Story: Test pilot Major Gunderson pushes a new experimental jet plane to unheard-of speeds, more than twice the speed of sound. But even more surprising is Gunderson’s awed report from the sky: something up there is overtaking him, a vehicle shaped nothing like a conventional aircraft. Gunderson’s controls go haywire and he’s forced to eject to survive. His superiors are alarmed when Gunderson begins talking about having encountered a flying saucer…
teleplay by Robert Smith and George Van Marter
story by Ivan L. Tors
directed by Herbert L. Strock
music not credited
Cast: Truman Bradley (Host / Narrator), William Lundigan (Maj. Gunderson), Ellen Drew (Mrs. Gunderson), Bruce Bennett (Gen. Troy), Tom Drake (Dr. Everett), Basil Ruysdael (Prof. Carson), Douglas Kennedy (Col. Barton), Michael Fox (Radar Man), Robert Carson (Capt. Ferguson), Mark Lowell (Radio Operator)
Notes: To put this story in its historical context, the first Mach 2 jet flight had been flown by test pilot Scott Crossfield in late 1953, only to be exceeded by a Mach 2.44 flight flown by Chuck Yeager in December of that year, less than a year and a half before Science Fiction Theatre premiered in syndication with this episode. Other elements, such as the notion of a military cover-up (albeit a quiet, non-threatening one) of a real UFO sighting, were very much ahead of their time.
Unusually for 1955, the first season of Science Fiction Theatre was filmed in color by Ziv Television Productions, a bit of future-proofing that Ziv could afford as its programming was in demand by television stations whose networks ran very limited programming of their own. While most of Ziv’s programs were either modern-day dramas and spy thrillers, westerns, or wartime dramas, this was one of only three science fiction shows Ziv produced; the short-lived World Of Giants anticipated elements of Irwin Allen’s 1960s series Land Of The Giants, while Men Into Space, picked up by CBS, speculated on and dramatized the future of real spaceflight.
LogBook entry by Earl Green