Living Doll (The Twilight Zone)

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"Living Doll"
The Twilight Zone episode
Living Doll.jpg
"Talky Tina" whose design was inspired by Chatty Cathy and was voiced by June Foray (the original voice for Chatty Cathy),
Episode no. Season 5
Episode 6
Directed by Richard C. Sarafian
Written by Jerry Sohl
(Credited to Charles Beaumont)
Featured music Original score by Bernard Herrmann
Production code 2621
Original air date November 1, 1963
Guest actors

Telly Savalas: Erich Streator
Mary LaRoche: Annabelle Streator
Tracy Stratford: Christie Streator
June Foray: Talky Tina (voice)

Episode chronology
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"The Last Night of a Jockey"
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List of Twilight Zone episodes

"Living Doll" is the 126th episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Annabelle buys her young daughter, Christie, a talking doll. The doll is named "Talky Tina", and it says, "My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much." There is tension in the home—Annabelle recently re-married, and Christie's new stepfather, Erich, has been hostile to Christie; Erich is bitter because he is infertile. Annabelle bought the doll to comfort Christie. Annabelle understands that it is difficult for Erich to suddenly adapt to a child that is not his, and she pleads with Erich to be kinder to Christie.

As they return home from the store, Annabelle instructs Christie to run upstairs with her new doll and not to show it to "Daddy". They are stopped by Erich as they enter the home. Christie is eager to show off her new present, but Erich only wants to know how much it cost, insisting that Christie does not need another doll. Christie flees the room, leaving Talky Tina behind. Annabelle follows Christie, and Erich examines the doll. He winds the key on the back of the doll and hears it say "My name is Talky Tina and I don't think I like you." He winds the key again and the doll says, "My name is Talky Tina and I think I could even hate you." He throws the doll across the room. The doll says, "My name is Talky Tina, and you'll be sorry!"

Erich finds Tina a cruel reminder that he cannot give Annabelle children. Annabelle says that Tina is good for Christie, that it gives her someone to play with. Erich catches the doll winking at him while the others are distracted.

When Erich is alone with the doll, it says "My name is Talky Tina and I'm beginning to hate you." He replies, "My name is Erich Streator and I'm going to get rid of you." Tina exclaims "You wouldn't dare! Annabelle would hate you, Christie would hate you, and I would hate you." Erich holds a lit match next to Tina, and the doll gasps. Erich accuses Annabelle of placing a walkie-talkie in Tina and speaking through the doll to "get back at him." She denies it.

Erich places the doll in a trash can with a lid. When Christie seeks the doll, he tells her he does not know where it is. Later, the telephone rings. Erich answers and the voice on the other end says, "My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you." He checks the trash can and finds Tina gone. He again accuses Annabelle of conspiring with Christie to frighten him. Annabelle, baffled by his irrational accusations, tries to placate him. Erich finds Tina in Christie's bed. Christie is asleep, but the doll speaks, awakening her. Erich confiscates the doll; Christie cries and Annabelle rushes in. Erich now believes that it was Christie who is playing tricks on him. Christie begs "Daddy, please!", and Erich yells "I'm not your Daddy!"

Annabelle desperately tries to reason with Erich, and he comes to the conclusion that the source of Tina's taunts may be something unexplained and frightening.

He returns to the garage to destroy the doll. He places the doll's head into a vise and tightens it, but the doll only looks at him and laughs. He tries to burn it with a blow torch, but the flame keeps going out. He attempts to decapitate it with a table saw. Annabelle walks in and tries to stop him, but he pushes her away. Erich looks at the doll's neck, finding not a scratch on it.

He puts it into a burlap sack and ties a cord around it, then throws it into the trash can. He places three heavy bricks on top of the lid, but the doll laughs at him. He returns to his bedroom to find Annabelle packing to leave, unable to tolerate his hostility and irrational behaviour any longer. She insists that Erich should see a psychiatrist. Erich maintains that the doll was talking to him, but offers to return it to Christie if Annabelle will stay. He returns to the garage and finds the doll still in the trash can. It says "My name is Talky Tina and I don't forgive you!" Erich desperately urges it to be quiet, and reluctantly returns the doll to Christie.

Later that night, Erich is awakened by muffled noises from within the house. He tells Annabelle to stay in the bedroom, and leaves to investigate. Christie is in bed, but Tina is gone. Skulking down the stairs, he trips over Tina, who is lying on one of the treads, and falls. Sustaining fatal injuries, he sees the doll watching him as he dies. Attracted by the noise, Annabelle screams and runs down the stairs. She picks up Tina, who says, "My name is Talky Tina, and you'd better be nice to me!" Annabelle drops the doll in shock.

Closing narration[edit]

Episode notes[edit]

The score composed by Bernard Herrmann consists of a solo bass clarinet, flourished by harps and celesta. This ensemble creates the sinister tone appropriate for the episode's mood.

The house in this episode was also used in another ''Twilight Zone'' episode, Ring-a-Ding Girl (1963).

The doll used to play Talky Tina was a doll named Brikette that was made by the Vogue doll company. Brikette is a non-talker, except in the Twilight Zone; however, the inspiration for Tina was Chatty Cathy, a talking doll manufactured by Mattel. Cathy and Tina were both voiced by June Foray, one of the most prolific voice actresses of the era.

Pop culture references[edit]

This episode was parodied in a The Simpsons Treehouse of Horror segment, "Clown Without Pity" (1992), where Homer buys Bart a talking Krusty the Clown doll for his birthday that tries to kill Homer.

In the Californian and Parisian versions of the popular Disney attraction The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror, what some think to be a Talky Tina doll can be seen on a couch in the lobby as guests wait in line. However, some think it is meant to look like the little girl who is transported to the Twilight Zone in the ride, Sally Shine.

A mute telepathic in the French film Bloody Mallory (2002) is named Talky Tina.

The episode also was spoofed in an episode of Cartoon Network's animated series Johnny Bravo (1997–2004), "The Man Who Cried 'Clown!'/Johnny, Real Good/Little Talky Tabitha!", in which the character of Suzy receives a talking doll, Tabitha, that, unbeknown to all of the other characters in the series, is alive and relentlessly terrorizes Johnny.

References[edit]

  • 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
  • Zicree, Marc Scott: The Twilight Zone Companion. Sillman-James Press, 1982 (second edition)
  • Photo and description of replica Brikette doll

External links[edit]