Are You Afraid of the Dark Wiki
The Tale of the Dream Girl
Season 3 , Episode 10
Air date March 26, 1994
Written by David Preston
Directed by David Winning
Episode guide
The Tale of the Curious Camera
The Tale of the Quicksilver

The Tale of the Dream Girl is the Tenth episode of the Third season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the Thirty-Sixth episode in total.


Midnight Society Cast[]

Story Cast[]


That evening begins with the viewers seeing Tucker and Kiki arm wrestling. Kiki is almost winning, when Tucker, straining, claims he can beat her. On the sideline Gary and Frank are watching and thinks it's ridiculous. When Betty Ann and Sam come in. Kiki says hi to them distract Tucker. This works and she beats him. Tucker complains that she distracted him. So now he wants a rematch. Frank doesn't believe him. Kiki doesn't want to bother. So she tells him to forget it. In a bad mood Tucker tells her that he can beat her any time and any place.

A little amused, Betty Ann asks what's going on. Frank explains that Tucker is mad. Because Kiki called him a little runt. Kiki apologizes a little meaninglessly. Tucker tells her that she is just scared that he can beat her any time and any place. Kiki, tells him " Yeah that's right I must be scared". Gary says that Sam is up tonight. Now he asks her if she is ready. She replies saying yes she is.

Sam says she has a story about something incredibly horrifying. The story is not about monsters or demons. Or any of the usual scary stuff. The story is about something that can strike any person any time. It happens when we people least expect it. Intrigued and curious Gary asks her what it is. Sam says it is: true love. When hearing this Kiki laughs not taking it seriously. Sam is very serious about it. Because who says love isn't scary? Sometimes it can really hurt. Love is what people live for and in her story it's kind of what they died for. Sam throws in the campfire dust to intensify the fire. Next she submits her story for the approval of The Midnight's Society. She calls her story "The Tale of the Dream Girl"


Sam tells the story. The story is about two teenage siblings: A brother and a sister named: Johnny Angelli and Erica Angelli. They were very close. They even worked together in the same bowling alley: "The Bowl-a-rama Lanes". Johnny was a repairman and Erica worked as waitress. One night on their way out after closing late, Johnny finds in his locker, a beautiful silver ring with a sapphire core. Puzzled about how it got there, he asks his sister if she put it in there. Erica says she did not. In fact she has no idea how it got there. And it's a girls ring. Johnny being curious, puts the ring on his baby finger. He suddenly becomes alarmed. Since it has gotten stuck and will not come off.

Later that evening as Erica is finishing her homework, Johnny complains because the ring is still stuck. He claims that he didn't just try soap. He tried everything to slip the ring off. All except cutting off his finger. However it just won't come off. Their mom Mrs. Angelli comes in. She tells Erica it's time for bed. Because it's getting very late and it's a school night. When Johnny says good night, she seems to ignore him and not answer. Confused Johnny wants to know what's up with their mom. Erica says that their mom just has a lot on her mind right now.

Instead of going up to bed, Johnny decided to stay up a little bit longer while and watch more television. Then suddenly the reception and signal goes out on the T.V. Now it is blinking and flashing black and white static. Then Johnny falls asleep and a teenage girls voice calls out: "Johnny? Johnny where are you? There you are!". Suddenly a gorgeous brunette teenage girl in a blue Letterman's jacket enters the living room. She asks Johnny several times to wake up. She comes in closer and closer to speak to him. When she does this a white line flashes around her face. Then the sound of a train riding along the train tracks can be heard. Just when she’s about to kiss him on the cheek, the sound of a girl screaming in the background can be slightly heard. Then Johnny wakes up in a frightened shock.

Confused about his dream, he tries to take the ring off again. Still it won't even budge. Later that afternoon at the bowling alley, The manager is in a very good mood. He says that he’s living a good life. He tells Erica that he's just gone through another month without having to hire another maintenance guy. In fact there hasn't been a problem for four months. The longer he holds off hiring someone, the better his books look. Therefore the better he looks. Then he leaves smiling in satisfaction.

Johnny overhearing him feeling insulted, ignored and invisible. He questions Erica about why the manager isn't mentioning or appreciating any of the work he has done. Erica a little alarmed asks him what he's doing there. Confused he asks her why he can't be out in open. She gives him an excuse saying the manager will be mad if he gets grease on anything. He says at least the manager will now he‘s around. And that he keeps the place running. Therefore he will perhaps notice and appreciate him.

For a second something catches Johnny's eye. Now he explains to Erica that, lately he's been having really weird dreams. They are about the most beautiful girl he's ever seen. Erica tries to assure him that it's okay. Every guy dreams that now and again. Johnny mentions that the dreams just seem so real. However he has never seen her before. Still he just can't stop thinking about her. Now he mentions that she looks a lot like another girl. One who is sitting across the room at another table.

