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"Sounds and Silences"
Series:The Twilight Zone (original series)
Episode:Season 5, Episode 147 (S05E27)
First Aired:April 3, 1964
Teleplay:Rod Serling
Story:Rod Serling
Director:Richard Donner
Guest Stars:John McGiver, Penny Singleton, Billy Benedict
Lead Character:Roswell G. Flemington
Previous Episode:I Am the Night—Color Me Black
Next Episode:Caesar and Me

"Sounds and Silences" is an episode of the The Twilight Zone.

Episode Details

Opening Narration

This is Roswell G. Flemington, two hundred and seventeen 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 his character. But soon our would-be admiral of the fleet will embark on another voyage. This one is an uncharted and twisting stream that heads for a distant port called...the Twilight Zone.

Episode Summary

Roswell G. Flemington was raised in a home where he could not even have cookies because cookies made too much noise. At least his mother bought brownies. So when he came of age, he went to sea, and his desire to compensate for not making enough noise is driving everyone else mad. He has collected all sorts of nautical noisemakers, from bells and whistles to actual recordings of sea battles. One day, after twenty years his wife has had enough of his obsession with noise and finally divorces him. Shortly after, every little noise is like an explosion, and he sees a doctor 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.

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.

Preview for Next Week's Story

Next time out on The Twilight Zone we move into a very dark corner of the odd and the unpredictable with a story called "Caesar and Me". It's written by Adele T. Strassfield, and it stars one of the most talented young men on the acting scene today, Jackie Cooper. Here's one that may stay with you after the lights are out. It's a story of a ventriloquist and his dummy, and this one is designed for the cold chills and the hot fevers.

Production Companies


  • Columbia Broadcasting System (CBS) (1959) (USA) (TV) (original airing)

Memorable Quotes

Main article: List of memorable quotes from the first series

External Links