Night Gallery: Season 2, Episode 22

The Caterpillar/Little Girl Lost (1 Mar. 1972)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Drama, Fantasy, Horror
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Ratings: 8.4/10 from 168 users  
Reviews: 11 user | 2 critic

Steven Macy lusts after his boss' wife and plans to use an earwig to be rid of him. / The government plays up to a genius' delusion that his dead daughter still lives so he can finish his experiments even though his mind is still clouded.


, (as Jean Szwarc)


(teleplay), (short story), 2 more credits »
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Title: The Caterpillar/Little Girl Lost (01 Mar 1972)

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Episode credited cast:
Tom Burke (segment "Little Girl Lost")
Rhona Warwick (segment "The Caterpillar")
Professor Putman (segment "Little Girl Lost")
Ivor Francis ...
Dr. Charles Cottrell (segment "Little Girl Lost")
Doctor (segment "The Caterpillar")
John Warwick (segment "The Caterpillar")
John Lasell ...
Colonel Hawes (segment "Little Girl Lost")
Tommy Robinson (segment "The Caterpillar")
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Himself - Host


An unscrupulous man who wants the beautiful wife of another colleague pays to have an earwig placed in the husband's ear. This insect will will tunnel through the victim's brain causing excruciating pain and certain death. However, his accomplice enters the wrong bedroom and places the insect in the man's own ear by mistake. After weeks of pain he miraculously survives, but the doctor tells him that his ordeal is not yet over. Written by laird-3

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

1 March 1972 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:



Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The premise of "The Caterpillar" is in reality - true. The larvae of the New World screwworm fly (Cochliomyia hominivorax) has in a few instances been laid inside the human host ear. The fly is a notorious livestock pest that also seeks out pets, zoo animals and occasionally humans as hosts. A pregnant female screwworm fly seeks an open wound on the skin of a warm-blooded animal to lay her eggs. Within 24 hours, the eggs hatch into tiny larvae that feed on living tissue and bodily fluids, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. See more »


When Burke & Prof Putman (+ daughter) are at dinner, the coloring changes to a red-hue several times. This continues when Burke/Cottrell talk after the driving incident. However this may be planned as the same effect is used in the final moments. See more »


Referenced in So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993) See more »

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User Reviews

A Classic Horror Story and One That Really Asks a Lot
17 June 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

"The Caterpillar" deals with a man who is so bored and lonely and so taken with his friend's beautiful wife that he is willing to kill the man. He hires a sociopathic kindling salesman, giving him 100 pounds to kill the man so he can get his hands on the wife. Unfortunately for him, it all backfires. Apparently, there is a mythology around the earwig. An insect that goes into people's ears and then chews away at their brains. This is what the native boy was asked to do to the older man. Instead the earwig finds its way into the head of the conspirator. He goes through hell. Most of my friends read this story as children (or knew of it), and so I knew exactly how it would play out. This is a classic horror technique of relieving the tension for a moment and then finishing with both barrels. A truly terrifying story.

The second involves William Windom, who has pretty much left the real world after the death of his little girl. He has been doing work in nuclear fission and his mind is still tuned to his work. The powers that be send a man to humor him. You see, he actually thinks the little girl is still there. He pats her head and brushes her hair, so to speak. The agent sent to keep the process going feels sad for the guy, but plays along, trying to keep him calm. There is a scene in a restaurant where a man wants the extra chair that the girl is supposedly sitting in. Let's face it. The whole thing is really weak and empty headed.

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