Twilight Zone episode review — 4.8 — Miniature
Episode 4.8 “Miniature”
Original air date: February 21, 1963
Writer: Charles Beaumont
Director: Walter Grauman
I feel pretty confident in saying Robert Duvall is the best actor ever featured on the original Twilight Zone. He’s not the only future star that would be featured, of course, and not the only future Academy Award winner, but he’s just an incredible actor. He gives a very good performance in this episode about a subject matter I otherwise couldn’t care too much about. He elevates the episode. He doesn’t make it great, but he takes a pretty uninspired episode and makes it decent.
Duvall plays Charley Parkes, a bit of a square who takes work too seriously and still lives with his mother and hasn’t been in a relationship. He goes to the museum one day and sees a little dollhouse that interests him because when he looks, he can see the figure move and hear the piano that she plays. He says something to the security guard, who thinks he’s crazy of course.
He gets fired from his job and takes solace at the museum, stopping by every day to visit his miniature friend. His sister and brother-in-law try and get him a job, but he’s pretty uninterested. One day at the museum, he sees a miniature man trying to force himself on the miniature woman and he gets upset and ends up breaking the glass.
This brings him to a mental institution, where he comes to understand that since he couldn’t cope with the pressures of his world, he had to create a fictional one. After he’s released, though, he reveals when he speaks to the figure, that he had lied to get out of there. He really does still believe.
When he goes missing, his mother, sister, and brother-in-law all look for him in the museum. The security guard sees a miniature figure of Charley in the dollhouse, and Serling’s narration reveals that he wouldn’t tell anyone because he knew no one would believe him, but that he also knew what he had seen.
It’s a pretty uninteresting episode. Duvall fully commits to it, though, and he makes it watchable. This is definitely an episode that didn’t feel like it needed to be an hour. It certainly feels like it drags in parts.