Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 2, Episode 22

   Robert Stevens
   James Cavanagh (teleplay); Maurice Baldwin Jr. (story)
   Steve Forrest, Gladys Cooper
   24 February 1957
   24m 28s

The End Of Indian Summer
Sam Henderson is the head of Triumphant Insurance Company, operating from an office in a New York skyscraper. He is on the telephone with an angry client when Joe Rogers, an insurance salesman steps into his office. Sam quizzes Joe on a case involving a newlywed who suspiciously died on his wedding trip just six weeks after a $50,000 life insurance policy was issued in his name. Apparently, this was Mrs. Gillespie's second husband and also this had happened previously with her first husband. Joe dismisses it as a coincidence but Sam's instinct believes there is more to it than meets the eye and tells Joe to find the woman and keep a check on her.
Joe takes his wife to a hotel in the country where a rival insurance man is also interested in Mrs. Gillespie. Joe pays a visit to the local real estate man and asks if the Gillespie house is for sale. The agent suggests that Mrs. Gillespie would probably not want to sell the house because she loves it so much but Joe decides to go to the house to talk to her. When Joe gets there he and Mrs. Gillespie get acquainted and sit down for tea. Halfway through their chat an elderly gentleman shows up at the house and is introduced as Howard Fieldstone, Mrs. Gillespie's soon-to-be third husband. He asks Joe if he is interested in buying the house. Alarm bells start ringing with Joe.
Mrs. Gillespie and her fiance start telling Joe about their plans for a trip involving their extended honeymoon before Joe leaves. The next morning Joe receives a telegram informing him that another $50,000 insurance policy has been taken out in the name of Howard Fieldstone, written by Mrs. Gillespie. Joe is now convinced that Howard is in danger and sits down with him over breakfast at the hotel. They discuss Howard's wedding plans briefly before Howard has to leave. That night Joe receives a phone call that Mrs. Gillespie has sold her house. He rushes out and heads for the Gillespie home only to discover the real estate man there who tells Joe that Mrs. Gillespie has left the house to go and get married. Just then the rival insurance agent shows up at the house to tell Joe of his own interest in the case....
[Hitch is shown in in close-up wearing a fishing cap and holding a fishing rod before the camera pulls back to reveal he is standing over a bath] "Shhhhh! I can't understand it? Of course, how stupid of me. I forgot to put in the water. I must do that at once if I want to catch anything today. All this is not as absurdly irrelevant as you think. For if you listen very closely you will hear the words 'bath tub' mentioned in tonight's script. Of course other topics are mentioned which we could have discussed. For example the story is about marriage. However I don't feel that marriage should be discussed on television. It's too controversial. No question about it. We are much safer with a bathtub. And now in a moment here is tonight's opera bouffe: The End Of Indian Summer. Like all stories about marriage it has a great deal of romance in it. But watch for that bathtub."

"There's was truly a wedding of December and December. It ended in a draw with no-one the winner except the insurance companies. And now for the epilogue of tonight's story. After which, I'll scamper back. [fade to black, then fade in] We have now passed another tombstone along television's highway to culture. Please join us next week when we continue our pilgrimage. Good night."

I found this to be a rather slow, uneventful episode which, on the surface seemed pretty cut and dry as to where it was heading. But being that this series is far from predictable, I was wrong. James Gleason was the best character in the show despite his all too fleeting on screen performance. The reveal at the end made perfect sense but by the time it came I had pretty much given up caring!
All along we are led to believe that Mrs. Gillespie had poisoned her previous two husbands in order to claim a substantial amount of money on their life insurance. When a potential third husband, Harold Fieldstone comes long, we naturally assume he is going to be her third victim. But it turns out that Fieldstone has been married four times before and all of his wives had drowned in a bathtub. So they are both out to kill each other. It's just a matter of whether he will have breakfast before she has a bath - or visa versa?!

(click any image to enlarge)

Marguerite Gillespie... GLADYS COOPER
Howard Fieldstone... JAMES GLEASON
Sam Henderson... PHILIP COOLIDGE
Graham... HAL K. DAWSON
Saunders... NED WEAVER
Desk clerk... MASON CURRY
Bellhop... MICKEY KUHN

(click any image to enlarge)

Acknowledgements: [IMDb]

This page was last updated on: 27 May 2020