Original Air Date: December 27, 1963
Writer: Earl Hamner, Jr.
Director: Alan Crosland, Jr.
“Introduction to Bunny Blake. Occupation: film actress. Residence: Hollywood, California, or anywhere in the world that cameras happen to be grinding. Bunny Blake is a public figure; what she wears, eats, thinks, says is news. But underneath the glamour, the makeup, the publicity, the buildup, the costuming, is a flesh-and-blood person, a beautiful girl about to take a long and bizarre journey into The Twilight Zone.”
Bunny Blake (Maggie McNamara) is a successful Hollywood actress known for being the “ring-a-ding girl.” She is currently en route to Rome to film her next picture when she unexpectedly receives a unique gift from her hometown of Howardville, Virginia. It is a gem-encrusted ring to add to her collection, but this ring is special. It delivers direct messages to Bunny seemingly from the future –in this case she sees visions of people from Howardville begging her to return home because she is needed.
Next, we see Bunny drop in unannounced on the Howardville home of her sister Hildy (Mary Munday). However it is Founder’s Day on the picnic grounds and Bunny curiously is adamant on performing a one-woman show at the exact same time as the picnic, thus forcing everyone to leave Founder’s Day in order to watch her performance. In doing so she upsets her sister Hildy, but suddenly the phone rings and Bunny steps out into the rain and disappears. The phone call informs Hildy that Bunny died on a plane which crashed en route from Los Angeles to New York which just crashed into the park –suddenly we realize Bunny has been dead this whole time and her apparition has actually saved the people of her hometown from certain death in the plane crash.
“We are all travelers. The trip starts in a place called birth, and ends in that lonely town called death. And that’s the end of the journey, unless you happen to exist for a few hours, like Bunny Blake, in the misty regions of the Twilight Zone.”
While this is a mildly intriguing episode with some nice allusions to magical ring folklore like the “Ring of Gyges” story in Plato and Herodotus, generally speaking “Ring-a-Ding Girl” is a mostly mostly contrived story that feels a bit scattered with several different narrative ideas combined together.
The Twilight Zone Trivia:
- Earl Hamner Jr.’s last episode was “Jess Belle” in Season 4. His final four episodes in Season 5 are unfortunately not fondly remembered.
- Earl Hamner Jr. grew up with seven siblings. In this episode Bunny recalls when she and Hildy were young and used to call out to one another in bed. This apparently served as partial inspiration for the conclusion of each episode of The Waltons.
- Harold Gould plays an uncredited radio announcer toward the end of this episode. Previously he appeared in an earlier Season 5 episode “Probe 7, Over and Out.”
- The house set in this episode was also used in the classic Season 5 episode “Living Doll.”
- We can clearly see a newspaper headline in this episode which reads: “Jockey Banned From All U.S. Tracks.” This was a newspaper prop from an earlier Season 5 episode “The Last Night of a Jockey.”