Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 27

   Arthur Hiller
   Kathleen Hite (teleplay); Victor Canning (story)
   Robert Horton, Betsy Von Furstenberg
   06 April 1958
   25:02 (total) • 21:39 (film) • 2:03 (Hitchcock)

Disappearing Trick
Tennis pro Walter Richmond (ROBERT HORTON) is an insurance investigator who arrives at the office one afternoon and is told by his boss to investigate a regular client of theirs who hasn't been heard from in the past three months, a Mr. Gild. Walter visits Mr. Gild's apartment in La Jolla and is invited inside by a young woman with a great ass who introduces herself as Mrs. Gild (BETSY VON FURSTENBERG). She tells Walter that her husband has been dead for the past six months. After making them both a drink, Mrs. Gild proceeds in casual flirting with her guest before saying that her husband drowned. Walter then leaves and returns to the office to report the news.
Walter beings to suspect something isn't adding up when he sees that Mr. Gild last placed a bet three months ago yet was informed that he has supposedly been dead for six months. To satisfy his curiosity Walter checks some newspaper records and finds that Mr. Gild's death is suspicious in that his body was never found.
This prompts Walter to pay another visit to Mrs. Gild, who invites him in again. Seconds later the two of them are all over each other with their kissing and cuddling. Walter suggests to Mrs. Gild that it's probably that her husband is still alive and that the boat accident attributed to his death was staged.
The next day Walter travels south across the Mexcian border to Tijuana and pays a visit to a friend of his at a racetrack to inquire about the missing Mr. Gild but finds nothing. Walter returns with a photo of Mr. Gild and is directed to a location where Walter finds Gild living there. Mr. Gild - now using the alias of Mr. Fielding offers Walter a $10,000 bribe to walk away and keep his mouth shut. Walter leaves but then finds Mrs. Gild waiting outside in the car. She's on to him.
Mrs. Gild wants in on the act and after learning that her husband paid the amount of money to Walter she says next time she will do the same. They return to her apartment and find Mr. Gild there waiting for them. The two men struggle and Gild shoots and wounds Walter in the arm. Mrs. Gild takes Walter to see a doctor, who fixes him up. But when the nurse goes outside to bring Mrs. Gild into the room she has done a "disappearing trick" along with all the money from Walter's jacket pocket...

•Actress Betsy von Furstenberg's real name was Elizabeth Caroline Maria Agatha Felicitas Therese Freiin von Furstenberg-Hedringen. Her first husband was Guy Vincent Chastenet de la Maisoneuve. This was her first of two appearances in the series. She later starred in "The Diamond Necklace" from season 4.
•When Mr. Gild fires the gun at Walter the gun is pointing in completely the opposite direction.
•The real-life age difference between Mr. & Mrs. Gild is 27 years. Raymond Bailey was born in 1904 and Betsy Von Furstenberg was born in 1931.
HITCH'S PROLOGUE (1 minute 8 secs):
[Hitch is holding a tennis racquet] "Good evening, fellow athletes. I believe that everyone owes it to his well-being to indulge in some sport. My favourite past time as you can see is... filching loving cups. Naturally, I never steal too much at a time for fear of losing my amateur standing. But the people from whom I take the cups don't mind, I'm sure. After all, it isn't who wins that counts, it's how you play the game. By the way, I'm inventing a device that should make tennis much more enjoyable. It suddenly raises the net half a foot just as the victor leaps over to offer condolences to the loser. Through it, I hope to add what is lacking in tennis: laughs. Before viewing tonight's chronicle we must identify the party who is footing the bill. I must apologize for the brevity of this announcement, but this is one of the conditions laid down by our modest sponsor."

"Since tonight's story was an allegory, I offer this footnote to make everything clear. Walter represented youthful innocence, Mrs. Gild was unrequited love and of course Mr. Gild symbolized Mrs. Gild's husband. The following item could use many things, but a footnote is not one of them. When this is over, I shall flip back. [commercial break] Since this program is on film and will probably be shown for many years to come, I should like to address my next remarks to those of you who are watching the show in the year 2000. Please write in at once and tell us what life is like. I'm quite curious. Until next week, good night."

Herbert Gild faked his death in order to claim a huge insurance payout. Walter Richmond discovers Herbert living south of the border and accepts a $10,000 bribe from him for his silence. Walter keeps the cash in his jacket pocket but when he is wounded by Gild and has to pay a visit to a doctor, Mrs. Gild who is waiting outside with Walter's jacket, steals the money for herself.

It's an okay episode, definitely improved by the appearance of Betsy Von Furstenberg's beauty. Slightly disappointed by the ending but the story builds nicely from the moment Walter meets Mrs. Gild at her apartment. Her casual manner and flirting suggests she isn't too cut up about her husband's disappearance which leads to the viewer's suspicion. The title of the story is nicely implied with both the "death" of Mr. Gild - and the ending with the money going walkies from Walter's jacket pocket. Not much wrong with this episode, it's well paced and well acted with some good performances. Nice to see a pre-Psycho role for Frank Albertson as Walter's boss. Not a masterpiece but better than some of the recent episodes in this season.

(click any image to enlarge)

Walter Richmond... ROBERT HORTON
Herbert Gild/Fielding... RAYMOND BAILEY
Insurance agent... JOE CONLEY

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The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion by Martin Grams Jr & Patrik Wikstrom (book) [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 15 February 2022