Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 15

   John Meredyth Lucas
   Biff McGuire, Robert Emhardt, Mary Scott
   06 January 1957
   24m 46s

Ray and Meg Loomis are newlyweds who have stopped by the side of the road to fix a flat tire. When Ray is just about to walk to a garage along comes a car who stops for them. Mr. Moon (Robert Emhardt), a friendly fat gentleman gets out of his car and attaches an air line which somehow extracts air from his spare tire and transfers it to Ray's tire so that Ray will have enough air in his tire to get him to a garage. But as Ray unhooks the air line to hand it back to the kind driver he trips and as he tries to steady himself Ray puts his oily hands out and smudges Mr. Moon's white jacket. All of a sudden the atmosphere changes and the enraged driver threatens to kill Ray over what an obvious accident, before getting back into his car and speeding away. Shaken by the strange incident Ray and Meg decide they had better leave too!
The couple arrive at a hotel for what is supposed to be their honeymoon where they are spoken to by a detective. He tells them they have picked up a man matching the description of the suspect wanted in connection with the murder of Ray's aunt. The detective shows the couple an expensive bracelet which was found on the suspect and asks if it belonged to the aunt but Ray tells him that it is similar but not the same.
Ray and Meg are shown to their suite by the bellhop where the view from their balcony is a painted backdrop of the ocean (although we are not meant to know this! They didn't bank on these episodes being viewed over 60 years later on a DVD where the viewer has the ability to freeze-frame the footage!!) Everything seems just fine until Ray picks up Meg and carries her to the door, determined to carry her over the threshold but when he opens the door Mr. Moon - the bizarre driver whom they encountered earlier is standing there with his freshly-cleaned jacket. He acts as though nothing has happened and recommends the cleaners, who done a fine job on his jacket. Ray reiterates that he would have been happy to pay the bill before Moon leaves and bids them farewell. Strangely, all seems to have been forgiven and forgotten. Until a few minutes later when Ray hears banging coming from the wall. He pounds back and tells Mr. Moon to stop but the noise continues. Annoyed, Ray decides to investigate the noise himself by walking along a balcony and looking into Moon's room from the outside and sees Moon banging a hole in the partition wall between their two rooms.
When Ray confronts him Moon threatens Ray with a gun and tells him he will call the police if there is any more trouble. Ray reports back to Meg and tells her what has happened and remembers that he has seen Moon before - on the night if his aunt's death. Meg isn't convinced and thinks Ray is paranoid. But Ray hears ticking coming from the wall and calls her over to listen. Moon can hear them from his side of the wall and removes his alarm clock when Mary comes to the wall, just to mess with Ray's head. Eventually Mary sees for herself when Moon appears at their door with the gun in his hand and announces there is bomb in his room which will explode shortly. Ray manages to overpower Moon and sends Meg away before grabbing the luggage and making a quick exit but Moon quickly recovers and prevents Ray from leaving. Meg returns with the detective to get Moon arrested, but it's not Mr. Moon the detective is after....
"Good evening. [Echo: Good evening] (whispers) Good evening. Certain parties have been objecting to my candid remarks so I'm doing tonight's show from this sealed chamber. It's as quiet as a tomb. Which is not surprising... [Echo repeats Hitch's dialogue]... as it was the only type of structure available... [Hitch turns to the wall to address his echo:] Are you quite finished? Here in a moment is tonight's play. It is entitled 'Crackpot'." [Echo resumes and Hitch resigns and sits down on a bench].

"We wanted to withold the end of that story but decided it was better that you learn the truth about Ray Loomis now than later. [Hitch is distracted when a large hole suddenly appears in the wall behind him] I knew it! It's the I.T.A. It's futile to try to escape. We shall be back soon with another play. Don't you try to escape. Good night."

Oh no, I thought we'd gotten rid of Mary Scott after her awful performance in "Mr. Blanchard's Secret" but she's back again so soon! Still with that same haircut but fortunately with much less talking this time around. It's also the third outing from Biff McGuire as well after his previous appearances in "The Gentleman From America" and "The Hidden Thing"; as well as the third appearance from Robert Emhardt ("Don't Come Back Alive" and "De Mortuis"). Anyway, it's the first episode from 1957 and definitely a well written one at that. With the three principal stars having all appeared in previous episodes separately, this is the strongest performances from all of them. Now the laws of probabilty that both the couple AND Mr. Moon who had a random chance meeting earlier in the day should all end up in the same hotel and in rooms next to one another was a bit hard to accept (until of course you know the ending). As the episode crept to the halfway mark it was interesting to wonder where the story was heading and there was genuine excitement in trying to figure it out. A very intriguing episode, certainly one of the best ones of the series. I think Robert Emhardt's performance - or just physical appearance alone helps.
Ray stole his aunt's necklace because he was in a lot of debt. He hid it behind a glass mirror inside his luggage. Mr. Moon is an undercover detective who deliberately makes Ray paranoid in order to trap him and ultimately expose him.

(click any image to enlarge)

Ray Loomis... BIFF McGUIRE
Meg Loomis... MARY SCOTT
Sgt. Carpenter... MICHAEL FOX
Bellhop... PHIL GARRIS
Room clerk... RAYMOND GUTH

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 19 April 2020