Original Story by Ray Bradbury
Directed by R. L. Thomas
Original Airdate - January 31, 1986
Stephen Geoffreys - Will
Robert Prescott - Roger
Douglas Emerson - Young Roger
Brandon Bluhm - Young Will

This synopsis and review was written by Ted Cormey:

Owing great debt to H.G. Welles' "Food For The Gods," this tidy segment runs like a fateful pre-credit sequence. Two brothers (Robert Prescott and Fright Night's Stephen Geoffreys) search for their enterprising scientist father in a desolate laboratory warehouse. Once inside, they find a series of oversized dead creatures- rats and housecats magnified in monumental proportions, by-products of their father's quest for a "super-perfect" food; here, a membrane-like meaty protein. The disastrous after-affects soon follow in this cautionary tale of nature's own evolutionary elevator.



This was the segment which clinched the one hour, multi-segment format for me. Too often, with a regulated 30 minute time limit, endings and denouements are, well...timed. The viewer knows by the 28 minute mark an end is forthcoming (extreme case in point is "Watching Ellie" with it's own built-in timeclock in the lower screen corner, ticking the minutes and plot points off). "The Elevator" and it's abrupt ending actually left me waiting post-commercial for a continuation. No such luck. Story over. This realization left the jarring ending all that more memorable. Here was a format in which a story could end and start 50 minutes or 5 minutes...and if there's an O. Henry in there, at least it's not chained to a stopwatch.

What amazes me with these two segments, "The Elevator" and "The Burning Man," is the quality of acting and direction. Fluid. Tone is established with grace. Shifts too. I have actually had the misfortune to watch about 80% of "The Ray Bradbury Theater" and outside from the 1st season HBO episodes and rare USA fare ("The Emissary"), the major fault I can attribute to "RBT" as a whole is acting and direction. Bradbury himself transcribed all the episodes but his dense, stylized dialogue sounded like a bad poetry slam in the wrong hands. Despite the fact that USA's budget for the show seemed to rock bottom every season, with proper casting and a guiding directorial hand...there could have been quality.

So in just two segments, "NTZ" outdoes Bradbury's own vehicle with simple good old-fashioned storytelling.