Today, April 21, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1961 premiere of "The Rip Van Winkle Caper."
Simon Oakland, Oscar Beregi Jr., Lew Gallo, and John Mitchum portray gold train robbers who have an unusual plan for the perfect crime – they're going to burrow away in a desert cave for 100 years via suspended animation chambers and then wake up when the heat is off (literally and figuratively). However, as we know, there's no such thing as the perfect crime in The Twilight Zone, as these thieves soon find out...
Simon Oakland always had a commanding presence in film and television. In Season 4, he returned as the commander of a U.S. Navy destroyer in "The Thirty-Fathom Grave." He’s also Carl Kolchak's boss in The Night Stalker.
Oscar Beregi Jr. was the concentration camp commander in "Deaths-Head Revisited" and a German telepath in "Mute."
Lew Gallo repaired Inger Stevens' car in "The Hitch-Hiker," and he was a relief saucer crew member in "On Thursday, We Leave for Home." You'll also find him in as Cliff Robertson's yeoman in PT 109 and the PR officer who climbs Pork Chop Hill.
And finally, John Mitchum, the brother of Robert Mitchum, was the assistant to the title character in "Mr Garrity and the Graves."
So let's hoist a canteen of desert water to De Cruz, Farwell, Brooks, and Erbie, four thieves who slept fitfully for a hundred years but ended up waking up not in Brigadoon... but in The Twilight Zone.