The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
19 user 1 critic

The Rip Van Winkle Caper 

After successfully stealing a gold shipment, a group of criminals and their scientist accomplice put themselves in suspended animation in a remote desert cave. When they awaken decades later, complications ensue when their truck is destroyed.


Justus Addiss


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)

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Episode complete credited cast:
Simon Oakland ... De Cruz
Oscar Beregi Jr. ... Farwell (as Oscar Beregi)
Lew Gallo ... Brooks
John Mitchum ... Erbie
Wallace Rooney Wallace Rooney ... George
Shirley O'Hara Shirley O'Hara ... George's Wife


Four thieves steal $1 million in gold bullion in a train robbery and hide the money in a mountainside cave. The four plan to go into suspended animation for approximately 100 years when they hope to awaken as extremely rich men with their heist long forgotten. When they awaken, they're not quite sure what year it is. One of them, De Cruz, has his eye on getting as much of the gold for himself as he possibly can. The world they have awakened in isn't exactly what they had hoped for. Written by garykmcd

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Release Date:

21 April 1961 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The futuristic vehicle which is shown at the end of the episode is a modified version of Robby the Robot's car, first constructed by MGM for the science fiction classic Forbidden Planet (1956). See more »


When the gang pushes the rock that was in front of the cave, a track can be seen that it moves on. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: The last of four Rip Van Winkles, who all died precisely the way they lived, chasing an idol across the sand to wind up bleached dry in the hot sun as to much desert flotsam, worthless as the gold bullion they built a shrine to. Tonight's lesson - in The Twilight Zone.
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References Forbidden Planet (1956) See more »

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User Reviews

Economics 101 indeed...
17 January 2008 | by cephynSee all my reviews

The above poster displays a fundamental misunderstanding about the value of gold and how inflation works. Gold has a static "value" - you invest in gold during times of inflation because when you cash back out, that gold will have the same amount of buying power it started with. It's the dollar that loses value, not the gold.

The plan in the episode is sound. The million dollars worth of gold would have bought the criminals roughly the same amount of stuff in 2061 as it would have in 1961.

It is of course still a plot hole in that suspended animation technology would be worth far more than $1M of gold, but it's a TV show, one that has a specific story and point to it, like all Twilight Zones had. It's simply a plot device.

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