The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
29 user 3 critic

The Obsolete Man 

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


Elliot Silverstein


Rod Serling, Rod Serling (created by)

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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


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








Release Date:

2 June 1961 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Obsolete Man See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


When Wordsworth is reading from the Bible, he quotes the following verses: Psalm 23 Psalm 59:1 Psalm 14:1 (or Psalm 53:1) Psalm 142:1 Psalm 130:1-2 See more »


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


Chancellor: You have no function, Mr. Wordsworth, you're an anachronism, like a ghost from another time.
Romney Wordsworth: I am nothing more than a reminder to you that you cannot destroy truth by burning pages!
See more »

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Watch This Episode
25 February 2006 | by tthomas760See all my reviews

Another of Rod Serling's cautionary tales of the rise of the totalitarian state.

Rodney Wordsworth is declared "obsolete" by a tribunal of the state in the not too distant future. The sentence is. of course, death, but some surprises await the State at the humble hands of Mr. Wordsworth.

Anyone seeing this episode today will be shocked at it's relevance. A society which has "proven" that there is no God; a state which enforces a mind-numbing conformity; a state which refuses to respect or acknowledge the rights of the individual or the sanctity of life.

Watch this episode and reflect long and hard.

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