I Shot an Arrow Into the Air

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{film, series, show}
{god, call, give}
{island, water, area}
{service, military, aircraft}
{ship, engine, design}
{line, north, south}
{theory, work, human}
{war, force, army}
{math, number, function}

Dewey Martin: Officer Corey
Edward Binns: Colonel Donlin
Ted Otis: Pierson
Harry Bartell: Langford

"I Shot an Arrow into the Air" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.



A manned space flight crash lands on what the astronauts believe to be an unknown asteroid. Their expectations of survival or rescue are bleak. Only four of the crew survive, one of whom is barely alive. After he dies, the three remaining men, Corey, Donlin, and Pierson decide to trek out into the barren desert to see if there is anything – shelter, water – that might improve their chances of survival. When Corey and Donlin reconvene, it seems that Pierson is dead and Corey filched the water supply from his dead body. Donlin, the commanding officer, forces Corey at gunpoint to lead him to Pierson's body.

They find Pierson, still barely alive, who with his last bit of strength draws a primitive diagram in the sand with his finger. Corey then kills Donlin and sets out alone, confident that he will survive longer now that he has all of the water supply. Corey later sees a sign for Reno, indicating that they never left Earth.

Episode notes

When Serling first started collecting material for The Twilight Zone he offered an open call for scripts. Anyone could submit a script based on any science-fiction idea they had. The results of this open call were disastrous:

Despite this, Serling did end up producing an idea from an industry outsider when he paid Madelon Champion $500 for the idea on which this episode was based, an idea that came up in a social conversation between the two.[1] Though Serling was frequently approached with suggestions for the series, such a purchase was never repeated.

Much of this episode was filmed in Death Valley National Park, particularly around Zabriskie Point.[1]

The title of the episode comes from the opening line of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Arrow and the Song": "I shot an arrow into the air, it fell to earth I knew not where." Serling also used this title for a prospective Twilight Zone pilot episode that was eventually shot, in modified form, as "The Gift".[2]

The plot idea of astronauts thinking they had crashed on an unknown planet, only to discover that in fact they had been on Earth all along, would be adapted by Rod Serling in his work on the initial screenplay of Planet of The Apes.

This is one of several episodes from Season One with its opening title sequence plastered over with the opening for Season Two. This was done during the Summer of 1961 as to help the season one shows fit in with the new look the show had taken during the following season.

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