Little Girl Lost (The Twilight Zone)
|"Little Girl Lost"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 3
|Directed by||Paul Stewart|
|Written by||Richard Matheson from his short story published in The Shores of Space (1953)|
|Featured music||Original score by Bernard Herrmann|
|Original air date||March 16, 1962|
|List of Twilight Zone episodes|
"Little Girl Lost" is an episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It is about a young girl who has accidentally passed through an opening into another dimension, and her parents' and their friend's attempt to locate and retrieve her.
|“||Missing: one frightened little girl. Name: Bettina Miller. Description: six years of age, average height and build, light brown hair, quite pretty. Last seen being tucked in bed by her mother a few hours ago. Last heard- 'ay, there's the rub', as Hamlet put it. For Bettina Miller can be heard quite clearly, despite the rather curious fact that she can't be seen at all. Present location? Let's say for the moment--in the Twilight Zone.||”|
A couple, Chris and Ruth, are awakened by the distant whimpering of their little girl, Tina. Chris slowly gets up to see what the trouble is. Their dog, Mack, begins to bark from their backyard. Chris finds Tina's bed empty, though he can hear her pleas for help. Looking around the room, he says, "I'm here, where are you?" Mack barks again in the backyard.
Chris crouches next to the bed while trying to talk Tina out from underneath it, where he thinks she is hiding. He looks under the bed to find nothing there. Chris can hear Tina (with a strange echo effect), and she can hear him, but neither can see the other. He explains to Ruth that even though they can hear her, their little girl is no longer with them.
Mack is now barking incessantly. Chris calls his physicist friend, Bill, for help and opens the door to let Mack into the house. The dog runs into Tina's room as Ruth, still in the room, watches him go under the bed. She bends over, calling him back, but becomes quiet when she sees he has disappeared. She can still hear the dog's barking (also with the echo now) and Tina's voice.
Bill comes over and examines the wall behind the bed. He taps the wall and finds an invisible portal to another dimension. He explains it by saying sometimes lines in our three dimensions end parallel with, rather than perpendicular to, the fourth dimension.
The adults try to call to Mack to guide Tina back, but their attempts fail. Finally Chris, despite Bill's warnings, reaches into the portal and falls into the other dimension. Chris lands in a hazy, foggy, abstract place, where space and shapes are distorted, turning upside down and sideways. When Chris calls to Bill, his voice also echoes. Chris sees Tina and Mack and tries to call them towards him, since he is standing right near the portal. On the other side, he hears Bill's voice telling him to hurry up. Finally as Tina and Mack close in on him, Bill grabs them and is pulled back into the bedroom. Ruth takes the girl to another room.
Bill explains that Chris was actually only halfway in, despite Chris' thinking he was standing up in the new dimension. Bill was in fact holding onto Chris the entire time. He was telling Chris to hurry because the portal was closing, and had Chris remained there for more than a few additional seconds, the bottom half of his body would have been in the room, with the top half in the other dimension. As Bill puts it to Chris, "Another few seconds, and half of you would've been here, and the other half ..."
Bill knocks on the wall, and it is solid.
|“||The other half where? The fourth dimension? The fifth? Perhaps. They never found the answer. Despite a battery of research physicists equipped with every device known to man, electronic and otherwise, no result was ever achieved, except perhaps a little more respect for and uncertainty about the mechanisms of the Twilight Zone.||”|
Preview for next week's story
|“||Next week we again borrow from the considerable talents of Charles Beaumont, and we take a fast trot on the wild side. Picture if you will a man who wakes up in a strange world, knows everyone, knows every place, feels very much at home. The strangeness comes from the fact that no one knows him. Try this one for size on the next Twilight Zone. It's called "Person or Persons Unknown".||”|
Habit is something you do when pleasure is gone, and certainly this is not the way to smoke. I prefer to smoke Chesterfields, and get the rich taste of "21 great tobaccos"- blended mild, not filtered mild. Smoke for pleasure...smoke Chesterfields.
Matheson wrote the short story based on a real-life incident involving his young daughter, who fell off her bed while asleep and rolled against a wall. Despite hearing her daughter's cries for help, Matheson's wife was initially unable to locate her daughter.
While Tina was in the alternate dimension, her voice was played by voice actor Rhoda Williams, who was then 32 years old.
References in other media
Many elements of this episode were later echoed in the Steven Spielberg-produced Poltergeist (1982). Spielberg was keenly familiar with The Twilight Zone, having produced Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) and directing a segment. Spielberg's first film, Duel (1971), was written by frequent Twilight Zone contributor Richard Matheson, who wrote this episode. The main elements of "Little Girl Lost" that were repeated in Poltergeist include a little girl's falling into another dimension where she and her parents cannot see each other but can talk to and hear one another; the marking off of the dimension "hole"; the father's going into the other dimension to rescue his daughter and then being pulled back out by people on the outside; and even the girl's voice coming through the television set.
"Little Girl Lost" was parodied in Homer3, a segment of "Treehouse of Horror VI", an episode from the seventh season of The Simpsons. Instead of recovering Tina from the fourth dimension, the two-dimensionally-drawn characters attempt to retrieve Homer (and later, Bart) from the mysterious "third dimension". The episode ends with Homer's destroying the 3D world and getting jettisoned into the real world, where he is initially frightened but forgets his troubles when he finds an erotic cake store. The episode was famous at the time for mixing 3D computer animation and live-action with the show's two-dimensional cel animation. The Twilight Zone was even referenced in the episode, when Homer describes the series as "that twilighty show about that zone."
An only slightly similar event occurs at the end of the first episode of the second season of Primeval: Stephen Hart tries to return to the present through an anomaly in time (from the Cretaceous, after returning two rogue raptor dinosaurs there) but is being pulled back by one of the raptors. The other characters manage to pull Stephen entirely through the anomaly and it closes on the attacking raptor's neck, decapitating it, similar to what Bill had warned would happen to Chris had the portal closed on him.
In theme park attractions
In addition, an area of the queue for the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror theme park attractions in California and Paris uses subtle effects to simulate air currents coming out of a solid wall, as well as playing a subtle recording of the little girl's dialogue at intervals.
Bernard Herrmann's score for the episode is written for an unusual chamber ensemble of four flutes (doubling on piccolos, and alto and bass flutes), four harps, percussion (one player, utilizing tambourine, tam-tams, and vibraphone), and viola d'amore. It has been performed as a concert suite by the San Francisco Composers Chamber Orchestra.
- DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
- Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0
- Kaku, Michio, Hyperspace: A Scientific Odyssey Through Parallel Universes, Time Warps and the 10th Dimension Oxford University Press, 1994, ISBN 0-19-508514-0 p.42