The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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And When the Sky Was Opened 

Three U.S. astronauts blast off from Earth on an initial test flight in an experimental rocket-ship, but during the flight into space the ship disappears from radar, then reappears. On ... See full summary »



(teleplay by), (based on a short story by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes
Major William Gart (as James Hutton)
Colonel Ed Harrington
Maxine Cooper ...
Joe Bassett ...
Medical Officer


Three U.S. astronauts blast off from Earth on an initial test flight in an experimental rocket-ship, but during the flight into space the ship disappears from radar, then reappears. On return, the rocket-ship is hangared and put under a tarp, pending an investigation. One crewman is hospitalized for a leg broken on landing, and is visited by the other two. Next the pair go for a drink, and then one crewman phones his parents from a bar phone-booth - but they say they have no son! The astronaut immediately disappears, and no one in the bar remembers him, except the other astronaut in the bar, the Captain. Written by David Stevens

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Release Date:

11 December 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Richard Matheson's first credit on The Twilight Zone, as the author of the short story the episode was loosely based. See more »


In Rod Serling's opening narration, we are told that the 'X-20 is an experimental Air Force interceptor that has been 900 miles into space'. That altitude is far beyond the capability of fighter jets; even if the X-20 *did* attain that high of an altitude, the aircraft and its crew would be exposed to the radiation of the Van Allen belts. By comparison, the space shuttle typically operates at altitudes between approximately 180-240 miles. To be fair, in 1959 this was not well understood yet. See more »


Rod Serling - Narrator: [Closing Narration] Once upon a time, there was a man named Harrington, a man named Forbes, a man named Gart. They used to exist, but don't any longer. Someone - or something- took them somewhere. At least they are no longer a part of the memory of man. And as to the X-20 supposed to be housed here in this hangar, this, too, does not exist. And if any of you have any questions concerning an aircraft and three men who flew her, speak softly of them - and only in - The Twilight Zone.
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Referenced in Atop the Fourth Wall: Twilight Zone #9 (2011) See more »


No Tricks
Music by Bruce Campbell
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User Reviews

A cosmic mistake
14 May 2013 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Whatever forces run the universe decided that a cosmic mistake was made involving three astronauts who went up in a test rocket which momentarily disappeared from radar and then reappeared. The ship was recovered and all three went to the hospital one with a broken leg.

This was one of the freakiest of Twilight Zone episodes ever made. Not only did some mistake was made as far as their survival was concerned. But the unseen powers of the universe decided their very existence needed eradicating.

Rod Taylor, Charles Aidman, and Jim Hutton are the three space travelers and the horror of what is happening registers with all, especially Taylor who has the most screen time.

This Twilight Zone will chill you right to the marrow.

4 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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