Living Doll (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
"Talky Tina" was voiced by June Foray
|Directed by||Richard C. Sarafian|
Jerry Sohl |
(Credited to Charles Beaumont)
|Featured music||Original score by Bernard Herrmann|
|Original air date||November 1, 1963|
"Living Doll" is the 126th episode of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. In this episode, a dysfunctional family's problems are made worse when the child's doll proves to be sentient.
|“||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.||”|
Annabelle buys her daughter, Christie, a wind-up doll named "Talky Tina" which says "My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much" in order to comfort Christie. Annabelle has recently remarried to an infertile man named Erich Streator. Frustrated at his inability to have his own children with Annabelle, Erich is hostile toward Christie. Annabelle tries to persuade him that if he gives himself the chance, he will be able to love Christie.
When Erich winds up the doll, it repeats its usual phrase but substitutes antagonisms such as "I don't like you" for "I love you". At first, Erich blames the manufacturers. However, when the doll later begins engaging him in a more elaborate conversation, he comes to the conclusion that Annabelle is playing a trick to get back at him for his treatment of Christie. He places the doll in a trash can in the garage, but then receives a phone call and hears the doll's voice threatening to kill him. Checking the trash can, he finds it empty. He confronts Annabelle, but she pleads innocence and it occurs to Erich that since she was upstairs putting Christie to bed, she could not possibly have made the phone ring.
He runs upstairs to find the doll in bed with Christie. Erich takes the doll away against Christie's tearful protests, and angrily corrects her when she addresses him as "daddy". He attempts to destroy the doll using a vise, a blow torch and a circular saw, all to no effect. He ties the doll in a burlap sack and returns it to the trash can, weighing the lid with bricks. Annabelle begins packing to leave, unable to tolerate his hostility and irrational behavior any longer. She says that Erich should see a psychiatrist. Erich himself begins to question if the doll talking to him was just his imagination, and offers to return it to Christie if Annabelle will stay. He takes the doll out of the trash and returns it to Christie.
Later that night, Erich is awakened by muffled noises. He tells Annabelle to stay in the bedroom, and leaves to investigate. Christie is in bed, but Tina is gone. Going down the stairs, he trips over Tina, who is lying on one of the treads, and falls, sustaining fatal injuries. Attracted by the noise, Annabelle finds Erich's body. Beside him is Tina, which Annabelle picks up; the doll opens her eyes and says, "My name is Talky Tina... and you'd better be nice to me!" Realizing that Erich was indeed telling the truth, Annabelle drops the doll in horror.
|“||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.||”|
- Telly Savalas as Erich Streator
- Mary LaRoche as Annabelle Streator
- Tracy Stratford as Christie Streator
- June Foray as Talky Tina (voice)
The house in this episode also was used in "Ring-a-Ding Girl" (1963), another Twilight Zone episode.
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 more prolific voice actresses of the era.
In popular culture
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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.
- Clare, Nancy (June 18, 2010). "June Foray". Los Angeles Times.
- 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