Director: Alan Crosland Jr.
Writer: Earl Hamner Jr.
Cast: Maggie McNamara, Mary Munday, David Macklin, George Mitchell, Bing Russell, Betty Lou Gerson, Hank Peterson, and Vic Perrin
Composer: None (Stock Music)
Air Date: 12/27/1963
Production Code: 2623
After receiving a ring from her hometown fan club, actress Barbara “Bunny” Blake (Maggie McNamara) pays a visit to her sister Hildy Powell (Mary Munday). Plagued with a sense of dread, Bunny attempts to postpone the town’s annual picnic in honor of her arrival—with a bizarre and unexpected outcome.
Indicating that the most obnoxious, self-centered people can exhibit love, kindness, and heroism under exceptional circumstances, “Ring-A-Ding Girl” offers an optimistic glimpse at the human condition. This episode also benefits from an implied supernatural theme, appealing to those who enjoy horror stories of a spooky, subtle variety.
“Ring-A-Ding Girl” relies on ambiguity, obscurity, and the power of suggestion to build a suspenseful atmosphere. Specifically, the visions of Bunny Blake—a woman who sees into the future by gazing at her mystical ring—serve to foreshadow an ominous, unclear fate for the townspeople, who, for reasons initially unknown to both the main character and the viewer, will require Bunny’s assistance to avert a terrible tragedy.
The audience may struggle to relate with Bunny, who presents herself as a vain creature with no concern for others. (Nevertheless, Bunny’s behavior is eventually justified by a poignant and surprising twist in the final scene.)
(Spoilers beyond this point)
In spite of its flawed execution, “Ring-A-Ding Girl” contains a valuable statement regarding the deceptive nature of appearances. The character of Bunny, for example, comes across as entirely selfish when inviting the town residents to her own personal show, forcing them to miss out on a special yearly event. Of course, the true motive of the protagonist is made evident by an airplane crash, which, though inevitable, would have killed every person at the picnic without Bunny’s intervention—a lesson on the folly of judging others, even those with a seeming lack of character, in the absence of objective context.
Combining atmospheric scenes with emotional plot developments, “Ring-A-Ding Girl” deserves praise from fans of The Twilight Zone. Especially worth noting is Maggie McNamara’s portrayal of Bunny, who reveals a sensitive, caring personality beneath her shallow exterior.
Overall Quality: 7/10
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