Original Air Date: November 29, 1963
Writer: Rod Serling
Director: Ted Post
“One Colonel Cook, a traveler in space. He’s landed on a remote planet several million miles from his point of departure. He can make an inventory of his plight by just one 360-degree movement of head and eyes. Colonel Cook has been set adrift in an ocean of space in a metal lifeboat that has been scorched and destroyed and will never fly again. He survived the crash but his ordeal is yet to begin. Now he must give battle to loneliness. Now Colonel Cook must meet the unknown. It’s a small planet set deep in space. But for Colonel Cook, it’s the Twilight Zone.”
Colonel Adam Cook (Richard Basehart) is an astronaut flying solo aboard the Probe 7 which crash lands on a remote planet with a breathable atmosphere comparable to home. In the crash, he breaks his arm along with most of his equipment, however he does receive a transmission from home base that nuclear war has broken out so no one is coming to his rescue. He soon realizes that he is not alone on this planet. As he receives the final transmission from back home indicating the whole planet is devastated by nuclear war, Col. Cook meets a lone woman (Antoinette Bower) named Eve Norda, the sole survivor of her own planet. Together they walk off into the forest to plant a garden –Adam and Eve. Eve hands Adam an apple and they dub this strange new planet “Earth.”
“Do you know these people? Names familiar, are they? They lived a long time ago. Perhaps they’re part fable, perhaps they’re part fantasy. And perhaps the place they’re walking to now is not really called ‘Eden.’ We offer it only as a presumption. This has been the Twilight Zone.”
While the twist to the end of this episode is mildly interesting –the rebirth of the Adam and Eve mythology in a deep space context– I would not rank “Probe 7, Over and Out” among the best in The Twilight Zone series. As Marc Scott Zicree notes in The Twilight Zone Companion, this “Adam and Eve” plot device is a tired cliché. It is unfortunate for an episode with such immense possibilities –imagine what might have been explored with this latter-day Robinson Crusoe alone on a remote planet!
The Twilight Zone Trivia:
- This episode aired instead of “Night Call” which was deemed too insensitive to show in light of President Kennedy’s assassination (it was temporarily canceled and moved to later date).
- On this distant planet, its own star has not risen and thus the bulk of this episode takes place at night time.
- Col. Cook says he is 4.3 light years from his home planet, though Rod Serling claims he is merely several million miles. Apparently, Col. Cook has developed the technology to communicate via radio across the vast distance of light years.
- Norda refers to apples as “seppla” an anagram of “apples.”
- Richard Basehart later starred in Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea, a science fiction television series which ran from 1964-1968. It was one of four science fiction television shows created by Irwin Allen, the most famous of which was Lost in Space.