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"Judgment Night" is the tenth episode of the The Twilight Zone.

From the CBS Video Library cover:

"An unseen, unfriendly periscope keeps a steely watch over the S.S. Queen of Glasgow as fog and sea whip across the freighter's docks. On board the Glasgow a German passenger, Carl Lanser, wanders about in confusion as the boat rocks to and fro in the black night. He doesn't know how he got aboard or what he's doing there, but strangely all the passengers are familiar. The only thing Carl Lanser knows for certain is that at 1:15 a.m., something horrible is going to happen. Suddenly, a Nazi U-boat surfaces. Lanser zooms in on the sub with his binoculars and begins to understand a horrible truth about himself... the S.S. Queen of Glasgow...and the terrible reality that lies ahead on this raw, ugly night."

Episode Details

Opening Narration

"Her name is the S.S. Queen of Glasgow. Her registry: British. Gross tonnage: five thousand. Age: Interdeterminate. At this moment she's one day out of Liverpool, her destination New York. Duly recorded on the ship's log is the sailing time, course to destination, weather conditions, temperature, longitude and latitude. But what is never recorded in a log is the fear that washes over a deck like fog and ocean spray. Fear like the throbbing strokes of engine pistons, each like a heartbeat, parceling out of every hour into breathless minutes of watching, waiting and dreading. For the year is 1942, and this particular ship has lost its convoy. It travels alone like an aged blind thing groping through the unfriendly dark, stalked by unseen periscopes of steel killers. Yes, the Queen of Glasgow is a frightened ship, and she carries with her a premonition of death."

Episode Summary

On board the Glasgow is a German named Carl Lanser, with no memory of how he got there, yet with the feeling that he's met all the passengers somewhere before. Things are made even more mysterious by Lanser's certainty that an enemy sub is stalking the ship, and by his premontion that something is going to happen at 1:15 A.M. His fear proves correct: at one-fifteen a U-boat surfaces. Peering through binoculars, Lanser sees that its captain is... himself! The U-boat sinks the helpless freighter, then crew members machine-gun the survivors. Lanser sinks beneath the waters. Later, on board the sub, a lieutenant suggests they might all face damnation for their action. Kapitan Lanser discounts this theory - not realizing that he is, in fact, doomed to relive the sinking of that ship for eternity.

Closing Narration

"The S.S. Queen of Glasgow, heading for New York., and the time is 1942. For one man it is always 1942 - and this man will ride the ghost ship every night for eternity. This is what is meant by paying the fiddler. This is the comeeuppance awaiting every man when the ledger of his life is opened and examined, the tally made, and then the reward or the penalty paid. And in the case of Carl Lanser, former Kaptian Lieutenant, Navy of the Third Reich, this is the penalty. The is the justice meted out. This is judgement night in the Twilight Zone."

Preview for Next Week's Story

"Next week, three men return from a flight into space, only to discover that their nightmare has just begun. Rod Taylor, James Hutton, and Charles Aidman appear in "And When the Sky Was Opened". What happens to these men once they're picked up in the desert? (Serling disappears, but is heard quite clearly.) Well, that gives you a rough idea. You'll see next week on The Twilight Zone. Thank you and good night."

Background Information


  • Rod Serling as Narrator (voice only); uncredited
  • Nehemiah Persoff as Carl Lanser
  • Deirdre Owens as Barbara Standley [Credited as Deirdre Owen]
  • Ben Wright as Captain Wilbur
  • Patrick Macnee as First Officer
  • James Franciscus as Lt. Mueller
  • Hugh Sanders as Potter
  • Leslie Bradley as Major Deveraux
  • Kendric Huxham as Bartender
  • Richard Peel as 1st Steward
  • Donald Journeaux as 2nd Steward
  • Barry Bernard as Engineer
  • Debbie Joyce as Little Girl; uncredited
  • Robert McCord as Sailor Wearing Ski Cap; uncredited


  • Rod Serling (executive producer: Cayuga Productions)
  • Buck Houghton (producer)
  • George T. Clemens (director of photography)
  • Bill Mosher (film editor)
  • Millie Gusse (casting; credited: Mildred Gusse)
  • George W. Davis (art director)
  • William Ferrari (art director)
  • Rudy Butler (set decorator)
  • Henry Grace (set decorator)
  • Ralph W. Nelson (production manager)
  • Edward O. Denault (assistant director; credited: Edward Denault)
  • Franklin Milton (sound; credited: Frank Milton)
  • Philip Mitchell (sound)
  • Van Allen James (sound effects editor; uncredited)

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)


  • United Productions of America (UPA) (animated title)

Home media release

This episode is included on the Image Entertainment Vol. 13 DVD along with "The Purple Testament", "The Obsolete Man" and "A Quality of Mercy".


  • The Britons' beverages are coffee rather than tea since General Foods sponsored the episode.
  • The filming sets included those used for the 1959 movie 'The Wreck of the Mary Deare'.

External Links