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And When the Sky Was Opened

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Episode no.  Season 1 Episode 11
Featured music  Leonard Rosenman
Production code  173-3611
Directed by  Douglas Heyes
Cinematography by  George T. Clemens
And When the Sky Was Opened
Written by  Rod Serling (teleplay) Richard Matheson (short story)

"And When the Sky Was Opened" is episode eleven of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on December 11, 1959. It is an adaptation of the Richard Matheson short story "Disappearing Act".


Plot summary

United States Air Force Colonel Clegg Forbes arrives at a military hospital to visit his friend and co-pilot Major William Gart. The two had recently piloted an experimental spaceplane, the X-20 DynaSoar, on a mission that took them 900 miles beyond the confines of the Earth's atmosphere for the first time. During their voyage the men blacked out for four hours and the craft itself disappeared from radar screens for a full day before reappearing and crash landing in the desert leaving Gart with a broken leg. Gart inquires as to the status of the plane but Forbes is clearly agitated and asks Gart if he remembers how many people were on the mission, producing a newspaper whose front page shows the likenesses of the two men and a headline stating that two astronauts were rescued from the desert crash. Gart confirms that only he and Forbes piloted the plane but Forbes insists that a third man – Colonel Ed Harrington, his best friend of 16 years – accompanied them.

In flashback, on the previous morning, Harrington and Forbes are shown joking with Gart as they are discharged from the hospital after passing their physical exams leaving the Major to recuperate alone. The same newspaper that Forbes would later show Gart is present but instead asserts three astronauts were recovered from the crash of the X-20 with a photo depicting a crew of three. The two men visit a bar downtown. While there, Harrington is suddenly overcome by a feeling that he no longer "belongs" in the world. Disturbed, he phones his parents who tell him they have no son named Ed Harrington and believe the person calling them to be a prankster. Harrington then mysteriously vanishes from the phone booth and no one in the bar but Forbes remembers his existence. Increasingly desperate, Forbes searches for any trace of his friend but can find nothing in the bar. His girlfriend, Amy, does not remember Harrington, and neither does his commanding officer. Returning to the closed bar, he breaks in looking for Harrington, calling his name repeatedly. He returns to the hospital the next morning to talk with Gart.

Back in the present, Forbes is dismayed by Gart's claim that he doesn't know anyone named Harrington. Forbes then glances at a mirror and discovers he casts no reflection, causing him to flee the room in terror. Gart tries to hobble after him only to find that Forbes has disappeared. Calling the duty nurse to ask if she saw where Forbes went, Gart is stunned at the nurse's claim that nobody named Forbes has been in the building and that Gart was the only man who was aboard his plane. After getting back into bed, he notices the newspaper headline has changed. It now says that Gart was the sole pilot of the X-20 – all mention of Forbes, including his photo, is gone. Horrified, Gart also disappears.

An officer enters the building and asks the duty nurse if there are any unused rooms available to accommodate new patients. The nurse takes him to the now completely empty room which hosted the three astronauts, stating that it has been unoccupied. In the hangar which previously housed the X-20, the sheet covering the craft is shown lying on the ground. There is no trace of the plane.


  • Rod Taylor as Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes
  • Charles Aidman as Colonel Ed Harrington
  • Jim Hutton as Major William Gart
  • Maxine Cooper as Amy
  • Sue Randall as Nurse
  • Paul Bryar as Bartender
  • Joe Bassett as Medical officer
  • Gloria Pall as Girl in bar
  • Elizabeth Fielding as Blond Nurse
  • References

    And When the Sky Was Opened Wikipedia

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