Recap and React: Alfred Hitchcock Presents… episodes 30 – 34

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SEASON 1, EPISODE 30: “Never Again”
DIR. Robert Stevens
STARRING Phyllis Thaxter, Louise Albritton and Warren Stevens
ORIGINALLY AIRED April 22, 1956
Recap: Karen wakes up one day and finds herself in a completely unfamiliar room with a bandaged hand and “the worst hangover ever.” She falls into a deep state of worry. She knows that she’s disappointed her boyfriend, Jeff, having promised him that she wouldn’t drink anymore. She struggles to recall what she did the night before or how she ended up injured.
Reaction:  Phyllis Thaxter gives a pretty great performance as Karen. Her dialogue, especially in the narration of her thoughts in the opening of the episode, is pretty corny but of course I have no problem with a bit of corn. With most of the episode dedicated to Karen’s recollection of how she spent her night at a party with Jeff, this episode has less suspense and more melodrama than most installments of the series, but the lingering question of how Karen ended up injured and alone keeps the story chugging along. And there’s a pretty great twist at the end!

SEASON 1, EPISODE 31: “The Gentleman from America”
DIR. Robert Stevens
STARRING Biff McGuire
ORIGINALLY AIRED April 29, 1956
Recap: Howard Latimer is a rich, American man who is visiting London in the early 1940s. He is befriended by Sir Stephen, a man with a terrible gambling problem. Sir Stephen weasels Latimer into a 1000 pound bet, Latimer agreeing to pay up that amount if he can’t make it through a night in Sir Stephen’s haunted house.
Reaction: I love Biff McGuire’s character in this episode. He’s such a skeptic, automatically assuming that everything that happens in the “haunted” house is Sir Stephen’s doing. He’s outspoken in expressing this skepticism, and his dialogue is fantastic.

SEASON 1, EPISODE 32: “The Baby Sitter”
DIR. Robert Stevens
STARRING Thelma Ritter
ORIGINALLY AIRED May 6, 1956
Recap:  A babysitter named Lottie is questioned after Clara Nash, who she has been working for, is murdered. Lottie loves all of the attention… and with Clara out of the way, she hopes to get closer to Mr. Nash. But that’ll be difficult to do when Lottie’s friend begins to suspect that she was involved in Clara’s murder.
Reaction: Thelma Ritter is so much fun to watch. Mary Wickes is also absolutely wonderful as Lottie’s best friend, Blanche. The ending came as a complete surprise to me, too, which is always the mark of a good episode!

SEASON 1, EPISODE 33: “The Belfry”
DIR. Herschel Daugherty
STARRING Jack Mullaney, Pat Hitchcock
ORIGINALLY AIRED May 13, 1956
Recap:  Clint Ringle is in love with the local schoolteacher, Ellie Marsh. There’s just one problem: she’s engaged to another man, Walt Morton. When Clint kills Walt with an axe in a jealous rage and then makes a run for it, the whole town sets out to find him.
Reaction: I love seeing Pat Hitchcock involved in her dad’s projects! She’s one of my favorite recurring Alfred Hitchcock Presents stars. The real star of the show here is Jack Mullaney, though, as Clint Ringle. Narration provides the viewer with a peek into the demented mind of Clint, with Mullaney relying on facial expression as the narration plays. His performance is great. This narration lets us know that Clint is a nutcase, but Mullaney’s use of expression exaggerates his character’s craziness even more and has a great effect on the viewer.

SEASON 1, EPISODE 34: “The Hidden Thing”
DIR. Robert Stevens
STARRING Biff McGuire, Robert Harris
ORIGINALLY AIRED May 20, 1956
Recap:  Dana Edwards recently lost his fiance Laura in a tragic hit-and-run accident. John Hurley, a man who claims to be an expert in recollection techniques, decides to try to help the desperate Dana remember the license plate number of the car that killed Laura.
Reaction: Biff McGuire churns out another great performance as Dana. Robert Harris is also wonderful as John Hurley. He seems a little bit crazed but overall well-intentioned, though he is less-than-willing to give up what his motives are in helping Dana. The ending of the episode is pretty funny, too.

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