The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
14 user

The Parallel 

Astronaut Robert Gaines returns from space to a world that is not exactly the one he left from.


Alan Crosland Jr.


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)




Episode complete credited cast:
Steve Forrest ... Major Robert Gaines
Jacqueline Scott ... Helen Gaines
Frank Aletter ... Colonel William Connacher
Paul Comi ... Psychiatrist
Shari Lee Bernath Shari Lee Bernath ... Maggie Gaines
Morgan Jones ... Captain
William Sargent William Sargent ... The Project Manager
Philip Abbott ... General Stanley Eaton


Astronaut Major Robert Gaines is the latest to orbit the Earth but something happens while there. Ground control loses all contact with him and although he returns safely, he apparently blacked out and has no recollection of what may have happened. Nor can he explain how the craft landed on land - completely undamaged - when it was meant to splash down in the ocean. When Gaines returns home he finds that little things are different: he's now a full colonel and has been for some time; his house now has a picket fence; he no longer seems to take sugar in his coffee; and even his wife senses he is different after she kisses him. It is soon apparent that Gaines has returned to an Earth in an alternate universe. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


TV-14 | See all certifications »






Release Date:

14 March 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


In the parallel universe, a man named Anderson was responsible for the administration and supervision of the construction of the Panama Canal from 1907 to 1914. In Gaines' universe, it was George Washington Goethals. See more »


By the time the astronaut is seeing fire out his window. He would not be able to be communicating with ground control. As the spacecraft reenters the atmosphere and the outside of craft heats. Ionization occurs and radio traffic is impossible. See more »


Narrator: [Opening Narration] In the vernacular of space, this is T minus one hour, sixty minutes before a human being named Major Robert Gaines is lifted off from the Mother Earth and rocketed into the sky, farther and longer than any man ahead of him. Call this one of the first faltering steps of man to sever the umbilical cord of gravity and stretch out a fingertip toward an unknown. In a moment, we'll join this astronaut named Gaines and embark on an adventure, because the environs overhead - the ...
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User Reviews

3 July 2007 | by manzpSee all my reviews

This is a typical episode, somewhat interesting, with the men acting really stiff and trying to look smart.

The part I found interesting was the reference to JFK. I checked the date and the episode (March 1963) was released about six months before the fateful day in Dallas (Nov 1963).

I suppose the significant part about that is the lack of recognition to JFK in other episodes of the same period.

I have noticed in television shows of the era a hesitancy to talk about current politicians. Often there will be a fictitious congressman or local official, but the president is usually a vague figure, not identified.

This episode is worth watching just for the historical references.

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