The Twilight Zone: Season 1, Episode 20

Profile in Silver/Button, Button (7 Mar. 1986)

TV Episode  -   -  Sci-Fi | Fantasy | Mystery
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Ratings: 8.2/10 from 172 users  
Reviews: 3 user | 1 critic

"Profile in Silver": After preventing the assassination of President Kennedy, a historian from the future faces the consequences of his act. "Button, Button": A couple receives a box with a button -- and an unusual offer.


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Title: Profile in Silver/Button, Button (07 Mar 1986)

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Episode cast overview:
Lane Smith ...
Prof. Joseph Fitzgerald (segment "Profile in Silver")
Louis Giambalvo ...
Raymond Livingston (segment "Profile in Silver")
Barbara Baxley ...
Dr. Kate Wange (segment "Profile in Silver")
Inspector (segment "Profile in Silver") (as Mark Taylor)
Charles Lanyer ...
TV Anchorman (segment "Profile in Silver")
David Sage ...
Professor (segment "Profile in Silver")
Ken Hill ...
Presidential Aide (segment "Profile in Silver")
Huck Liggett ...
Texan (segment "Profile in Silver")
Gerard Bocaccio ...
Student (segment "Profile in Silver")


"Profile in Silver": After preventing the assassination of President Kennedy, a historian from the future faces the consequences of his act. "Button, Button": A couple receives a box with a button -- and an unusual offer.

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis




Release Date:

7 March 1986 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


As Raymond Livingston and a United States Mint inspector converse, a CBS television announcement is heard: "We will now return to our regular programming" and the theme to Twilight Zone (1959) is played. Twilight Zone: Night Call (1964) was scheduled to air on November 22, 1963 but, due to the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy, it was rescheduled for February 7, 1964. See more »


Arthur Lewis: Hi honey, what're you doing up so late? What's wrong?
Norma Lewis: I wanted to talk to you.
Arthur Lewis: Well great, wait right there, I'll get a beer. So this guy, did he come?
Norma Lewis: He brought the key to unlock the top.
Arthur Lewis: So what's it all about?
Norma Lewis: If we open the top and push the button, somewhere someone who we don't know will die and we will collect $200,000.
Arthur Lewis: You're kidding, that's what he said? Well it must be some kind of joke.
Norma Lewis: He was very serious about it.
See more »


Version of Black Button (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

Profile in Silver: A can-opener
27 March 2012 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

An interesting episode this one – the second part (which I didn't watch) also exists as a recent film called The Box and, like Profile in Silver, has an interesting concept behind it. It was Profile that I came to watch though because I have an interest in the work of J Neil Schulman – an interest it is worth me declaring. I know him from a low-budget film of his that I thought was terrible and since then I have read one of his books and now also watched this Twilight Zone story which he wrote. Schulman for those that don't know has been a writer for decades and in certain circles is well respected for his sci-fi writing and his libertarian writings. Personally i don't see it myself but part of me checking him out is me looking for the things that others seem to see. Unfortunately I ended this episode still unable to see them but happy to say that he did a "solid" job here.

The plot is a time-travelling historian is sent back on a mission to study his specialist time in history (North America, early 1960's) but, on the day of the assassination, finds that he is unable to prevent himself shouting out an emotional warning and inadvertently saving the President. It is not long before the ramifications of this are all too clear to him. The set-up is a good one but unfortunately it is far too practically written and lacks anything in the way of bite and impact. I recently read Alongside Night and i found the same thing in the writing there – dialogue was often too practical and explanatory and it didn't flow with a natural air. This is how it felt here too – and it gets to that stage very quickly in the opening discussion between the professor and his time-colleague. The dialogue there just dumps everything onto the viewer and it is rather unsatisfactory and unnatural. The rest of the story plays out like this – with ideas just delivered but not refined in a way that makes them work well.

Functional. It is a word I thought before and it is a word that applied here – everything about this story was functional and it didn't engage me and it never let my mind run with it because it just seemed to be matter-of-fact with not much to offer beyond the initial idea. It is a shame because the idea deserves much more but it isn't given the words or the direction to do so in a script that is entirely functional and lacking in flow. Functional – it is a good when discussing a can opener, not so much when it comes to story-telling.

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