Follow TV Tropes


Recap / The Twilight Zone (1959) S4E8 "Miniature"
aka: The Twilight Zone S 4 E 110 Miniature

Go To
Charley and his dream house.

Rod Serling: To the average person, a museum is a place of knowledge, a place of beauty and truth and wonder. Some people come to study, others to contemplate, others to look for the sheer joy of looking. Charley Parkes has his own reasons. He comes to the museum to get away from the world. It isn't really the sixty-cent cafeteria meal that has drawn him here every day, it's the fact that here in these strange, cool halls he can be alone for a little while, really and truly alone. Anyway, that's how it was before he got lost and wandered into the Twilight Zone.

Charley Parkes (Robert Duvall) is an office worker who is let go for his lack of social skills. While wandering through his local museum sometime afterwards, Charley looks into an antique dollhouse and sees little figurines of a man, woman, and housekeeper. Charley soon discovers that the female doll, identified on a sign next to the house as "Alice Copley", appears to be alive, watching as she practices on the house's tiny piano. He tries to tell one of the guards in the museum about this, but the guard claims that the dolls can't be alive, as they were carved from solid blocks of wood.

Nonetheless, Charley returns to the museum day after day to glimpse at the dollhouse some more. He gradually grows infatuated with Alice, even moreso when the other figurines begin moving. When her suitor comes to life, Charley discovers that he behaves abusively to Alice. Unable to take this, Charley breaks into the case, attempting to rescue her. He continues to maintain that the dolls are alive, and gradually winds up in an asylum.

Over time, Charley pretends that the delusion is wearing off, and is soon declared rehabilitated. His family and friends, including his sister Myra and his domineering mother, are gathered at the latter's house to greet him when he's released, but as they're preparing for a celebratory dinner, Charley sneaks out again. His panicked mother calls Dr. Wallman from the asylum, who suggests that he might have gone back to the museum to see the dollhouse one more time. At the museum, Charley confesses his feelings of love to Alice, particularly mentioning that his rather adversarial relationship with his mother allows him to empathize with her unhappy relationship.

Dr. Wallman and Charley's family soon arrive at the museum and search for him. Nobody finds a clue that he was ever there, except for the sympathetic guard who previously spoke to Charley. He looks into the dollhouse and sees that Charley is now a doll himself, having replaced Alice's abusive boyfriend. Figuring that no one will believe him, the guard merely grins and walks away as Charley and Alice take turns looking through a stereoscope, the former office worker finally content with himself and his new life.


  • Bittersweet Ending: Charley is turned into a doll and gets to be with the love of his life forever, but his sister, his mother, and everyone else in his life have no idea where he is or what happened to him, and thanks to the guard's silence, they probably never will.
  • Blind Date: Charley's sister Myra tries to set him up on a date with her co-worker Harriet Gunderson in the hopes it helps him come out of his shell. Given Charley's mannerisms, it goes about as well as you'd expect.
  • Creepy Doll: Alice's suitor is portrayed as a Dastardly Whiplash silent film villain who smacks her and her housekeeper around. Alice and the housekeeper themselves are gentle and complacent.
  • Dastardly Whiplash: Alice's lover resembles this type of villain, complete with cartoonishly evil mannerisms and musical cues as he smacks the poor girl around.
  • Did You Think I Can't Feel?: Downplayed. While it's not said bitterly, Charley reflects upon himself, and to Alice, about how their "imagined" world is truly real, because it's filled with people who have feelings like him.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After being treated as off-putting and misunderstood for a great deal of the episode, Charley is able to will himself into a doll and join Alice in her house, freeing himself from his problems and finally having the love of his life by his side.
  • Establishing Character Moment: In the first scene, Charley's boss Mr. Diemel calls him into his office to tell him that he's being let go. While Charley's noted to be an excellent worker, Mr. Diemel establishes that he also has an introverted personality and an inability to socially adapt.
  • Maybe Magic, Maybe Mundane: Was the whole thing in Charley's imagination, or was the world of the living dolls Real After All? The episode doesn't say, leaving both choices equally viable.
  • My Beloved Smother: Charley's overbearing mother continously treats him like he's still a child, even untying his shoes for him when he prepares to go to bed. His sister Myra lampshades that Charley being forced to live like he's 14 years old in his 30s is sick, and partly blames their mother for the fact that Charley is socially underdeveloped.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The piece that Alice plays on her piano is the first movement of Mozart's Piano Sonata no. 11 in A major.
  • The Voiceless: None of the dolls can speak when they come alive, so their scenes are often depicted as vingettes out of a silent film, sometimes accompanied by Charley's attempts to make conversation with Alice.

Rod Serling: They never found Charley Parkes, because the guard didn't tell them what he saw in the glass case. He knew what they'd say, and he knew they'd be right, too. Because seeing is not always believing, especially if what you see happens to be an odd corner of the Twilight Zone.

Alternative Title(s): The Twilight Zone S 4 E 110 Miniature