★★★ 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)