The Twilight Zone

The Purple Testament

Season 1, Ep 19, Aired 2/12/60
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  • Episode Description
  • Lt. Fitzgerald has found his own special wartime hell. Looking into the faces of his men prior to battle, he has the disquieting ability to see who is about to die.

  • Cast & Crew
  • Rod Serling


  • William Phipps


  • Barney Phillips

    Captain E.L. Gunther

  • Dick York

    Captain Phil Riker

  • William Reynolds

    Lt. William Fitzgerald

  • Fan Reviews (4)
  • not quite

    By noman, Aug 22, 2014

  • worse than death

    By OmarCayenne, Sep 24, 2011

  • I Have Been Watching Twilight Zone since I can Remember..It's Great, The awesome actors/actresses were always a slight surprise, never knew who would star in the next episode...

    By clearwatrs, Apr 17, 2008

  • Ominous premonitions of doom and disaster are commonplace on the battlefront but some are afflicted with the ability to see the mark of impending death on their fellow soldiers.

    By AccentCompanies, Jun 09, 2006

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Quotes (4)

    • (Opening Narration)
      Narrator: 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.

    • Riker: Fitz, I can’t explain this, but...
      Fitzgerald: I don’t want you to explain it. How can you explain it? I mean, how can anyone explain it. I just want you to believe it, Captain, that’s all I want from you. I want you to believe it.

    • Gunther: Well, that’s odd, don’t you think?
      Fitzgerald: Odd? That’s not odd, Captain. Odd is when you go 30 days on the line and you don’t use a man. That’s odd. Odd is when you walk 25 miles, you don’t get a blister, now you’re talking odd! This isn’t odd, Captain, this is nightmare. This is a lousy dogface line officer who can see death in people’s faces.

    • (Closing Narration)
      Narrator: 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.

    Notes (3)

    • The house in which Fitzgerald confronts Gunther and Riker is a redress of the set used in "The Sixteen-Millimeter Shrine."

    • This episode was removed from the schedule the night it was to air because director Bare and actor Reynolds were the victims of a disabled plane that crashed in the Caribbean. Both men were injured but were able to swim to safety. Reynolds has commented that it was classy of Buck Houghton to reschedule the episode and not take advantage of the publicity or subject their families to additional heartache. During their swim, they apparently discussed the planned airing of the episode that night to which Bare is reported to have asked Reynolds not to look at him.

    • 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."

    Allusions (1)

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

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