The Twilight Zone 5.13 – Ring-a-Ding Girl

This is really quite strange. I have no idea why I picked “Ring-a-Ding Girl,” a fifth season Twilight Zone written by Earl Hamner Jr., for our blog. I am unfamiliar with any of the actors, and the episode doesn’t seem to have any real fame or notoriety. I’m very glad I did, though, especially because after the last two disappointing installments, I was ready for a winner, and this was a good one.

The episode stars Maggie McNamara as a Hollywood starlet who comes roaring back to her small hometown after receiving strange visions from a ring that her fan club has mailed her. She seems to be showing off, acting like a stage brat – maybe “diva,” with all the negative connotations that word used to have – and suggesting that everybody cancel the annual picnic to come see her in the high school auditorium instead.

I didn’t see where this was going until very near the end. I was curious why she didn’t try to share her premonitions with her sister, but it all ends with a wonderfully inevitable finale. It reminded me of some earlier Zone installments that had their origins in old stories, like “The Hitch-Hiker” and “Twenty-two.”

I was sad to read that Maggie McNamara retired from acting less than a year after this episode aired. She moved to New York and worked as a typist in temporary jobs for another fourteen years while occasionally trying her hand at screenwriting. Sadly, she ended her life in 1978. That’s a shame, I really enjoyed her in this. She was in Otto Preminger’s 1953 film The Moon is Blue, which was extraordinarily controversial at the time and was banned in several cities because the characters used shocking, rude words like “virgin” in it.

That’s all from The Twilight Zone for now, but we’ll continue looking at a few more stories from season five in July. Stay tuned!

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