Erica identifies the girl to be: Cheryl Lightheart. Johnny decides to go over and talk to Cheryl. He feels that his dreams could be a sign that being with Cheryl could be fate. Erica doesn't think going over to talk to her is such a good idea. Cheryl is with her two friends. One of her friends is rude and disrespectful. They just got bowling shoes. Now they're already rudely complaining to the manager. They tell him that his eyes were upside down. Since he gave them size 6 shoes. Instead of size 9 shoes. Now they all laugh.

Johnny tries to speak to her. He tells her he likes her. Cheryl turns around and gives a huh? Look. She turns around laughs and asks her friends if they can see anyone talking to her. Her friend says she doesn't see anyone. So it must be her imagination, and they head off to bowl. The manager disgusted by their attitudes sarcastically comments about how it must great to be so perfect. Johnny tries to tell him something. Then he just turns away and goes on about his work. Erica looks worried seeing Johnny feeling invisible to everyone and being so sad.

Later, in the locker room, Johnny can't find any of his stuff in his locker. Then suddenly he can hear that teenage girls voice calling to him. Johnny, Johnny, it's me it's Donna. Johnny confused and scared asks who? The voice says it's Donna, Johnny. He looks down the hallway. Suddenly at the end of it she appears saying it's Donna and calls out his name again. Shocked, Johnny goes over to find Erica but he can't find her. Suddenly Donna appears in the bowling alley and calls him by name again. He goes over to see her, but when he gets there she’s gone and people are just bowling. Then as he’s walking on his way out, Johnny can hear the sound of train tracks again. Then suddenly the horrifying sound of a girl screaming is heard. The sound is intense. Now he agonizingly covering his ear in horror. Then he finds out the sound was also caused from a person just bowled a strike. Johnny shakes it off and heads home. Now he tries to speak to his mom. Once again she seems to ignore him. She drop a letter addressed to him. Now he speaks about it with Erica.

The letter is love poem from Donna Maitland. She has invited him to meet her that night at The Bowl-a-Rama snack bar. Although he has a weird feeling about it, he has to go. He just has to know more about her. That night he goes to the snack bar after hours. Surprisingly it's open. The waitress seems to be wearing 1960's clothing. Also old instrumental music is played in the background. He asks what they're doing there so late. Since it's supposed to be closed. The waitress tells him they're never closed. Because they're "The Night Shift". Suddenly he's served Hot Apple Pie A La Mode (apple pie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top) and a cola. Which is surprisingly his favorite snack. Somehow the waitress just knew.

A little time passes and finishes his snack. Now he gets up to leave thinking that she won't show up. Suddenly Donna shows up and apologizes for being late. She promises that she would never stand him up. Also that she can't. Since he is wearing her ring. He is about to ask her if she wants it back, when she asks him to dance. Now they begin to dance together for a while. He asks her who she is and how she knows him.  She tells him he must know, because he is wearing her ring. He tries to tell her he just found it. But, she tells him to "shh". Since it us almost time to go. Also that she wants him to leave with her. Looking at the clock the waitress tells them they better hurry. Suddenly the clocks chimes. Donna says it's too late right now. However she'll wait for him and leaves. Confused he wants to know what she means. Then he bumps into a table. Suddenly the snack bar is empty and everyone is gone.

Johnny runs home scared and confused, to an upset and tense looking Erica. He tells her she was there and they met. Erica is holding out a newspaper picture. She asks him before he says anything if this is the girl he saw. He says yes it's her. Erica is upset to reveal that she is dead. Johnny is upset and shocked to hear her tell him that. Erica tells him she died in a car accident. The time of how long ago it happened isn't revealed. She was driving with her boyfriend. Then the car got stuck on the train tracks. They made it out of the car, but Donna forgot her ring in the car. It was the ring that her boyfriend had recently given her. Therefore Donna ran back to the car to get it. However she didn't make it in time. Since the train came along and smashed into the car and killed her.

Johnny is scared now because he knows she is a ghost. Now he realizes that she wanted him to leave with her. Resulting in taking him to an early grave. All because he chose to wear her ring and be her boyfriend? The next day he tries to lube his finger to slip off the ring. But it still won't come off. Suddenly Donna appears before him again. She tells him not run away from her and she wants him to go with her. Johnny tells her to take the ring back because he doesn't want it. Donna a bit frustrated tells him that he should know by now that it's him that she wants. Also that he should understand that by now. Getting scared he starts stammering and asks her to leave him alone. She comes closer and tells him it's time to go now, he yells no. Suddenly Erica appears and Donna vanishes. Erica, seeing Johnny looking tense and freaked out asks him if he is okay. He asks her if she saw her and Erica says who?

Then at home Johnny is tense. He is pacing back and forth. Erica asks him if he's sure that the ring is making all of it happen? Suddenly the phone rings. Erica answers it and she tells him the call is for him and it's Donna. Johnny answers rudely the phones. He tells her that he knows it all some kind of joke. So he's not falling for it. Now he asks her to just leave him alone. Then from the phone Donna is heard. She disappointingly tells him she is sorry. So she won't bother him anymore. Suddenly the ring slips off his finger at long last. When it does Erica asks him if he stills think, it's nothing but a joke. Johnny thinks maybe she just wants her ring back. Now he decides to visit the cemetery and return it to her.

