Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 4, Episode 32

   Norman Lloyd
   Fredric Brown (story & teleplay)
   Steve McQueen, Arthur Hill
   24 May 1959
   26:06 (total) • 22:12 (film) • 2:08 (Hitchcock)

Human Interest Story
Bill Everett (Steve McQueen) is a reporter who is given an unusual assignment. Word has reached the office that a man claiming to be a Martian from the planet Mars is in town and drinking in a tavern just across the street. Bill goes to the tavern and speaks to the barman who has kept the 'Martian' inside the premises so that Bill can talk to him. The barman loads Bill up with some beer because he's going to need it for what he is about to listen to!
The Martian (ARTHUR HILL) says that his name is Yangan Dahl and that he is from Mars but he is assuming the identity of one Howard Wilcox, whose body he has allegedly taken over. The Martian starts telling Bill all about how he lived on Mars with about 100 million others but then one day everyone just suddenly died or disappeared. The next thing he remembers was being on Earth and in the tavern. The bemused reporter sits there trying not to laugh whilst listening to the far-fetched story from the stranger.
The Martian continues to try his best in convincing Bill of his story but Bill gets up to play some pinball but at the same time pretends to continue to be interested. Later Bill decides to walk home with the Martian and meet his wife but she is completely oblivious. Bill then suggests the Martian accompany him to another local bar which is the last we see of him. Bill returns to the office and tells his editor the whole story and then explains why he had to kill the Martian....

•Fredric Brown wrote the teleplay based on his own short story, "The Last Martian", originally published in the October 1950 issue of "Galaxy Science Fiction Magazine".
•There are sources that state Clint Eastwood plays a "newsman" in this episode. I have taken a good look at this and I am absolutely positive that this is wishful thinking. It's NOT him.
[Hitch is standing in front of a hi-fi system] "Good evening. Do you enjoy assembling your own high fidelity or stereophonic sound systems, with their complicated components as speakers on every wall? Then you'll be especially interested in what I'm about to show you. I have just developed what I consider the latest in sound reproduction. [He walks over to a gramophone player] This is designed for those persons who desire simplicity rather than fidelity. As you can see there is only one speaker. Nor is that the only improvement. We've also eliminated the old fashioned record changer. Now only two attachments are necessary, a small crank and a hearing aid. By the way, neither of those items is needed for our next number."

HITCH'S EPILOGUE (1 minute 18 secs):
"Our next bit of science fiction comes in the form of a one minute commercial, after which I shall reappear. As for Mr. Everett I should say that he was caught and paid his debt to society except that the Earth man society that love to catch and penalize one another, ceased to exist after we took over. [Hitch looks off camera] We have taken over, haven't we? We haven't? [commercial break] [Hitch is now slumped on his elbows behind bars in a jail cell] My fellow Martians seemed to have taken umbrage of my letting the cat out of the bag. However I shall be allowed to return to Earth next week at the same time. We Martians have found that those not smart enough to be trusted, the ones with very low IQ's, are still perfectly suited to appear on television. Our institutions are full of them. Good night."

The Martian, who had an IQ of only 20, had suffered a mental breakdown and was in an institution. He managed to escape and tell his story to Everett, who later reports back to the officer that he killed the Martian to prevent him from talking about a full-blown Martian invasion on Earth. Everett and his boss turn out to be Martians themselves who don't want their secret revealed to the world just yet. Or something like that.... Just nonsense.

Having an icon/legend such as Steve McQueen in your episode is enough to grab anyone's attention. Unfortunately his name doesn't always mean a quality output. Not his fault. But the material he has to work with here seems wasted on his talents with it leaning too much in the direction of comedy. Despite this, his screen presence is captivating as always and he plays his scenes with the intended humor, trying to keep a straight face as he listens to the nonsense being babbled in his ear by the so-called Martian in the bar. The ending was confusing and a let down and did not satisfy me at all. Seemed like such a waste. Not great but watchable, so long as you don't take it too seriously.

(click any image to enlarge)

Bill Everett... STEVE McQUEEN
Yangan Dahl in Howard Wilcox's body... ARTHUR HILL
Cargan... TYLER McVEY
Barney Welsh, bartender... WILLIAM CHALLEE
Elsie Wilcox... ANNE ANDERSON
Seated newsman in opening scene... [UNKNOWN, but it's NOT Clint Eastwood!]

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 20 August 2021