Twilight Zone’s “Little Girl Lost” and the Art of Creating Another Dimension
Imagine you’re writing Twilight Zone‘s “Little Girl Lost”, and you get to the part where the father literally stumbles into that alternate dimension where his daughter is trapped. How would you describe it?
Sure, you could spell out what you’re imagining in detail. Nothing wrong with that. Or you could trust the Zone production crew and do what Richard Matheson did: His script at that point simply says: “INTERIOR: LIMBO.”
In “The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic”, author Martin Grams relates how TZ’s art director approached producer Buck Houghton, pointed out those two words, and asked, “What’s that supposed to be, Buck?” Houghton’s reply: “That’s up to you.”
His faith was certainly not misplaced. Added Houghton:
He broke his neck to make a limbo set. That’s challenge and response. That’s what the scripts were full of.
From the assistant prop man to the cameraman, they worked their asses off. They wanted to do the scripts justice, and that made a lot of difference in how the episodes looked. The crew was absolutely thrilled to see how the shows were going to come off.
That’s what happens when you assemble a world-class crew and let them do their thing. You can rest assured that if you give them free rein, you’ll often be pleasantly surprised.
Though probably not half as surprised as Chris Miller was when he first glimpsed the bizarre fun-house sights on the other side of his daughter’s bedroom wall.
Don’t miss this post about where Matheson got the idea for “Little Girl Lost.”
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Hope to see you in some corner of the fifth dimension soon!