Night Gallery has a thing about Colonels lately. First in Clean Kills, and now in The Doll where Col. Masters has arrived home from his assignment in India. He is greeted by his homely niece and her comely nanny, Mrs. Danton.
He notices that his niece is holding a really unattractive doll; and next to this homely girl, that is saying something. The nanny assumed Masters had sent it to his niece due to the India return address; and smell of curry. He did not, and is concerned over the source. He promises to get her a replacement, but she likes this one.
Masters gets his niece a new doll, but his niece refuses it saying that the other doll hates it and that it has to go back. Masters says she must take the doll, and assures his niece that the other one can’t really speak.
That night, he hears crying in his niece’s room. He enters with Miss Danton and sees that the new doll has been torn to pieces. The first doll now has a toothy evil smile.
Masters is having a drink when a man wearing a turban enters. Just as in Make Me Laugh, the ethnicity does not seem to fit the turban. His brother was executed in India by British soldiers after leading raids against the outposts. He sent the doll to avenge his brother’s execution.
Masters goes upstairs to destroy the doll and sees it sitting at the top of the stairs. Off-screen, he takes a fall down the stairs and gets a nasty gash on his arm. I suppose we are to believe it is a bite. He has the nanny bring the the doll into the study and he tosses it in the fire. It had been indestructible up to this point, but now its mission has been fulfilled.
Massaging his wound, Masters says the doll has done its job and he will be dead soon. Although since he is about 1,000 years old and just fell down a flight of stairs, this doesn’t make him Nostradamus.
He is prepared, though, and tells the nanny of a package in his bedroom. It must be sent to the Indian man it is addressed to.
This was a highly regarded episode — maybe because it was a few years before the modern standard was set in evil jagged-toothed dolls.
Sadly, this episode did not age well. John Williams is always reliable, but the attack occurring off-screen is just unforgivable. And the ending lacks a certain symmetry — it’s great that the doll resembles the Colonel, but the first doll did not resemble the Indian so the edge is taken off the punchline.
Bottom Line: Talky Tina was more menacing.