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)

Watch Now

With Prime Video





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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

11 December 1959 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

And When the Sky Was Opened See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Although not in the script, Douglas Heyes told Rod Taylor to jump through the bar window because he felt his character was in such a fever pitch it only made sense. Rod Serling saw the scene and liked it enough to approve the change. See more »


Major Gart was hospitalized with a broken leg, established early in the show. Near the end he jumps out of the hospital bed and runs to the door, but nothing seems to be wrong with his leg and no cast is visible. 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 ...
See more »


Referenced in Atop the Fourth Wall: Twilight Zone #9 (2011) See more »


No Tricks
Music by Bruce Campbell
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

This FAQ is empty. Add the first question.

User Reviews

Well done Rod and Rod.
23 January 2014 | by darrenpearce111See all my reviews

Astronaut Col. Clegg Forbes (Rod Taylor) visits his colleague Major William Gart (James Hutton) in hospital. They have recently returned from a mission in space with a third member- Major Ed Harrington, who no one remembers but Forbes! Especially chilling for Forbes as their spaceship X-20 went off the radar for twenty-four hours before they returned to earth.

One of the early episodes that set the standard. Interesting now as its a fantasy drama made at a time when space exploration was new. That is not to say that its dated as a mysterious sci-fi tale. The concept came from a Richard Matheson story called 'Disappearing Act' and this was the first of sixteen of his to be used for the Zone. In this case Rod Serling took the idea and created his own very different and absorbing teleplay. The three men are shown together briefly in flashback in a spirit of devil-may-care esprit de corps and in contrast as somewhat shaken by the weird goings-on in the main body of the story. Rod Taylor turns in perhaps his best performance-no Hitchcockian birds-no Morlocks- but instead something inexplicable and profoundly scary.

Just a thought. There's a William Gart in this, and a Gart Williams as main character in 'A Stop At Willoughby'.

10 of 12 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 24 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Trending TV Series With Prime Video

Explore popular and recently added TV series available to stream now with Prime Video.

Start your free trial

Recently Viewed