And When the Sky Was Opened

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"And When the Sky Was Opened"
The Twilight Zone episode
Jim Hutton Sue Randall Twilight Zone.JPG
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Rod Serling (teleplay)
Richard Matheson (short story)
Featured music Leonard Rosenman
Cinematography by George T. Clemens
Production code 173-3611
Original air date December 11, 1959
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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List of season 1 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"And When the Sky Was Opened" is episode eleven of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 11, 1959.[1] It is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story "Disappearing Act".[2]

Opening narration[edit]

Plot summary[edit]

United States Air Force Colonel Clegg Forbes arrives at a military hospital to visit his friend and co-pilot Major William Gart. The two had recently piloted an experimental spaceplane, the X-20 DynaSoar, on a mission that took them 900 miles beyond the confines of the Earth's atmosphere for the first time. During their voyage the men blacked out for four hours and the craft itself disappeared from radar screens for a full day before reappearing and crash landing in the desert leaving Gart with a broken leg. Gart inquires as to the status of the plane but Forbes is clearly agitated and asks Gart if he remembers how many people were on the mission, producing a newspaper whose front page shows the likenesses of the two men and a headline stating that two astronauts were rescued from the desert crash. Gart confirms that only he and Forbes piloted the plane but Forbes insists that a third man – Colonel Ed Harrington, his best friend of 16 years – accompanied them.

In flashback, on the previous morning, Harrington and Forbes are shown joking with Gart as they are discharged from the hospital after passing their physical exams leaving the Major to recuperate alone. The same newspaper that Forbes would later show Gart is present but instead asserts three astronauts were recovered from the crash of the X-20 with a photo depicting a crew of three. The two men visit a bar downtown. While there, Harrington is suddenly overcome by a feeling that he no longer "belongs" in the world. Disturbed, he phones his parents who tell him they have no son named Ed Harrington and believe the person calling them to be a prankster. Harrington then mysteriously vanishes from the phone booth and no one in the bar but Forbes remembers his existence. Increasingly desperate, Forbes searches for any trace of his friend but can find nothing in the bar. His girlfriend, Amy, does not remember Harrington, and neither does his commanding officer. Returning to the closed bar, he breaks in looking for Harrington, calling his name repeatedly. He returns to the hospital the next morning to talk with Gart.

Back in the present, Forbes is dismayed by Gart's claim that he doesn't know anyone named Harrington. Forbes then glances at a mirror and discovers he casts no reflection, causing him to flee the room in terror. Gart tries to hobble after him only to find that Forbes has disappeared. Calling the duty nurse to ask if she saw where Forbes went, Gart is stunned at the nurse's claim that nobody named Forbes has been in the building and that Gart was the only man who was aboard his plane. After getting back into bed, he notices the newspaper headline has changed. It now says that Gart was the sole pilot of the X-20 – all mention of Forbes, including his photo, is gone. Horrified, Gart also disappears.

An officer enters the building and asks the duty nurse if there are any unused rooms available to accommodate new patients. The nurse takes him to the now completely empty room which hosted the three astronauts, stating that it has been unoccupied. In the hangar which previously housed the X-20, the sheet covering the craft is shown lying on the ground. There is no trace of the plane.

Closing narration[edit]

Cast[edit]

Episode notes[edit]

This episode is loosely based on the short story "Disappearing Act" by Richard Matheson.[3] The story was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (March 1953).[4]

Rod Taylor and director Douglas Heyes later worked together on the TV series Bearcats!.[5]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.cbs.com/shows/the_twilight_zone/video/4bTuEguACuKEAXZOXmrruLg6mKNhvXpn/the-twilight-zone-and-when-the-sky-was-opened/
  2. ^ Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion (second ed.). Hollywood: Sillman-James Press. p. 61. 
  3. ^ Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion (second ed.). Hollywood: Sillman-James Press. p. 61. 
  4. ^ "Contents". Internet Speculative Fiction Database. 11 January 2017. Retrieved 11 January 2017. 
  5. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p69

Bibliography[edit]

  • DeVoe, Bill (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0.
  • Grams, Martin (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0.

External links[edit]