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The Twilight Zone: Long Distance Call

A toy telephone is the only remaining link between a young boy and his recently deceased grandmother.

Episode Info

Episode number: 2x22
Production Number: 173-3667
Airdate: Friday March 31st, 1961


Guest Stars
Philip AbbottPhilip Abbott
As Chris Bayles
Lili DarvasLili Darvas
As Grandma Bayles
Patricia Smith (1)Patricia Smith (1)
As Sylvia Bayles

Co-Guest Stars
Bill MumyBill Mumy
As Billy Bayles
Lew BrownLew Brown
As The Fireman
Jenny MaxwellJenny Maxwell
As The Baby Sitter
Reid HammondReid Hammond
As Mr. Peterson
Henry HunterHenry Hunter
As The Doctor

James TurleyJames Turley
As 2nd Fireman
Robert L. McCordRobert L. McCord
As 1st Fireman
Jutta ParrJutta Parr
As Nurse
Main Cast
Rod SerlingRod Serling
As Narrator/Host


Chris Bayles brings his grandmother downstairs for his son's birthday. Billy races to greet his grandmother, and they gather for him to blow out his birthday cake. Billy makes his wish and whispers it to his grandmother. She then says that Billy has given her a new life but she doesn't have much longer to live. Chris and his wife Sylvia are uncomfortable with her discussing death so obviously. They open Billy's presents and Grandma Bayles gives Billy her present: a toy telephone. She assures him that he can call and talk to her any time that he wants. She gets short of breath and Chris escorts her upstairs. Dr. Unger comes to check on Grandma Bayles and confirms that she doesn't have long to live. Chris wants to see her and Billy insists on going along. They go to Grandma Bayles' room and she recognizes Billy but not Chris. She insists that her son was taken away and Billy is her son now. She says that she wishes Billy could go away with her, then fades away. Sylvia gets Billy out of the room while Chris holds her hand as she dies...

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Episode Notes
This is one of six episodes originally shot on videotape, then transferred to sixteen-millimeter film for broadcast. This was done as a cost-cutting measure.

Bill Mumy also appeared in "It's a Good Life" and "In Praise of Pip" and later appeared in the 1985 version of Twilight Zone in the episode "It's Still a Good Life." He may be best known for appearing in Lost in Space as Will Robinson.

Jim Turley also appeared in "The Mirror."

Lew Brown also appears in "A Thing About Machines," "Back There" and "The 7th is Made Up of Phantoms."

Philip Abbott also appears in "The Parallel."

Robert L McCord also appeared in "A Hundred Yards over the Rim," "The Rip Van Winkle Caper," "The Mirror" and "The New Exhibit."

The film Poltergeist II: The Other Side refers to this episode as Carol Ann receives a call from her late grandmother (and later, the diabolical Taylor) on her toy telephone.

Episode Quotes
Opening Narration
As must be obvious, this is a house hovered over by Mr. Death, that omnipresent player to the third and final act of every life. And it's been said, and probably rightfully so, that what follows this life is one of the unfathomable mysteries, an area of darkness which we the living reserve for the dead - or so it is said. For in a moment, a child will try to cross that bridge which separates light and shadow, and of course he must take the only known route, that indistinct highway through the region we call the Twilight Zone.

Billy: (on the phone) Is it cold where you are? Can I come visit?
Sylvia: Who're you talking to, Billy?
Billy: Grandma. She wants me to come where she is. Can I go?

Chris Bayles: (talking into a toy phone) Mother, if you can hear me, listen. You said you loved Billy. At his birthday, you picked him up and you hugged him, and you said he gave you life again. If you really love Billy, give him back. He's only five. He hasn't even started. He doesn't know anything about going to school, or girlfriends, or wearing long pants. Even pitching a baseball. He's hardly been out of this room, out of this house. There's a whole world he hasn't even touched. Mother, you said Billy gave you life again. Now you can give him life. If you really love him, let him live. Give him back. Give him back, Ma! Ma...

Closing Narration
A toy telephone, an act of faith, a set of improbable circumstances, all combine to probe a mystery, to fathom a depth, to send a facet of light into a dark after-region, to be believed or disbelieved depending on your frame of reference. A fact or a fantasy, a substance or a shadow, but all of it very much a part of the Twilight Zone.

Episode Goofs
Right before Grandma died she called her grandson, "son." She then looked at him a few lines later and said he and Grandma would be going to heaven together.

Episode References
The film Poltergeist II: The Other Side references this episode as Carol Ann receives a call from her late grandmother (and later, the diabolical Taylor) on her toy telephone.

Other Episode Crew

CreatorRod Serling
Executive ProducerRod Serling
ProducerBuck Houghton
Associate ProducerDel Reisman
CastingEthel Winant
Set DecoratorBuck Henshaw
Art DirectorRobert Tyler Lee
Associate DirectorJames B. Clark
Main Title ThemeMarius Constant
Technical DirectorJim Brady
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