Everyone has seen the episode of the Twilight Zone called “Living Doll” in which the little girl receives an adorable ‘talking’ doll from her mother. The doll says her signature phrase, “My name is Talky Tina” but when no one is looking, the creepy doll comes to life, threatens and terrorizes the girl’s stepfather played by Telly Savalas. Without spoiling it too much, the story doesn’t end well. Do you ever wonder what happened to the family? Were they stuck in the apartment at the mercy of this demented doll?
Special Effects prop masters created ‘Talky Tina’ from the Vogue Brikette doll that was available in the early 1960’s. They animated the head turning and the arms swinging because the original doll did not have that feature. They also added the talking because the Brikette doll didn’t do that either.
In the mid 1990’s, I found a Brikette doll at an antique store. I flipped because I had never seen one before and of course, I recognized her as the freaky doll from the Twilight Zone. That was my toy for that day and what a score!
My friend, Van Arno said that he had a friend who wanted to meet me. Van told his friend, Rob, about my insane toy collection and Rob couldn’t wait to see it. Van said Rob was totally toy crazed and that we would get along like a house on fire.
Finally Rob came over and sure enough, we had a lot in common. Rob and I were both from New Jersey and just about the same age so we shared a lot of the same childhood experiences. I led him to the toy room and he went wild. Rob’s eyes were practically spinning! We blabbed for hours and hours about all our favorite childhood space toys; Ideal Zeroids, Eldon Billy Blastoff, Mattel’s Major Matt Mason, the Colorform Outer Spacemen but Rob’s all time favorites were the Topper Ding-A-Lings robots. He was obsessed with them! We started to call him, "King Ding”!
The Talky Tina doll particularly entranced Rob. He wanted one just like her. I told him that Brikette dolls were really hard to find and that I’d never seen one before this but I would look for one for him. About two months later, I actually found a Brickette doll in a completely different antique shop. I called Rob and told him that I found a Talky Tina for him. He said he wanted to come over that night to pick her up. Rob was so thrilled to finally have Talky Tina, he put her in his briefcase and we said goodnight.
The few nights later, I got a call from Rob. He said the weirdest thing had happened to him that day at work. Rob was the VP and Director of Legal Affairs for the Anaheim Indoor Marketplace. He said he’d had a meeting with the board that Friday morning. When Rob went to open his briefcase, Talky Tina doll popped out and he almost fell out of his chair. Rob had completely forgotten that she was in there and was startled by her unexpected appearance! He spent the rest of the day teasing and tormenting the staff in the office with her.