The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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The Thirty-Fathom Grave 

In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the... See full summary »



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Episode complete credited cast:
Chief Bell
Captain Beecham
Conlan Carter ...
Ensign Marmer
Forrest Compton ...
ASW Officer
Henry Scott ...
Anthony D. Call ...
Lee Helmsman (as Tony Call)
Charles Kuenstle ...
Sonar Operator
Derrik Lewis ...
Vincent Baggetta ...
Sailor (as Vince Bagetta)
Louie Elias ...


In the early 1960's, as a U.S. Navy ship cruises near Guadalcanal in the South Pacific, its sonar detects muted hammering on metal undersea. The eerie sounds emanate from a submarine on the ocean floor, maybe there since World War II. A very nervous crew member (Mike Kellin) on the ship served aboard that sub - and he was its sole survivor. Written by David Stevens

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Parents Guide:





Release Date:

10 January 1963 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The position of the ship and sub is given as 09°30' N 160°48' E, which places them about two miles north of the island of Nura in the Solomon Islands, roughly in the middle of the Solomon Sea. See more »


U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officers typically address each other by their first name, not by their rank due in large part to the bond they all share in the Chiefs Mess. It's highly unlikely that the Doc, who is also a Chief would have addressed Chief Bell by his rank. He would have addressed him by his first name. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: Incident one hundred miles off the coast of Guadalcanal. Time: the present. The United States naval destroyer on what has been a most uneventful cruise. In a moment, they're going to send a man down thirty fathoms and check on a noisemaker - someone or something tapping on metal. You may or may not read the results in a naval report, because Captain Beecham and his crew have just set a course that will lead this ship and everyone on it - into The Twilight Zone.
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User Reviews

It drags....
10 June 2010 | by (Bradenton, Florida) – See all my reviews

In the fourth season of "The Twilight Zone", they experimented by making the show an hour long instead of the usual half hour. In some cases the new episodes worked well and in other cases it really made you look back fondly at the original format. Obviously the experiment was not successful, as the next season returned to the original length. If you would ask me why I think the shows ultimately failed, I think it's because too often they were just too long--drawing out a half hour story too far--thus ruining the suspense. "The Thirty-Fathom Grave" is a prime example of a story that was harmed by this.

The episode is set on a modern US Navy ship. When they are in the middle of very routine duty, they suddenly begin hearing tapping sounds on the sonar--very much like the sound you'd hear from a crew on a wrecked sub as they tap on the ship as a distress call. The ship stops to investigate and the next 40 minutes are basically doing nothing--waiting until the ultimate twist occurs. But, because it took so long, you are left feeling disappointed.

It's a shame, really, as one of the stars is a fun actor from the era--Simon Oakland. I loved seeing him on a wide variety of shows playing gruff blow-hard characters--especially since here he is NOT that sort of fellow. Because the show was a failure, I am sure his fine performance was overshadowed by the shallow plot and overacting of the main character--who was written in a rather bizarre and inexplicable manner.

Perhaps it's worth seeing, but it is far from a classic despite some reviews giving it a 10. In fact, EVERY episode of the series has a few people giving it 10s...making you wonder if either guys like me are idiots because we don't love every episode or there are people who are such die-hard fans that you need to take these glowing reviews with a grain of salt!

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