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.”

For a daily dose of Serling, you can follow me on Twitter, Facebook 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!

Advertisements

About Paul

Fanning about the work of Rod Serling all over social media. If you enjoy pics, quotes, facts and blog posts about The Twilight Zone, Night Gallery and Serling's other projects, you've come to the right place.

Posted on 08/30/2019, in Twilight Zone and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. Howie Manheimer

    “Little Girl Lost” feels like we really get an idea of what the fourth or fifth dimension could really look like, I love that.

  2. The episode that makes me want to live next to a physicist. I never thought about how they did that, Paul. It was perfectly creepy and answered the “why can’t we just go in and get her?” question perfectly. I always liked the fact that Mac the dog was the hero.

    I think I read that other post, but I’m going to go check and make sure. I hope you have a great holiday weekend.

    • Right? What a handy neighbor to have under the circumstances. What got me about this was the way it showed how the production crew would step up and execute so well on so little information. And yeah, go, Mac!

  3. When I read this post, I went searching for my copy of Matheson’s script because, honestly, that type of one word description did not sound like his style at all. Of all the scripts from that era that I have read (lots, I’m a collector), Richard Matheson was second only to Harlan Ellison in giving detailed descriptions, stage and camera directions, etc. Sure enough, from the script of LITTLE GIRL LOST which I have before me, he describes the “Fourth Dimension” thus: “It is very dark, yet speckled by a million, flashing lights — like an infinitude of rushing stars.” Later movement inside the fourth dimension is described as “creating flurries of grayish aura” and “making BUZZING noises that ECHO and RE-ECHO like swarms of insects.” I think perhaps Buck Houghton simply misremembered when recalling the script, or the descriptions were taken out of the copy he had. Anybody’s guess.

    • I have that same copy, of course, and you’re right — that is how it appears there. But we have to remember that these final published scripts are not the initial drafts from which the crew would have worked, or even the shooting scripts. You’ll notice many other difference between these scripts and the episode as filmed — different dialogue, different names. So I think it’s more likely that Houghton was recalling correctly. I appreciate you noting that, though. I probably should have made that point in the post itself, but I suppose this reply will suffice. Thanks!

  4. That’s so awesome. He left the crew with a nice chance to flex their creativity and they didn’t let viewers down. It definitely felt like a funhouse, but was even more disorientating and uncomfortable.

  5. That IS trust. Hitchcock seemed more controlling, he leveraged Dali for the dream sequence in Spellbound. Did it end up better?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: