Living Doll (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|Episode no.||Season 5
|Directed by||Richard C. Sarafian|
|Written by||Jerry Sohl
(Credited to Charles Beaumont)
|Featured music||Original score by Bernard Herrmann|
|Original air date||November 1, 1963|
|“||Talky Tina, a doll that does everything, a lifelike creation of plastic and springs and painted smile. To Erich Streator, she is the most unwelcome addition to his household - but without her, he'd never enter the Twilight Zone.||”|
A young girl, Christie, is given the gift of a doll by her mother, Annabelle. The doll is named "Talky Tina", and if you wind a key on the back, the doll says "My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much." It's clear there is tension in the home—Annabelle recently got married, and Christie's new stepfather, Erich, has been acting hostile to Christie. Annabelle bought Christie the doll to help make up for this. As they pull into the driveway after purchasing the doll, Annabelle instructs Christie to run upstairs with her new doll and not to show it to "Daddy". However, they are stopped by Erich as they enter the home. Christie is eager to show off her new present, but an angry Erich demands to know how much it cost. Annabelle says Christie has wanted this doll for months and that she charged it. Erich angrily states 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." Confused, he winds the key again and the doll says, "My name is Talky Tina and I think I could even hate you". At hearing this, he throws the doll against the wall across the room. The doll says back, "My name is Talky Tina... and you'll be sorry!"
Annabelle re-enters, and we learn that Erich is actually Christie's stepfather and is bitter because he is infertile. While Annabelle understands that it is difficult for Erich to suddenly have a new daughter, she pleads with Erich to be kinder to Christie.
At the dinner table, Christie pretends to feed Tina. Erich becomes annoyed and Annabelle declares that Tina is good for Christie, that it gives her someone to play with. Erich still believes Annabelle bought Tina as a reminder they cannot have children of their own. Erich catches the doll winking at him, while the others are looking elsewhere at the table.
Left alone with the doll again, Erich hears it say "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 places a match next to Tina, who gasps. He says "Then you have feelings!" The doll replies "Doesn't everything?" Erich accuses Annabelle of placing a walkie-talkie in Tina and speaking through the doll to "get back at him." She denies it.
Finding the doll, Erich goes into the garage and places it 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 is startled to find Tina gone. He again accuses Annabelle of teaming up with Christie to frighten him. He declares "Will the two of you stop it?!" She, worried and baffled by his seemingly irrational accusations and suddenly insane behavior, denies it and tries to placate him. Erich finds Tina in Christie's bed. Christie is asleep, but the doll speaks to awaken her. Erich confiscates the doll as Christie cries and Annabelle rushes in. Erich now believes that it was Christie who is playing tricks on him. Erich says "The doll was in her bed. She's the one that's been doing it." Christie begs "Daddy, please!", and Erich yells "I'm not your Daddy!"
As Annabelle desperately tries to reason with Erich, he starts to come to the chilling realization that neither she nor Christie is the source of Tina's taunts. It is something unexplained and frightening.
He returns to the garage intending to destroy the doll. He first places the doll's head into a vise and tightens it, but the doll only looks at him and laughs. He then tries to use a blow torch to burn it, but the flame keeps going out before it reaches the doll. He then attempts to decapitate it with a table saw. Annabelle walks in and tries to stop him, but he angrily pushes her away. After Annabelle flees the garage, Erich looks at the doll's neck, only to find there is not even a scratch on it.
Realizing he is unable to damage the doll, he puts it into a burlap sack and ties a cord around it, then throws the doll back into the trash can. As he places three heavy bricks on top of the can's lid, he hears the doll laugh. He returns to his bedroom to find Annabelle packing to leave. "How could I live with you after what you've done?" "I had to", Erich insists. "You had to, to show your hatred for me and for Christie!", she snaps. She states his need to see a psychiatrist. Erich insists the doll was talking to him, but offers to return it. She agrees to stay. Returning to the trash can, he is relieved to see Tina still there. As he retrieves it from the can, it says "My name is Talky Tina and I don't forgive you!" Erich hushes "Shut up, please shut up", and goes back to Christie's bedroom to hand her the doll reluctantly.
Later that night, Erich is awakened in bed by muffled noises outside the closed bedroom door. Telling Annabelle to stay in the bedroom, he goes out of the bedroom to investigate. He looks into Christie's room to see Tina gone. He starts to walk down the stairs, but trips on Tina, lying on one of the steps, and tumbles down the long stairway. Tina falls down to the bottom of the stairs, landing inches away from where Erich lies dying. Erich, with just enough fading strength to open his eyes, sees Tina looking at him. He then closes his eyes and dies. Annabelle screams "Erich!" and runs down the stairs. Kneeling over Erich's body, she picks up Tina, who says, "My name is Talky Tina...and you'd better be nice to me!" Annabelle drops the doll to the ground in shock.
|“||Of course, we all know dolls can't really talk, and they certainly can't commit murder. But to a child caught in the middle of turmoil and conflict, a doll can become many things: friend, defender, guardian. Especially a doll like Talky Tina, who did talk and did commit murder - in the misty region of the Twilight Zone.||”|
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
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.
- 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