Today, June 5th, This Day in Twilight Zone History and The Twilight Zone Encyclopedia celebrate the 1928 birth of actor Robert Lansing, who portrayed astronaut Douglas Stansfield in “The Long Morrow.”
Prepping for a long journey – 40 years to and from another star system – Stansfield makes the mistake of falling in love at first sight with space scientist Sandra Horn (Mariette Hartley). Talk about bad timing. However, Stansfield has a mission to perform and he leaves Horn behind, ready to focus on the challenges of lengthy outer space travel.
Still, he can’t seem to get Sandra out of his head.. which is going to be a problem.
Lansing (1928-1994) was always a commanding presence in American television. Shortly after “The Long Morrow,” he was cast as General Frank Savage in producer Quinn Martin’s popular World War II aviation series, Twelve O’Clock High. He would also portray Gary Seven, the co-star of “Assignment Earth,” a terrific Star Trek episode that was nearly turned into a series spinoff.
Mariette Hartley is another wonderful television actor, nominated six times for an Emmy award and winning for the “Married” episode of The Incredible Hulk. She was also a Star Trek veteran, playing Mr. Spock’s accidental love interest in “All Our Yesterdays.”
So let’s hoist one to Robert Lansing, his beautiful co-star Mariette Hartley, and the prospect of romantic love across space and time – not an easy proposition in a dimension as unforgiving as The Twilight Zone.