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The Twilight Zone: Judgment Night

Carl Lanser tries to convince those aboard a wartime freighter that the ship will be sunk by a Nazi submarine at exactly 1:15a.m., but no one will believe him.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x10
Production Number: 173-3604
Airdate: Friday December 04th, 1959

Director: John Brahm
Writer: Rod Serling


Starring Roles
Nehemiah PersoffNehemiah Persoff
As Carl Lanser

Guest Stars
Ben WrightBen Wright
As Captain Wilbur
Hugh SandersHugh Sanders
As Jerry Potter
Deirdre OwensDeirdre Owens
As Miss Stanley
Patrick MacneePatrick Macnee
As First Officer
Leslie BradleyLeslie Bradley
As Major Devereaux
Kendrick HuxhamKendrick Huxham
As The Bartender
Richard PeelRichard Peel
As First Steward
Donald JourneauxDonald Journeaux
As Second Steward
Barry BernardBarry Bernard
As Mr. McCloud
James FranciscusJames Franciscus
As Lieutenant Mueller

Debbie JoyceDebbie Joyce
As Little Girl
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


In 1942, the [I]S.S. Queen of Glasgow is one day out of Liverpool, heading for New York. It is traveling through the fog after losing its convoy. On the deck, a passenger named Lanser looks out into the night. The first officer calls out to the crew to black out the lights in the salon. The steward comes out and informs Lanser that he should go in if he wants to eat...

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Episode Notes
Nehemiah Persoff[, ironically, is of Israeli descent.

This episode has British people drinking coffee instead of their normal tea because General Foods was the sponsor.

Sets constructed for the 1959 feature film The Wreck of the Mary Deare were used for this episode.

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Her name is the S.S. Queen of Glasgow. Her registry: British. Gross tonnage: five thousand. Age: indeterminate. At this moment she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination New York. Duly recorded on this ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude. But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading. For the year is 1942, and this particular ship has lost its convoy. It travels alone like an aged blind thing groping through the unfriendly dark, stalked by unseen periscopes of steel killers. Yes, the Queen of Glasgow is a frightened ship, and she carries with her a premonition of death.

Miss Stanley: Mr. Lanser, perhaps if you got some sleep.
Carl Lanser: No, sleep wouldn't help me. I don't think I could get to sleep. I feel as if... as if... I'm in a nightmare. It's so strange. I feel as if there's disaster out there. Doom. We are being stalked. I know we are being stalked. There's a sub out there, a U-boat. I know. I know it's there. I know it.

Captain Wilbur: And they're out there. God knows, they're out there. Waiting, like vultures.

Carl Lanser: It's here! That's the U-boat out there! The U-boat's here! The U-boat's here! We've got to get out of here, everybody! We have got to leave this ship! Everybody, they're going to sink us! Don't you hear me? Have you all gone out of your minds, all of you? There's a U-boat here! It's going to sink us! What do I have to do to you? Do I have to grab you and put you on deck? Do I have to grab your bodily and put you into lifeboats? Do I have to knock you unconscious, all of you?!?

Lieutenant Mueller: I just, I just found it difficult to…
Lanser: To what?
Lieutenant Mueller: To reconcile the killing of men and women without any warning. Makes me wonder if we're not damned now.
Lanser: In the eyes of the British admiralty, we most certainly are.
Lieutenant Mueller: I mean, sir, in the eyes of God.
Lanser: Oh, you're not only a fool, Lieutenant, but also a religious fool, and perhaps a mystic at that. Suppose we are damned. What will happen then?
Lieutenant Mueller: I have had dreams about it. Perhaps there is a special kind of hell for people like us. Perhaps to be damned is to have a fate like the people on that ship, to suffer as they suffer and to die as they die.
Lanser: You are a mystic, Lieutenant.
Lieutenant Mueller: We'll ride the ghost of that ship every night. Every night, Herr Kapitan, for eternity. They could die only once, just once, but we could die a hundred million times. We ride the ghost of that ship every night. Every night for eternity.

Closing Narration
The S.S. Queen of Glasgow, heading for New York, and the time is 1942. For one man, it is always 1942, and this man will ride the ghost of that ship every night for eternity. This is what is meant by paying the fiddler. This is the comeuppance awaiting every man when the ledger of his life is opened and examined, the tally made, and then the reward or the penalty paid. And in the case of Carl Lanser, former Kapitan Leutnant, Navy of the Third Reich, this is the penalty. This is the justice meted out. This is judgment night in the Twilight Zone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
CastingMillie Gusse
Set DesignerHenry Grace  |  Rudy Butler
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorWilliam Ferrari  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Jean Valentino
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Assistant DirectorEdward O. Denault
Sound Effects EditorVan Allen James
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