rocky believes Pip wants him to commit a crime on his behalf and that the money is an incentive.
Rocky holds Pip at gunpoint, following him to a luxurious apartment that Pip insists is Rocky's. Demanding to know what he must do to acquire all this luxury, Rocky remains skeptical when he is told that it's all free. Despite his suspicions, he begins to relax, changing his clothes and taking a shower, after which he is presented with a meal served on a silver platter. He abruptly becomes suspicious again and demands that Pip taste the food, believing it to be poisoned. When Pip claims he can't remember how to eat, Rocky shoots him in the head but finds that the bullets just bounce off, leaving Pip unharmed. Rocky now realizes that he is dead and immediately assumes that he is in Heaven and that Pip is his guardian angel.
Later, we see Rocky in a casino, surrounded by beautiful girls and winning every game he plays. Outside he sees a tall policeman and is able to make him smaller and thus pick on him. After returning to his apartment with Pip and the "dolls" (as Rocky refers to them), Rocky asks to see some of his former friends who have died. Pip says that won't be possible, as this "paradise" is his own private world, and none of the people are real except for Rocky and Pip.
Rocky becomes curious as to why he was allowed into Heaven. "I must have done something good that made up for all the other stuff. But what? What did I ever do that was good?" With Pip, he visits the Hall of Records (seen to have been established in the year I), but it merely contains a list of his sins. Rocky is puzzled but he decides that if God is okay with him being there, he won't bother worrying.
After a month, Rocky becomes thoroughly bored by always having his whims satisfied and predictably winning at anything he attempts. He calls up Pip and asks if he can put a challenge where he would actually get caught in a robbery. Pip is able to do that, but Rocky backs off claiming there would be no fun if he knew the outcome. He then tells Pip, "If I gotta stay here another day, I'm gonna go nuts! I don't belong in Heaven, see? I want to go to the other place." Pip retorts, "Heaven? Whatever gave you the idea that you were in heaven, Mr. Valentine? This is the other place!!" Shocked and horrified, Rocky unsuccessfully tries to open his apartment door in order to escape his endless "paradise," as Pip begins to laugh malevolently at Rocky's predicament.
“A scared, angry little man who never got a break. Now he has everything he's ever wanted - and he's going to have to live with it for eternity - in The Twilight Zone. ”
Mickey Rooney was the first choice to play Valentine. In a memo to Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont suggested, should Rooney not be available, that Serling himself consider playing the part. Serling declined and Rooney ended up being unavailable. (He guest starred in a later episode.)
Guest star Cabot had to bleach his hair white for the role; it took three months for the actor's hair to return to its original dark color.
One version of this episode has Valentine throwing an apple at a table which changes into a pool table - although another version has this scene cut out.
"A Nice Place to Visit" was also singled out for its brazen sexual innuendo. Program Practices requested that Valentine not refer to a girl as "a broad ... really stacked," even though the crudity was essential to establishing the unsavory qualities of the character. Nor could the protagonist refer to a party as "a ball", since that word had more than one meaning. In another "Nice Place" sequence, a voluptuous young lady tends to Blyden's every need, then says "is there anything else I can do for you?" CBS's comment: "Please be certain that the girl's third speech be delivered in a sweet manner, as described.”
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]So clearly a nod being made to this episode which we can assume must be among one of Chases favorites, but not his most favorite. His most favorite episode he saved for very last. In the finale “Made in America” we find Tony hitting the mattresses at the safe house. In the background on the TV we see an episode of “The Twilight Zone” playing. The episode is “The Bard”. A short dialogue from a scene is emphasized for the viewer to hear, it goes like this;[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]Boss: Julius, what do I have to do? What do I have to say to get you out of here?
Julius: Give me a chance. Give me first dibs at this, this television series thing, or whatever it is. Let me do the pilot, please.
Boss: Julius, my boy, sit down. Julius, I’m not a hard man. I’m not a mean man. But the television industry today is looking for talent. They’re looking for quality. They’re preoccupied with talent and quality. And a writer is a major commodity.[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]We know this quote is selected for its commentary on the actual writers of the show “The Sopranos” and how they are the major commodity. Recently “The Sopranos” was voted the most Well written TV show of all time, topping the list above “The Twilight Zone” “X-Files” and “Mad Men” respectably. But also this is a commentary to the advertising people that Chase and Co have to cater to, just like its initial meaning in “The Twilight Zone” and is a sort of inside joke. I found an interesting take on this “Twilight Zone” message in the last episode in another blog I was reading while researching. Heres and excerpt;[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"]This excerpt from the Twilight Zone is serving three purposes.
