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October 4, 2015

All-time scariest TV characters -- #1: Talky Tina

by Jackie Schnoop, posted Oct 24th 2007 12:00PM
Telly Savalas and Talky Tina in The Twilight Zone's Living DollCharacter: Talky Tina
Show: The Twilight Zone
Episode: "Living Doll"

I've become a jaded adult; not much really scares me these days. Well, health and financial worries aside, that is. I'm talking about that fear deep down inside give you nightmares for months kind of fright, monsters under the bed kind of fear. As an adult for decades now, I just don't have that in me anymore. Believe it or not, I miss it. I miss fearing that sort of unknown.

Let me tell you about Talky Tina.

The time was the early sixties. And, though tomboy I was, I had several dolls of the latest toy technology. Included in my doll menagerie was one called Chatty Cathy. You pulled a string and, lo and behold, she talked! Amazing! But, what if ...

The doll in the episode of The Twilight Zone titled "Living Doll" had the same exact voice. Talky Tina was not a very nice doll, especially if you weren't nice to her. Telly Savalas was the father determined to destroy Tina, but no matter what he did to her she kept coming back.

Savalas, in the role of Erich Streator, decided that Talky Tina was too expensive a gift for his young daughter (about my age at the time). Talky Tina picked up on his dislike and declared, "My name is Talky Tina and I don't think I like you." He tried to saw her in pieces, burn her, put her in the garbage only to receive a phone call. "My name is Talky Tina and I'm going to kill you." The voice was the same as my own doll! Both Talky Tina and Chatty Cathy were voiced by June Foray (who was also the voice of Rocky the Squirrel).


And, she did. She tripped him up on the stairs. His wife ran to him, then looked to Talky Tina nearby his body. Tina's eyes opened and she said, "My name is Talky Tina and you better be nice to me." It was unstated, but you could hear "or I'll kill you too" in your mind. I had nightmares for months and was always nice to my dolls, Chatty Cathy, in particular. I was nice to my Little Miss Echo, too. But since she eternally parroted my drunken uncle singing "Auld Lang Syne," she was a bit less frightening.

Rod Serling's closing for the episode: "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."

Yipes, it still gives me shivers.

YouTube has the episode online in three parts.
#10 #9 #8 #7 #6 #5 #4 #3 #2 #1

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Cory DosCaras Corbin

Netflix has the episode, as well

September 15 2014 at 3:30 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How is it possible that Salem's Lot did not figure into this list -- a made for TV movie that screwed me up for _years_.

Mike Ryerson in the rocking chair.

Straker, in any scene.

Barlowe himself.

Both the Glick boys (the younger one haunts me to this day).

December 19 2007 at 8:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Great column. You needed to add "Don't be afraid of the dark" to this list. You never truly saw the little creatures completely, but in quick glimpses. And the way they would always whisper "Sarah" thru the vents really freaked me out.

October 29 2007 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Cool list, Pennywise is definitely missing, and a rival to the Zuni doll is the Tales from the Darkside episode with the monster in the little closet. Anytime I see a door smaller than a normal door I get freaked out. A lot of the episodes are really good and have notable creeps. The Goocher!

October 28 2007 at 11:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

The creepiest character I have ever seen has no make up and works most of this Steven King mini series as a "normal" person. When I see him in other movies (Pearl Harbor, Chicago, Face-Off) I have to turn my head because I CANNOT look him in the eyes. Colm Feore plays Andre Linoge in Steven King's Storm of the Century. I have only seen it 2 times, and I made myself watch it the second time. I can't watch it without a room full of people, and with the lights on...

Give me what I want, and I'll go away....

are you serious?!?!?!?

October 28 2007 at 5:39 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good list, but I agree that Bob from Twin Peaks needs to be on the list somewhere. When he first flashed onto the screen, I can remember my wife and I both just staring at each other in quiet terror!

Oh, and how could you miss the Jonny Quest energy monster! You know, the one that only appeared after they splashed paint on it? Jeezuz, that frightened the hell out of me for so many reasons; the music, the cry of the creature, and the appearance. There's no way that tamed TV would allow that on today!!

October 28 2007 at 4:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I remember the movie "Don't be afriad of the dark" that creepy whisper at the end(When do you think they'll come)and that zulu doll terrorrzin poor Karen Black but to me the scareist monster on TV was the one from the twilght zone "The monsters are due on maple street"LOL to all that know that MONSTER

October 28 2007 at 1:14 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Where is Chucky?? He freaked me out when I was in my 20's !!! My husband was at work and I was home alone with my daughter who was an infant at the time. I cannot watch Chucky to this day, over 20 years later.

October 28 2007 at 9:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I knew the chances were slim but as a kid of the 90s I would've LOVED to see some Are You Afraid Of The Dark characters here because whether you want to admit it or not they terrified kids from coast to coast every Saturday Night

Also The Changlings, Rakshasa (Murderous Clown that can go invisible), TERRIFYING dead girl from PLAYTHINGS, and Wendigo on Supernatural... SO CREEPY. Like really SO CREEPY. Any of them would've been so much better than the ESSAY on Communism ranked at #3

October 28 2007 at 9:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rob in Louisiana

Richard Nixon on Television telling America "I am NOT a crook"....America has not had anthing close to a real president since then; would LOOK to watch a tape Of Bush on Sodium Pentothal; not THAT'S scarey. 2012 Looms America; many answers are coming.

October 28 2007 at 6:34 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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