Twilight Zone – Sounds and Silences

★★  April 3, 1964 Season 5 Episode 27

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

EXACTLY on April 3, 1964…58 years ago today, this episode was aired for the first time. I wish it would have been a better episode that lined up with the current date. This is a light episode, not one of the great ones. The main character (Roswell G. Flemington) is not likable but played well by John McGiver. He is a very loud man because his mom made him be quiet all of his childhood.

You feel for his long-suffering wife played by Penny Singleton. All that said, the film has some funny moments at the expense of Roswell, particularly his employees talking among themselves about him when he isn’t around. He expects the world to put up with his very loud ways. The episode is harmless enough, but it doesn’t get off the ground. It can be taxing to get through.

On May 1961, a script was submitted to Serling entitled The Sound of Silence, concerning a man who could not hear the sounds around him. Serling rejected it, then forgot all about it. Two years later, he wrote Sounds and Silences. As soon as it aired, the writer of the original script filed suit. Because of the similarities in title and plot, the writer was paid $3500 and the matter was settled. Unfortunately, because the suit was in litigation when Twilight Zone was put into syndication, Sounds and Silences was not included. The episode was aired only once and then put away in the CBS vaults.
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IMDB Trivia: Shortly after the airing, a writer came up with a lawsuit claiming his script and title was used. It was settled with him receiving $3500 but litigation prevented it from being included in syndication for a time.

The first “sound effect” record played by John McGiver is actually a 78RPM disc on the Deltone label called “You Won’t Believe Your Eyes” sung by Ina Massine. Ina Massine isn’t a real singer; it was Kathryn Grayson’s character name in the 1951 film “Grounds for Marriage.” This Rodgers and Hart song (real title, “Wait Till You See Him”) was recorded for the movie but not used. This record must have been a leftover prop.

Mrs. Flemington is portrayed by Penny Singleton, who is perhaps best known for portraying Blondie Bumstead from the “Blondie!'” movies of the 1930s and 1940s, that were based on the comic strip created by Chic Young. Penny also provided the voice of Jane Jetson on “The Jetsons” (1962).

This show was written by Rod Serling 

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

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.

Summary

Rosswell G. Flemington owns a model ship company and loves everything nautical. That’s not his problem, however: he likes everything to be loud. He speaks at the top of his lungs, bellowing commands to his staff. He plays his phonograph records – his favorites include the sound of jets flying off the deck of the USS Hornet – as loud as possible, something that leads his wife to leave him. He’s not prepared for what happens to him in the Twilight Zone however

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

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.

CAST

Rod Serling … Host / Narrator – Himself
John McGiver … Roswell G. Flemington
Penny Singleton … Mrs. Lydia Flemington
Billy Benedict … Conklin
Francis De Sales … Doctor
Michael Fox … Psychiatrist