December 27 in Twilight Zone History: Celebrating the 1963 premiere of 'Ring-A-Ding Girl'

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Dec 27, 2017

Today, December 27th, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the 1963 premiere of "Ring-A-Ding Girl."

Actress Maggie McNamara, who had a high-profile but relatively short career as a leading actress, portrayed Barbara 'Bunny' Blake, an international movie superstar who receives an unusual ring from her sister – one that cryptically compels her to cancel a flight to Italy and return to her hometown immediately.

Mary Munday (left) and Maggie McNamara in "Ring-A-Ding Girl." It was Munday's character Hildy who, through a mysterious ring, summons her sister back home.

Earl Hamner, Jr. wrote this Season 5 episode, and on the surface it appears to be a far cry from the backwoods mountain stories he loved to write for the show. But Hamner was a classic storyteller, and thanks to director Alan Crosland, Jr. this episode is eerie and effective. The concept of sticking a real-world celebrity – in this case, a movie star – into a strange fantasy story, was a relatively fresh one in 1963, and McNamara is perfectly cast in the role. The irony is that in real life she had gone off to Italy to star in the 20th Century Fox romantic film Three Coins in the Fountain. Prior to that, she had a wonderfully quirky feature film debut as the female lead opposite William Holden and David Niven in Otto Preminger's The Moon is Blue.

However, as sometimes happens in Hollywood, the parts disappeared, and McNamara spent 15 years working as a typist before she took her own life at the age of 49.

Bunny (Maggie McNamara) takes a ride to the drug store with her nephew Bud (David Macklin) in "Ring-A-Ding Girl."

So let us toast another cool episode and the zesty leading lady who not only brought it to life but secured for it a timeless resting place in The Twilight Zone.