Twilight Zone Tuesday – And When the Sky Was Opened

And When the Sky Was Opened

And When the Sky Was Opened Original Air Date: December 11, 1959

Lieutenant Colonel Clegg Forbes – Rod Taylor
Major William Gart – Jim Hutton
Colonel Ed Harrington – Charles Aidman
Amy – Maxine Cooper


Serling:

Her name X-20. Her type – an experimental interceptor. Recent history – a crash landing in the Mojave Desert after a 31 hour flight 900 miles into space. Incidental data – the ship with the men who flew her disappeared from the radar screen for 24 hours.

Nurses are walking down a hospital hallway. They round a corner and bump into a Colonel. He seems awfully tense and nervous. He asks the nurse if a Major Gart is still there. She says he is and Colonel Jittery goes down to see him. The nurses chat amongst themselves about Colonel Jittery being one of the space pilots that just returned. We now know his name is Colonel Forbes.

Serling:
But the shrouds that cover mysteries are not always made of tarpaulin, as this man will soon find out on the other side of the hospital door.

We get a close-up of door 15. Colonel Forbes whips the door open to be greeted by a voice off-screen. Presumably it’s Major Gart. A Major Gart who barely looks old enough to be a private.  Major Gart is in a hospital bed with a broken leg. He sounds like he wants to gtfo now. He says if they put one more thermometer in his mouth he’s going AWOL. Gart wants to know what’s going on ‘outside’.  Geez dude, it’s not prison. Forbes says everything’s good but still looks nervous and fidgety as hell. Gart calls Colonel Forbes Clegg which I’m guessing is his first name.

Gart wants to know how the ship is. Clegg says it’s fine, then changes his mind and says no, they have it under wraps. Clegg is acting really weird and Gart thinks Clegg went off on a bender and is hungover (actually he says “gone off on a toot” but I hate that word so, bender it is). Clegg wants to know how he looks and pulls out a pack of cigarettes and tosses the pack to Gart. Ahh, the good old days when you could smoke anywhere, even in the freaking hospital.

Clegg wants to tell Gart about something weird that’s happened that he can’t explain. First he wants Gart to answer some questions like when Clegg left the day before. Gart doesn’t get what’s up and Clegg says he doesn’t know but he needs somebody’s help.

Starting from the beginning Clegg says that he left there the morning before. Then he asks Gart who was with him. Gart says Clegg was alone. Clegg freaks out again and grabs a paper with a picture of the two of them on the front. Clegg says they took off, disappeared for 24 hours and ended up in the middle of the desert. They don’t know where they went during that time or what happened to them.

Clegg (finally) gets to the point and says that there was another guy with them. A Colonel named Harrington. Clegg says Harrington was his best friend and Clegg had known him for 15 years and Gart had known him for 5. Gart has no idea what Clegg is talking about. Clegg says they three went up in the ship, came back and he and Harrington were discharged the day before. Gart says he doesn’t know anyone named Harrington. He and Clegg were the only two in the ship and Clegg walked out of there alone.

Clegg starts from the beginning. It gets a little wavery and we’re popped into a flashback. Clegg, Gart and another man, Harrington I presume. They’re all laughing and joking around, best friends, obviously. Harrington picks up the paper and it shows the three of them. Harrington and Clegg leave.

Obviously the best place to go to when you’ve just gotten out of the hospital is a bar. The bartender recognizes them and won’t let them pay for their beer. Forbes starts chatting with the hottie at the bar. She wants to know what it’s like up in space. Harrington starts to light a cigarette and zones out, almost scorching his fingers with a match. Clegg and Harrington go to toast and Harrington drops his glass. Clegg wants to know if Harrington is feeling sick. Harrington says he got a funny feeling that he doesn’t belong here anymore. Harrington goes to the payphone to call home. Harrington drops the phone and he calls Clegg over. Harrington tells Clegg that his mother didn’t know him and his father told him to stop harassing his wife. He’s also very sweaty. Clegg says maybe it’s a gag. That’d be a pretty cruel joke. Harrington says he feels like it’s all part of the feeling like none of them should be there. That something made a mistake and let them go when it shouldn’t have. Clegg tells Harrington to stay put and he’ll get him a good stiff drink.

On his way back to the bar Clegg snatches a newspaper off the table. Harrington is gone from the picture and it just shows Clegg and Major Gart. Clegg goes to the phone booth and Harrington is gone. Nobody at the bar remembers him and the glass he broke earlier is gone. Vanished. Dun dun dunnn!

I’m going to sum up the next ten minutes. Clegg runs around trying to prove Harrington existed in various ways. Trying to get people to remember Harrington. That’s it. That’s literally 90% of the episode.

Flashback’s over and now we’re back in the hospital with Clegg and Gart. Gart says he doesn’t know Harrington (again) and tells Clegg that he must be an illusion (or delusion). Clegg says he knows Harrington isn’t an illusion. That he’s been yanked out by…whatever.

Now Clegg looks stoned and he’s getting the same feeling Harrington had. That he’ll disappear if he lets go. He looks in the mirror. I’m not sure if he’s supposed to be visible in it or not. The way he freaks out I thought that he couldn’t see himself but you can see his elbow so I honestly don’t know if he’s supposed to be invisible and it’s a mess up or what. Clegg freaks out and runs out the door.

Gart tries to follow but he doesn’t get far on his broken leg. The nurse comes in and Gart tells her to go after Colonel Forbes. Of course, she doesn’t remember him so now it’s Gart’s turn to freak out. Gart looks at the paper ad now it only shows him.

 

Pan up from Gart and now the room is completely empty. They’re all gone. Even the plane has disappeared. And nobody wonders why there’s a big, cordoned off area with a tarp in the middle covering nothing.

Serling:
Once upon a time there was a man named Harrington, a man named Forbes and a man named Gart. They used to exist but don’t any longer. Someone or something took them somewhere. At least, they are no longer a part of the memory of man. And as to the X-20 supposed to be housed here, in this hangar, this too, does not exist. And if you have any questions concerning an aircraft and the three men who flew her, speak softly of them and only in the Twilight Zone.


This one was a tad short. There’s just not much to it. This one is pretty well acted (if a tad overly dramatic). There’s just not that much to it. There are so many unanswered questions with this one. Where did they disappear to? Who took them during the 24 hours? How did they ‘escape’? And now for the biggest plot hole of all: If something took them during the 24 hours they were missing and accidentally let them go again, why does nobody remember them? They were there and ‘in the memory of man’ before the disappearance so why does no one remember them?


Join me again for next week’s episode which is much better and one of my favorites: What You Need.