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Maggie McNamara, Mary Munday, The Twilight Zone, "Ring-a-Ding Girl," 1963

The Twilight Zone

Season 5, Episode 17: “Ring-a-Ding Girl”

Original U.S. broadcast airing: December 27, 1963

 

Actress Maggie McNamara (June 18, 1929 – February 18, 1978) guest starred in this classic Twilight Zone episode, one of my favorites. McNamara was a model turned actress, and had success in her early films (1953 film “The Moon Is Blue” and the 1954 film “Three Coins in a Fountain” among them) and on stage. Many compared her to Audrey Hepburn and Debbie Reynolds. However, her career declined, and she committed suicide by overdose at age 48. She was supporting herself as a typist at the time of her death. A thoughtful bio piece about McNamara’s life is posted at Letter from Here, “Looking Back: Maggie McNamara.

 

The Twilight Zone was Rod Serling’s groundbreaking TV show and the sci-fi/fantasy show was on the air from 1959-1964. Serling won a Golden Globe as best TV producer/director and two Emmys for writing, among other awards and nominations. In 2009, the US Postal Service issued a pane of twenty 44¢ commemorative postage stamps honoring early USA television programs. A booklet with 20 picture postal cards was also issued. Twilight Zone was one of the TV shows commemorated.

 

Episode synopsis (spoiler alert!):

Hollywood movie actress Bunny Blake (Maggie McNamara) receives a ring from her fan club in her home town. In the ring, she sees the faces of people from her hometown, telling her she’s needed there. She arrives by plane in Howardville from Hollywood to visit her sister and nephew (Mary Munday, David Macklin) on the day of the town’s annual Founder’s Day picnic. She receives more mysterious warnings from the ring, and tries to convince the picnic chairman to postpone the event, but he refuses. She then announces on the local TV station that she will be performing a one-woman show at the high school auditorium. As rain pours down, news comes in that a jet airliner has crashed at the town’s picnic grounds. Bunny disappears into the rain. Countless lives were saved because nearly everyone in the town is at the auditorium instead of the picnic grounds. Bunny’s dead body is found in the wreckage – she was a passenger on the plane.