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|
"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 friends 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, are awakened by the distant whimpering of their little daughter, Tina. Chris goes to see what the trouble is. Their dog, Mack, begins to bark from the 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, thinking that Tina is hiding underneath it. He finds nothing under the bed. 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. He opens the door to let Mack into the house. The dog runs into Tina's room, and Ruth watches him crawl under the bed. She calls him, but becomes quiet when she sees he too has disappeared. She can still hear the dog's barking (also with the echo now) and Tina's voice.
Bill 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. Despite Bill's warnings, Chris 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. He hears Bill calling him to hurry from the other side of the portal. When Tina and Mack close in on Chris, Bill grabs them and pulls them back into the bedroom. Ruth takes the girl 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, and had Chris remained there much longer, the bottom half of his body would have been in the room and the top half in the other dimension.
Bill knocks on the wall, and it is solid. The portal has closed.
|“||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.
The opening is slightly altered beginning with this episode. The graphics and lyrics 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.
While Tina was in the alternate dimension, her voice was played by voice actor Rhoda Williams, who was then 32 years old. During the opening narration you can see the outline to the fourth dimension behind Mr Serling, this indicates that the opening narration was filmed last.
References in other media
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Many elements of this episode were later echoed in the Steven Spielberg production Poltergeist (1982). Spielberg was keenly familiar with The Twilight Zone, having produced Twilight Zone: The Movie (1983) of which he directed a segment. Spielberg's first film, Duel (1971), was written by frequent Twilight Zone contributor Richard Matheson, who also wrote this episode. The main elements of "Little Girl Lost" that were repeated in Poltergeist include a little girl falling into another dimension where she can be heard but not seen; using markings to delineate the location of the portal; a parent going into the other dimension to rescue their daughter (her father in the TV episode, her mother in the film) and then being pulled back out by people on the outside; and the girl's voice apparently emanating from another point in the house (a liquor cabinet in the TV episode, a television set in the film).
"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 being 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 also referenced in the episode, when Homer describes the series as "that twilighty show about that zone".
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. 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.
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.
- Sexual Personae, Yale University Press, 1990, p. 344
- 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
- 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