Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 1, Episode 13

   Robert Stevens
   Robert Blees (story & teleplay)
   Patricia Collinge, Darren McGavin
   25 December 1955
   24:21 (total) • --:-- (film) • -:-- (Hitchcock)

The Cheney Vase
The curator of the Manhattan Museum of Art (George MacReady) fires his unreliable employee Lyle Endicott (Darren McGavin) for little reason. Both men are on friendly terms with an elderly woman, Mrs. Cheney (Patricia Collinge) who is in possession of a priceless antique vase. Now out of work, Lyle offers his services to the frail Mrs. Cheney as her personal house-assistant, attending to her every need... and a few things she doesn't need - such as manipulating a broken cup and blaming it on the mousemaid, opening her mail and scheming to make her think she is losing her mind, whilst all the while trying to locate and steal the precious vase so he can sell it to an art collector in Germany. After some time Mrs. Cheney begins to suspect Lyle and comes up with a brilliant scheme to get one over on him!

•It's a second outing in the series for Darren McGavin as the charming carer for Mrs. Cheney (he was one of the gunmen in "Triggers In Leash"); it's also the second outing for George Macready also appeared in "Premonition".


Well, did you see that coming? When Lyle goes to Mrs. Cheney's house to finally relieve her of the precious vase he finds she has made several duplicates and only she knows which is the original. To add insult to injury she tells him she intends to sell the fakes and make a lot of money from them. Genius!

As early as five minutes into the episode I was already predicting the old lady will be bumped off and the vase is stolen by one of the men. It's amazing to note how far off I was with that prediction! Now that the series has been established, it is noticeable that the host is expected to lend some humour to his pre-episode antics. The viewer begins to wonder what Hitch will be up to when we first see him. Here he is seen about to give an injection to a doll. At the end of the episode he continues with the wicked humour of inviting the audience to send $45,000 in cash for one of the vases seen in tonight's episode.
Fooled me too ! I certainly wasn't expecting that outcome - and Patricia Collinge's smile right at the end was worth staying in for. What will she do next ? This is one of those episodes where you genuinely wonder what happens to the people in it after the action has stopped, Miss Collinge is a lovely actress. Even though Hitch didn't direct this one, he was apparently fond of her. She plays Teresa Wright's mother in Shadow of a Doubt, and persuaded Hitch to add an extra scene - which she wrote herself - to suggest a budding romance between Miss Wright and Macdonald Carey's character, the detective. Darren McGavin again - and considerably more animated than his previous appearance in that ridiculous Western, Triggers in Leash. There's a nice in-joke : he's playing a character called Lyle, and his real middle name was Lyle. Unlike Charles Bronson in There Was an Old Woman, Mr. McGavin's no thug ; he's a smoothie who could charm the birds out of the trees. Carolyn Jones was creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky even in 1955 and with blonde hair. Yes, this is a fine episode, but not as fine as the vase I'm about to buy online. Only $45,000 : I'll just go and give them my bank details...... and how do we pronounce "vase"? Hitch rhymes it with "raise"; everyone else rhymes it with "cars".

(click any image to enlarge)

Lyle Endicott... DARREN McGAVIN
Pamela Waring, secretary... CAROLYN JONES
Old maid... KATHRYN CARD
Ruby Boignton, young maid... RUTA LEE

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 20 February 2021