Today, February 24, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1961 premiere of one of the true classic episodes of the series: "The Odyssey of Flight 33."
John Anderson, a veteran of four TZ episodes (tying him with Burgess Meredith and Jack Klugman for most starring roles on the series), portrays Captain Farver, skipper of a Boeing 707 passenger jet on a London to New York transatlantic flight that gets caught up in quite the Twilight Zone scenario: Snared in an unusually strong air current, the jet achieves unheard-of speed and breaks through a time barrier, catapulting it into the Jurassic Period.
To consult on the script, Rod Serling contacted his older brother, Robert, who was the aviation editor of United Press International. Robert, in turn, contacted a TWA skipper to make sure the episode's cockpit dialogue was as realistic as possible.
"Odyssey" turned out to be a true gem of an episode, with Anderson ably supported by Paul Comi (as the first officer), Sandy Kenyon (navigator), Wayne Heffley (second officer), and Harp McGuire (flight engineer).
Anderson also starred in "A Passage for Trumpet," "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville," and "The Old Man in the Cave." Comi co-piloted the spaceship with Roddy McDowall in "People Are Alike All Over," and Kenyon pumped gas in "Valley of the Shadow."
Let’s hoist one of those little airline liquor bottles to Flight 33, praying for its passengers and crew to land somewhere familiar outside the flight pattern of The Twilight Zone.