Helen Foley arrives home after a typical day of teaching school and finds a solemn little girl named Markie on her doorstep. She invites the child in for a cup of hot chocolate (wow, how times have changed!). As they talk, two things become clear: Markie is no ordinary child, and her appearance at Ms. Foley's home is no coincidence.
"Nightmare as a Child," written by Rod Serling and directed by Alvin Ganzer, is a neat psychological thriller that, for its time, was probably quite innovative (and has subsequently been copied ad infinitum over the ensuing years). Ms. Foley is clearly a very disturbed woman, and is well played by Janice Rule (Bell Book and Candle, The Swimmer, Missing). I won't give anything away, but it's safe to say that Markie isn't who we think she is. For that matter, neither is this creepy guy who shows up at her door:
Whenever I see this episode, I usually yell the following at the TV: "Don't trust him! Run!!!" You'll see why. The original score by Jerry Goldsmith maintains a constant mood of dread and, ultimately, terror.
Interesting historical note: Rod Serling's favorite teacher was named Helen Foley. Also of note: actress Janice Rule was once engaged to actor Farley Granger (Rope, Strangers on a Train), who came out of the closet in 2007. Guess she dodged a sham-marriage bullet there. But (sigh) just look at her. What a beauty.
Speaking of beauty, the other little girl who appears at the end of the episode was played by Suzanne Cupito, who would go on to appear in two more Twilight Zone episodes (season four's "Valley of the Shadow" and season five's "Caesar and Me," not to mention the two-part Outer Limits classic "The Inheritors"). We know her today as the gorgeous Morgan Brittany (Dallas).
Next week: Gart Williams is at the end of his rope, both professionally and personally. His only salvation lies on a train, of all places. More to the point: a certain stop. The stop is Willoughby, and it's a true Zone classic. Get your ticket punched and tune in.