The Dummy

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"The Dummy"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 3
Episode 33
Directed by Abner Biberman
Written by Rod Serling (Based on an unpublished story by Lee Polk.)
Featured music Stock
Production code 4826
Original air date May 4, 1962
Guest appearance(s)

Cliff Robertson: Jerry Etherson/Voice of Willie/Voice of Goofy Goggles
Frank Sutton: Frank
George Murdock: Willie (as ventriloquist)
John Harmon: Georgie
Sandra Warner : Noreen
Rudy Dolan: The M.C.
Ralph Manza: Doorman
Bethelynn Grey: Chorus Girl
Edy Williams: Chorus Girl

Episode chronology
← Previous
"The Gift"
Next →
"Young Man's Fancy"
List of Twilight Zone episodes

"The Dummy" is episode 98 of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone starring Cliff Robertson as a ventriloquist. It is not to be confused with a similar episode Caesar and Me, in which Jackie Cooper plays a ventriloquist.

Opening narration[edit]

Plot[edit]

Ventriloquist Jerry Etherson (Cliff Robertson) is performing an act with his dummy Willie in a small club in New York City. At the end of the act, Willie seems to bite Jerry's hand, and after he goes back to his dressing room he finds teeth marks on his finger. He begins to drink from a liquor bottle he'd hidden in a drawer. His agent, Frank, comes in and is upset that Jerry has resumed drinking. Jerry tells Frank, as he has numerous times before, that Willie is alive. Frank does not believe Jerry and has already pushed him into getting psychiatric help. Jerry is convinced that further psychiatric sessions would be redundant and that the only solution is to get rid of Willie and perform with a different dummy, "Goofy Goggles", from now on. He quickly comes up with new material for Goofy Goggles and locks Willie in a trunk.

After the second act, Jerry refuses to comply with the owner's wish that he and his dummy mingle with the audience. His agent considers this the last straw and quits, saying that Jerry's behavior, in particular what he sees as his delusional belief that Willie is alive, are keeping him from being a star. Jerry tells Frank he is leaving for Kansas City to get away from Willie. After leaving the theater, Jerry hears Willie's voice following him wherever he goes, and sees his shadow on a wall.

Jerry runs back into the theater. He goes into the dark dressing room, opens the trunk, throws the dummy on the floor, and smashes it. But when he turns on the light, he realizes that he destroyed the Goofy Goggles dummy. He can't understand how he could have been mistaken. He sees Willie sitting on the couch, talking to him and laughing at him. Willie tells him that it was he, Jerry, who made him alive. Realizing the truth, Jerry lowers his head as Willie cackles crazily.

The scene cuts to a man in Kansas City announcing that the next act will be "Jerry & Willie". We see the beginning of the act from the back of the man who walked out. As the camera rotates to the front, it is revealed that the man is actually Willie, and he is holding a dummy that looks just like Jerry.

Closing narration[edit]

Production notes[edit]

Abner Biberman also directed "Number Twelve Looks Just Like You".

The dummy used in this episode to portray "Willie" was originally created in the 1940s by puppetmaker Revello Petee. The same dummy was used later, in the 1964 Twilight Zone episode, "Caesar and Me". The actual original dummy which was used in both episodes had been housed in a private collection in Connecticut since the late 1970s, but now resides in David Copperfield's International Museum and Library of the Conjuring Arts in Las Vegas, NV, along with the Cliff Robertson dummy effigy which appears at the end of this episode. Both puppets were subject to a careful, preservative renovation by American artist and puppet restoration expert Alan Semok.[citation needed]

A figure of Willie can be seen at Disney's Hollywood Studios in the dark corner of a barred off exhibit to the side of one of the elevator exits of the Twilight Zone Tower of Terror ride.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  • 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

External links[edit]