Today, November 1st, This Day in Twilight Zone History celebrates the 1963 premiere of one of the most iconic TZ episodes, "Living Doll."
Telly Savalas plays one of his more loathsome characters: Erich Streator, the unsmiling stepfather of little Christie (Tracy Stratford), who believes that the child's mother, Annabelle (the always likable Mary LaRoche), over-indulges her daughter and that she doesn't need another doll – particularly not the new Talky Tina. The doll proceeds to take on Savalas with crisp dialogue like "My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you."
One thing is certain: this episode was not sponsored by Mattel. It also makes you wonder why Annabelle ever married this creep in the first place.
Telly Savalas was such a versatile actor – he could play a despicable monster of a stepdad in "Living Doll" and then be so sympathetic as Burt Lancaster's convict neighbor in Birdman of Alcatraz. And we mustn't forget him as the lollypop-sucking homicide captain on Kojak or as Big Joe in Kelly's Heroes ("We ain't got no booze.")
Meanwhile, Mary LaRoche makes her second appearance on TZ in "Living Doll," having served as the perfect Mary, the creation of Keenan Wynn in "A World of His Own."
And an additional nod must be given to the equally iconic June Foray, who voiced Talky Tina – a long way from her Rocket J. Squirrel.
Future horror films like Child's Play owe a significant debt to this episode!