The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
24 user 8 critic

And When the Sky Was Opened 

Three astronauts return to Earth after seemingly having made an encounter that dooms them and their craft to erasure from existence itself.


Douglas Heyes


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Richard Matheson (based on a short story by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Rod Taylor ... Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes
Jim Hutton ... Major William Gart (as James Hutton)
Charles Aidman ... Colonel Ed Harrington
Maxine Cooper ... Amy
Paul Bryar ... Bartender
Sue Randall ... Nurse
Joe Bassett Joe Bassett ... Medical Officer


Three U.S. astronauts blast off from Earth on an initial test flight in an experimental rocket-ship, but during the flight into space the ship disappears from radar, then reappears. On return, the rocket-ship is hangared and put under a tarp, pending an investigation. One crewman is hospitalized for a leg broken on landing, and is visited by the other two. Next the pair go for a drink, and then one crewman phones his parents from a bar phone-booth - but they say they have no son! The astronaut immediately disappears, and no one in the bar remembers him, except the other astronaut in the bar, the Captain. Written by David Stevens

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Release Date:

11 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

And When the Sky Was Opened See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Rod Serling wrote the character Forbes was terrified throughout but Douglas Heyes suggested the sensation of being pulled from existence should be euphoric. See more »


A few minutes in when Colonel Clegg Forbes picks up the newspaper he wrinkles it quite a bit. However, the next shot shows Major William Gart's hands holding a perfectly flat newspaper with no wrinkles. See more »


Colonel Ed Harrington: [after calling his parents] Clegg!
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: Yeah?
Colonel Ed Harrington: Come here, please. Would you come here quick?
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: [walks over to Harrington] What's troubling you?
Colonel Ed Harrington: Clegg, I just called home, called my folks. My mom answered the phone.
Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes: Yeah.
Colonel Ed Harrington: I told her who I was, and she said she didn't have any son named Ed Harrington. That's what she said, Clegg! And then I asked to talk to the old man. And he got on and kept telling me to get off the phone. He didn't want any practical jokester bothering his wife. He said he didn't have ...
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Referenced in Atop the Fourth Wall: Twilight Zone #9 (2011) See more »


No Tricks
Music by Bruce Campbell
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User Reviews

That's Not the Way I Remember It
4 July 2006 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Space probe returns with three astronauts. However, strange things start happening to them as they glory in their triumph.

One of series' spookiest entries. It's fascinating to watch the byplay between the fun-loving astronauts spiral away from flyboy hijinks into the nervous hysteria of brave men caught up in the inexplicable. Some fine group performances, especially Rod Taylor's whose mounting panic reminds me of Kevin Mc Carthy's unhinged doctor in Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The brief shot of this cool professional coming unglued while posed against a cosmic starscape could serve as an icon for the entire series. Note also the clever touch of posing Charles Aidman against a faintly blinking neon, implying that his stay on earth is shaky at best. Speaking of the bar scene, watch the busty babe's amusing what's-his-line-gonna-be reaction to Taylor's aggressive approach. It's this contrast between the seemingly normal and the emerging paranormal that heightens the show's effect. One teasing question presented is how much our sense of reality depends not only on what our five senses tell us, but on how much we can agree on. That is, a reality composed not only on what we've seen, but on what we can agree on having seen. Put the two in conflict and worlds, like Taylor's, come apart.

Outstanding episode. One of the series' best.

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