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 ...
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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
Colonel Clegg is actually wearing the rank of Major on his uniform. Colonel Harrington is wearing the insignia of a Colonel. 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:
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.
Rod Serling - Narrator:
[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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Space probe returns with three astronauts. However, strange things start happening to them as they glory in their triumph.
One of series' spookiest entries. It's fascinating to watch the byplay between the fun-loving astronauts spiral away from flyboy hijinks into the nervous hysteria of brave men caught up in the inexplicable. Some fine group performances, especially Rod Taylor's whose mounting panic reminds me of Kevin Mc Carthy's unhinged doctor in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The brief shot of this cool professional coming unglued while posed against a cosmic starscape could serve as an icon for the entire series. Note also the clever touch of posing Charles Aidman against a faintly blinking neon, implying that his stay on earth is shaky at best. Speaking of the bar scene, watch the busty babe's amusing what's-his-line-gonna-be reaction to Taylor's aggressive approach. It's this contrast between the seemingly normal and the emerging paranormal that heightens the show's effect. One teasing question presented is how much our sense of reality depends not only on what our five senses tell us, but on how much we can agree on. That is, a reality composed not only on what we've seen, but on what we can agree on having seen. Put the two in conflict and worlds, like Taylor's, come apart.
Outstanding episode. One of the series' best.
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