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"The Twilight Zone" Judgment Night (TV Episode 1959) Poster

(TV Series)

(1959)

Quotes

Rod Serling - Narrator: [opening narration] Her name is the S.S. Queen of Glasgow. Her registry: British. Gross tonnage: Five thousand. Age: Indeterminate. At this moment, she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination: New York. Duly recorded on this ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude. But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading. For the year is 1942, and this particular ship has lost its convoy. It travels alone like an aged blind thing groping through the unfriendly dark, stalked by unseen periscopes of steel killers. Yes, the Queen of Glasgow is a frightened ship, and she carries with her a premonition of - death.

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Lt. Mueller: I just, I just found it difficult to...

Carl Lanser: To do what?

Lt. Mueller: To reconcile the killing of men and women without any warning. Makes me wonder if we're not damned now.

Carl Lanser: In the eyes of the British admiralty, we most certainly are.

Lt. Mueller: I mean, sir, in the eyes of God.

Carl Lanser: Oh, you're not only a fool, Leutnant, but also a religious fool, and perhaps a mystic at that. Suppose we are damned. What will happen then?

Lt. Mueller: I've had dreams about it. Perhaps there is a special kind of hell for people like us. Perhaps to be damned is to have a fate like the people on that ship, to suffer as they suffer and to die as they die.

Carl Lanser: You are a mystic, Leutnant.

Lt. Mueller: We'd ride the ghost of that ship every night. Every night, Herr Kapitän, for eternity. They could die only once, just once, but we could die a hundred million times. We could ride the ghost of that ship every night. Every night for eternity.

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Rod Serling - Narrator: [closing narration] The S.S. Queen of Glasgow, heading for New York, and the time is 1942. For one man, it is always 1942, and this man will ride the ghost of that ship every night for eternity. This is what is meant by paying the fiddler. This is the comeuppance awaiting every man when the ledger of his life is opened and examined, the tally made, and then the reward or the penalty paid. And in the case of Carl Lanser, former Kapitän Leutnant, Navy of the Third Reich, this is the penalty. This is the justice meted out. This is judgment night - in The Twilight Zone.

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Captain Wilbur: Are you all right, Mr. Lanser? I mean, is there anything - well, anything that you want to tell us?

Carl Lanser: There is very little that I can tell you, as I don't remember anything. I don't really know how I got on this ship. I don't recall anything about it. I seem to remember only odd disjointed things. I know, for example, that my name is Carl Lanser. I know that I was born in Frankfurt.

Captain Wilbur: Go on, Mr. Lanser.

Carl Lanser: Go on? Go on how? It seems to be all that I know.

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Barbara Stanley: Mr. Lanser, are you all right?

Carl Lanser: Yes, yes, I'm all right. It's just that I have these crazy feelings.

Barbara Stanley: What?

Carl Lanser: A feeling of doing things, saying things.

Barbara Stanley: The feeling that you've done them before?

[Lanser nods]

Barbara Stanley: I know that feeling. I've had it occasionally. Being in a room somewhere and being able to swear that you've been there before. Even the conversation will seem identical to another time.

Carl Lanser: And the people?

Barbara Stanley: Yes, and the people, too.

Carl Lanser: How odd. I don't seem to recall. I don't seem to recall getting on this ship or anything else, for that matter. It's suddenly as if I woke up and found myself standing on deck and hearing your voices coming from the salon.

Barbara Stanley: Like amnesia.

Carl Lanser: No, not really. I know who I am. I'm Carl Lanser. I am Carl Lanser. I was born in Frankurt, Germany. I'm in the...

[goes blank]

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