The Rip Van Winkle Caper

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Simon Oakland: DeCruz
Oscar Beregi, Jr.: Farwell
Lew Gallo: Brooks
John Mitchum: Erbie
Wallace Rooney: Husband, George
Shirley O'Hara: Wife

"The Rip Van Winkle Caper" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.



To escape the law after stealing $1 million worth of gold bricks from a train on its way from Fort Knox to Los Angeles, a band of four gold thieves, led by foreign-accented scientist-mastermind Farwell (Oscar Beregi, Jr.), hide in a secret cave in Death Valley, California. Farwell has designed suspended animation chambers and set them for 100 years, figuring that by 2061, nobody will remember the robbery and the gang will be in the clear.

When they wake up, everything starts to go awry. Mister Erbie is already dead, a mere skeleton, because a rock had fallen and shattered his glass chamber. Greed soon begins consuming the others. Brooks demands that DeCruz drive the getaway car. DeCruz kills Brooks by running him over with the getaway truck, but then finds that the brakes do not work and barely escapes before the vehicle crashes into a ravine. Consequently Farwell and DeCruz must walk through the desert in summertime, carrying as much gold as they can.

Later, Farwell, who is older and somewhat obese, loses his canteen, and DeCruz forces him to ante up one gold bar for each sip of water. When the "fee" goes up to two bars, Farwell strikes DeCruz with the gold bricks, killing him. Farwell then continues to a highway, lugging the gold he refuses to abandon. Finally, weak and dehydrated, he collapses. A futuristic car drives up and Farwell offers his gold to the couple inside in exchange for water and a ride to the nearest town, but expires a few moments later.

As the man named George gets back into his car to report Farwell's death to the police, he quizzically remarks to his wife, "Can you imagine that? He offered this to me as if it was really worth something." The wife vaguely recalls that it had, indeed been valuable sometime in the distant past. The husband replies, "Sure, about a.... hundred years or so ago, before they found a way of manufacturing it," and tosses the gold bar away.

Production notes

The futuristic car carrying the couple who find the dying Farwell is a leftover prop, somewhat modified, from MGM's 1956 film Forbidden Planet.

See also


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