The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
23 user 5 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:
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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

11 December 1959 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


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 »


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 »


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.
See more »


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


It's Never June
Music by Bruce Campbell
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User Reviews

An Episode which Shakes our Sense of Reality
22 September 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Rod Taylor and Jim Hutton give appropriately creepy performances in this tale which explores the tenuousness of perceived reality. Three astronauts are in the hospital after their spaceship crashes to earth. The spaceship had been out of communication with Mission Control for some time prior to its being found in the desert with all three astronauts alive.

As the astronauts are released from the hospital, the world as they know it turns upside down, one astronaut at a time. By the time the episode ends, the viewer is left questioning basic premises of our existence, such as memory, observation, existence itself.

Rod Taylor's character is strong and confident, then confused and unsure, and finally desperate and panicky as he tries to figure out what is happening to everyone's memory.

The story poses large, existential questions, of "another dimension," worthy of portrayal in the Twilight Zone.

23 of 27 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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