The Twilight Zone: Season 4, Episode 6

Death Ship (7 Feb. 1963)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 8.1/10 from 570 users  
Reviews: 8 user

An interplanetary expedition from earth finds an exact duplicate of their ship and themselves crashed on the planet they were surveying. Should they stay or risk taking off and crashing?



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Title: Death Ship (07 Feb 1963)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Fred Beir ...
Lieutenant Carter (as Fredrick Beir)
Mary Webster ...
Sara Taft ...
Mrs. Nolan
Tammy Marihugh ...


In 1997, the spaceship E-89 arrives at the 13th planet in star system 51. Their mission is to collect plant samples to take back to an overpopulated Earth so it can be determined if the planet could be colonized. What they find however is a crashed spaceship of Earth design. Inside the ship they three dead crew members - but the dead are their duplicates and the crashed vessel is the E-89. The captain refuses to accept that they might be dead and explores several possibilities to explain what has happened including the theory that they may have time-traveled. The two crewmen hallucinate and come to believe they are already dead but the captain refuses to accept that and intends to prove that they are very much alive. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis





Release Date:

7 February 1963 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The story's "novum," which is the notion that in 1997 spaceships are being sent from an overpopulated Earth to find planets suitable for colonization, was later used as one of the main premises of Lost in Space (1965), a series which starred many The Twilight Zone (1959) alumni. See more »


The introduction to the show says that it is 1997 and the earth is over crowded. But when the crew members go back to their previous lives, the setting are all rather "normal" not over crowded. See more »


Narrator: [Opening Narration] Picture of the spaceship E-89, cruising above the thirteenth planet in star system fifty-one, the year 1997. In a little while, supposedly, the ship will be landed and specimens taken, vegetable, mineral and, if any, animal. These will be brought back to overpopulated Earth, where technicians will evaluate them and, if everything is satisfactory, stamp their findings with the word 'inhabitable' and open up yet another planet for colonization. These are the things that are ...
See more »


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

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User Reviews

Mind-Blowing Spaceship Show
14 August 2007 | by See all my reviews

The spaceship from Forbidden Planet is used again. I even think of this as Forbidden Planet 2...well almost. This is all about a pain-in-the-bum Captain (Jack Klugman) who can't understand what is going on with his "death ship". I first viewed this episode when I was 17 (in 1983) and it never really escaped my memory...the closing narration plays in my head whenever I encounter stupid people doing the same thing all the time. But is the episode a classic? No. The teaser, act one and the end are classic but a good part of it is crap. It feels like a 51 minute episode that should of been a 25 minute show.

It gets high marks for the use of stock Jerry Goldsmith music played during the bit where Klugman glares at the dead crew. And, as I said, the closing narration is a mind-blower.

I love spaceship shows on television and Death Ship would have to go down as one of the first produced to really capture my imagination. Twilight Zone was not the only series to steal from Forbidden Planet, it is common knowledge that Star Trek/Lost In Space stole from Forbidden Planet but the underground city in The Time Tunnel pilot (1966) was designed after the underground city seen in Forbidden Planet.

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