The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
11 user 2 critic

Long Distance Call 

A toy telephone becomes the link between a young boy and his dead grandmother.



, (as William Idelson) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Lili Darvas ...
Billy Bayles (as Billy Mumy)
The Baby Sitter
Reid Hammond ...
Mr. Peterson
Henry Hunter ...
The Doctor
Lew Brown ...
The Fireman


Billy Bayles loves his Grandma Bayles and likes the present she's given him, a toy telephone which she says will allow them to communicate forever. Grandma Bayles is ill however and soon dies but Billy claims he can speak to her on their special telephone. When he tells his parents that she wants him to join her, wherever she's gone to, they pay no mind. When he throws himself in front of their neighbor's car however, it all gets deadly serious. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

31 March 1961 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


First noted episode of TZ that Serling did not write, direct or produce, and thereby received only a "created by" credit. Serling either did not do anything remarkable on this episode or refused credit for something that he did do. See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: As must be obvious, this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death, an omnipresent player to the third and final act of every life. And it's been said, and probably rightfully so, that what follows this life is one of the unfathomable mysteries, an area of darkness which we, the living, reserve for the dead - or so it is said. For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow, and, of course, he must take the only known route, that indistinct ...
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Referenced in Poltergeist II: The Other Side (1986) See more »

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User Reviews

Subtle, Beautifully Acted Episode
28 July 2007 | by See all my reviews

Just before dying, an old woman gives her grandson a toy telephone for his birthday, with which the boy can seemingly speak to her from beyond the grave. This episode is a prime example of how the series could deal in depth with deeply human issues through the veil of science fiction in a remarkably frank and effective manner.

At the same time the episode creates a somewhat creepy atmosphere (owing to the brooding presence of the grandmother over the house), it simultaneously addresses the complex web of familial relationships -- the tensions between parents and their children-in-law, the attachment children find for their grandparents, and the need to deal with familial loss. The remarkably intuitive script by Beaumont and Idelson, matched by wonderful performances by the entire case (Philip Abbott as the father, in particular, is the standout), and the realistic setting of this story drives the message home -- the need to cut ties between generations.

The only small downside to this episode is the videotape look, which makes it look more like a soap opera. In the end, it doesn't matter, as the script and the performances carry this to the highest levels reached by the series -- indeed, that any half-hour show can reach.

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