The Twilight Zone: Season 3, Episode 13

There Was an Old Woman (17 Dec. 1988)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Sci-Fi, Fantasy, Mystery
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Alley Parker is a renowned author of children's' books feeling no longer needed, until she meets some of her fans.



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Episode credited cast:
Hallie Parker
Nancy Harris
Mr. Harris
Brian Harris
David Hughes ...
Mairlyn Smith ...
Real Estate Agent
Karl Pruner ...
Martin Glazer
Ferne Downey ...
Page Glazer
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Robin Ward ...
Narrator (voice)


Alley Parker is a renowned author of children's' books feeling no longer needed, until she meets some of her fans.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis




Release Date:

17 December 1988 (UK)  »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The title is from the childhood nursery rhyme There Was An Old Woman Who Lived In A Shoe. See more »


Narrator: [opening narration] Not so very long ago, before computerized toys and cathode-ray characters did our speaking and thinking for us, one of a storyteller's most important tools was imagination. The imagination of an audience. That was how it used to be. Once upon a time.
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User Reviews

The Twilight Zone: There Was an Old Woman
18 August 2011 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

An author of children's books, Alley Parker (Colleen Dewhurst, in a spirited performance), is about to leave her city for Phoenix, Arizona, a bit saddened by the fact that the "video age" has taken children away from story-telling time, where reading a book or hearing a story told to them within a library setting has become a "thing of the past". Alley is called upon by a mother to meet her dying son, his favorite book she wrote. Alley starts hearing sounds in her house (she has put her home on the market), that of children giggling and rambling about, but is unable to catch them in the act. This interferes with a couple's looking at the house, although their possible interest in the place seems minute as they seem little interested, complaining of this and that. This all sets up a predictable conclusion involving who the children are and what decision Alley will make when they ask her to stay. "There Was an Old Woman" comments on the joy of reading and hearing a story that lets children's young minds go and encourages their imagination. Some will consider "There Was an Old Woman" sappy and sugary sweet to the point of nausea, while others will embrace it as touching and poignant. The supernatural element might really tap into the hearts of more sentimental viewers or especially those who have lost children far too young, the conclusion perhaps uplifting as it says that a good story doesn't necessarily have to be just for the living.

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