The Twilight Zone – Complete Series Review – Season 5 Episode 27 – Sounds and Silences

Roswell Flemington is the owner of a company that makes model ships.  He’s a former sailor who shouts and rings bells and plays records of naval battles at sound levels high enough to shake the plaster from the ceiling.  He constantly harangues his employees in nautical terms and at full volume to run a taut ship (in a manner of speaking).  Next we meet Mrs. Flemington just as she is telling her husband that after twenty years of noise, she is leaving him to escape the insanity.

Roswell embraces her departure but as she leaves, he suddenly becomes hypersensitive to sound.  Even a dripping faucet becomes as loud as a gong.  Roswell goes to his doctor but the medical man declares his ears perfectly normal.  He sarcastically recommends a psychiatrist and after running out of other options that is where Roswell goes.  The psychiatrist attributes Flemington’s problem to an anxiety problem associated with his mother’s dislike of noise when he was a child and the transference of this anxiety to his relationship with his wife.  The psychiatrist convinces him that the malady is completely psychosomatic and once Flemington believes him the problem goes away.

When Roswell gets home, he finds his wife preparing to leave and just for spite he tells her that he has discovered that he can shut out his wife’s voice from his mind merely by willing it.  He attempts it and finds it true.  In the final scene he decides to celebrate by playing one of his recordings of a naval bombardment at full volume.  But although we can see the furniture shaking from the sound Roswell can hear nothing.  He has permanently shut himself off from sound completely.

Roswell is played by John McGiver, a well-known character actor of the time with a very distinctive voice.  He and Penny Singleton (who was the voice of George Jetson’s wife Jane, among other things) who plays his wife Lydia give the material everything they’ve got.  But let’s face it.  This is not much of a plot to work with.  There are some comical moments so I’ll be kind and say B-.