Little Girl Lost

Chris and Ruth can hear Tina calling out to them, but can’t see her. She’s not under the bed or hiding anywhere. A search of the house yields nothing. Chris calls a science-type friend, Bill, who theorizes that Tina has accidentally fallen into another dimension. To prove the point, he pushes his hand through the wall at just the point where the entrance has opened.

To add to the drama, Chris let the family dog into the house to stop him from barking and Max ran right into the portal opening. Why can’t they just go in and get Tina? Because other dimensions aren’t like ours. You could be lost for years and never find your way back out.

Fearing he will lose Tina forever, Chris steps into the dimension opening in an attempt to rescue her. It’s extremely confusing, but he hears Tina crying and Max barking. Urging Tina to follow Max, he finally grabs hold of both of them and tumble back out onto Tina’s bedroom floor.

Bill lets him know that they made it just in time because the opening had now closed up. Chris was also shocked to hear that he was only halfway into the other dimension, while half of his body was still in the bedroom. That could be awkward indeed!

Although losing a child was nothing new, it hadn’t achieved the media attention that it would in the decades that followed. Faces of missing children weren’t plastered on milk cartons, telephone poles and bulletin boards in store entryways. The Lindbergh baby kidnapping made huge headlines, but that was a celebrity case and decades before. Losing a child right out of their bed when you could still hear them calling to you is simply terrifying.

I found it amusing that Chris and Ruth don’t immediately call the police, instead opting to call their friendly neighborhood physicist.

This episode was written by Richard Matheson based on his short story published in 1953 in a collection called The Shores of Space. The idea came from an incident that actually happened to him and his young daughter. She fell off her bed while sleeping and rolled against a wall. Matheson’s wife heard the little girl’s cries for help, but was initially unable to locate their daughter.

Other Dimensions

The concept of other dimensions was an interesting scientific theory developed in the 1950s. This is the only Twilight Zone episode that deals with dimensional travel, and it does indeed seem more at home in the Outer Limits. A physicist was the perfect man to call for the dilemma, because this is securely in their domain. It’s still largely theoretical and open to lively debate. Skeptics and believers aside, other dimensions, or multiverse, as it’s known in the scientific community, is one of the greatest ideas ever developed for science fiction writers. Where would the parallel universe of Star Trek be without it? While the scientific facts have to be left to Einstein and physicists, fiction writers have free rein to run with the idea in any which way they want.

How do we enter other dimensions? Where and when do portals to other dimensions open? Why do they close? Why could the people in this story hear each other, but not see each other? All great questions, but they are totally irrelevant for science fiction writers.

The Actors

The little girl who played Tina wasn’t seen on camera very long at all. Immediately after she and Chris tumbled out of the fourth dimension, Ruth grabbed her up and whisked her out of the room. However, it’s long enough to realize that it’s the same little actress who played Christie in “Living Doll” from season 5, Tracy Stratford. It’s interesting that the girl’s name in this episode is Tina (Bettina, actually) and her doll’s name is Tina in “Living Doll.” We never hear Stratford’s voice in “Little Girl Lost,” though, because the speaking is done by adult actress, Rhoda Williams, who specialized in voice overs and dialects. Why they chose to use an adult to voice the part of Tina is troubling, because an adult never sounds like a child. It’s the same thing in the “Bewitchin’ Pool” in season 5, the final series episode. Perhaps it was easier to use an adult, but the result is just distracting.

Robert Sampson played Chris Miller, the father, and Sarah Marshall played Ruth Miller, the mother. Both were busy television actors, guest starring in many TV programs, while not really gaining much attention of their own or securing an ongoing starring role. Still, they were working actors.

Charles Aidman was the physicist friend, Bill, who knew enough about the fourth dimension to aid in retrieving Tina. A busy TV guest star, Aidman also appeared in “And When the Sky Was Opened” (season 1) and was the original narrator for the new Twilight Zone series in the 1980s.

The acting in this episode was well done and added to the credibility of the story, enabling viewers to willingly enter the Twilight Zone and park their disbelief at the door.

I also enjoyed the interior sets of the home. The mid-century modern decor will make any interior decorator sit up and take notice.

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