Twilight Zone – Long Distance Call

★★★★★  March 31, 1961 Season 2 Episode 22

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

This one is one of my favorites. It’s dark and it still works today.  It’s a great episode and features Bill Mumy as little Billy Bayles who just lost his grandmother or did he? The grandmother played by Lili Darvas tried to live through Billy vicariously in many ways and ignored what the mother of the child said or thought.  You can feel the tension between the grandmother and her daughter in law.

This can happen in a family and cause trouble so it made the episode much more relatable. The darkness of the episode is shocking considering the time it was made.

**SPOILERS** below

This show was really heavy.  It addressed the loss of a grandparent and two attempted suicides of a five year old boy. Not your average show in the 60s or now for that matter. Who knew a toy telephone could be so damn frightening? That was one determined grandmother…she wasn’t letting go of Billy even in the afterlife.

This episode is videotaped and it benefits from it…adding to eerie feeling.

Bill Mumy would appear in three Twilight Zones. He would later become known in the TV show Lost In Space.

This show was written by Charles Beaumont, Bill Idelson, and Rod Serling

Rod Serling’s Opening Narration: 

As must be obvious, this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death, an omnipresent player to the third and final act of every life. And it’s been said, and probably rightfully so, that what follows this life is one of the unfathomable mysteries, an area of darkness which we, the living, reserve for the dead—or so it is said. For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow, and, of course, he must take the only known route, that indistinct highway through the region we call The Twilight Zone.

Summary

Billy Bayles loves his Grandma Bayles and likes the present she’s given him, a toy telephone which she says will allow them to communicate forever. Grandma Bayles is ill however and soon dies but Billy claims he can speak to her on their special telephone. When he tells his parents that she wants him to join her, wherever she’s gone to, they pay no mind. When he throws himself in front of their neighbor’s car however, it all gets deadly serious.

Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:

A toy telephone, an act of faith, a set of improbable circumstances, all combine to probe a mystery, to fathom a depth, to send a facet of light into a dark after-region, to be believed or disbelieved, depending on your frame of reference. A fact or a fantasy, a substance or a shadow—but all of it very much a part of The Twilight Zone.

CAST

Rod Serling…Narrator
Philip Abbott…Chris Bayles
Lili Darvas…Grandma Bayles
Patricia Smith…Sylvia Bayles
Bill Mumy…Billy Bayles
Jenny Maxwell…Shirley
Reid Hammond…Mr. Peterson
Henry Hunter…Dr. Unger
Lew Brown…Fireman
Arch Johnson…Fireman

Author: badfinger20 (Max)

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

28 thoughts on “Twilight Zone – Long Distance Call”

  1. Billy Mumy was memorable in his Twilight Zone appearances! At least two of the three 5 star performances- “It’s A Good Life’- terrifying….

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I totally didn’t remember this episode. *It*was*truly*chilling!* I think if the mother hadn’t been such a …. and resented the close connection the kid had with his grandma and tried to restrict it, maybe grandma wouldn’t have reached out from the grave? I’m glad Billy was OK and grandma finally chose correctly in leaving her beloved grandson with the living.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. No you didn’t. I watched it last week and did finished out the season before having to return the disks. Hoping they have the rest of the seasons so I can stay current with them. It’s been a nice treat to watch them.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m glad I didn’t…you are the reason I put the spoiler text in there…There are at least 4 more 5 stars episodes to go this season…it’s a much better season than I remembered.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. That is one of my favorites… and the next one…the one where the guy travels over the rim to the future…the sheriff off the Waltons plays in that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Yes! That’s really good! I wasn’t expecting any of what transpired in it. John Astin was a strange addition to the episode. Not used to seeing him as anyone other than Gomez 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are right…forgot about John Astin! He is awesome… your opinion on one episode…if you dont’ mind… the one about the “silence” where the guy bets he doesn’t say anything…I’m not sure how to grade that one.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. That is what I thought…I take that ranking too seriously at times and it’s hard…I go around looking at reviews to see what other people think…and every episode is everywhere all over the map…. so I’ll just go with my gut…you just proved it.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Totally agree Max. As I mentioned to you before I was really almost shocked by this esp for the time. I wonder if they had to battle the network censors on this one. My only quibble with it is I thought the wife’s performance was a little wooden but maybe they was part of the point.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I started to think about it more when I watched it again…thinking damn…I’m so used to the episode that it didn’t sink in….hell today it would be dark.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Billy Mumy was one of the great TV child actors, and is a damn fine adult actor too – he made it look so easy and natural, a high bar few other very young kids in TV had the skill to come close to – I struggle to think of many others, Jodie Foster for sure, though she shined more in movies than TV.

    Liked by 1 person

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