The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
10 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.



(teleplay by), (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »

Watch Now

With Prime Video





Episode complete credited cast:
... Jerry Etherson
... Frank
... Willie
... Georgie
Sandra Warner ... Noreen
... 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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis






Release Date:

4 May 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Show more on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Rod Serling's reference to the "Gray Night Way" is a play on the common nickname for Broadway, which is the "Great White Way." See more »


[opening narration]
Narrator: 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.
See more »


References Dead of Night (1945) See more »


I Only Have Eyes for You
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Cliff Robertson
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

The Old "Switcharoo"
5 June 2008 | by See all my reviews

Loved this episode and have a hard time believing more people didn't give it a much higher grade.Cliff Robertson gives an excellent yet understated performance as a Ventriloquist who may or may not be losing his mind.He takes his act all over the country and is quite a success except lately he has a real problem. He is convinced that his dummy (named Willie) is alive.It seems that the dummy is actually saying his own lines on stage and tries to torment him when offstage.The matter is further complicated by the fact that he is also developing into an alcoholic.His manager thinks he's crazy and that his self destructive behavior and bizarre visions are ruining both his career and his sanity not to mention the act itself..His manager says "adios amigo" and Jerry's nightmare reaches epic proportions.He locks the dummy in the trunk but still sees visions of him everywhere and hears the dummy taunt him no matter where he goes. And then....... ? well-maybe one of the best executed shocks of any Twilight episode. OK I know the knocks-that its derivative, that its predictable and that it has been "done before".The movie "Dead of Night" often comes to mind along with Hitchcocks TV episode entitled "The Glass Eye".But in all fairness this episode stands very well on its own.The viewer is unsure whether the Dummy is real and when we reach the end well- NO ONE would expect the shocking yet ironic twist. There is a lot to admire about this episode. First of all the acting is truly outstanding-Robertson is excellent and very convincing as a desperate man who may be losing his mind and Sutton is equally good as his estranged agent.Also the direction is brilliant ranking right up there with "Eye of the Beholder". The stark backgrounds,the frantic camera shots and the surrealistic images plus the editing helps puts us in Jerry's world. And then there is the shock at the end-and no matter what people say no one could ever predict or expect it

I know that this episode seems derivative but give Serling and the director's credit.The ending is both fascinating and truly original This was one of the most entertaining episodes from the series and it will suck you right into the story and not let go-not even during the commercials. This is one act you DON'T want to miss

11 of 13 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 10 user reviews »

Contribute to This Page

Stream Popular Sci-Fi Titles With Prime Video

Explore popular sci-fi movies and TV shows available to stream with Prime Video.

Start your free trial