The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
11 user 4 critic

The Dummy 

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.


Abner Biberman


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Lee Polk (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »

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Episode complete credited cast:
Cliff Robertson ... Jerry Etherson
Frank Sutton ... Frank
George Murdock ... Willie
John Harmon ... Georgie
Sandra Warner Sandra Warner ... Noreen
Ralph Manza ... Doorkeeper


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 garykmcd

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Release Date:

4 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The dummy was created by ventriloquial figure maker Revillo Pettee. Today his vent figures are prized collectors' items valued at thousands of dollars each. See more »


As he leaves the stage in the initial opening, the dummy bites his finger. They later show his finger and the teeth marks. The orientation of the teeth marks is impossible. See more »


[closing narration]
Narrator: What's known in the parlance of the times as the old switcheroo, from boss to blockhead in a few uneasy lessons. And if you're given to nightclubbing on occasion, check this act. It's called Willy and Jerry, and they generally are booked into some of the clubs along the 'Gray Night Way' - known as The Twilight Zone.
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Featured in Limitless: Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture (2016) See more »


I Only Have Eyes for You
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Cliff Robertson
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User Reviews

Who's In Charge Here
17 July 2006 | by dougdoepkeSee all my reviews

Dipso Ventriloquist is haunted by his dummy.

Well staged variation on the familiar theme of diabolical dummies. Robertson is a tormented voice-thrower whose act is being ruined by drink, caused by what he thinks is a live dummy. The opening dressing room scene is excellent for its spooky subtleties and imaginative effects. It made me think this would be special. Unfortunately, the story line soon drops the ambiguities and becomes too obvious. Still, some imaginative camera work breathes life into Robertson's unusually low key-delirium, while the final scene amounts to a genuinely new and rather unnerving twist on the old idea.

In passing-- you can measure the sharp decline of quality in the series' final year (1964) by comparing this episode (a good but not remarkable one) with the derivative Caesar and Me, a jumbled and unimaginative entry from that last year that strongly indicates how the production crew had run out of fresh ideas, but still had an unrelenting schedule to meet. Of the two, this one, The Dummy, is definitely the more watchable.

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