Season 1, Episode 35
Director: James Neilson
Stars: Leora Dana, Jacques Bergerac, Enid Markey, Alan Hewitt, Walter Kingsford, Ralph Clanton, Roxanne Arlen, Rudolph Anders, Joan Dixon
Air date: 27 May 1956
HITCHCOCK'S OPENING & CLOSING DIALOGUE:
[Hitch appears tangled in a large spiders web]
"Good evening, and thank you for allowing me to come into your parlour. It all happened so suddenly. I was walking along when I heard someone saying 'nit 1, per 1'. And I came over to see what she was doing. The really frightening part is that I forgot my hunting license. Oh well the show must go on even though I may not. Tonight's entertainment is entitles 'The Legacy'. Through it you will journey to Palm Beach and rub elbows with the idle rich and members of the international set. But before we join these useless playboys up at decaying society let us head the advice of a man who is earnest, productive and steadfast. A pillar of our civilization. And the sugar daddy of television... the sponsor!"
[Hitch is now standing in front of the spiders web and talking faster than usual]
"I suppose you are wondering how I escaped? Fortunately my captor dropped a stitch at the crucial moment. In the event you may have missed a few Freudian overtones of our story I should like to offer a brief explanation. Irene Cole was a compulsive knitter with a Madame La Farge complex. Howard Cole was an extravert who suffered from an regressive libido, an Oedipus complex, schizophrenia, and an extremely low sales resistance. Prince Burhan's sportscar was obviously the symbol for his mother; he always wanted to drive her mad, and the accident wasn't caused by defective brakes at all. The automobile was psychosomatic. It has since on undergone analysis and is now well adjusted. I hope this makes everything clear. And now before I return my sponsor will indulge in a bit of symbolism of his own for which I can offer no explanation. [fade to black] I hope you enjoyed that. I know Freud would have. Join us again next week when we shall be back with another story. Good night."
We begin with an aerial shot of Palm Beach - "where the sun spends the winter and people spend fortunes to be in it". A wealthy English author, Randy Burnside, is visiting the resort in search of subjects for a book he is writing. He mingles among the guests at a hotel where he sees one of the guests, Howard Cole blatantly flirting with an attractive young Hollywood starlet right under the nose of his unperturbed wife, Irene. As Burnside sits with Irene and two elderly patrons, Cecelia and Colonel Blair, it is suggested Irene simply puts up with it because she is in love with him. Irene explains to them that her husband's behaviour does not bother her.
Later that evening the ensemble are introduced to the handsome Prince Burhan, who takes an immediate liking to Irene whom he asks for a dance. During the dance His Highness asks Irene to lunch the following day which she accepts. The next morning Cecilia and the Colonel observe several bouquets of red roses being delivered to the Prince's room, commenting that the romance is bewildering as to why a handsome, wealthy young prince would be attracted to an ordinary housewife? At that moment they are interrupted by Irene's husband who is on his way to a game of tennis with Donna, his little floozie. They ask if he is concerned about his wife spending so much time with the Prince, but he is perfectly happy about the situation.
The Prince sits with Irene holding hands and tells her how special she is to him despite the fact she is married. He proposes to make her the happiest woman in the world before leaving her to consider his offer. Confused by him, Irene confides in Burnside who tells her to enjoy the attention given to her by the Prince.
That evening Irene is in the company of the Prince once more when their affections become more intimate. The Prince presses for her to divorce her husband and marry him instead, but she resists and tells him that she loves her husband despite being obviously overwhelmed by the Prince's attention. She bravely tells him that they should not see each other again, to which the Prince threatens to kill himself. Once again Burnside comes to Irene's aide and tells her that had she taken up the Prince's offer she wouldn't have been able to keep him for very long based on his reputation. The next morning the newspapers report that the Prince has died in an apparent suicide in his car.
Months later, Burnside is in Jamaica on his way to see his publisher when he stops off at the scene of the crime. At the hotel, he tells the host that his new book is based on Prince Burhan. The host reveals that the real reason the Prince wanted to kill himself was because he was bankrupt - and not because of Irene and the only reason the Prince was interested in Irene was because of her money. Also, the Prince's death was not suicide but an accident due to the mechanic of the car disabling the brakes on it. When Burnside learns of these facts he feels it is only fair to tell Irene so that she doesn't think she had anything to do with the Prince's death so he flies to New York to tell her.
He finds her in good health and spoilt by her husband; a complete change from the woman he knew before the whole affair with the Prince. She is happy and glowing - and all because she believes that the Prince killed himself over her, giving her a precious legacy. In the end Burnside decides against telling Irene the truth.