Later that night he visits the cemetery. He carefully searches for her grave. Then suddenly he trips and falls down. Erica comes over shining a flashlight asking him if he's all right. He says that he is. Then he asks her if she found anything yet. Erica says no she hasn't. Then suddenly Johnny finds a plot on the ground. Immediately he tells her to look at it. He wipes off the leaves to reveal Donna's name is on it. Erica asks him, how he knew it would be right there. She mentions how he just so happened to get lost, wondered away from her and tripped right over it. A little puzzled he asks her what she is talking about. She tells him in an "Oh come on!" tone, that he knew exactly where she was buried. Then she asks him why do you think that is. He says that she doesn't know what she means. Erica tells him: "maybe you've been here before, did you ever think about that?". He asks her why would he ever be in here. Since it's a cemetery. Then she tells him: "why don't you tell me!".

Erica getting very upset now, tells him that he remembers exactly what happened. As he’s staring at the plot train track sounds are heard again. When the car got stuck on the tracks they both got out at first. Then Donna remembered she forgot her ring inside the car. Si she ran back to get it because it meant so much to her. Donna was too late. Since the train was coming and she couldn't get out in time. Hearing her scream in his head, Johnny now remembers everything now. So he screams: "DONNA!". Erica then asks what happened next. Johnny very upsettingly says that he turned back and ran in to try to push her out of the way. But it was too late. The train was already there. So it crashed into them.

Johnny now wipes off the rest of the leaves. It reveals that his name is also on the gravestone below Donna's name. Also there is a message at the bottom that says: "together eternally". He snaps at Erica about why she never told him. She tells him because he just didn't remember. He came back from the accident like nothing had happened. Also that she was the only person that could see him. But no one else could. Nobody could see him because he's a ghost as well. Also for some unknown reason he couldn't remember the accident. Or anything that had happened. He didn't even know that he was dead. He asks her what they should do now. Erica tells him that now that he knows everything will be fine. They can still move on and be a family.

Suddenly Donna has shown up. She is thrilled to see that Johnny has come back to her. Now she tells him that it's time. Erica with a heavy heart realizes that crossing over with Donna is what he wants to do. So now it is time to say goodbye. Johnny and Erica hug goodbye for the last time. They also say that they love each other. With Donna's permission he gives her the ring to remember him by. Now he kisses her on the cheek. Then he and Donna share a passionate kiss and reunite. Now slowly walk off together in the dense fog to the after life. Meanwhile Erica is looking on knowing that he will at last be happy once again. Since he found his Dream Girl at long last.


As the story ends, Sam says that Erica was always going to miss Johnny. But it made her feel better to know that he was happy at last with the girl of his dreams. Then she ends the story, Gary tells her it was a good one. Tucker says "cool, you're a ghost and you don't even know it". Kiki in a mean tone tells him " Yeah you're a runt, and you don't even know it". Tucker is mad and tells her he'll show her who is a runt and chases her. Gary quickly declares their meeting officially closed. He quickly puts out the fire. Then they all quickly run to catch up with Tucker and Kiki.

  • Actress Stephanie Bauder was originally considered to portray the lead role, until Shanya Vaughan was finally chosen. Stephanie would later appear in The Tale of C7.
  • Michel Perron who portrayed The Bowling Alley Manager, reappeared again in the show a couple years later. His next appearance was as Carl Mueller in the episode "The Tale of Vampire Town".
  • Many online sources have speculated that this episode was the direct inspiration for the film The Sixth Sense (1999).
    • When asked if the show was an influence, director M. Night Shyamalan responded, "That’s really weird. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that show. I don’t want to ignore something that might have been an influence, but nothing rings a bell when you say that."
    • Creator DJ MacHale has said when that when he saw The Sixth Sense for the first time, he saw the twist coming because of the similarities to this episode.
  • As stated by her official Collector Photo Card, this story is Sam's favorite.
  • Most of the cemetery tombstones were props used in previous episodes "The Tale of the Dream Machine" and especially "The Tale of Old Man Corcoran".
  • The newspaper article doesn't explain how they found out about the exact circumstances of Johnny and Donna's actions during the accident.
  • The circumstances of the accident recounted in the newspaper were inspired by the song "Teen Angel".
  • The pinball machine in the background of the bowling alley/diner scenes is a Twilight Zone table.
  • According to Dj MacHale, this was the episode he personally was the least involved with, as he had no notes on the script from the start as he felt it was already perfect.
  • David Preston was nominated for a Gemini Award for "Best Writing in a Children’s or Youth Program or Series" for this episode.
  • This is the highest rated episode on IMDB.