Little Girl Lost (The Twilight Zone)
|"Little Girl Lost"|
|The Twilight Zone episode|
|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|
"Little Girl Lost" is episode 91 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. Her parents and their friend 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 married couple, Chris and Ruth Miller, are awakened by the whimpering of their little daughter, Tina. Chris goes to see what the trouble is. Their dog, Mack, begins to bark from the backyard. Chris cannot find Tina either in or under the bed, even though her pleas for help are clearly coming from that area. He calls Ruth into the room, and she is similarly mystified. Chris phones his physicist friend, Bill, for help, and opens the door to let the incessantly barking Mack into the house. The dog runs under the bed and disappears, but can still be heard barking.
Bill arrives and helps Chris move the bed so that he can physically scan the area where it was, marking the legs with books. When this proves fruitless, Bill examines the wall behind the bed. He touches the wall and finds an invisible portal to another dimension, and draws marks on the wall outlining the apparent boundary. He explains to Chris and Ruth that sometimes lines in our three dimensions end parallel with, rather than perpendicular to, the fourth dimension. He warns them that if they follow Tina into the fourth dimension, they will only become hopelessly lost as well, since it is not laid out like the third dimension.
Chris calls to Mack to guide Tina back. Mack leads Tina to the source of Chris's voice, but they still cannot find the entrance. Despite Bill's warnings, Chris reaches into the portal and falls into the fourth dimension. Having lived his life in only three dimensions, to him the fourth dimension seems distorted, turning upside down and sideways. Bill advises him to not move. Chris sees Tina and Mack and calls them towards him. Bill calls for him to hurry. When Tina and Mack close in on Chris, Bill grabs them and pulls them back into the bedroom. Ruth takes Tina to another room.
Bill explains that Chris was only halfway through the portal, despite Chris' perception that 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. Bill knocks on the wall, and it is solid. The portal has closed. Bill tells Chris, "Another few seconds, and half of you would have been here, and the other half.........."
|“||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.||”|
The opening is slightly altered beginning with this episode. The graphics and words are the same, but there are subtle differences in the acoustics for the theme music.
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.
The voice of Tina in the alternate dimension was played by voice actor Rhoda Williams, who was then 32 years old. During the opening narration the outline to the fourth dimension is behind Rod Serling, indicating that the opening narration was filmed last.
References in other media
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"Little Girl Lost" was parodied in "Homer3", a segment of "Treehouse of Horror VI", an episode from the seventh season of The Simpsons. In the episode, the two-dimensional characters attempt to retrieve Homer from the third dimension. Homer likens the entrance to the third dimension to "something out of that twilighty show about that zone".
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. In the exit area of the Florida version of the attraction, there is an area of the wall outlined in chalk, exactly like the portal in the episode.
Although not intended by the writers, the hole into the other dimension was later given as an example of a "Riemannian cut", which is a type of wormhole formed when two spaces join at the same set of points.
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