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The Twilight Zone: The Last Flight

A British pilot leaves a WWI dogfight, flies into a mysterious white cloud, and lands his 1917 biplane at a U.S. air base in France... in the year 1959.


Episode Info


Episode number: 1x18
Production Number: 173-3607
Airdate: Friday February 05th, 1960



  • Currently 7.8/10
7.8/10 (5 Votes cast)

Trailer


 
Flash
Guest Stars
Kenneth Haigh
As Flight Lt. Decker
Alexander Scourby
As General Harper
Simon Scott
As Major Wilson

Co-Guest Stars
Robert Warwick
As Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye
Harry Raybould
As Corporal
Jerry Catron
As Guard

Uncredited
Jack Perkins
As Mechanic
Paul Baxley
As Jeep Driver
Main Cast
Rod Serling
As Narrator/Host

Recap

In 1917, Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker is returning from patrol over France during World War I. He passes through a cloud and lands his biplane on the airstrip at the Lafayette U.S. Air Base in Reims, France... and finds himself next to an Air Force military transport...

Read the full recap
Episode Notes
The vintage 1918 Nieuport biplane was both owned and flown by Frank Gifford Tallman, and had previously appeared in many World War I motion pictures.

Filmed on location at Norton Air Force Base in San Bernardino, California.



Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Narrator:
Witness Flight Lieutenant William Terrance Decker, Royal Flying Corps, returning from a patrol somewhere over France. The year is 1917. The problem is that the Lieutenant is hopelessly lost. Lieutenant Decker will soon discover that a man can be lost not only in terms of maps and miles, but also in time, and time in this case can be measured in eternities.

Flight Lt. Decker: He disappeared one day while flying. At the memorial service, the Cardinal said, "He belonged to the sky, and the sky has taken him."
General Harper: Who the devil do you think you're fooling, Decker, or whatever your name is?
Flight Lt. Decker: Sir, I swear to you when I took off this morning it was March the 5th, 1917. Mac and I were going...
General Harper: Who?
Flight Lt. Decker: Mack, uh, Captain Mackaye.
General Harper: Mackaye?
Flight Lt. Decker: Yeah, we're in the same...
General Harper: Alexander Mackaye?
Flight Lt. Decker: How did you know?
General Harper: Well, I...
Flight Lt. Decker: How did you know?!?
General Harper: I suppose you're going to tell us you don't know that Alexander Mackaye... Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye, is at this moment on route to this base for a tour of inspection!
Flight Lt. Decker: But that's impossible!
General Harper: Why is it impossible, Lieutenant Decker?!?
Flight Lt. Decker: Because he's dead.

Major Wilson: Now look here, Decker. You realize you're asking us to believe something rather incredible. A cloud of silence. A World War I pilot landing in an American Tag Base in France in 1959. Such a thing just doesn't happen everyday!
Flight Lt. Decker: Well, it happened today! Now look here, I've told you I'll see Mackaye. Now, why don't you leave me alone?
Major Wilson: You really feel you know him, don't you?
Flight Lt. Decker: Know him? Old Leadbottom.
Major Wilson: Leadbottom?
Flight Lt. Decker: Yeah, well, whenever we fly... whenever we flew over the German lines, the soldiers fired at us. Well, one day Mac got hit in a most embarrassing spot. I always called him "Old Leadbottom" after that. It's a private joke, of course. Mac's a proud fellow, you know. He wouldn't like it if I bruited it about.

Major Wilson: What's wrong, Decker?
Flight Lt. Decker: I've got to leave.
Major Wilson: That's impossible. Mackaye will be here in a little while and we'll get to the bottom of this.
Flight Lt. Decker: I tell you, I can't see him.
Major Wilson: Why not?
Flight Lt. Decker: Because he'll know me for what I am.
Major Wilson: Well what are you?!
Flight Lt. Decker: I'm a coward! I'm a coward! I've always been a coward. All my life I've been running away pretending to be something I never was, never could be. That's why I'm here, because I was trying to run away. Because I wanted so desperately to escape that I did escape. I got by with my pretending well enough. My kind of strained idiocy was exactly the brand we all put on. Playing the part, you know, boys on a lark, laughing, joking, drinking. Oh, it's too much, all of it. Then turning into deadly, ice-cold killers in the sky. Although not me,, you of course. No, not me. Up there, I'm just as afraid as I am on the ground. And Mac and I are supposed to go on patrols together, but I can usually manage to persuade him into splitting up. You know, I think he actually hopes he'll run into some trouble. Me, well I just linger in the clouds, flying back and forth, dreading the possibility that I might see an enemy plane. Just hoping for enough time to pass so that I can go back. You know, sometimes I think I'll land behind the German lines and I'll let myself be captured. The pilots always get the best of treatment, you know. But I'm afraid of doing that even. I'm afraid that I'd be discovered and discredited. I couldn't bear that. I have to carry on the self-delusion, you know. You know, I've actually fired bullets through the cockpit walls so that the chaps will see them and be impressed. God help me.

General Harper: Look, didn't the Germans usually bring back the personal effects of pilots who'd been shot down?
Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye: Usually... no, no. I say, what the devil is this all about?!?
(Harper pulls out a paper bag containing Decker's passport and dog tags)
Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye: Where in heaven's name did you get these?
General Harper: They're his.
Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye: Yes. Now what the devil is this all about?!?
Major Wilson: Maybe you'd better sit down, "Old Leadbottom"...
Air Vice Marshal Alexander Mackaye: Old… what did you call me?
(Harper looks out the window and up to the sky)

Closing Narration
Narrator:
Dialogue from a play, Hamlet to Horatio: "There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy." Dialogue from a play written long before men took to the sky. There are more things in heaven and earth, and in the sky, that perhaps can be dreamt of. And somewhere in between heaven, the sky, the earth, lies the Twilight Zone.



Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorJoseph Gluck
CastingMillie Gusse (1)
Set DecoratorRudy Butler  |  Henry Grace
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorGeorge W. Davis  |  William Ferrari
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Jean Valentino
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Assistant DirectorEdward O. Denault
 
Warning: The Twilight Zone season 1 episode 18 guide may contain spoilers
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