Ventriloquist Jerry Etherson is convinced that his dummy, Willie, is alive and evil. He locks Willie in a trunk and makes plans for a new act with a new dummy. Too bad he didn't clear those plans with Willie first.
Jerry Etherson has a reasonably successful nightclub act as a ventriloquist but has one major problem: he believes his dummy Willie is a sentient being who speaks to him and manipulates his life. His agent Frank thinks Jerry needs psychiatric help and tells him he has no future in the business if he doesn't do something about his delusions. Jerry decides to lock Willie in a trunk and try his act with a different dummy. Willie has plans of his own however. Written by
Influenced by a 1945 British film entitled Dead of Night (1945), in which Michael Redgrave played a ventriloquist convinced that his dummy was coming evilly to life. Further inspiration was taken from an episode of 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)' entitled "The Glass Eye", in which Jessica Tandy plays a woman who falls for a handsome ventriloquist (played by Billy Barty), only to find that the ventriloquist is in fact the dummy, while the hideous dummy is the actual ventriloquist. Also, R.L. Stine wrote a book titled Night of the Living Dummy, which got 4 sequels also featuring the same dummy but with new owners, in which a girl named Lindy finds an old dummy named Slappy with a slip of paper in his pocket with strange words (Karru, Marri, Odonna, Loma, Molonu, Karrano) which, upon being read out loud, bring the dummy to life hell-bent on making Lindy and her sister his slaves. See more »
You're watching a ventriloquist named Jerry Etherson, a voice-thrower par excellence. His alter ego, sitting atop his lap, is a brash stick of kindling with the sobriquet 'Willy.' In a moment, Mr. Etherson and his knotty-pine partner will be booked in one of the out-of-the-way bistros, that small, dark, intimate place known as the Twilight Zone.
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There's no doubt about it. Ventriloquist's dummies are spooky. This one is particularly threatening. It's his face and his hair. Of course, the whole business of the dummy taking over is an old one and has been done many times. I don't know that anything new has been put forward here. Robertson's performance is OK. Then the question must be asked, "Is he delusional?" I he hallucinating? Or does the dummy take over and begin to run the show. The issue of alcoholism is there all the time. The Frank Sutton character tries his best to give his friend a break, but has to pull the plug eventually. I have to admit, however, that the closing scene is quite remarkable.
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