“Something I Imagined”

Because many of the hour-long Twilight Zone episodes lack the snap of their half-hour counterparts, they’re often unfairly dismissed. As I’ve pointed out before, though, several of them are quite entertaining. And a few contain some of the finest writing in the series.

One particularly touching moment occurs at the end of Charles Beaumont’s “Miniature.” (As usual: spoilers ahead). Charley Parkes, played by a young Robert Duvall, is convinced that the characters he glimpses inside a large, ornate dollhouse at a local museum are real. He is particularly drawn to Alice, a beautiful woman in Victorian attire.

At one point, he’s arrested for trying to break into the dollhouse after witnessing Alice fend off the advances of an unwanted suitor. In an effort to cure Charley, his family has him committed to a rest home. A psychiatrist named Dr. Wallman patiently tries to persuade him that it’s all in his head.

Charley improves — or so it seems — and is released. But it turns out he was faking. He returns to the dollhouse, sees Alice in tears, and says:

They tried to tell me you weren’t real. They tried to make me think you were only something I imagined. Of course, I knew better.

But I pretended to believe them. Because if I hadn’t done that, I’d still be in the hospital. And I never would have seen you again. That would have been terrible.

You see, I love you. I don’t know how I can make you understand that. Maybe if I keep telling you, you will. I love you, Alice. I love you.

Wallman says it happened because I needed a simple world I could understand. But your world isn’t simple, is it? No world with people in it is. There’s always loneliness and suffering and heartache.

Look at you, crying because you’re alone. Well, I’ve been alone all my life. Oh, people have tried. My mother and my sister — they’ve tried very hard to understand, but they can’t. You could. We could understand each other and help each other and love each other.

Who among us can’t identify with Charley’s plea? How deeply we all yearn to be understood, accepted — and loved. It even drives some of us … into the Twilight Zone.

For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on TwitterFacebook or Pinterest. You can also get email notifications of future posts by entering your address under “Follow S&S Via Email” on the upper left-hand side of this post. Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!

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About Paul

Hard-working, hard-playing fan of all pop culture, especially the Twilight Zone. Which led to a Twitter page. And then to a blog. And then to ... stay tuned. Yes, that's a picture of Rod Serling, not me. You can find the real me under the "Your Host" tab on my blog, along with biographical details that, while 100 percent accurate, sound kind of boastful and braggy. Sorry.

Posted on 10/05/2012, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

  1. In case you didn’t know, the character in this episode is based on William F. Nolan. Nolan does the commentary with Marc Scott Zicree on the bluray edition.

    • I remember hearing that, yes. Glad they were able to include lots of extra commentaries on the Blu-ray editions.

  2. Reminiscent of John Collier’s short story “Evening Primrose” (which James Goldman and Stephen Sondheim adapted into a TV musical)…

    • I’ve heard of that story many times, but never read it. Guess I’ll have to seek it out now! Thanks.

  3. A wonderful passage from a very interesting episode. Your conclusion is simple and true, my friend: “How deeply we all yearn to be understood, accepted — and loved. It even drives some of us … into the Twilight Zone.”

    Reading that, I couldn’t help but think of a TZ quote from another episode that I’d like to pair with it if I may: “This has been a love story about two lonely people who found each other in the Twilight Zone.”

    How beautifully apropos.

    • Very apropos, my friend. If there’s one thing I’ve learned from quoting TZ daily on Twitter for the last three years, it’s how similar themes crop up in different episodes, and how skillfully TZ’s wonderfully creative writers explored them. A major theme was loneliness (right from the start, in fact, in Serling’s “Where Is Everybody?”), which Beaumont depicted so memorably in “Miniature.” And yes, it pairs very well with Montgomery Pittman’s “Two.” Good observation, GF.

  4. Thanks, Paul, for pointing this post out to me. This was one of the episodes that I only saw in the SyFy era of marathons, and I think it was one of the more recent marathons at that. It became an instant favorite. Lots of episodes have twists at the end and all too often they are sad twists. Some people might view this as a sad ending, but I really felt good for Charlie.

    • So did I. I didn’t view it as sad at all. He’s quite happy, and why wouldn’t he be? Glad you finally discovered this episode and enjoyed it so much. And I’m certainly glad to hear the post appealed!

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