The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
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The Obsolete Man 

In a future totalitarian society, a librarian is declared obsolete and sentenced to death.

Director:

Elliot Silverstein

Writers:

Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)
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Cast

Episode complete credited cast:
Burgess Meredith ... Romney Wordsworth
Fritz Weaver ... Chancellor
Josip Elic Josip Elic ... Subaltern (as Josep Elic)
Harry Fleer Harry Fleer ... Guard
Barry Brooks Barry Brooks ... Board Member
Harold Innocent ... Board Member
Jane Romeyn Jane Romeyn ... Board Member
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Storyline

In a futuristic totalitarian world, meek and mild-mannered librarian Romney Wordsworth finds himself on trial for being obsolete. This future society has decided on everything people need to know. There is no God and there are no books. Society doesn't need librarians. Romney makes an impassioned plea about his rights and free will but the judge in the case, the Chancellor, will have nothing of it. The jury finds Romney obsolete and orders him to be executed. As he can choose the method of his death, Romney's plans include a little surprise for the Chancellor. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Certificate:

TV-PG
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

2 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Obsolete Man See more »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The definition of the character Subaltern means Junior Officer. See more »

Goofs

At the beginning, the Subaltern is heard to say, "Wordsworth, Romney, obsolescence," but his lips are not moving. See more »

Quotes

Subaltern: Stand where you are. No further. You have been removed from office. The Field Investigators have declared you "Obsolete".
Chancellor: Obsolete?
Subaltern: [robotic monotone] You have disgraced the State, you have proven yourself a coward; you have, therefore, no function. You are Obsolete!
Chancellor: But I'm not. I'm not obsolete!
Subaltern: YOU ARE OBSOLETE!
Jurors: Obsolete! Obsolete!
Subaltern: YOU ARE OBSOLETE!
Chancellor: [hysterical] You're making a terrible mistake, a tragic mistake! I'm not obsolete! I *work* for the State, I *believe* in the state! I help give ...
[...]
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User Reviews

 
Contrast to other episodes
14 February 2008 | by jcravens42See all my reviews

An episode with a theme near and dear to Serling's heart: intellectual freedom and the will and power of the "little" guy. It's an obvious tribute to novels like "1984", and while not as well executed as that novel, there is something to be said for the startling visuals presented on such a low budget that bring to life the horrors of a totalitarian regime. My only criticism is the ending -- not to give anything away, but did they run out of money for something better? Regardless, this is an episode that makes you wonder what today's political realities and quasi-religious governments would have inspired Serling to write.


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