Static (The Twilight Zone)

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Dean Jagger: Ed Lindsay
Carmen Mathews: Vinnie
Robert Emhardt: Professor Ackerman
Arch W. Johnson: Roscoe Bragg
Alice Pearce: Mrs. Nielson
Clegg Hoyt: Shopkeeper (the "junk dealer")
Stephen Talbot: Boy
Lillian O'Malley: Miss Meredith
Pat O'Malley: Mr. Llewellyn
Roy Rowan: (Voice of radio and television announcer) (uncredited)
Diane Strom: (Blonde in TV cigarette commercial) (uncredited)
Jerry Fuller: (Rock 'n' roll singer on TV) (uncredited)
Eddie Marr: (Hard-sell real estate pitchman on TV) (uncredited)
Bob Crane: (Voice of radio disc jockey) (uncredited)
Bob Duggan: (TV Western voice) (uncredited)
Jay Overholts: (TV Western voice) (uncredited)

"Static" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.


Opening narration

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.


Ed Lindsay, an embittered, irritable bachelor in his late fifties, living in a boarding house, is dismayed over the mindless and worthless programs and commercials emanating from the television set watched by the other residents. He retrieves from the basement the old radio which, in his younger and happier days, he enjoyed as a source of relaxation and entertainment. Installing it in his joyless room, he is astonished to hear the radio transmit 1930s/40s music and programs, including those of Major Bowes, Fred Allen and Tommy Dorsey, all of whom were no longer alive. He tries to tell the others about the miraculous broadcasts, but they can hear only static. What's more, when he tries to contact the radio station ("WPDA", in fictional "Cedarburg, New Jersey") broadcasting those programs, he discovers the station went off the air (and out of business) 13 years before. Worried about Ed's mental state, the boarding house residents have the radio taken away by a junk dealer in his absence, but when they tell Ed, he rushes out and manages to buy it back for ten dollars.

Ed has a heartfelt confrontation with Vinnie Broun (Carmen Mathews), who has lived in the same boarding house with him for two decades. We learn that 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. As she returns to her room, he turns on the radio. Both Ed and Vinnie are young again — or rather, Ed has retreated 20 years into his own past to relive his life and set things right.

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