Subscribe Now!
GannettUSA Today

Thursday, April 12, 2007


I just finished all 39 half-hour episodes of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season Two'' (Universal Home Video), a five-disc DVD box set a friend was kind enough to lend me for a couple of weeks.

Like Season One, the episodes are were addictive, like eating potato chips. You just keep watching and watching.

I saw portly Robert Emhardt (a very recognizable character actor who did a ton of TV in the '50s and '60s) as a cuckolded college professor; an amateur gardner whose wife fancies herself a movie star's twin; and a maniac stalking a honeymooning couple.

I saw Sir Cedric Hardwicke (who we horror geeks loved as Ludwig Frankenstein in "Ghost of Frankenstein" and Rollo in the Charles Laughton "Hunchback of Notre Dame") in two roles, as the patriarch of a respectable family covering up his daughter's murder of a schoolteacher; and a stranger in town whose wall of indifference is pierced by a precocious little girl.

I saw Claude Rains (another fave of horror geeks, for reasons I need not recount) as a washed-up alcoholic actor. Game Claude does a nice stunt fall and cries on camera (as he did in Season One).

I saw Robert H. Harris as a desperate would-be groom; and a paranoid commuter in a city with an escaped lunatic.

I saw the tall, veddy British John Williams as a publisher who guesses his new author's murder novel may not be fiction; a homicide detective with too many confessed suspects for one murder; and a henpecked husband who escapes to a tropical paradise via his fantasies, accompanied by a fetching Barbara Baxley in a sarong.

I saw Hume Cronin and Carmen Matthews as a featherbrained brother and sister who plot to kill random hobo James Gleason in a house fire for the insurance money.

I saw an old-timer named Russell Collins who I consider to be the secret weapon of Season Two. Collins seemed to specialize in drunks, hobos, ex-cons and mentally fragile characters. I'm going to keep an eye out for this guy (who died in 1965 at age 68).

I spotted three up-and-comers: Vic Morrow, Rip Torn and -- believe it or not --Harry Shearer (who was 11 at the time).

I believe there was a little more humor in Season Two than in Season One. Hitchcock was his usual droll self in the introductions and wrapups. Many times, the murderer got away with his crime in the episode, but then Hitchcock would explain, with a wink, how the murderer eventually got his comeuppance -- AFTER the episode's conclusion. Ha, ha.


Post a Comment

<< Home