The Twilight Zone (1959–1964)
12 user 4 critic

The Dummy 

Ventriloquist Jerry Etherson is convinced that his dummy, Willie, is alive and evil. He locks Willie in a trunk and makes plans for a new act with a new dummy. Too bad he didn't clear those plans with Willie first.


Abner Biberman


Rod Serling (teleplay by), Lee Polk (based on a story by) | 1 more credit »




Episode complete credited cast:
Cliff Robertson ... Jerry Etherson
Frank Sutton ... Frank
George Murdock ... Willie
John Harmon ... Georgie
Sandra Warner Sandra Warner ... Noreen
Ralph Manza ... Doorkeeper


Jerry Etherson has a reasonably successful nightclub act as a ventriloquist but has one major problem: he believes his dummy Willie is a sentient being who speaks to him and manipulates his life. His agent Frank thinks Jerry needs psychiatric help and tells him he has no future in the business if he doesn't do something about his delusions. Jerry decides to lock Willie in a trunk and try his act with a different dummy. Willie has plans of his own however. Written by garykmcd

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

4 May 1962 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

The Dummy See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (Westrex Recording System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


The dummy "Willy" was created by American ventriloquist supplies maker Revillo Pettee, while the dummy seen at the end was created by English builder Len Insull. "Willy" is in the private collection of magician David Copperfield. See more »


As he leaves the stage in the initial opening, the dummy bites his finger. They later show his finger and the teeth marks. The orientation of the teeth marks is inconsistent with the dummy's mouth shape. See more »


Jerry Etherson: Sweet dreams, Willie. Your next booking is in a fireplace.
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Featured in Limitless: Fundamentals of Naked Portraiture (2016) See more »


I Only Have Eyes for You
Music by Harry Warren
Lyrics by Al Dubin
Sung by Cliff Robertson
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

The Switch
29 October 2014 | by AaronCapenBannerSee all my reviews

Cliff Robertson stars as talented ventriloquist Jerry Etherson, who has a popular act in a nightclub, but still has trouble making all his dates, since Jerry drinks too much, and insists that his dummy Willie(voiced by George Murdoch) is alive and persecuting him mercilessly. Of course his agent doesn't believe him, and threatens to drop him if he doesn't get help, but it seems that poor Jerry is beyond help, as Willie appears to be gaining the upper hand, and about to make his move... Chilling episode is among the series' best, and certainly the scariest, with an excellent performance by Robertson and voice work by Murdoch, and contains the most effective, jump-out-of-your-seat twist ending in television history. A true classic of its kind.

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