The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 19

The Purple Testament (12 Feb. 1960)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 1,011 users  
Reviews: 10 user | 3 critic

A U.S. army lieutenant serving in the Philippines during WWII develops a harrowing ability to see in the faces of the men of his platoon, who will be the next ones to die.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Narrator (voice)
Capt. Phil Riker
William Reynolds ...
Lt. Fitzgerald
William Phipps ...
S. John Launer ...
Lieutenant Colonel
Marc Cavell ...
Jeep Driver
Harmonica Man


In the Philippines in 1945, army Lt. Fitzgerald has developed the disturbing ability to look into his men's faces and know who will be killed in the next battle. He says it's like a light is shined on their face. His superior, Capt. Phil Riker, consults the medical officer but he finds nothing conclusive. Fitzgerald passes out when visiting one of his wounded men in the hospital after he sees the light on his face. When he sees the light on Riker's face, he begs him not to go out. After they return from the operation, he sees that there will be one other casualty that day. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

12 February 1960 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


The title is from a quote from William Shakespeare's play Richard The Second, act 3, scene 3. (It is NOT from Richard The Third as the Rod Serling narration claims.) "He is come to open the purple testament of bleeding war." See more »


Captain Riker and Lieutenant Fitzgerald are wearing their insignia. Officers serving on the Pacific Front made a point not to wear this because it identified them as high priority targets for Japanese snipers. See more »


Lt. Fitzgerald: I'm five for five captain. How many coincidences add up to a fact?
See more »


Referenced in The Twilight Zone: Into the Light (2003) See more »


(aka Going Home) (uncredited)
from Symphony No. 9 in E Minor 'From the New World', Op. 95
Music by Antonín Dvorák
Arranged by Lucien Moraweck
Played by the 'Harmonica Man' when Captain Riker puts some photos and his wedding ring on the table,
and again at the end
See more »

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User Reviews

There is a good Mexican variation... Macario...
3 October 2006 | by (Atwater, USA) – See all my reviews

I know how the lieutenant in this episode feels. I've had similar occurrences from time to time. I would rather have them disproved... though some people would rather heighten the experience...

Very well done, and just a fantastic episode from a fantastic series, that modern imitations don't equal in elegance.

It is great to see Dick York full of vigor, having seen his last years was tough. The light and use of black and white add well.

It is amazing what they could accomplish in just 30 minutes... of which only about 22 comprise the episode. Simple, inexpensive, yet entertaining.

14 of 21 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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