Twilight Zone – And When the Sky Was Opened

★★★★★ December 11, 1959 Season 1 Episode 11

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

This is one of my favorites. Rod Taylor from the Time Machine drives this episode. I won’t give out 5 star ratings on just anything but this one does it for me. Each character goes through the same situation and there is no way they can explain it to anyone else. There is a little…just a little of “It’s A Wonderful Life” in this one. When George Bailey goes to his mother’s door and she said she didn’t know him…because he didn’t exist. What would happen if a friend you have known for years was wiped out of existence in everyone’s memory but yours?

Halfway through, you get an idea of what is going to happen but that doesn’t matter. You can feel the desperation in Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes (Rod Taylor) as he tries to put together what happened to his friend and why no one else knows…and then it starts happening to him. 

  Also (Spoiler!) the character Major William Gart quickly vanished at the end. Rod Serling explained in a lecture that without his fellow astronauts to anchor him to this world, he had no way of holding on. It furthered the idea that Rod Taylor’s Forbes’s denial kept him in the world longer, and having heard the story of Harrington’s disappearance and seeing Forbes taken out, he had no way of denying the possibility.

Look for Miss. Landers (Sue Randall) from Leave it to Beaver as the Nurse.

This show was written by Rod Serling and Richard Matheson

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Her name: X-20. Her type: an experimental interceptor. Recent history: a crash landing in the Mojave Desert after a thirty-one hour flight nine hundred miles into space. Incidental data: the ship, with the men who flew her, disappeared from the radar screen for twenty-four hours…But the shrouds that cover mysteries are not always made out of a tarpaulin, as this man will soon find out on the other side of a hospital door.

Summary

The X-20 experimental spacecraft recently returned after venturing into a 900 mile orbit around the Earth. At one point, the craft disappeared for about 20 seconds and then suddenly reappeared before crashing in the Mojave desert. One of the crew, Maj. William Gart broke his leg on reentry but is recovering. Another of the astronauts, Lt. Col. Clegg Forbes, visits him but is obviously quite shaken. His recollection is there were 3 astronauts in the craft but the newspaper accounts mention only two. The third was Col. Ed Harrington but Gart says he never heard of him. As Forbes remembers it, he and Harrington went out the night before and Harrington begins to have a sense of not belonging. He then vanishes. As he searches for his friend, he can find no one who ever met the man.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Once upon a time, there was a man named Harrington, a man named Forbes, a man named Gart. They used to exist, but don’t any longer. Someone – or something – took them somewhere. At least they are no longer a part of the memory of man. And as to the X-20 supposed to be housed here in this hangar, this, too, does not exist. And if any of you have any questions concerning an aircraft and three men who flew her, speak softly of them – and only in – The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling … Narrator (voice) (uncredited)
Rod Taylor … Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes
Jim Hutton … Major William Gart (as James Hutton)
Charles Aidman … Colonel Ed Harrington
Maxine Cooper … Amy
Paul Bryar … Bartender
Sue Randall … Nurse
Joe Bassett … Medical Officer
Lisabeth Field … Nurse (uncredited)
Logan Field … Investigator (uncredited)
John Launer … Mr. Harrington (uncredited)
Oliver McGowan … Officer (uncredited)
Gloria Pall … Girl in Bar (uncredited)
Bernard Sell … Bar Patron (uncredited)