Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 7, Episode 6

   Alan Crosland Jr.
   Calvin Clements Sr. (teleplay)
   Burt Brinckerhoff, Duke Howard
   14 November 1961
   24:21 (total) • 20:56 (film) • 1:52 (Hitchcock)

Beta Delta Gamma
In a large beach house a group of youngsters, a fraternity, gathers to relieve their boredom. Alan, one of their members, is dared by his friend Mark to drink a whole pitcher of beer down in one go. He succeeds and then offers Mark the same challenge but Mark declines. Alan tells Mark that he doesn't like to be made a fool of and tries to fight with Mark before collapsing due to the effects of the alcohol. Beth (Barbara Harris who offers far too much in the way of eye-popping cleavage throughout) suggests to the rest of the group that they get Mark to dress up as a ghost in order to scare Alan for when he comes round. Phyllis has an even better suggestion which is to make it look like Mark is dead and covered in blood and to place a blood-stained fire poker in Alan's hands for when he wakes up to make him think he has killed his friend after their earlier argument.
To make things even more realistic Robert (Joel Crothers) injects Mark with a drug which is designed to slow down the respiratory system and takes the pulse rate down to practically nothing so it will make him look really dead. Mark falls into a deep sleep whilst covered in fake blood, Phyllis places the poker into Alan's hands and everybody quickly leaves.
Later that evening Phyllis telephones the beach house, waking Alan from his unconscious state. After Alan answers the phone he realises that Mark is lying in the room with blood on his forehead. He makes his way over to another beach house where the others are all taking refuge and laughing about the whole trick but he doesn't tell them what he thinks has happened.
At dawn the next day Alan returns to see the others and tells them Mark is dead and is about to phone the police to confess when the others stop him and explain what really happened and that is was all a joke. Unfortunately their prank has fatal consequences.

•No trivia.
[Hitch is holding a wooden bat] "Good evening brothers and sisters. This evening's story is concerned with higher education. Specifically with members of Greek letter fraternities. I presume there are fraternities for other nationalities as well. This is a fr... [Hitch realises he is holding the bat the wrong way up so he turns it around] ... is a fraternity paddle. Apparently they have very small canoes. In keeping with tonight's theme we shall first see a short educational film and then a story. As the story opens you will find the students hard at work. Wrestling with the complex problems which face man in his never ending quest for truth."

HITCH'S EPILOGUE (1 min 06 secs):
"Yes poor Alan left more than just footprints in the sands of time. If you think college students don't learn anything you are sadly mistaken. These people certainly learned something that night. They've never done anything like that again. They were assisted in their resolve by the police, for justice was meted out to the pranksters. I have more to wait but can wait sixty seconds while our dear sponsor speaks to you on his favourite topic. [fade to black; fade in. When we return Hitch is no longer holding the bat] How he does go on. By the way we would like it known that the foregoing story does not constitute a condemnation of fraternities or sororities or Greeks, or universities or young people or the sea shore or salt water or sand. I yield to no man in my firm adherence to an uncompromising policy of offending no one. So until next time good night."

In what was a pretty obvious end result, Alan thinks he has killed Mark and when the others fail to tell him otherwise Alan takes Mark's seemingly lifeless body and buries it in the sand. When Alan tells the rest of his friends they reveal the truth and quickly rush out onto the beach to dig him back up before it's too late. But by the time they get there the tide has covered up the shovel marks and there is no way of knowing exactly where Mark is buried.

As the episode kicked off I found it a bit boring but it eventually found its feet and became interesting. The set-up was a dangerous one and very irresponsible, but yes I know, it's just a story. I thought the scene where Alan examines Mark after finding him was ruined by the stupid music playing over the top, really killing the scene. The conclusion became pretty easy to guess quite early on, though it could have gone another way and Alan could have killed off every other friend to save any witnesses. Either way, it took a while to get going but delivered pretty satisfactorily in the end.

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Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 04 July 2020