Ask me to single out the worst episode of Suspense and my mind immediately jumps to the episode "The Doll". Is it the worst - or is it one of the best ever? I can't tell anymore. It is one of my all time favorites. Unintentionally funny and surreal, "The Doll" can't be pinned down into any one category. Suspense began their fifteenth year on the air with this episode on October 23, 1956.
"The Doll" stars Patty McCormack of the movie The Bad Seed and her performance is fine but everything else about this episode is out of whack. The sappy, lilting music interferes by making it impossible to take anything that happens too seriously. Even worse are the sound effects for the beating heart of the doll which are SO LOUD and distracting that the actors have to strain to be heard over it.
The story begins this way:
A seven year old girl named Val gets a doll from her new stepmother for a birthday present. The doll has "a gadget". You wind it up and its heart beats. Val names the doll after her dead mother (who died of a heart condition). Val becomes convinced that the doll will die too if she doesn't keep it constantly wound up. Val's father and stepmother argue about the doll because it may have been a bad idea and decide to burn it in the incinerator after Val goes to bed. Val overhears this and runs away but can't get very far because she has always has to keep the doll wound up and...well, from there it just gets better and better!
Suspense broadcast this episode on October 23, 1956.