Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Series 3, Episode 23

   Don Taylor
   Robert C. Dennis (teleplay); Henry Slesar (story)
   Robert Emhardt, Jeanette Nolan
   09 March 1958
   24:59 (total) • 21:08 (film) • 2:33 (Hitchcock)

The Right Kind Of House
Mr. Waterbury (Robert Emhardt) drives into the small town of Ivy Corners - population 6,000 - looking for a house to buy. He stops off at a realtors to inquire about a property he sees along the way down on Elm Street which belongs to Sadie Graham. The realtor, Aaron Hacker tries to talk Waterbury out of wanting to buy that particular house due to it being in poor condition but his client has already made up his mind to have it. Hacker tells Waterbury that the owner wants a hefty $50,000 for the house despite Waterbury saying that was 5x more than we was willing to pay for it. Undeterred in his pursuance for the ideal property Waterbury goes out to the house to try and talk to Mrs. Grimes.
Waterbury's arrogance gives him confidence, but Mrs. Grimes appears stubborn and unwilling to listen to any offer that doesn't meet her price tag. She is on the verge of kicking him out when Waterbury suddenly agrees to her terms and telephones the realtor to tell him.
Mrs. Grimes makes her guest some lemonade and begins to tell him the history of her house. With the story going into a flashback sequence, she tells him how five years ago her son Michael came home one night after a long absence after he had been fired from his job. He was carrying a small black bag which she tried to take from him to help him unpack when he flies into a rage. After the awkward encounter, she says that Michael stayed in the house all that summer whilst she looked after him until one night she was awoken by a disturbance in her house. When she investigated the noise she finds her son lying dead in the living room downstairs. After the funeral the police chief pays her a visit to explain that Michael had pulled off a bank robbery in New York and had stolen over $200,000 and he was killed by his accomplices because he didn't give them their share of the loot. A detective is assigned to find the missing money and tells her it was hidden in a small black bag, but Sadie is more interested in wanting to know who is going to find her son's murderers.
Sadie wraps up her story with Waterbury and tells him that she knows the stolen money is still in the house somewhere. Waterbury is still interested in buying the house but what he doesn't realise is the fact he is digging his own grave - literally - with every passing moment. Lemonade, anybody?
HITCH'S PROLOGUE (1 min 28 secs):
"Good evening fellow realtors and clients. I'm very anxious to call your attention to the investment possibilities of our new sub division: Pitted Hills. [Hitch walks over to a board showing a large photograph of the moon and with two signs in front of it. One reads "Choice Acreage" and the other "View Lots"] Naturally it lacks certain of the luxuries but this is the price one pays for getting in on the ground floor. The sewers are not yet in. However, there are enough craters to go around. As for its lack of atmosphere and water I don't expect that to deter those of you with a real pioneer spirit. Those of you with vision can, I'm sure, imagine the beautiful sight of the moon completely covered with the well known inexpensive Hitchcock homes, all with picture windows, giving everyone an unobscured view of his neighbour's unobscured picture window. Naturally each home would be individualized for there are seven different models to choose from. Seven mind you, red, green, blue, orange, lemon, lime and the ever-popular chartreuse. For those of you who are budget minded we do have cheaper lots in the upper area. Very fine, of course if you like a lot that completely disappears at half moon. Like our prologue, tonight's story touches on real estate. It begins immediately after this brief advertisement."

HITCH'S EPILOGUE (1 min 05 secs):
[Hitch is looking through a very large telescope] "So much for life in these United States. Unfortunately Mrs. Grimes crime...s [he pauses to reflect on what he just said!] Mrs. Grimes crime was discovered and her reputation ruined. Prior to this she had never been known to make a bad glass of lemonade. Prices have gone sky high on the moon so I'm seeking land that isn't so close in. I think I shall have a look at Venus. Most of you seem too young however, so I think you should look at something more wholesome. I suggest the following, after which I hope you will rejoin me. [fade out for advert then fade back in, where Hitch comes away from the telescope in close-up with a black ring around his right eye] Very dull. I couldn't see anything but a planet. I might as well had looked at the commercial. A practice I might take up in our next meeting. Until then good night."

The reason Sadie puts her run-down home up for sale at such a ridiculously high price is because she knows there is $200,000 of stolen money hiding within it. And the only person who would be willing to pay her asking price would be the one person who KNEW it was there, and therefore the person who killed her son. Waterbury thinks he has outsmarted Sadie but it's she who gets the last laugh in the end when she poisons his lemonade.

Wow. A very clever story, well acted and very real. Full of intrigue, suspicion and a wonderful double-twist conclusion, this rates as one of the very best episodes in the entire history of the show.
After an incredibly long introduction from Hitch, I did make an interesting observation. During the final moments of his opening comments if you look closely you can see there is a visual edit during his line, "It begins immediately after this brief advertisement." Look at the screen after he says the word 'immediately' and you can see a noticeable pause and a cut in the footage. Odd. Another interesting fact to note that Jeanette Nolan, who plays the house owner Mrs. Grimes would later become the voice of Mrs. Bates in Hitchcock's "Psycho". Her voice is unmistakable in this episode.

(click any image to enlarge)

Mr. Waterbury... ROBERT EMHARDT
Sadie Grimes... JEANETTE NOLAN
Michael Grimes... JAMES DRURY
Aaron Hacker, realtor... HARRY TYLER
Police chief Joe Taylor... CHARLES WATTS
Detective sergeant Singer... PAUL MAXWELL

(click any image to enlarge)

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

This page was last updated on: 27 June 2020