Thursday, April 16, 2009

Night Gallery

I don't know if any of you out there remember Rod Serling's Night Gallery.  It was a TV show that ran from 1969-1971 after the Twilight Zone had finished its run--it was sort of the horror show version of the Twilight Zone.  At the beginning of each show, Mr. Serling would walk through a gallery of paintings.  He would stop in front of one and tell the horrific, twisted story captured by the artist's oil paint.  Then he would say "Welcome to the Night Gallery" as the freakiest music ever composed played.

I'm not really sure how old I was when I watched this show with my dad and my brother who is 5 1/2 years older than I am.  Since I was born in 1969, I was either a baby with an amazing memory or I watched reruns of the show.  What I do know is that whatever age I was, it bordered on child abuse for my dad to put me in front of the TV while that show was playing. What I also know is that I will never, ever, ever forget "The Doll."

"Our painting is called The Doll and this one you'd best not play with."
I don't remember the details of this episode.  I tried to watch it on instant download (paid my $1.99 and everything), but the first few seconds freaked me out so badly that I had to turn it off.  What I remember is that the story had something to do with a British soldier, voo-doo, and a doll who kills, bites and maims.  There was a little girl in the episode who loved this doll even though it killed all of her other dolls (and her family and dog, I think).  The final scene showed someone throwing the little demon into the fireplace and her skullish grin as she laughed and burned.  Here she is . . .

(Yahhh.  I can't even look at her.  I'm typing with one hand and covering her with the other)

So . . . after our family night of wholesome television viewing, my brother turned to me and said, "Sarah, I wonder if any of YOUR dolls have teeth??"  We both fell over each other running up the stairs to inspect all of my dolls, and we found one.  She was a beautiful china doll with black hair wearing antique lace and silk slippers.  She had red painted lips and tiny, straight teeth.  My brother and I both started screaming, so my mother told us we were being ridiculous and took the doll away.

About a week later, I was lying in bed almost asleep when I heard a voice.  I could barely hear it but it got louder and louder.  I felt a weight on my chest as my heart was pounding.  The voice was saying "I've eaten your mommy.  I've eaten your daddy.  Now I'm going to eat you . . ." over and over again.  I slowly opened one eye--and staring me in the face was THE DOLL.  The china doll with teeth.  The one my mother had taken away.  I screamed louder than any human being has ever screamed to this day.  I screamed myself hoarse.  I screamed so loudly, I set off the motion detector on our alarm system.  My mother came upstairs and found my brother under my bed laughing.

This happened to me several times throughout my childhood.  My mother would always take the doll and hide her.  My brother would always find her.  Sometimes it would take him years to find her in some tucked away closet, but he would always find her, place her on my chest after I had fallen asleep, and he would began to chant and psychologically torment me.

The last time I saw the doll was about ten years ago.  I was searching for something at the top of my mother's closet, and as I was shoving boxes around, something plummeted from the top of the closet and came crashing onto the floor.  It was the doll.  And, as she crashed onto the floor, her head broke off and rolled onto my foot.  I kid you not.

I will never go in that closet again.

Sooooo . . . . you can imagine how I felt yesterday when my daughter Sallie came home from her school library with this
Needless to say, I took it from her, threw it in our outside freezer, and told her not to open the door until Daddy got home and could take care of it.



Katie said...

Hilarious! what did Daddy do with it?

I have never watched this show?! I might have to find it somewhere online now. Yeah. Hold on. I'm gonna instant download it.

Lisa and Laura said...

Laura used to have a doll named Cricket who would talk. We were terrified of her. You could pop a cassette tape into her back and she'd move her lips along with whatever was playing. Inevitably we'd end up popping one of my Dad's Stephen King audio books in there and let me just tell you it was SCARY. She was blonde and horrible and she most definitely had teeth.

Mary Lindsey said...

Ooooo. I remember that episode. I'm a few years older than you and it really freaked me out. I'm still scared of the kind of dolls who have glass eyes that open and close.

Fun post.

Kimberly Derting said...

If you hadn't mentioned it I probably would never have thought of it again, but I TOTALLY remember that episode...and yeah, what were our parents thinking letting us watch that??? I'm only a year older than you, so the wtf, that was scary!!! Although, I think you were much more traumatized than I was...*bad brother*

Anne Spollen said...

I watched that in the 80's in reruns and I do remember that. I didn't think anything of it until that night, alone in the house with a rainstorm. Creepy!

Hardygirl said...

Katie is coming over after lunch today, and we are going to try to watch it. I'm already scared.


Solvang Sherrie said...


I can't handle scary either. The Twilight Zone used to creep me out. Seeing ads for Psycho gave me nightmares for weeks. I STILL won't go in the shower if nobody's home!

Christy Raedeke said...

This was one of my Dad's favorite shows and I *clearly* remember that episode. I remember all scary doll episodes, like the one from Fantasy Island - does anyone else remember that one? Was there a feminist movement in the 70s to get girls to fear dolls? There seemed to be a rash of scary doll stories then.

Sarah, you need to get your evil brother to pay for all your migraine meds--I think there's a connection here...

Katie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Katie said...

Okay. That was the freakiest 45 minutes of my life. At one point SF looked at me and said ominously, "Do you want a frappachino?"


*quietly. "Do you want a frappachino?"


Then she stood up and got a frappe from the fridge.

Oh. yeah. random.

Then the dolls teeth were bared and we both spit our frappes out through our noses.

I now feel as though I have really lived. THE DOLL was no doubt the inspiration for the Bride of Chuckie.

SF thinks she might do a modern day adaptation for us all to enjoy.

Hardygirl said...

My heart is racing--either from the frappucino or from sheer terror.

Suddenly it all makes sense--no wonder I've written a picture book with a headless doll. . . and teeth.

Channel your childhood, my friends. Channel it!


Hardygirl said...

And, there was no dog. Must have been something my brother added later . .

Suzanne Young said...

That doll is SO scary!!! I used to collect porcelin dolls. No idea why. None.

Great post!

a brilliant blog said...

Oh no! The wicked dolls-I remember the one in the mud!

a brilliant blog said...

Is that wicked scary ameoba/doll art still in your gallery on the square? I bet that artist has wicked tormented brother-doll stories.

Little Ms J said...

I love that you put the book in the freezer. That is fantastic. I am deathly afraid of clowns and still check my closet every night before bed because some *very talented* storyteller came to my school and in seventh grade told me the story of the Bogeyman. I was caught up in it, heart beating when he jumped and screamed at the end. I was in the first row. Purple used to make fun of me when at 16 I would check the closed twice if I left the room to pee. Just had to make sure.

Angela said...

Woah--that is one freaky looking doll. You know the show's name is familiar...I'm trying to think if I saw any episodes or not...

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