Sounds and Silences
|"Sounds and Silences"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Directed by||Richard Donner|
|Written by||Rod Serling|
|Original air date||April 3, 1964|
|“||This is Roswell G. Flemington, two hundred and twenty pounds of gristle, lung tissue and sound decibels. He is, as you have perceived, a noisy man, one of a breed who substitutes volume for substance, sound for significance, and shouting to cover up the readily apparent phenomenon that he is nothing more than an overweight and aging perennial Sea Scout whose noise-making is in inverse ratio to his competence and to his character. But soon our would-be admiral of the fleet will embark on another voyage. This one is an unchartered and twisting stream that heads for a distant port called the Twilight Zone.||”|
Roswell G. Flemington, owner of a model ship company and formerly of the United States Navy, grew up in a home where his mother required silence. Thus, as an adult, he makes as much noise as he possibly can, is obsessed with the Navy, and behaves thunderously in response to any slight.
One day, after twenty years his wife has had enough of his obsession with noise and finally walks out on him. Now alone, he begins to hear every little noise – a drip of water, the margin bell on a typewriter – like an explosion or gunshot. He sees a psychiatrist who helps him understand that conflict with his wife has caused him to relive his resentment against his mother to the point that he internalizes his mother's affliction. He now realizes it is all in his head, all he needs to do is overcome the mental block with "mind over matter", and he does. The only problem is that when his wife returns to pick up her jewelry, he tells her about it and proceeds to "shut her out" – going too far in the other direction, so that now he cannot hear anything at all.
|“||When last heard from, Mr. Roswell G. Flemington was in a sanitarium pleading with the medical staff to make some noise. They, of course, believe the case to be a rather tragic aberration - a man's mind becoming unhinged. And for this they'll give him pills, therapy, and rest. Little do they realize that all Mr. Flemington is suffering from is a case of poetic justice. Tonight's tale of sounds and silences from the Twilight Zone.||”|
- John McGiver as Roswell G. Flemington
- Penny Singleton as Mrs. Lydia Flemington
- Billy Benedict as Conklin
- Francis De Sales as Doctor
- Michael Fox as Psychiatrist
- Renee Aubry as Ms. Abernathy (Secretary)
- Lurene Tuttle as Secretary
In 1961 a script called "The Sound of Silence" was submitted to the producers and rejected. Following the first screening of Sounds and Silences, the original author successfully sued Rod Serling for plagiarism because of similarities in the plot, and was awarded $3,500 in damages. Because of this, the episode was not included in syndicated repeats.
- Presnell, Don; McGee, Marty (2008). A Critical History of Television’s The Twilight Zone, 1959–1964. Jefferson NC: McFarland & Co. p. 185. ISBN 978-0786438860.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0