The more I scour the Internet trying to come up with fresh new topics for our Matrix sunglasses blog, the more I realize the concept of The Matrix isn’t quite as unique as I thought it was, say, 5 years ago. In fact, it turns out that there were several movies and TV shows that focused on virtual planes of reality, that were released well before The Matrix. I previously wrote about the similarity between Dark City and The Matrix, and now I’ve stumbled upon a Matrix-like clip from a 1985 episode of the Twilight Zone called “Dreams for Sale.” The video below shows the entire 9-minute episode (wow, these are a lot shorter without the commercials!). Watch it now and you’ll understand exactly what I’m talking about.
The clip starts out with a happily married couple enjoying a beautiful summer day at the park with their 2 young daughters and their dog. They are having a picnic, sipping on champagne, and generally enjoying each other’s company as well as the gorgeous weather. And then, things start to get a little weird.
First, we see hubby pop the cork and start pouring the champagne into the glasses. As the woman is looking away, she hears another champagne cork pop. When she looks back at hubby, he is just getting ready to pour the champagne again – even though he just did that – with no indication of the “first” bottle that he poured. It’s almost like a record skipping that goes back to an earlier part of the song. She questions him, but he has no clue what she is talking about.
Next, the bizarre echoes begin. Voices and sounds go in and out of distortion. Soon thereafter, things start to repeat themselves, much like the skipped record analogy I used previously. Things rapidly spiral out of control from there, and seconds later she screams and wakes up in some sort of virtual reality terminal. We see several other people there as well, all of which are sleeping and hooked up to virtual reality gear in their own individual terminals.
In comes a repair technician who tells her what’s going on. It turns out that she’s an employee in a futuristic factory, and apparently employees can purchase idyllic virtual dreams on their lunch break as a way to relax. Unfortunately her specific terminal was in need of repair, and that’s what caused the strange skips and echoes. The repair tech then proceeds to fix the terminal, or so he thinks. But as she goes back to sleep, something within the terminal short circuits, and she dies while happily engaged in her virtual dream state.
As you can see, there are a lot of similarities between this episode of the Twilight Zone and The Matrix. The only thing missing was Neo, Morpheus and Agent Smith (along with their Neo sunglasses, Morpheus sunglasses and Agent Smith sunglasses, respectively)!