Static (The Twilight Zone)

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The Twilight Zone episode
Dean Jagger The Twilight Zone 1961.JPG
Paranormal radio as seen in "Static"
Episode no. Season 2
Episode 20
Directed by Buzz Kulik
Written by Charles Beaumont
Production code 173-3665
Original air date March 10, 1961
Guest appearance(s)
Episode chronology
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"Mr. Dingle, the Strong"
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"The Prime Mover"
List of season 2 episodes
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Static" is episode 56 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on March 10, 1961 on CBS.


Ed Lindsay, an embittered bachelor in his late fifties, living in a boarding house, is dismayed over the mindless programs and commercials emanating from the television set watched by the other residents. He retrieves from the basement an old radio which, in his younger and happier days, he enjoyed as a source of relaxation and entertainment. Installing it in his room, he is pleased to hear the radio receiving 1930s/1940s music and programs, including live performances by Edward Bowes, Fred Allen and Tommy Dorsey, all of whom are dead. He tells the others about the broadcasts but, when they come into his room, they hear only static. What's more, when he tries to contact the station ("WPDA", in fictional Cedarburg, New Jersey) broadcasting those programs, he discovers the station went off the air (and out of business) 13 years earlier.

Ed has a confrontation with Vinnie Broun (Carmen Mathews), who has lived in the same boarding house with him for two decades. In an earlier era, they had intended to marry, but he kept letting other things interfere, and too much time passed. She tells him that the past cannot be recovered and he should let it go, and that the phenomenon by which he can listen to defunct programs is nothing more than a delusion. Ed is furious and he throws Vinnie out of his room. His obsession with his radio continues to grow.

Worried about Ed's mental state, Vinnie and the other residents have the radio hauled away by a junk dealer. After Ed notices the radio missing and demands an explanation, he rushes out and buys the radio back from the junk dealer for $10. Ed takes the radio back to his room and, to his great relief, finds it still operational. He loses himself in an old Tommy Dorsey love song, the one he would share with Vinnie. The door to his room swings open, and Vinnie enters. Both Ed and Vinnie are young again—or rather, Ed has retreated 20 years into his past.



Opening narration[edit]

As Ed Lindsay retrieves his old radio from the boarding house basement, he says to a boy watching him, "Don't you know what a radio is?" "Sure," says the kid, "but I've never seen one like that before!" The camera then moves to show Rod Serling standing at the top of the basement steps.

"No one ever saw one quite like that, because that's a very special sort of radio. In its day, circa 1935, its type was one of the most elegant consoles on the market. Now with its fabric-covered speakers, its peculiar yellow dials, its serrated knobs, it looks quaint and a little strange. Mr. Ed Lindsay is going to find out how strange very soon when he tunes into the Twilight Zone."

Closing narration[edit]

Rod Serling's closing narration, "Around and around she goes, and where she stops nobody knows. All Ed Lindsay knows is that he desperately wanted a second chance and he finally got it, through a strange and wonderful time machine called a radio, in the Twilight Zone."

Episode notes[edit]

As The Twilight Zone's second season began, the production was informed by CBS that at about $65,000 per episode, the show was exceeding its budget. By November 1960, 16 episodes, more than half of the projected 29, were already filmed, and five of those had been broadcast. It was decided that six consecutive episodes would be videotaped at CBS Television City in the manner of a live drama and then transferred to 16-millimeter film for future syndicated TV transmissions. Eventual savings amounted to only about $30,000 for all six entries, which was judged to be insufficient to offset the loss of depth of visual perspective that only film could offer. The shows wound up looking little better than set-bound soap operas and as a result the experiment was deemed a failure and never tried again.

Even though the six shows were taped in a row, through November and into mid-December, their broadcast dates were out of order and varied widely, with this, the second one, shown on March 10, 1961 as episode 20. The first, "The Lateness of the Hour" was seen on December 2, 1960 as the eighth episode broadcast; the third, "The Whole Truth" appeared on January 20, 1961 as the 14th episode; the fourth was the Christmas show "Night of the Meek", shown as the 11th episode on December 23, 1960; the fifth, "Twenty Two" was seen on February 10, 1961 as the 17th episode; and the last one, "Long Distance Call" was broadcast on March 31, 1961, shown three weeks (and two episodes) after this one.

See also[edit]


  • 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

External links[edit]