The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 13

There Was an Old Woman

Aired Friday 8:00 PM Dec 17, 1988 on CBS

Episode Recap

Hallie Parker gets ready to leave a library where she was supposed to read one of her books to children. But nobody showed. On her way out, she's met by Nancy Harris, who requests she sign a book for her sick son, whose favorite book is one of hers. Hallie offers to go to the house and read the book in person. Nancy gratefully accepts.

Hallie arrives at the house to surprise Brian, who is bedridden, with an oxygen tank by the bed. Hallie reads the book to the delighted Brian and soon they're reading together. But he tires and has to rest. He asks her to come again, but she is retiring to Arizona and can only promise to try.

In her own house, Hallie sits down to a meal when she hears sounds. She traces them to her front door, which she closes and locks. Later, she's roused from her sleep by the sound of children's voices and laughter. She only finds her rocking chair moving and a window open.

The next morning, while Hallie's talking on the phone, a baseball breaks her living room window. As she cleans up the glass on the porch, the real estate agent arrives with a yuppy couple, who are prospective buyers. They go through the house, clucking disapprovingly at the darkness of the house. They don't intend to have children, which doesn't sit well with Hallie, who loves children. On their way out, the man slips on a skate on the steps. They snobbishly dismiss the house and neighborhood as too infested with children.

That night, Hallie has her reading interrupted by laughter. She puts down her book to seach the house but finds nothing. When she returns to her chair, she finds the book she signed for Brian in place of the book she was reading. She calls Brian's parents, who tell her that they buried Brian that morning. When she says she has the book, they tell her they buried it with Brian because he loved it so much. Hanging up, Hallie hears voices and laughter again. She searches through the house before she sees a ghostly Brian standing in the living room. He begs her not to leave and asks her to read a book to his friends. Spectral children sit all around the living room. Hallie promises not to leave and settles down to finally read her books to an appreciative audience.