It emphasizes the importance of the writing in the final episode. “The writer is a major commodity.” Much thought and effort has gone into the writing. Happenings are not arbitrary or without reason.
It provides a mechanism for playing the Twilight-Zone theme music during the cat’s introduction. The cat is a meaningful plot development device. The Twilight-Zone theme sets the proper super-natural, other-worldly tone that we should associate with the cat.
It provides a reference to a television show “pilot” which is relevant here since Chase had said that some of the content of the final episode would relate back to the Sopranos pilot.
[Tony gives food to the stray cat]
Crew Member 1: Who’s he belong to?
Crew Member 2: He just showed up during the big storm.
The cat is a harbinger of death – Tony’s death in particular. This idea is developed more completely as the episode progresses. The “big storm” is likely a metaphor for the family war in which Tony is currently involved.
Tony: Already caught a mouse down the cellar.
Again, a seemingly inconsequential line is actually key to understanding the interconnections of the storyline. Rhiannon, a character that was introduced in Episode 73 (Johnny Cakes) and more prominently featured in the final two episodes, is named after a goddess from Welsh mythology. One part of the story of Rhiannon involves two characters from the myth capturing a mouse, which turns out to be a third character from the myth in mouse form.
While it is not Rhiannon who captures the mouse, the reference is nonetheless a recognizable component of the story of Rhiannon. This is a meaningful plot device that connects the harbinger of Tony’s death to Rhiannon.
Whether the name Rhiannon was chosen with the specific intention of making this connection or whether the connection was “retrofitted” after the fact is difficult to say. Given the lateness of the character’s introduction and the apparent ease with which the connection is constructed, I personally lean toward the former.
Patsy Parisi: A lot of my customers are giving their action to New York.
It is no coincidence that just as we are introduced to the harbinger of Tony’s death, Patsy shows up mentioning the New York family. Patsy will eventually betray Tony by cooperating with the New York family, using information obtained from Rhiannon. This scene is a microcosm of that betrayal.-Mike Coles Blog[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]All very interesting theories that tie in neatly to things I have already mentioned in this over analysis. So the Bard is obviously an episode David Chase and Co are very fond of. Lets see the synopsis on wikipedia;
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"]"The Bard" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It was the final episode of The Twilight Zone to be ONE HOUR LONG.(my emphasis added)
MR. Serling's Opening Narration
You've just witnessed opportunity, if not knocking, at least scratching plaintively on a closed door. Mr. Julius Moomer, a would-be writer who, if talent came twenty-five cents a pound, would be worth less than car fare. But, in a moment, Mr. Moomer, through the offices of some black magic, is about to embark on a brand-new career. And although he may never get a writing credit on the Twilight Zone, he's to become an integral character in it. ”
A bumbling screenwriter, Julius K. Moomer, is in desperate need of brilliant scripts. His agent suggests that he does some research, and he finds a book with a black magic spell that he uses to bring William Shakespeare to life. Shakespeare produces a riveting screenplay for the writer, but is so horrified at the revisions by the sponsor that he assaults the leading man and storms out for good. Moomer's next assignment, a TV special on American history, seems doomed to failure until he remembers his book on black magic—and uses it to conjure up a new writing staff, including Robert E. Lee, Ulysses S. Grant, ABRAHAM LINCOLN, George Washington, Pocahontas, Daniel Boone, Benjamin Franklin, and Theodore Roosevelt.
Mr. Serling's Closing Narration
“ Mr. Julius Moomer, a streetcar conductor with delusions of authorship. And if the tale just told seems a little tall, remember a thing called poetic license, and another thing called the Twilight Zone. ”
The episode was likely written by Rod Serling as a reaction to the advertising executives he dealt with regularly while producing for television. In the book The Twilight Zone Companion Serling is quoted as saying that things were so bad with the overcautious executives that "one could not ford a river if Chevy was the sponsor."
