The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
8.6/10
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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 »

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

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

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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11 December 1959 (USA)  »

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(Westrex Recording System)

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

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

Goofs

When Lt. Col. Forbes and Col. Harrington depart Maj. Gart's room, they both have their US Air Force uniform covers (caps). Col. Harrington's cap has "scrambled eggs" on the visor as it should, however, Lt. Col. Forbes' cap does not. This is an error- as *all* US Air Force officers the rank of Lt. Col. and above should have the "scrambled eggs" on their cap visors. This is current today, and was the policy in 1959, as well. See more »

Quotes

Major William Gart: [after Forbes explained the story to Gart] Clegg?
Major William Gart: I don't know Ed Harrington.
Major William Gart: I've never heard of him before.
Major William Gart: I think he must be an illusion or something.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: [eerily calm] Oh, I know he's not an illusion.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: I know.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: He's been yanked out of here.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: He's been taken away.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: He told me, remember?
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: He told me maybe someone or something made a mistake.
[...]
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Connections

Referenced in Atop the Fourth Wall: Twilight Zone #9 (2011) See more »

Soundtracks

It's Never June
(uncredited)
Music by Bruce Campbell
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User Reviews

 
Astronauts start feeling spaced out.
14 August 2012 | by (Edinburgh.) – See all my reviews

Yet another in a long, looooooong line of near-perfect episodes that made up any series of The Twilight Zone, "And When The Sky Was Opened" gets everything just perfect and really mixes in sci-fi elements with supernatural mystery without unnecessary explanation. A premise is offered, things are played out and the end result is so much more important than any rationalisation or explanation could be.

Based on a short story by the great Richard Matheson, and directed by Douglas Heyes, this episode concerns three astronauts who are recovering after crashing back to Earth in an experimental spaceship. They seem to have escaped relatively unscathed but the worst is yet to come as, slowly but surely, a feeling of not belonging starts to settle on them, one at a time, and they start to feel themselves losing touch with the reality around them as everyone else starts to act as if they've been erased from existence.

Rod Taylor gives an effective and powerful central performance, ably supported by Jim Hutton and Charles Aidman, but the real power here comes from the way in which that feeling of unease and losing touch with everything around you is evoked. Although it's never so literal, viewers start to will the characters to keep their feet rooted on the solid ground that they managed to get back to. As the situation gets more disturbing, and the characters get more frantic, it remains something that also feels very real and really disturbing.

It may not be one that makes the Top 10 for many fans of the show but that's more to do with the overall quality of almost every episode as opposed to the quality of this particular, haunting tale.


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