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|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 4
|Directed by||Alan Crosland, Jr.|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||March 14, 1963|
|“||In the vernacular of space, this is T minus one hour. Sixty minutes before a human being named Major Robert Gaines is lifted off from the Mother Earth and rocketed into the sky, farther and longer than any man ahead of him. Call this one of the first faltering steps of man to sever the umbilical cord of gravity and stretch out a fingertip toward an unknown. Shortly, we'll join this astronaut named Gaines and embark on an adventure, because the environs overhead—the stars, the sky, the infinite space—are all part of a vast question mark known as the Twilight Zone.||”|
An astronaut, Major Robert Gaines, is orbiting Earth in his space capsule. Suddenly, his communication systems stop functioning and he blacks out, waking up on Earth with no memory of his return. He appears to be none the worse for his experiences and is released to the custody of his family.
However, inconsistencies quickly pop up. His daughter senses that he is not the same person. His house has a white picket fence that he's never seen, though his wife insists that it was there when they bought the house. Everyone calls him Colonel (confirmed by the rank insignia on his uniform) when he knows he's a Major, and he insists that the President of the United States is John F. Kennedy, a man whom no one else has ever heard of. Gaines concludes that he has slipped into a parallel universe. His acquaintances see this as nonsense until a mechanic reports his space capsule is not completely identical to the one he was sent out in. Gaines is summoned to examine the capsule, but when he approaches it he is gradually returned to the point at which he left his own universe.
He lands his craft safely and reports what happened to his superiors. They are prepared to write it off as a nightmare, but controllers on the ground subsequently receive another transmission—from Colonel Robert Gaines. The transmission cuts out a few seconds later, and the Colonel disappears from radar. The Major returns home and happily confirms that his daughter now recognizes him and the white picket fence is absent.
|“||Major Robert Gaines, a latter-day voyager just returned from an adventure. Submitted to you without any recommendations as to belief or disbelief. You can accept or reject; you pay your money and you take your choice. But credulous or incredulous, don't bother to ask anyone for proof that it could happen. The obligation is a reverse challenge: prove that it couldn't. This happens to be the Twilight Zone.||”|
- Sander, Gordon F.:Serling: The Rise And Twilight of Television's Last Angry Man. New York: Penguin Books, 1992.
- Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition).
- 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