Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Season 1, Episode 27
Air date: April 1, 1956
Time: 24 mins 52 secs
Rating: 8/10

Director: James Neilson
Teleplay: Robert C. Dennis
Based on the Mary Orr and Reginald Denham adaptation of a story by Stanley Ellin
Director of photography: Reggie Lanning
Art director: Martin Obzina
Editorial supervisor: Richard G. Wray
Editor: Edward W. Williams
Music supervisor: Stanley Wilson

A middle-aged man, Mr. Crabtreee, resentful for losing his last employment on account of his age, applies for a new job despite having declared his short temperament and threatening violence towards his previous boss. He receives a telephone call from an unidentified man who tells him to expect a visit from a secretary. She arrives at his apartment and explains his duties will consist of preparing confidential reports which need to be mailed to his employer. She further tells him that he will be working alone in an office without supervision. He will receive a salary of $100 a week. Delighted, he celebrates with his sick wife, and promises to pay for the treatment she requires.
A few weeks later, Crabtree finds a strange man in his New York office. He is Crabtree's previously-unseen employer, who offers Crabtree a difficult ultimatum. He wants Crabtree to kill a man who is blackmailing him. The plan is to push the blackmailer out of the 20th storey window and let him fall to his death, in exchange for a years' salary - but failure to carry out the murder will mean a cease in Crabtree's much-needed wages and no further money towards his wife's needed operation. The next morning a man comes to Crabtree's office to receive an envelope containing money as planned, except the envelope contains a suicide note. Crabtree fulfills his mission by pushing him out of the window. The employer witnesses the incident from down on the street and immediately congratulates Crabtree by telephone before posting his money as promised. Moments later another man enters the office and asks for his envelope, which ought to contain money in exchange for his silence....

[he appears sitting in a chair reading a newspaper].
"Oh good evening. How did you find me? I specifically asked for an unlisted channel. I'm taking the week off; I wanted a rest from television. If you're one of those critics who thinks that television is frightful, all I can say is you should see it from this side. I've been reading the 'want' ads - a man has the right to look around for a better job. Hmmm... "WANTED: Host for television programme." Sounds like a job for me. "Must be witty, charming, handsome" - why, this is perfect! "Gracious, and must be willing to work every week. Apply: Alfred Hitchcock Presents!" I think I'd better scamper back to the old job! I don't want to miss the show. And don't you miss it either!"

"A brilliant play. Sneaky, but brilliant. And now please keep your eyes on this space for I shall return here next week to bring you another story. Goodnight."

Episode 27 of Season 1.
This was John Qualen's third and final appearance in the series.
The two leads (Qualen and Greene) are both Canadian. Interestingly, Qualen died one day after Greene in September 1987.

Personal opinion
"Unfortunately, this one was quite simple to work out, but even so, a good little potboiler with Lorne Green in magnificent form as the employer who gives Mr. Crabtree the most difficult of ultimatums!"
Geoff thinks....
"Two Canadians get the star roles in this one : cowboy star Lorne Greene (annoyingly misspelled as Green in the opening title card) and that master of meekness John Qualen. Hitch must have been fond of Mr. Q, as this is his third appearance in the first season of AHP, and he's at his best in his usual role of the timid, decent man forced into an impossible situation. Lorne Greene, far from his standard Western setting, has quite the air of menace as his humourless, mysterious employer, choosing to come across as a less sparkling version of Orson Welles. For once, Hitch critiques his own show : A brilliant play. Sneaky - but brilliant." - and he's right. Yes, the ending is a bit obvious, but it's all parcelled up neatly, the only jarring note being that an innocent man has to die in order to provide a measure of justice for the other characters. Hitch's intro, in which he's checking the want ads and finds he's been replaced as the host of his own show, is a pip."
Well this one was a little obvious: Crabtree kills the wrong man.

John Qualen
Mr. Crabtree
Lorne Greene
Mr. X
Madge Kennedy
Laura Crabtree
Ruth Swanson
Mrs. Brown
John Harmon
Donations collector
Malcolm Atterbury
The blackmailer
Parley Baer
Police detective Gryar
Paul Brinegar
Police officer


This page was last updated on: 01 January 2018