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King Nine Will Not Return

"King Nine Will Not Return" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening Narration

This is Africa, 1943. War spits out its violence overhead and the sandy graveyard swallows it up. Her name is King Nine, B-25, medium bomber, Twelfth Air Force. On a hot, still morning she took off from Tunisia to bomb the southern tip of Italy. An errant piece of flak tore a hole in a wing tank and, like a wounded bird, this is where she landed, not to return on this day, or any other day.


The World War II bomber, King Nine, has crashed in the desert. Captain James Embry finds himself stranded, alone except for the wreckage and the mystery of what happened to his crew, all of whom have disappeared. The movement of the plane in the wind and his visions of his missing crew serve to heighten Embry's disorientation.

Embry finds a grave of one of his crew and sees jets in the sky, anachronistic for the time. He collapses in the sand, and we discover that he is actually suffering hallucinations from a hospital bed, years after being scheduled to be aboard the fatally missing flight of King Nine. Guilt-ridden, he is punishing himself. A newspaper shows a headline about the wreckage of a plane that has been found in the desert that triggered his shock and hallucinations.

The nurse, fetching his shoes, discovers that they are mysteriously filled with sand.

Closing Narration

Enigma buried in the sand, a question mark with broken wings that lies in silent grace as a marker in a desert shrine. Odd how the real consorts with the shadows, how the present fuses with the past. How does it happen? The question is on file in the silent desert. And the answer? The answer is waiting for us in the Twilight Zone.

Preview for Next Week's Story

Inside this curio shop next week, from amidst this old-school rococo and some fusty, moth-eaten antiquary, will emerge a bottle - this one. And from it will step a genie to give Mr. Luther Adler four wishes. But he'll discover, as will all of you, that there's an economics to magic - a high cost of wishing. Next week, a most intriguing tale - "The Man in the Bottle." Thank you and good night.

Inspiration and Production

The episode was based on the discovery of the B-24 Liberator bomber Lady Be Good and her crew which crashed in the Sahara desert in mysterious circumstances.

This was the first episode to feature the familiar Marius Constant Twilight Zone theme and the first to feature an on-camera Rod Serling narration at the beginning of the episode.

The aircraft used was a B-25C-10NA 42-32354 which still exists in storage with Aero Trader, Borrego Springs, CA.

External links


  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1593931360
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0970331090

Twilight Zone links

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