★★★★★ November 1, 1963 Season 5 Episode 6
If you want to see where we are…HERE is a list of the episodes.
This episode launched a lot of horror movies like Child’s Play. It did have a future star…the great Telly Savalas as a stepfather named Erich Streator. Mr. Streator is not a likable character but yet you may have a little pity for him as the show goes along. He shows glimpses of being a decent human being but fails miserably with his role as a stepfather. You do have to look deep to find sympathy.
He has a great wife (Mary La Roche) and a stepdaughter (Christie) who loves her new doll. The doll can talk and move… “My name is Talking Tina and I love you very much.”
You have so much sympathy for his wife Annabelle…even without the doll. Some people might say that the episode is predictable but remember…there weren’t many shows out about talking dolls at the time…maybe none. There is no comedy in this one like the Chucky movies that came decades later. The doll is working as Christie’s protector…at least you think so. Is it all in Erich Streator’s head?
June Foray, the voice of the “Talky Tina” doll, was also the voice of Mattel’s “Chatty Cathy” doll, upon which the doll in this episode was based.
Tina and Christie are both nicknames for Christina. The doll and the child share a name, so among many other interpretations it could be argued that the doll is a proxy through which Christie expresses hostility toward her stepfather and protects her shy, frightened mother.
According to The Twilight Zone Companion, this episode was written in one day by Jerry Sohl, even though credit was given entirely to Charles Beaumont.
The child actress who portrays Christie is credited as being the voice of “Lucy Van Pelt” in the classic TV special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas”.
This show was written by Rod Serling, Charles Beaumont, and Jerry Sohl
Rod Serling’s Opening Narration:
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.
Erich Streater is upset when his wife comes home with her daughter Christie having bought her yet another doll. Christie loves her new Talking Tina doll but her stepfather takes an immediate dislike to it. Anytime he is alone with the doll, it spouts abusive comments to the effect that it hates him and that it’s going to kill him. He’s convinced that his wife is behind it all, something she vehemently denies. He tries to get rid of the doll but it always seems to reappear – and also seems intent on following through with its threats.
Rod Serling’s Closing Narration:
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.
Rod Serling … Narrator / Self – Host (uncredited)
Telly Savalas … Erich Streator
Mary La Roche … Annabelle Streator
Tracy Stratford … Christie Streator
June Foray … Talky Tina (voice) [uncredited]