The Twilight Zone: Season 1 Episode 19 The Purple Testament

From Television and Film Character Encyclopedia

An officer in WWII gains the ability to predict when his fellow troops will die shortly before it happens.

Series Index

The Twilight Zone (1959-1964)


Narrator - Rod Serling

Capt. Phil Riker - Dick York

Lt. Fitzgerald - William Reynolds

Sergeant - William Phipps

Capt. E.L. Gunther - Barney Phillips

Lieutenant Colonel - S. John Launer

Smitty - Michael Vandever

Orderly - Paul Mazursky

Freeman - Marc Cavell

Jeep Driver - Warren Oates

Harmonica Man - Ron Masak

Character thumbnails with links to profiles

Detailed Synopsis

After a battle in the Philippine Island of Luzon, on January 13, 1945, Company A returns to camp. Sergeant tells Capt. Phil Riker that during their last battle they managed to gain control of a bridge, but in the process lost 10-12 wounded and four dead. Lt. Fitzgerald walks up and lists the dead, Hibbard, Horton, Morgan and Levy. Riker invites Fitzgerald to have a drink with him in his tent and tells him that he noticed that Fitzgerald took these particular four deaths harder than usual. Fitzgerald tells him that all the dead were under 21 and then finally shows Riker a piece of paper which has the names of the four dead and the day they died. He tells Riker that he wrote the names down before the battle, because he noticed a light on their faces before they left to take the bridge from the Japanese and he knew they were going to die. Fitzgerald worries that from now on, he will know who will be the next ones to die. At the field hospital, Riker tells Capt. E.L. Gunther about what Fitzgerald told him, but Gunther tells him that Fitzgerald has never showed signs of fatigue or been wounded and he can't explain his sudden idea of predicting the dead. Gunther tells Riker that Fitzgerald is visiting one of his wounded soldiers in the hospital. Fitzgerald visits with Smitty, who was wounded in the last battle. Smitty asks how the other wounded are doing and Fitzgerald tells Smitty that once he recovers, he will be going home. As Fitzgerald is walking away, he looks back at Smitty and sees a light appear on his face and faints. He wakes up and an Orderly asks him if he is okay. Fitzgerald looks at Smitty, who is lying limp in his bed and the Orderly checks on him and tells Fitzgerald that Smitty is dead.

Fitzgerald walks down to the main lobby and Riker sees him. He tells Riker that Smitty is dead and he saw the same light on his face as the others. Gunther walks into the lobby and Fitzgerald tells him that he saw the light on Smitty's face. Gunther tells Fitzgerald that he is cracking under the strain of war and Fitzgerald gets upset and walks away. That evening, Riker goes over the plans of attack for the next mission. After the briefing, Fitzgerald looks at Riker's face and sees a light on it. He tells Riker about the light and asks him not to go on the mission, but Riker insists he is going. After Fitzgerald leaves, Riker leaves photos of his family and his wedding ring on the map table. Before the mission, Freeman asks Fitzgerald which one of them is going to die. Riker hears him and tells the platoon that Fitzgerald can't predict deaths. After the battle, the platoon returns back to camp. Sergeant calls roll call and Fitzgerald goes into Riker's tent and sees that he placed his photos and wedding ring on the map table. The Lieutenant Colonel walks into the tent and congratulates Fitzgerald for the successful mission and Fitzgerald comments that they lost one man, Riker. The Sergeant tells Fitzgerald that Gunther wants to see him and Gunther tells Fitzgerald that he is to report back to division headquarters for an evaluation. Fitzgerald packs his bag and as he sees his reflection in a mirror, he sees a light over his face. The Jeep Driver tells him that he is ready to go whenever Fitzgerald is. The Sergeant warns the Jeep Driver that the main road might be land mined and the Jeep Driver tells him that he is the safest driver in the Army. Fitzgerald looks at the Jeep Driver and sees a light on his face and they drive away. Harmonica Man is playing his harmonica when he and the Sergeant hear a loud noise like an explosion.