I Shot an Arrow into the Air

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"I Shot an Arrow into the Air"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 15
Directed by Stuart Rosenberg
Written by Teleplay by
Rod Serling
Story by
Madelon Champion
Featured music Stock from "And When the Sky Was Opened" by Leonard Rosenman
Production code 173-3626
Original air date January 15, 1960
Guest actors
Episode chronology
← Previous
"Third from the Sun"
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"The Hitch-Hiker"
List of season 1 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"I Shot an Arrow into the Air" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Plot summary[edit]

A manned space flight with eight crew members crash lands on what the astronauts believe to be an unknown asteroid. Their expectations of survival or rescue are bleak. Only four of the crew survive, one of whom is barely alive. After he dies, the three remaining men, Corey, Donlin, and Pierson decide to trek out into the barren desert to see if there is anything that might improve their chances of survival. When Corey and Donlin reconvene, it seems that Pierson is dead and Corey filched the water supply from his dead body. Donlin, the commanding officer, forces Corey at gunpoint to lead him to Pierson's body.

They find Pierson, still barely alive, who with his last bit of strength draws a primitive diagram in the sand with his finger. Corey then kills Donlin and sets out alone, confident that he will survive longer now that he has all of the water supply. Corey later sees a sign for Reno, and then sees telephone poles, which were what Pierson had attempted to draw before he died. Realizing that they had in fact never left Earth and that he had killed his partners for nothing, Corey breaks down weeping.

Episode notes[edit]

Despite this, Serling did end up producing an idea from an industry outsider when he paid Madelon Champion $500 for the idea on which this episode was based, an idea that came up in a social conversation between the two.[1] Though Serling was frequently approached with suggestions for the series, such a purchase was never repeated.
  • In addition to the usual opening and closing narration, this episode features a rare bit of narration from Serling in the middle of the show—after Corey kills Donlin, Serling narrates Corey's travels through the desert landscape. This was the last use of mid-show narration until season three's "I Sing The Body Electric".
  • The title of the episode comes from the opening line of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Arrow and the Song": "I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth I knew not where." Serling also used this title for a prospective Twilight Zone pilot episode that was eventually shot, in modified form, as "The Gift".[2]
  • The plot idea of astronauts thinking they had crashed on an unknown planet, only to discover that in fact they had been on Earth all along, would be adapted by Rod Serling in his work on the initial screenplay of the 1968 film Planet of The Apes.
  • This is one of several episodes from season one to have its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for season two. This was done during the summer of 1961 in order to give the re-running episodes of season one the updated look that the show had taken in the second season.
  • It appears that at least some of the electronics in the set were recycled from the movie "Forbidden Planet". If not in absolute physicality then in imitation. The large, white lighted circles with the 'pie slices' facing down appear in several scenes from "Forbidden Planet" (1957) as well as the previous episode of Twilight Zone, "Third From The Sun."

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion (2nd edition ed.). Hollywood: Sillman-James Press. p. 98. 
  2. ^ Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion (2nd edition ed.). Hollywood: Sillman-James Press. p. 277. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]