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The Twilight Zone: The Rip Van Winkle Caper

To escape the police, four thieves create a plot to live in suspended animation for 100 years along with their stolen gold bars.

Episode Info  

Episode number: 2x24
Production Number: 173-3655
Airdate: Friday April 21st, 1961

Director: Justus Addiss
Writer: Rod Serling

Guest Stars
Simon OaklandSimon Oakland
As DeCruz
Oscar BeregiOscar Beregi
As Farwell (as Oscar Beregi)

Co-Guest Stars
Lew GalloLew Gallo
As Brooks
John MitchumJohn Mitchum
As Erbie
Wallace RooneyWallace Rooney
As Man on Road / George
Shirley OShirley O'Hara
As Woman on Road

David Armstrong (1)David Armstrong (1)
As DeCruz's Stunt Double
Robert L. McCordRobert L. McCord
As Brooks's Stunt Double
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


In Death Valley, a moving van and a car pull up to a rocky outcropping and four men emerge. Farwell, the leader of the group and a former professor, assures them that tomorrow they'll be as rich as kings from the gold that they stole from a train. As they unload, Farwell explains that they'll put the gold in the nearby cave and then destroy the vehicles. They go into the cave and Farwell inspects four glass coffins. DeCruz isn't comfortable with the plan: they'll go into suspended animation and spend the gold when they wake up, having evaded detection. DeCruz says he'd rather take his share of the money now but Brooks and Erbie, the other two gang members, back up Farwell. DeCruz still isn't comfortable with the idea, and Farwell explains he doesn't know exactly how long they'll be asleep, but he estimates approximately 100 years. ..

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Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
Introducing four experts in the questionable art of crime. Mr. Farwell, expert on noxious gases, former professor with a doctorate in both chemistry and physics. Mr. Erbie, expert in mechanical engineering. Mr. Brooks, expert in the use of firearms and other weaponry. And Mr. DeCruz, expert in demolition and various forms of destruction. The time is now and the place is a mountain cave in Death Valley, U.S.A. In just a moment, these four men will utilize the services of a truck placed in cosmoline, loading with a hot heist cooled off by a century of sleep, and then take a drive into the Twilight Zone.

Farwell: Piece de resistance now. The real combination. Ultimate ingenuity. It is one thing, gentlemen, to stop a train on its way from Fort Knox to Los Angeles and steal its cargo. It's another thing to stay free to spend it, and spend it we shall.
DeCruz: Yeah, but when?
Farwell: Don't you know, Mr. DeCruz? I would have thought that this aspect of the plan would be particularly key in your mind.
DeCruz: Rip Van Winkle. That's what we are. Four Rip Van Winkles. I'm not sure.
Farwell: What are you not sure of, Mr. DeCruz?
DeCruz: Just lying down in one of these, these glass caskets and getting put to sleep. I like to know what I'm doing.
Farwell: You know what you're doing. I've explained it very precisely to you. All four of us will be placed in a state of suspended animation, and when we wake up, that's when we'll take our gold and enjoy it.
DeCruz: I say everybody takes his cut now and takes his own chances.
Brooks: That's what you say, DeCruz, but that ain't what we agreed on. Now, we agreed we'd stash the gold here and then do whatever Farwell tells us to do. So far he ain't been wrong, not about anything. The train, the gold, the gas he used to put a whole trainload of people asleep - everything! All we had to do was step over a lot of horizontal folks snoring, transfer a fortune like it was cotton candy.
Erbie: Amen to that.
DeCruz: Amen to that, sure, but how about to this? None of you mind being helpless and closed up in these?
Brooks: No, Mr. DeCruz. None of us mind.
DeCruz: How long, Farwell?
Farwell: How long? I don't know exactly. I can only surmise. I would say that, I would say approximately one hundred years from today's date. One hundred years, gentlemen, and we shall walk the earth again, as rich men, however, as extremely rich men.
DeCruz: One hundred years. Just like Rip Van Winkle.

Falwell: Why is it, Mr. DeCruz, that greedy men are the most dreamless, the least imaginative, stupid?

Closing Narration
The last of four Rip Van Winkles who all died precisely the way they lived, chasing an idol across the sand to wind up bleached dry in the hot sun as so much desert flotsam, worthless as the gold bullion they built a shrine to. Tonight's the Twilight Zone.

Episode Goofs
When they show a close up of Decruz's shoes in the panel truck, they are polished to a high shine, despite walking through a desert area.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
EditorJason H. Bernie
Set DecoratorH. Web Arrowsmith  |  Henry Grace
Director of PhotographyGeorge T. Clemens
Art DirectorPhilip Barber  |  George W. Davis
Production ManagerRalph Nelson
Sound EditorFranklin Milton
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
SoundWilliam Edmondson
Assistant DirectorE. Darrell Hallenbeck
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