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Nightmare as a Child

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Subject: Janice Rule, Shepperd Strudwick, The Arrival (The Twilight Zone), The Mind and the Matter, Uncle Simon
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Nightmare as a Child

"Nightmare as a Child"
The Twilight Zone episode
Episode no. Season 1
Episode 29
Directed by Alvin Ganzer
Written by Rod Serling
Featured music Jerry Goldsmith
Production code 173-3635
Original air date April 29, 1960
Guest actors

"Nightmare as a Child" is episode twenty-nine of the American television anthology series The Twilight Zone. It originally aired on April 29, 1960 on CBS.


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Quotations 3
  • Opening narration 4
  • Closing narration 5
  • In popular culture 6
  • Further reading 7
  • External links 8


A school teacher named Helen Foley finds a strange and very serious little girl named Markie on the stairs outside her apartment. Despite her stoic appearance, she is humming the tune to a nursery rhyme. The little girl seems to know her and tries to jog her memory about a man she saw earlier that day.

The man arrives at Helen's door as Markie runs out the back way. The man is Peter Selden, who claims that he worked for Helen's mother when Helen was a child and was the first to find her murdered mother's body. Helen had witnessed the crime but blocked it out. When she mentions Markie, Selden tells her that her nickname was Markie as a child and shows her an old photo of herself. The girl in the photo is identical to the Markie she met.

When Selden leaves, Markie reappears. She tells Helen that she is Helen herself, and that she is there to force her to remember her mother's murder. Through the child's prodding, Helen begins to remember, then Selden returns and confesses to the murder. He says he knew that Helen would someday start to remember and that he would also have to do away with Helen, which he hadn't been able to do that night because people had started arriving as they heard screams. Helen manages to run into the hallway and pushes Selden down the stairs to his death.

After talking to the police and returning to her apartment, Helen hears a young girl's voice humming the same tune as Markie. To her relief, the girl is just an ordinary girl she does not recognize. She tells the little girl she has a beautiful smile ... and advises her never to lose it.



Opening narration

Closing narration

In popular culture

In the "It's a Good Life" segment of Twilight Zone: The Movie, the main character is named Helen Foley and is also a school teacher. Helen Foley was the name of a beloved teacher of Serling's at Binghamton High School, and the main performance theater at that school is named after her.

Further reading

  • DeVoe, Bill. (2008). Trivia from The Twilight Zone. Albany, GA: Bear Manor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-136-0
  • Grams, Martin. (2008). The Twilight Zone: Unlocking the Door to a Television Classic. Churchville, MD: OTR Publishing. ISBN 978-0-9703310-9-0

External links

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