Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 13

   Alfred Hitchcock
   Robert Horton, Meg Mundy, Mary Scott
   23 December 1956
   24m 37s

Mr. Blanchard's Secret
Babs Fenton is a writer of mystery stories, finishing off her latest work at the typewriter late one night. Her husband John, a lawyer, is asleep in bed but that doesn't stop her expressing the thought from her wild imagination about the couple from next door - the Blanchard's who apparently like to leave just one light on during the night. When she jumps up and leaves the room to make a sandwich John suddenly shows that he was faking sleep and sits up abruptly and begins reading. In the kitchen Babs (through voice over) continues to think that Mr. Blanchard next door may have killed his wife - or that there was never a wife to begin with. She sees Blanchard's face at the window looking in from outside and so she goes round to his house and just lets herself in (seriously? - even walking upstairs and into their bedroom and going through their closet! The cheek.) There, Blanchard finds her and removes her from the house.
The next morning over breakfast Babs tells John about the night before but he doesn't offer her much sympathy or support over her seemingly bizarre actions. John leaves for work and Babs gets back to her typewriter, forming the story in her head about the mystery of never-seen Mrs. Blanchard and putting forth her theories. She fantasises that Mrs. Blanchard is an alcoholic being kept as a prisoner in the house by her controlling husband who won't allow her to leave their home. He then kills her by strangling her. Babs is snapped out of her fantasy when Mrs. Blanchard walks into the house (what is it with everybody just letting themselves into each other's houses?!)
Relieved to finally see her neighbour, Babs invites Mrs. Blanchard in for coffee but Mr. Blanchard (who has also somehow managed to let HIMSELF into the house as well - I mean, come ON!!!) steps in and escorts his wife back to their own house forcibly. That night Babs once again lets her mind run away with her when she sees Blanchard leaving his house and carrying a large sack into his car. She telephones the police when her husband seems more interested in reading in bed ("The Case Of The Slippery Spouse" in case you missed it!) Babs tells the police "I believe a woman has just been murdered". The police don't take her seriously and her husband just humours her. The next morning Mrs. Blanchard shows up (she actually rings the doorbell as opposed to just walking in - a first!) Babs is surprised to see her and invites her in for coffee (again). This time they get to sit down and talk for a while, getting acquainted but before she leaves Mrs. Blanchard steals a silver cigarette lighter.
When Babs realises the silver lighter has been stolen she declares that she knows what Mr. Blanchard's secret is and gets on her typewriter. She waffles away to her uninterested husband while the uninterested viewer watches on, just praying for the episode to wrap up soon... when the telephone rings. It's the police and they have found the body of a woman (as if they make a habit of informing individual citizens of such matters) and ask Babs to go to the morgue to identify the corpse. As Babs gets up to leave she gets an unexpected surprise waiting for her at the door.
[Hitch is holding an umbrella] "Good evening friends. Would you all please examine the tops of your television sets and see if one of you doesn't find a goldfish bowl with a crack in it. [He holds his hand out to check for rain before putting the umbrella down] Thank you. By the way, I've been asked to announce that some of you are missing this programme unnecessarily. You have moved and not kept us informed of your address so we don't know where to send the show to you. I hope you'll take care of that matter at once. Tonight we are presenting a tale of mystery and intrigue made in middle-class suburbia. It is called 'Mr. Blanchard's Secret'. I realise this doesn't tell you much about the story but several fine actors have been hired to do that and I would hate to rob them of the privilege. And so without further ado we reveal Mr. Blanchard's secret."

"This concludes our show. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to hurry off to a little social affair. A dear friend is guest of honour. It's a stoning. I wouldn't miss it for the world. Good night."

As soon as the episode began the first thing that came to mind with the voice over was Mrs. Bates (who at the time had not yet been created!) I will confess I really didn't care much for Mary Scott's character. Not one bit. Maybe it was her haircut? Maybe it was the fact that her stupidness was just so far-fetched and her behaviour irritating to the max. I found this one to be lacklustre and rather disappointing, especially given the fact that Hitchcock directed it himself. Okay, I'm going to be a bit more direct: it was bloody boring! Damn, even Hitch was boring!
Mr. Blanchard's secret is he knows to fix broken silver cigarette lighters. Apparently. And we never do get to find out why Mr. Blanchard doesn't get on with his wife?

(click any image to enlarge)

John Fenton... ROBERT HORTON
Ellen Blanchard... MEG MUNDY
Babs Fenton... MARY SCOTT
Charles Blanchard... DAYTON LUMMIS
Maid... ELOISE HARDT {unseen}

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 15 April 2020