029 – Nightmare as a Child

Original air date – 4/29/60

Written by Rod Serling | Directed by Alvin Ganzer

Starring Janice Rule, Terry Burnham, Shepperd Strudwick

Watch it here.

Helen Foley (Janice Rule), a school teacher returning home from a day at work, encounters a girl (Terry Turnham) in front of her apartment. She invites the girl in for a cup of hot chocolate. The girl is eerily poised and verbally mature. Her nickname is Markie and she tells Helen that she “knows everything” about her, down to the gnarly burnt scar Helen has below her elbow.

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On several occasions, Markie attempts to remind Helen of her past, the past concerning the death of her mother that Helen seems to have blocked out from her memory.

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A knock on the door suddenly frightens Markie who quickly runs out through the back door. The visitor at the door is a man who looks familiar to Helen but she cannot place who exactly he is. He introduces himself as Peter Seldon (Shepperd Strudwick). He used to work for Helen’s mother before her tragic death. Peter questions Helen of her recollection about the night her mother died since she was supposedly murdered in front of Helen. Helen doesn’t seem to remember any of it.

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At one point, Peter also shows Helen the picture of herself as a girl. To Helen’s surprise, the girl in the photo looks exactly like Markie. Peter tells her that Markie is the name that he used to call Helen as a child…

After Peter leaves the apartment, Helen falls asleep and dreams of the night of the murder. With the memory flashbacks in front of her, she still doesn’t see the perpetrator of her mother’s murder.

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Peter returns for another visit that evening. Believing that Helen’s memory of the night of the murder will eventually return, Peter confesses that he was the murderer Helen has been suppressing from her memory. When she realizes Peter’s intention is to also murder the only witness to the two-decade old crime, Helen runs out of the apartment while Peter gives chase. As Helen is trying to break free of Peter, he accidentally falls down a flight of stairs and dies.

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