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
Sue Randall and Jim Hutton
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 11
Directed by Douglas Heyes
Written by Rod Serling (teleplay)
Richard Matheson (short story)
Featured music Leonard Rosenman
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 was first aired on December 11, 1959. It is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story, "Disappearing Act".

Plot summary[edit]

Three astronauts flying the X-20 DynaSoar into space for the first time disappear briefly from radar. After they crash land, Major Gart is sent to the hospital with a broken leg. Lt. Col. Forbes and Col. Harrington are quickly discharged from the hospital after successful physical exams. At a bar afterward, Harrington is overcome by the feeling that he no longer belongs in the world. He phones his parents, but they tell him they have no son. Harrington mysteriously disappears from the phone booth, and no one but Forbes remembers his existence. The headline on a newspaper story about their flight changes, stating that the X-20 had only a crew of two.

Forbes returns to the hospital and tells his story to Gart. Gart insists he does not know any person named Harrington. Forbes finds that he does not cast a reflection in a mirror. Terrified, he flees from the room. Gart tries to hobble after him, but Forbes has mysteriously disappeared too; only Gart remembers him. After getting back into bed, he notices the same newspaper headline says that Gart was the sole pilot of the X-20. Horrified, he also disappears. The hangar housing the X-20 is now also empty, the dust shroud formerly covering the craft now neatly folded on the ground.


Episode notes[edit]

This episode is loosely based on the short story "Disappearing Act" by Richard Matheson.[1] The story was first published in The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction (March 1953). Rod Taylor and director Douglas Heyes later worked together on the TV series Bearcats!.[2]

Although there are no special effects showing the spacecraft in flight, the disappearances are emphasized by props. There is one fewer bed in the hospital room when one man disappears. At the end, the hospital room is shown empty, as is the hangar where the X-20 was originally housed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Zicree, Marc Scott (1982). The Twilight Zone Companion (second ed.). Hollywood: Sillman-James Press. p. 61. 
  2. ^ Stephen Vagg, Rod Taylor: An Aussie in Hollywood, Bear Manor Media, 2010 p69

External links[edit]