This Day in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the birth of actor John McGiver ('Sounds and Silences')

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Nov 5, 2017

Today, November 5, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the birth of actor John McGiver ("Sounds and Silences").

McGiver made a career of playing fussy fussbudgets, phlegmatic windbags, and pompous politicians, and he doesn't disappoint here as Roswell G. Flemington, a toy ship manufacturer who treats his employees as if they were his personal galley slaves on the high seas.

 Actor John McGiver brought his considerable acting gifts to the role of the impossible Roswell G. Flemington, a model ship tycoon with more than a touch of Captain Bligh. 

He's so obsessed with the sea that he's lost all touch with his wife (Penny Singleton of "Blondie" fame). All he wants to do is listen to vinyl records of great sea battles while practicing his naval command skills. But like all unlikable leading characters in The Twilight Zone, he gets his comeuppance.

This episode is one of several directed by Richard Donner, who went on to have a major feature film career with his work on Superman (1978) and the Lethal Weapon series (1987-1998).

Roswell G. Flemington (John McGiver, left) squares off against his long-suffering wife (Penny Singleton) in "Sounds and Silences."

I should mention that McGiver was not always a curmudgeon. He's a very good U.S. senator in The Manchurian Candidate (1962) who stands up to Angela Lansbury's loathsome Eleanor Shaw Iselin. He's also quite good as an ardent birdwatcher who takes Jimmy Stewart out for a memorable morning in Mr. Hobbs Takes a Vacation (1962). And he returned to The Twilight Zone as a stuffy sponsor in "The Bard," one of the fourth season one-hours.

John McGiver was a terrific character actor with a very unique personality and demeanor. Here's to John!