The episode was also featured in the final episode of The Sopranos, in 2007, "Made in America". Tony Soprano, the main protagonist of the series, is seen watching this episode while in hiding from his enemies in a safe house.[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]Strange coincidence or not is it that both the episode “The Bard” above and the episode “Made in America” on The Sopranos are the final episodes to be an hour long. Another nod perhaps? Lets explore one more before moving on;
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"] David Chase, actor / director on The Sopranos, cites Twilight Zone's "Perchance to Dream" as an inspiration in how to direct something quickly and cheaply yet with amazing power.[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"]Ever heard of this episode? Its a classic. And no doubt the inspiration to generations of filmmakers. If you have never watched it or if its been a long time since the last time, do yourself a favor and watch it. For now heres the wikipedia synopsis. Pay attention for the parallels with “The Sopranos”:[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="4"][font="Times New Roman"]"Perchance to Dream" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. The title of the episode and the Charles Beaumont short story that inspired it, is taken from Hamlet's "To be, or not to be" speech.
Edward Hall (Conte), a man with a severe heart condition, believes that if he falls asleep, he'll die. On the other hand, keeping himself awake will put too much of a strain on his heart. He believes this due to his constantly overactive imagination. He believes that his imagination is severely out of control, to the point where he'd be able to see and feel something that was not there. Due to this, his heart condition is especially dangerous. He seeks out the aid of psychiatrist Rathmann and explains that he has been dreaming in chapters, as if in a movie serial. In his dreams, Maya, a carnival dancer, lures him first into a funhouse and later onto a roller coaster in an attempt to scare him to death. Realizing that Rathmann cannot help him, Hall starts to go, but stops when he realizes that Rathmann's receptionist looks exactly like Maya. Terrified, he runs back into Rathmann's office and jumps out of the window.
In reality, the doctor calls his receptionist, who does in fact look exactly like Maya, into his office, where Hall lies on the couch, his eyes closed. Rathmann tells the receptionist that Hall came in, laid down, immediately fell asleep, and then a few moments later let out a scream and died. "Well, I guess there are worse ways to go," the doctor says philosophically. "At least he died peacefully..." Rod Serling's narration then reveals that in a split-second, a person can dream up a thirty-minute dream.
Maya means Illusion in Sanskrit.
The concept that a person can dream a thirty-minute dream in a split-second, was used numerous times in different media. The film Inceptionused the same concept. Although time estimated in a dream is akin to waking time estimations. 
The episode was adapted for radio in 2002 featuring Fred Willard as Edward Hall. It was then released as part of The Twilight Zone Radio Dramas - Volume 9collection.
This was the first episode aired that was written by Charles Beaumont (and also the first that was not written by Rod Serling).
"Throughout the TV filming, Florey strove for quality. It might have been the most expensive MGM feature. He rooted out the meanings of certain lines, frequently surprising me with symbols and shadings I'd neither planned nor suspected. The set was truly impressionistic, recalling the days of Caligari and Liliom. The costumes were generally perfect. And in the starring role, Richard Conte gave a performance which displays both intensity and subtlety." — Charles Beaumont writing in The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, December 1959.
This is one of several episodes from season one to have its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for season two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 in order to give the re-running episodes of season one the new look that the show would take in the upcoming second season.
Screenwriter-director Wes Craven (who filmed several Twilight Zone episodes in the mid-1980s) has been asked whether or not "Perchance to Dream" inspired his creation of the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise. Craven denies that it did, although both productions play heavily upon fear of DEATH IN ONE'S SLEEP.(my emphasis)[/font][/SIZE]
[SIZE="5"][font="Times New Roman"][SIZE="6"]So clearly we know that due to Chases own personal affinity to “The Twilight Zone” his clever nods and homages to Rod Serlings masterpiece. Im sure I missed more, but thats half the fun, leaving room for you the reader to explore and look for more. Now while you’re watching and looking, you'll be looking for one more thing, The Twilight Zone…….
[font="Franklin Gothic Medium"]You know, Vito called me “skip” the other day. Slip of the tongue, no doubt. But I noticed he didn’t correct himself.[/font][SIZE="1"][/SIZE]