Twilight Zone – King Nine Will Not Return

★★★ 1/2  September 30, 1960 Season 2 Episode 1

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

Now we are starting the second season.

This is an episode about survivor’s guilt….how Captain Embry thinks he should have been with his crew . Robert Cummings plays Captain James Embry and the episode is driven by him. Cummings does a fantastic one man show for the first of the episode.

This revisits the pilot episode’s plot and it would explore again in the fourth season with The Thirty-Fathom Grave. The scenery and they way they present this episode is realistic.

The episode was based on a real event – the discovery of the B-24 Liberator four engine bomber Lady Be Good. The plane lost course during a WWII raid over Italy in 1943, and crashed deep in the Libyan desert. In 1959, a team of British geologists stumbled upon the wreckage — discovering that while the supplies were intact, the nine-man team were nowhere to be found. In the episode, the marker of a grave of a member of the crew of King Nine is dated “5 April, 1943,” the day on which the Lady Be Good was lost.

The bomber aircraft used in this episode was a North American Aviation B-25C-10NA 42-32354, which still exists in storage with Aero Trader, Borrego Springs, California. The plane was bought from the air force for $2500 (rather than the original cost — $345,000). It was disassembled, flown to set, and reassembled there.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead, and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning, she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in the wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.


The pilot of a downed B-25, Capt. James Embry, awakens in the desert, with no memory of how he got there. More worrisome, his crew’s nowhere to be found. He begins to wonder if he’s hallucinating, especially after he sees one of his men, sitting in the cockpit. When he awakens in hospital, he thinks it might’ve all been a dream, but wonders: did any of this really happen?

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Enigma buried in the sand, a question mark with broken wings that lies in silent grace as a marker in a desert shrine. Odd how the real consorts with the shadows, how the present fuses with the past. How does it happen? The question is on file in the silent desert, and the answer? The answer is waiting for us – in the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Robert Cummings … Capt. James Embry (as Bob Cummings)
Gene Lyons … Psychiatrist
Paul Lambert … Doctor
Jenna McMahon … Nurse
Richard Lupino … Blake (uncredited)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

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

31 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – King Nine Will Not Return”

      1. It is…I’ve seen most of it. Anything done by that company is great. It’s like The Wrecking Crew…great documentaries.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. can’t believe you are already starting Season 2! a good -solid episode not one of the most memorable episode but good. I think I’d give it 3- but 3 3 1/2 a good call on it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. His performance brought it up to me…he did a good job for what he had to work with….it was never my favorite but this one moved up as I was watching it lately.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Max by pilot episode do you mean after The Last Flight episode or after the pilot as in very first episode ? I think you mean the former as it would fit in terms of a mans regrets about what he did or didn’t do in past but the phrase pilot episode confused me

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh sorry… the very first episode. As far as no one was there but it really resembles that 4th season episode… both are survivors guilt just different vehicles.

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Agree with your rating – the performance was great and made the episode. I thought the twist at the end was a little disappointing but liked it better the second time through

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Also looks like on Netflix at least the opening is different – shorter and with the theme music that is most famous. I kind of miss the original opening. Also it was weird to see Serling on camera to introduce- does he do that going forward ?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes… dang I meant to add that this was the first time he did this…The network wanted Orson Welles to be the narrator but he declined… I love his work but Serling was perfect.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. From what I read they parachuted out before the plane went down. For years they thought the plane went down in the sea, so no one looked in the dessert for survivors. A body was found and buried. After the crash was found they found all the other bodies except one. They think that one was the one found earlier.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Oh ok…I thought all but one was found but all of them were…
        Too bad they couldn’t have bailed over somewhere more livable…just terrible.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. And food, water and a thermos of still drinkable tea was discovered in the wreckage. No telling how long they could have survived there. The machine guns were also still working. At night the muzzle flash from those could have been used to signal passing aircraft.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Hey…we were talking around 2 years ago or so…and you mentioned a radio disc jokey that would talk about aliens etc….what is his name? I listened to him and wanted to write a post about him….do you remember?


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