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 »
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
The title is a parody of a line from the children's nursery rhyme "Sing a Song of Sixpence". "When the pie was opened, The birds began to sing; Wasn't that a dainty dish, To set before the king?" 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 »
Her name: X-20. Her type: an experimental interceptor. Recent history: a crash landing in the Mojave Desert after a thirty-one hour flight nine hundred miles into space. Incidental data: the ship, with the men who flew her, disappeared from the radar screen for twenty-four hours.
[continuing narration, subsequent to character dialogue]
But the shrouds that cover mysteries are not always made out of a tarpaulin, as this man will soon find out on the other side of a hospital ...
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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.
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