The Twilight Zone

Season 3 Episode 33

The Dummy

Aired Unknown May 04, 1962 on CBS

Episode Fan Reviews (6)

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out of 10
145 votes
  • I've never been the same since this episode!

    Where were my parents? What were my parents thinking letting me watch this show? I was only 8 years old!

    I liked the "Twilight Zone". I liked Cliff Robertson. And who knows, before this episode I may have even liked ventriloquist's dummies.

    To this day I CAN NOT bear to see a "dummy" on TV, in comic strips, or God forbid, in person!

    My husband (knowing of my phobia) warns me about TV commercials and comic strips, which we both read online, that have anything to do with ventriloquist's dummies.

    I don't blame the ventriloquist in this episode for being driven to drink. I'd be right behind him!

    So, to be fair, I guess Rod Serling did his job with this episode. It not only scared the living daylights out of me then, but it has left a VERY lasting impression on me!

    Thank God for Jim Henson (R.I.P.) and his Muppets. They've shown me that not ALL puppets are the same.
  • A good scare

    This episode is rarely mentioned in "best TZ episodes" polls, I suspect because it has none of the thoughtful social commentary Serling is famous for. Still, for what it is, a straightforward horror story, it's quite effective. There are a few scenes that remain creepy however many times you see them, and if you don't see the ending coming, it'll likely deliver a memorable shock. I didn't predict the ending when I saw it (age 11 or so?), and when ventriloquist-Willie turned to smile that very creepy smile at the camera, I was so freaked out that my heart skipped a beat (I mean that literally).

    All that said, I am not sure how well this episode holds up to repeated viewing. It surely remains unsettling to people who fear ventriloquist dummies, or can put themselves mentally in Jerry's shoes (pretty scary, that). For most everyone else, though, I imagine once the ending is revealed, the thrill is gone--and that thrill is, by far, the best part of this episode. And it still bugs me that he locked Willie in the trunk instead of taking him out and destroying him right away. It's not as if it's critical to the story; Willie could easily have returned afterward regardless of Jerry's attempts to destroy him. (RS did adapt this episode from an unpublished story, so that may have been an element of that story that RS didn't want to change.)
  • One word to describe this classic Twilight Zone episode: Creepy.

    I've always loved The Dummy and it has always been one of my favorite episodes. Here we see Cliff Robertson as a ventrioquist with an evil ventriloquist's dummy (classic spooky stuff) named Willie. The best part was always the end when Willie somehowe becomes a human and Jerry becomes a ventriloquist's doll. In a spooky sort of way this episode tells us that if we work hard enough at something to try to make it as real as possible sometimes it just may become real and may even take over your life to the point where it becomes you. One of the best, no doubt about that.
  • This only the 2nd episode I've seen.

    This only the 2nd episode I've seen. I thought it was O.K. The acting is pretty bad, but I do like the story. I thought they could have used the dummy more, to haunt the ventriloquist. But, it was the 60's so I guess I can cut them some slack. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 100. .
  • One of my favorites -- dark -- typical Twilight Z.

    This episode successfully sets the ominous mood. Even without the special effects they have today, the dummy is portrayed as very scary simply by repositioning him everytime the ventriloquist turns around--especially when the dummy's arm is thrown over the seat to portray a casual relaxed way. The dummy gives funny smart-alecky answers and he wants to take over. The substitute dummy was good. The ending is freakish. Excellent tortured performance by Cliff Robertson. Loved the story.
  • A ventriloquist believes his dummy is evil, so makes a new act with another. With the dummy displeased, we hear evil laughter, and a new act is created.

    This has got to be one of the worst Twilight Zone episodes made. Not only was the plotline slow, but the ending was predictable. A man believes his dummy, Willie, is alive and evil, so he gets a new dummy to take Willie’s place. He locks Willie in the trunk. Now, is that really going to help anything? If you believe a dummy is “alive and evil”, just stuffing it in a trunk will NOT help anything. With the ventriloquist believing Willie is evil in the beginning of the episode, we have 10 minutes of lame filler for the episode with discussions of a good career and his “good” dummy’s act. But then the guy starts hearing Willie’s voice in his head so he decides to unlock his trunk and destroy it but, surprise!, he destroyed the normal one. Willie makes a speech that is too confusing and/or boring to follow, then the next scene cuts to a man who looks like Willie, and a doll that looks like the man. The end! The one shock wasn’t all that surprising… what else could have happened? This episode is not worth seeing.
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