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AMAZING STORIES: THE MISSION (TV)

Summary

One in this fantasy anthology series, produced by Steven Spielberg. The story begins in World War II as the crew of a B-17 bomber prepares to make its 24th bombing run. They are accompanied by their "lucky charm" Jonathan, a gunner who is serving his last mission before being rotated out. Jonathan has a pregnant wife and a talent for illustrations, hoping to become a cartoonist someday. The crew admires his artistic talents, recognizing that Jonathan possesses "that old imagination." During their run, the bomber comes under attack by enemy fighter planes. Jonathan, taking position in the bomber's belly turret, manages to shoot down one of the planes. However, the enemy plane's propeller flies off in the explosion and lodges itself in the bomber, causing considerable damage. The crew is mostly unhurt, but the propeller has damaged the belly turret's hatch mechanism, thus trapping Jonathan inside the belly turret. The crew lacks the proper equipment to cut Jonathan out of the turret, and they must wait until they land at the airfield in Coventry in order to free him. However, the bomber's fuel supply is dwindling and engines have been damaged. They discover to their horror that the landing gear has been completely destroyed, meaning that Jonathan will be crushed to death if they attempt to land. The captain frantically struggles to get Jonathan out of the belly turret, but fails. He tries to give Jonathan some comfort, but Jonathan realizes the situation and is frightened. As they approach the airfield, the crew tries to come up with unconventional ideas to free Jonathan. The captain has one of his own: he asks the crew to unpack a parachute and feed it down to the belly turret so that Jonathan can kick out the window and bail out before the plane lands. The crew tries to follow through with this plan, but in the confusion the parachute rips, and their altitude is too low to try again. At the airfield, Jonathan's wife arrives and the commanders lament the situation. As Jonathan continues to plead for help, the airfield gets a priest on the radio to give Jonathan his last rites. The inevitability of Jonathan's death begins to set in, and the crew bids farewell to him one by one. Jonathan asks Static, the radio operator, to look after his wife and child after he is gone. As the bomber approaches the landing strip and the crew prepare for a crash landing, the crew contemplate the idea of ending Jonathan's life before they land so as to prevent him from experiencing a slow, agonizing death. Static is resistant to the idea at first but then seriously contemplates it, drawing his pistol and slowly approaching the belly turret. Jonathan frantically begins sketching a picture of the bomber with large cartoonish wheels; he focuses intently on the image and asks the captain to try lowering the landing gear again. Static nearly executes Jonathan, but at the last moment cannot bring himself to do it. The puzzled captain complies with Jonathan's request and suddenly the cartoonish wheels depicted in the image become real, cushioning the bomber and allowing it to land safely. The amazed crew calls for a team of mechanics to free Jonathan from the turret. They cut him loose and the captain awakens him from a catatonia, whereupon the cartoon wheels vanish. Jonathan and the others, perplexed by this "miracle," are nonetheless happy that he is alive. Commercials deleted.

Details

  • NETWORK: NBC
  • DATE: November 3, 1985 8:00 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 0:46:17
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: B:73941
  • GENRE: Drama, fantasy/science fiction
  • SUBJECT HEADING: Drama, fantasy/science fiction
  • SERIES RUN: NBC - TV series, 1985-1987
  • COMMERCIALS: N/A

CREDITS

  • Steven Spielberg … Executive Producer, Director, Developed by, Writer
  • Joshua Brand … Supervising Producer, Developed by
  • John Falsey … Supervising Producer, Developed by
  • David E. Vogel … Producer
  • Steve Starkey … Associate Producer
  • Menno Meyjes … Writer
  • John Williams … Music by
  • Kevin Costner … Cast, Captain
  • Casey Siemaszko … Cast, Jonathan
  • Kiefer Sutherland … Cast, Static
  • Jeffrey Jay Cohen … Cast, Jake
  • John Philbin … Cast, Bullseye
  • Gary Mauro … Cast, Sam
  • Glen Mauro … Cast, Dave
  • Terry Beaver … Cast, Officer
  • David Grant Hayward … Cast, Mechanic #1
  • Peter Jason … Cast, Commander
  • Karen Kopins … Cast, Liz
  • Anthony La Paglia … Cast, Mechanic #2
  • Gary Riley … Cast, Tail Gunner
  • Ken Stovitz … Cast, Lamar
  • Nelson Welch … Cast, Father McKay
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