The Twilight Zone, season 1, episode 18: The Last Flight. Aired February 5, 1960. "Such a thing doesn't happen every day." "Well, it happened today." A WWI biplane pilot takes off in 1917 and lands at a US Air Force base in France in 1959. If that were't weird enough, it turns out that he's a coward who had abandoned his fellow pilot, and he has one chance to make up for it.
I have a soft spot for this episode, as I have a soft spot for WWI aviation, and for John Monk Saunders, Fay Wray's doomed husband, who wrote several films and/or stories made into films about WWI aviators, including "Wings," "Ace of Aces," and my personal favorite "The Eagle and the Hawk." And "The Last Flight," which has nothing to do with this episode, but which is a sad and lonely film about PTSD among pilots before they had a term for it.
Anyway, this was great. Solid performances, and a nice demonstration of the idea that if you shout your irrational thing loud enough, the audience doesn't have a chance to notice how silly it is. It's also Richard Matheson's first episode as screenwriter, which is something to celebrate. And it's the first time the show used the line from Hamlet about "there are more things in heaven and earth..." but probably not the last. I'm impressed that Serling held it back this long.
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