Twilight Zone: Season 4, Episode 16

On Thursday We Leave for Home (2 May 1963)
"The Twilight Zone" On Thursday We Leave for Home (original title)

TV Episode  -   -  Fantasy | Horror | Mystery
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Space colonists from Pilgrim I, Earth's first spaceship to colonize the outer regions, have spent 30 years in their new home. It's a lonely barren place and they are waiting for a ship from... See full summary »



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Title: On Thursday We Leave for Home (02 May 1963)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Colonel Sloane
Jo Helton ...
Mercedes Shirley ...
Russ Bender ...
Danny Kulick ...
Jo-Jo (as Daniel Kulick)
Madge Kennedy ...
John Ward ...
Shirley O'Hara ...
Tony Benson ...
Colonist (as Anthony Benson)
Lew Gallo ...
Lt. Engle


Space colonists from Pilgrim I, Earth's first spaceship to colonize the outer regions, have spent 30 years in their new home. It's a lonely barren place and they are waiting for a ship from to arrive to transport them home. Some of the colonists are at their wits end and another one, the 9th in six months, commits suicide. They are led by William Benteen, who they call Captain, a tough no-nonsense type who does his best to keep the together. They rejoice when the ship arrives and are given three days to prepare for their departure. As the day approaches however, Benteen assumes the community will stay together on Earth. When he realizes that most in the community will go their own way once they get home, he decides they should stay. When the group decides otherwise, Benteen is left with only one option. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

2 May 1963 (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?


Director Buzz Kulik named the leader of the colony Captain William Benteen. This may have been an homage to Captain Fredrick William Benteen, one of Lieutenant Colonel Custer's officers at Little Big Horn. Captain Benteen is also mentioned in Twilight Zone: The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms (1963). See more »


During one of his monologues, Captain Benteen talks about the planet never experiencing night due to the presence of two suns. For this geometry to be true, the suns would have to be on opposite sides of the planet, yet they are clearly close together in the sky. This would actually leave night across the opposing hemisphere of the planet's surface. See more »


Narrator: [Closing Narration] William Benteen, who had prerogatives: he could lead, he could direct, dictate, judge, legislate. It became a habit, then a pattern, and finally a necessity. William Benteen, once a god - now a population of one.
See more »


Edited from Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Wonderful script, wonderful acting, achingly beautiful score. What more could you want?
6 January 2013 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Most of the hour-long TZ episodes from season four were unnecessarily long and loaded with padding to fill them out, with few exceptions ("Death Ship," for one), but "Thursday" is unquestionably the finest of the fourth season, and in my opinion right there in the top ten of all TZ episodes, a very high bar to clear, given the unusually high quality of the series. This is a story about a man, who calls himself Captain Benteen (James Whitmore) who has used his sheer force of will to hold together a small colony trapped on a desolate planet overheated by a binary star, one that they mistakenly thought would be a kind of utopia, an escape from an Earth that had become to dangerous, too warlike. Benteen came to this bleak place when he was only fifteen, so you know that his title is one he gave himself, which nicely explains his behavior later on, when a chance for salvation for the colony becomes possible. Benteen is intelligent, strong, benevolent, kind, and dictatorial, all at the same time, a very complex man. You can see this so well when he swiftly punishes a sleeping watch stander one minute, then the next minute treats broken bones with a tender touch, then (best of all) soothes a young boy and the rest of his people by so touchingly telling them about what Earth had been like, since few of them had been born there. He is neither villain nor hero, only all too human. Even the soundtrack is top shelf, especially the beautiful strings used during Benteen's speech he used to comfort his people after the meteor shower. Serling liked to make his characters multi-faceted, and Benteen's fate is all the more powerful for that complicated nature. If you haven't seen this one, you definitely owe it to yourself to watch it. btw...Frank Darabont chose Whitmore to play the role of Brooks Hatlen in "The Shawshank Redemption" specifically because of his magnificent performance in this TZ episode, and I wholeheartedly agree with his choice for that reason.

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