Halloween Countdown – 31 Scary Moments – Oct. 23

A “Living Doll” protects a helpless little girl from her abusive stepfather in this memorable episode of “The Twilight Zone”


Talky Tina is the grandmother of the “living doll” horror genre. In this episode of “The Twilight Zone” she drives an abusive stepfather mad with her creepy musings.

October officials marks the beginning of Scary Season. With this in mind, the Pepper Bough is celebrating with a daily dose of creepy moments sure to make your hairs stand on end. Come celebrate with us… if you dare.

The idea of dolls and toys that act on their own goes way back. According to Smithsonian Magazine, in 2004 “a 4,000-year-old stone doll was unearthed in an archeological dig on the Mediterranean island of Pantelleria.”

You know there was a little kid who loved that doll, but kept getting a little creeped out by it in the dark when the light of the moon hit that stony face just right.

Dolls are the embodiment of innocence. Their cherubic faces smile and look as though they have never witnessed a second of trauma. So, it makes sense that in the fractured world that is this last century, our conception of dolls would show the lie behind those rosy cheeks.

The grandmother of possessed dolls is Talky Tina, who made quite the nightmarish impact on TV audiences in 1963 when she spoke her signature line on “The Twilight Zone.”*

“Hi, my name is Talky Tina, and I want to play with you.”

In the episode, called “Living Doll,” a little girl named Christie (Tracy Stratford) is gifted her special friend by her mother, Annabelle (Mary La Roche), much to the frustration of Christie’s stepfather, Erich (Telly Savalas). It is clear that Erich is an abusive man in need of control, especially since he and Annabelle cannot have children of their own.

Erich becomes obsessed with this doll after he winds her up and she says something “no doll should say:”

“Hi, my name is Talky Tina, and I don’t like you.”

The episode’s second act, in which Erich takes Tina into the garage and attempts to destroy her using a vise and a blowtorch is more unnerving than anything seen in the “Saw” franchise.

Suffice to say, Erich is no match for a talking doll, leading “Twilight Zone” narrator Rod Serling to leave us with these insightful parting words:

“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.”

*Full episodes of “The Twilight Zone” are currently streaming on Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Paramount+.