Twilight Zone – The Arrival

★★★★  September 22, 1961 Season 3 Episode 2

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

This is a good episode. It’s not a 5 star episode but it’s a good mystery. The plot is a perfect setup for a Twilight Zone. A plane arrives and there is only one thing missing from it…the passengers! Harold J. Stone  portrays Grant Sheckly who is determine to unravel this mystery.

Flight 107 out of Buffalo lands and taxis to a perfect stop, with no luggage, no passengers, no crew and no pilot. Sheckly, an FAA investigator with a record of no unsolved incidents in twenty-two years is on the case. One case comes back to haunt him in this episode…as the names of the would be passengers seem familiar to him.

A similar incident actually happened several years earlier in Missouri in 1957. A US Air Force DC-3 – the same type as used in the show – ran out of fuel while carrying people, who all bailed out to safety. The plane glided itself, landing on an empty cornfield, intact.

The exterior shots and hangar scenes were filmed at Santa Monica Airport in California. All other scenes were filmed on an MGM sound stage.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

This object, should any of you have lived underground for the better parts of your lives and never had occasion to look toward the sky, is an airplane, its official designation a DC-3. We offer this rather obvious comment because this particular airplane, the one you’re looking at, is a freak. Now, most airplanes take off and land as per scheduled. On rare occasions they crash. But all airplanes can be counted on doing one or the other. Now, yesterday morning this particular airplane ceased to be just a commercial carrier. As of its arrival it became an enigma, a seven-ton puzzle made out of aluminum, steel, wire and a few thousand other component parts, none of which add up to the right thing. In just a moment, we’re going to show you the tail end of its history. We’re going to give you ninety percent of the jigsaw pieces and you and Mr. Sheckly here of the Federal Aviation Agency will assume the problem of putting them together along with finding the missing pieces. This we offer as an evening’s hobby, a little extracurricular diversion which is really the national pastime in the Twilight Zone.

Summary

A commercial airliner makes a normal landing at an airport and taxis to its normal stop. The only problem is that when the doors are opened, there are no passengers and no pilots. An experienced FAA investigator, Grant Sheckly. is assigned to the case. Sheckly has a good reputation and good track record at solving crashes but this case is a difficult one explain. It all begins to get clearer when he realizes that not everyone is seeing exactly the same thing. For some the seats are blue, others see brown and others see red. They all see different registration numbers on the aircraft. Sheckly can only come to one conclusion: what they are seeing is an illusion

Here is the FULL episode for those who want to see it.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Picture of a man with an Achilles’ heel, a mystery that landed in his life and then turned into a heavy weight, dragged across the years to ultimately take the form of an illusion. Now, that’s the clinical answer that they put on the tag as they take him away. But if you choose to think that the explanation has to do with an airborne Flying Dutchman, a ghost ship on a fog-enshrouded night on a flight that never ends, then you’re doing your business in an old stand in the Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Harold J. Stone …Grant Sheckly
Fredd Wayne…Paul Malloy
Noah Keen…Airline Executive Bengston (as Noah Keene)
Robert Karnes…Robbins
Bing Russell…George Cousins
Jim Boles…Dispatcher
Robert Brubaker…Tower Operator (uncredited)