Twilight Zone – The Purple Testament

★★★★ February 12, 1960 Season 1 Episode 19

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

A horrible “what if” power that Lt. Fitzgerald (William Reynolds) has… when he looks at his fellow soldiers… he knows which ones are about to die. A powerful episode and one that was remade in the 80s Twilight Zone reboot but it didn’t come close to this one. 

One thing that struck me about actor William Reynolds…he looks like he could have walked out of 2021. Most of the time on older shows most actors and actresses look from that time period…he looks like he could be starring in a movie or TV show today. 

Rod Serling served in the US Army’s 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division, during the liberation of the Philippines, where this episode is set.

The night of the planned air date, a plane carrying Richard L. Bare (Director) and William Reynolds crashed in the Caribbean Sea, injuring both (though not seriously). It is believed that during their swim to land, they discussed the episode that night and Bare requested Reynolds not to look at him. He later admitted that he commended Buck Houghton’s decision to reschedule rather than use the incident for publicity.

This is episode 19 of season one…we are over halfway through the first season. 

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Infantry platoon, U.S. Army, Philippine Islands, 1945. These are the faces of the young men who fight, as if some omniscient painter had mixed a tube of oils that were at one time earth brown, dust gray, blood red, beard black, and fear—yellow white, and these men were the models. For this is the province of combat, and these are the faces of war.

Summary

In the Philippines in 1945, Army Lt. Fitzgerald has developed the disturbing ability to look into his men’s faces and know who will be killed in the next battle. He says it’s like a light is shined on their faces. His superior, Capt. Phil Riker, consults the medical officer but he finds nothing conclusive. Fitzgerald passes out when visiting one of his wounded men in the hospital after he sees the light on his face. When he sees the light on Riker’s face, he begs him not to go out. After they return from the military operation, he sees that there will be one other casualty that day.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

From William Shakespeare, Richard the Third, a small excerpt. The line reads, ‘He has come to open the purple testament of bleeding war.’ And for Lieutenant William Fitzgerald, A Company, First Platoon, the testament is closed. Lieutenant Fitzgerald has found the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Dick York … Capt. Phil Riker
William Reynolds … Lt. Fitzgerald
William Phipps … Sergeant
Barney Phillips … Capt. E.L. Gunther
S. John Launer … Lieutenant Colonel
Michael Vandever … Smitty
Paul Mazursky … Orderly
Marc Cavell … Freeman
Warren Oates … Jeep Driver
Ron Masak … Harmonica Man

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

33 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – The Purple Testament”

  1. Loved the acting in this one – Reynolds really sold Fitzgerald’s awful dilemma with his ability. Also interesting to see a very young Paul Mazursky who would go on to greater fame as a screenwriter.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. He reall does…he has that modern look about him. The TZ went on a streak of very good episodes…the only clinker was The Fever.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Yes…that one is a homerun… it’s the one before that one that is difficult to grade…Mirror Image.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Yeah I really liked that one but didn’t really like the ending. Would have liked it better if there was some sort of conspiracy against the women. Or if the guy who helped her’s bag all of a sudden was in the bag hold. But we get ahead of ourselves. 😀. Gotta call it a night.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow, sounds like a scary but good one…another one fit for Hitchcock! Gee, half way through first season– like baseball pitchers and recording artists, they did more back then didn’t they!? Nowadays a lot of series offer up a dozen shows as a season.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yea they meant business back then… 36 episodes…it drops to 18 in one season (4th) because they were one hour long…but went back to 30 minutes after that

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Warren Oates in it too! I wasn’t aware of William Reynolds but the Disney film he was in (I think it was Disney as it had Fred Macmurray and young Kurt Russell in it) Follow Me Boys! was a huge fave of mine when I was a kid, Boy Scouting film and a catchy title song 🙂 MInd you, it never convinced me to join the Scouts….

    Liked by 1 person

  4. That was a spooky one- I don’t know if I would have wanted that quality. It’s kind of like the other one where Darren can hear what people think. At first you think -wouldn’t that be great but I think very quickly you wouldn’t want to know! 4- 4.5 star range with me too. A good one.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know the one you are talking about. They had a really good run of shows here…except The Fever. No I would not want that gift or curse.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It would be impossible i think to come up with a home run every week- I think overall the batting average was very good on that show- I know you agree.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I like the pace you are setting- 3 a week is perfect. while I would enjoy one everyday- this gives a longer period to enjoy these.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Thanks…I think I can keep this up pretty well. I have the next 4 done and ready…and it gives us time to rewatch them…you know another show that could be done this way? The Andy Griffith Show…at least the first five seasons…not by me though lol but it would be a good one to cover.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. i agree- a truly great show- that you can watch over and over- it never grows old. The Barney Years no doubt the best as you said!

        Liked by 1 person

      5. I’ve been watching it again lately…as soon as Barney left…in came grouchy Andy…you could tell he didn’t want to be there…but…some of the shows after that were still good but it didn’t compare…but not many did.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Oh yes…some color ones are good but there is no comparison. Only a few characters I plain didn’t like…very few…Mayor Stoner was one of them…Mayor Pike was fine….I believe that was his name.

        Liked by 2 people

      7. That is her! I just didn’t see the attraction. Ellie has spunk but she was nice.
        I’m watching one now…about the cow thief.

        Liked by 1 person

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