Living Doll (The Twilight Zone)
|The Twilight Zone episode|
"Talky Tina" was voiced by June Foray
|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|
"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 not only sentient but also evil.
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" in order to comfort her. The doll has a catchphrase: "My name is Talky Tina and I love you very much." Annabelle has recently remarried to an infertile man named Erich Streator. Frustrated by his inability to have his own children with Annabelle, Erich directs his hostility 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 substitutes its catchphrase with antagonisms such as "I don't like you". At first, Erich blames the doll's manufacturer. However, when the doll 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. It occurs to Erich that since his wife 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 begins to question whether the doll talking to him was just his imagination, and he 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 sees Erich lying at the base of the staircase. Frantic, she rushes down and kneels beside his body. She finds Tina next to him. When Annabelle picks up Tina, the doll opens her eyes and says, "My name is Talky Tina...and you'd better be nice to me!" Annabelle drops the doll in horror, now realizing that her husband had been telling the truth.
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 for Talky Tina was produced by the Vogue Doll Company between 1959 and 1961 and marketed under the name "Brikette". Contrary to its depiction on The Twilight Zone, Brikette was a non-talker; however, in its televised portrayal as Tina it was modeled after Chatty Cathy, a popular talking doll being manufactured by Mattel toy company at the time "Living Doll" premiered. The voices for both Talky Tina and the original Chatty Cathy dolls were provided by June Foray, one of the leading voice actresses of the era.
In popular culture
"Living Doll" is parodied in "Clown Without Pity", a segment in a 1992 episode of The Simpsons, which is one of the installments in the cartoon series' Treehouse of Horror presentations. In the story Homer gives Bart a talking Krusty the Clown doll for his birthday, and the toy tries to kill Homer.
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