★★★★ 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.
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.
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