Twilight Zone – Nightmare as a Child

★★★★  April 29, 1960 Season 1 Episode 29

If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.

I really like the cast in this. Terry Burnham as the child Markie has no trace of a child in her performance which is why it works. This one could have been a Hitchcock episode. Janice Rule and Shepperd Strudwick play their parts perfectly. Strudwich is especially creepy. The show has a slow build up, to watch Helen…slowly trying to find her self while putting the pieces together one piece at a time.

Helen gets aggravated talking to Markie and you can see what is going on. She knows something is different about this kid. Helen can’t grasp who this kid is…or maybe doesn’t want to grasp it. Markie gets as frustrated as us viewers and finally clues Helen in and pulls no punches.

The amnesia card is played in this one but unlike some shows it works in this. Markie seems to represent Helen’s  repressed memories. This episode would work without any real supernatural content.

Janice Rule’s character Helen Foley was named after Rod Serling’s drama teacher. The name Helen Foley was used again in the 1983 Twilight Zone movie.

This show was written by Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

Month of November, hot chocolate, and a small cameo of a child’s face, imperfect only in its solemnity. And these are the improbable ingredients to a human emotion, an emotion, say, like—fear. But in a moment this woman, Helen Foley, will realize fear. She will understand what are the properties of terror. A little girl will lead her by the hand and walk with her into a nightmare.


Helen Foley is a school teacher who when arriving home one day meets a little girl, Markie, sitting on the steps just outside her apartment door. Helen invites her in and gives her a cup of hot cocoa. Strangely however, Markie seems to know a great deal about her – that she doesn’t like marshmallows in her cocoa or that she has a scar on her elbow. She also knows what Helen did earlier that day including seeing a somewhat familiar man, Peter Selden, behind the wheel of a car. When Selden arrives at her apartment a few moments later he says he worked for her mother but Helen has no memory of what happened to her mother all those years ago. As her memories return however, she finds herself in grave danger.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

Miss Helen Foley, who has lived in night and who will wake up to morning. Miss Helen Foley, who took a dark spot from the tapestry of her life and rubbed it clean—then stepped back a few paces and got a good look at the Twilight Zone.


Rod Serling … Narrator (voice)
Janice Rule … Helen Foley
Shepperd Strudwick … Peter Selden
Terry Burnham … Markie
Michael Fox … Doctor
Joseph V. Perry … Police Lieutenant (as Joe Perry)


Author: Badfinger (Max)

Power Pop fan, Baseball fan, old movie and tv show fan... and a songwriter, bass and guitar player.

19 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Nightmare as a Child”

  1. This is one of the creepier episodes that is for sure. Again great writing and acting. As you near the end of season 1- I must say overall they hit the ground running with this program. Also when you think about -they put out 36 episodes in a 9 month period- incredible how they kept the quality of the shows up -with very few duds.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Agree with the rating – this was a great one. Selden was definitely creepy. Rewatching it makes sense the idea that the little girl is her repressed memory of what happened when she was a little girl trying to warn her after she says Selden earlier in the day

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Trying to catch up … yesterday I saw the “Monsters are due on Maple Street”, which was excellent and the one about the robber who dies, which was also fairly good… I knew he was gonna get very bored but didn’t forsee the final little plot twist!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve been careful not to give them away…if I do… I try to warn people. I’m glad you liked them.


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