The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
22 user 6 critic

And When the Sky Was Opened 

Three astronauts return to Earth after seemingly having made an encounter that dooms them and their craft to erasure from existence itself.



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

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Episode complete credited cast:
Major William Gart (as James Hutton)
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

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Jim Hutton made an uncredited cameo in 1963's Sunday in New York starring Rod Taylor. 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 »


Colonel Ed Harrington: [Feeling that he will disappear] It's all part of this feeling.
Colonel Ed Harrington: This feeling I shouldn't be here, that none of us should be here!
Colonel Ed Harrington: It's as if maybe that we shouldn't have come back from that flight at all.
Colonel Ed Harrington: Maybe somebody, something made a mistake.
Colonel Ed Harrington: It let us get through when we shouldn't have.
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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

Consummate Twilight Zone
26 September 2008 | by See all my reviews

This is a really wonderful episode. Rod Taylor has supposedly returned from a space trip with two of his fellow astronauts. Their ship has crashed. The story begins as he visits Jim Hutton in the hospital. He is beside himself because it seems that there was a third member of the team who, according to him, has disappeared. As a matter of fact, it's as if he never existed. We then go to flashback and are treated to an eerie sense that not only do these men disappear; then sense their own passage to nothingness. It is never explained to us, but we are quickly pulled into the psyches of the two remaining men. They try to figure out their sense of being and aren't able to do so. This is what The Twilight Zone was all about. It feeds us an enigma and then lets us try to put it all together. One can wax philosophical, but somehow these men disappear and we don't know why.

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