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The Twilight Zone: The Purple Testament

A soldier discovers he has the unwanted power to spot imminent death in the faces of men about to do battle.

Episode Info

Episode number: 1x19
Production Number: 173-3619
Airdate: Friday February 12th, 1960

Director: Richard L. Bare
Writer: Rod Serling


Guest Stars
Barney PhillipsBarney Phillips
As Captain Gunther
Dick YorkDick York
As Captain Riker
Paul MazurskyPaul Mazursky
As Orderly
S. John LaunerS. John Launer
As Colonel
Warren OatesWarren Oates
As Jeep Driver
Marc CavellMarc Cavell
As Freeman
Ron MasakRon Masak
As Harmonica Man
William PhippsWilliam Phipps
As Sergeant
William Reynolds (1)William Reynolds (1)
As Lt. Fitzgerald
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Lieutenant Fitzgerald can see a glowing light in the faces of the men that will die in the next combat mission. His friend Captain Riker doesn't believe him. Lt. Fitzgerald is hounded by the men to see if they will survive. Soon, Lt. Fitzgerald sees the Captain's face with a glowing light. Fitzgerald is relieved after receiving news that he is being sent back to division Head Quarters. As he's leaving he glances in the mirror and sees the light on his own face. Soon after leaving, there is the sound of a distant explosion. ..

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Episode Notes
Dick York later stars in "A Penny for Your Thoughts." He is best known as Darin #1 on Bewitched.

William Reynolds later co-starred on the long running crime drama, The FBI.

Dean Stockwell was originally slated to play the part of Lt. Fitzgerald but was forced to drop out due to a conflicting schedule. Stockwell later went on to play a soldier in the later episode "A Quality of Mercy."

Warren Oates appears in "The 7th Is Made Up of Phantoms."

Barney Phillips appears in "Will the Real Martian Please Stand Up."

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Infantry platoon, U.S. Army, Phillipine Islands, 1945. These are the faces of the young men who fight. As if some omniscient painter had mixed a tube of oils that were at one time earth brown, dust gray, blood red, beard black, and fear - yellow white, and these men were the models. For this is the province of combat and these are the faces of war.

Lt. Fitzgerald: I looked into 44 faces yesterday morning and when I got to those four there was something special, a light or something. I can't describe it to you. There isn't any description. But I looked into their faces and I knew. I knew this was their last day. I knew they were gonna get it. I knew! There wasn't any doubt about it.
Captain Riker: Well, that's funny. That's real funny.
Lt. Fitzgerald: I haven't slept much. I keep wondering. Is this the way it's gonna be? If every time I stand in front of a platoon, am I gonna be able to look down the line and know which ones aren't coming back?
Captain Riker: Fitz, when did you write these names down? You're sure it was yesterday? You're sure it wasn't today, on the way back in the truck?
Lt. Fitzgerald: Yesterday. Yesterday morning, I swear to you. I wrote those names down yesterday.

Colonel: As you were, Fitz. I just thought I'd drop around and congratulate you boys on a good job you did.
Lt. Fitzgerald: Thank you, sir.
Colonel: Well, the odds fell on our side. Those gorillas did a right-handy job on those guns and you fellows walked right across, didn't you?
Lt. Fitzgerald: Right across.
Colonel: That's fortunate. The Air Force must have picked off at least six or seven of those 25's. Of course, those guns had been operating, that might have been the longest bridge you'd ever been on or the shortest. Sniper fire, that's all you had, wasn't it?
Lt. Fitzgerald: Yes, sir. Sniper fire. We lost one man.
Colonel: Well, that's a pity. He was a good man. You're good friends, weren't you, Fitzgerald? So much for Mrs. Ryker's lovely wedding. Seven happy years. Two fine sons. Man, war stinks!

Captain Riker: There's nobody in this company who's a mind-reader.

Closing Narration
From William Shakespeare, Richard the Third, a small excerpt. The line reads, 'He has come to open the purple testament of bleeding war.' And for Lieutenant William Fitzgerald, A Company, First Platoon, the testament is closed. Lieutenant Fitzgerald has found the Twilight Zone.

Cultural References
The title is taken from Shakespeare's Richard II The complete line reads: "He is come to open the purple testament of bleeding war".

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorBill Mosher
CastingMillie Gusse
MusicLud Gluskin  |  Lucien Moraweck
Set DecoratorRudy Butler  |  Henry Grace
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorWilliam Ferrari  |  George W. Davis
Sound EditorFranklin Milton  |  Jean Valentino
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Sound Effects EditorVan Allen James
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