peace and quiet

A Little Peace and Quiet

"A Little Peace and Quiet" is the second segment of the first episode of the television series The New Twilight Zone.

Opening narration

Wouldn't it be nice if, once in a while, everyone would just shut up and stop pestering you? Wouldn't it be great to have the time to finish a thought or spin a daydream? To think out loud without being required to explain exactly what you meant? If you had the power, would you dare to use it, even knowing that silence may have voices of its own... to the Twilight Zone?


Penny, a housewife and mother of four, is awakened by her excessively loud clock radio. She gets up and cooks breakfast. Her children fight and interrupt her, her husband complains about the mess in the closet, the phone rings but she cannot hear the other person over the noise, and the washing machine acts up again.

Later, Penny works in her garden, while her neighbor removes tree limbs with a chainsaw. As she digs, she discovers a wooden box containing a gold pendant in the shape of a sundial, which she takes inside and puts on.

At the grocery store, Penny is harassed by her whining children and by annoying customers. She drives home as her children fight. While she tries to cook dinner, her children begin to pester her again, and her husband comes downstairs complaining about a rip in his shirt. As the noise level becomes too much, she yells at them to shut up, and they freeze in time. She is confused at first, but soon realizes that the pendant is an amulet that can stop time. She tells her family to start talking, and time restarts. She smiles as she realizes that she will finally have a little peace and quiet.

Later that night, Penny watches a news program about the recent peace talks between the United States and the Soviet Union. She becomes annoyed and briefly freezes time, then expresses her happiness and goes to sleep.

The next day, Penny uses her time-stopping power to enjoy a peaceful breakfast with her family, at the grocery store, and to avoid being pestered by two anti-nuclear weapons activists — she drags their frozen bodies into the yard and lays them down, then restarts time, and the shocked activists decide to skip her house.

Later that evening, Penny enjoys a relaxing bath when she hears her husband calling loudly from the bedroom. Her husband is listening to the radio revealing that nuclear missiles are heading for the United States. When air raid sirens go off and her husband and son begin to weep, Penny freezes time and walks through frozen town. As she approaches the movie theatre (where the marquee announces a double feature of Fail Safe and Dr. Strangelove, two Cold War thrillers about nuclear exchanges between the United States and the Soviet Union) she looks up and sees a Soviet nuclear missile frozen over her city. The ending is ambiguous-will Penny live eternally alone or will she unfreeze time and die?


This episode is similar in theme to two episodes of the original series; "Time Enough at Last" which involves a man who seeks a refuge from life while reading when the world ends through a nuclear war, and "A Kind of Stopwatch" which involves a man who gains the power to stop time using a stopwatch.


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