The Rip Van Winkle Caper
|"The Rip Van Winkle Caper"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 2
|Directed by||Justus Addiss|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||April 21, 1961|
|“||Introducing, four experts in the questionable art of crime: Mr. Farwell, expert on noxious gases, former professor, with a doctorate in both chemistry and physics; Mr. Erbie, expert in mechanical engineering; Mr. Brooks, expert in the use of firearms and other weaponry; and Mr. De Cruz, expert in demolition and various forms of destruction. The time is now, and the place is a mountain cave in Death Valley, U.S.A. In just a moment, these four men will utilize the services of a truck placed in cosmoline, loaded with a hot heist cooled off by a century of sleep, and then take a drive into The Twilight Zone.||”|
To escape the law after stealing $1 million worth of gold bricks (equal to $8.0 million today) from a train on its way from Fort Knox to Los Angeles, a band of four gold thieves, led by scientist-mastermind Farwell, hide in a secret cave in Death Valley, California. Farwell has designed suspended animation chambers and set them for approximately 100 years, figuring that, by 2061, the gold will no longer be "hot" and they can sell it on the white market without arousing suspicion.
When they wake up, all that remains of Erbie is his skeleton, his suspended animation chamber having been cracked by a falling rock. Brooks demands that DeCruz drive the getaway car. DeCruz kills Brooks by running him over with the getaway truck, then purposely drives the truck into a ravine. Farwell and DeCruz must walk through the desert in the summer heat, carrying as much gold as they can on their backs.
Farwell loses his canteen, and DeCruz offers him a sip of water from his canteen, for the price of one gold bar. When the fee goes up to two bars, Farwell strikes DeCruz with a gold brick, killing him. Farwell continues to a highway, gradually discarding gold bars as their weight becomes increasingly burdensome. Finally, weak and dehydrated, he collapses. Farwell offers his last gold bar to a man in a futuristic car that has driven up, in exchange for water and a ride to the nearest town; but he dies a few moments later.
The man, named George, gets back into his car to report Farwell's death to the police. He remarks to his wife about the oddity of Farwell offering him a gold bar, since a method for manufacturing gold was discovered decades ago, making it virtually worthless.
|“||The last of four Rip Van Winkles, who all died precisely the way they lived, chasing an idol across the sand to wind up bleached dry in the hot sun as so much desert flotsam, worthless as the gold bullion they built a shrine to. Tonight's lesson - in The Twilight Zone.||”|
- Simon Oakland as DeCruz
- Oscar Beregi, Jr. as Farwell
- Lew Gallo as Brooks
- John Mitchum as Erbie
- Wallace Rooney as George
- Shirley O'Hara as George's wife
- 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