It’s the pictures that got small! – “Good Evening” Leading Ladies of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Part 4

See PART 1 & 2 & 3 Here


*The Lonely Hours -Gena Rowlands & Nancy Kelly- s1e23 – aired May 8, 1963

Gena Rowlands Bio:

The alchemy of Gena Rowland’s acting style is how she integrates her craft with an indescribable beauty and presence that is reminiscent of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Before the emotionally distilled and complex actress emerged as an icon, Gena Rowlands set out with her husband John Cassavetes to create a new naturalistic landscape of independent American movies in the 1970s, that inspired generations of filmmakers. She began showing the attractive pull of her strength in dramatic teleplays for early television programming.

Shows like Robert Montgomery Presents, Ponds Theater Armstrong Circle Theatre Studio One The United States Steel Hour Goodyear Playhouse General Electric Theater, and of course Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. She had a regular stint on the television police procedural series, 87th Precinct playing cop Robert Lansing’s deaf wife. In 1975 she starred alongside Peter Falk (One of Cassavete’s inner sanctum of actors along with Ben Gazzara) in Columbo’s season 4 episode Playback.

In feature films, she was cast as Jerry Bondi in Lonely Are the Brave in 1962, in Cassavetes’ A Child is Waiting in 1963, and in Gordon Douglas’ Tony Rome 1967 starring friend Frank Sinatra and Richard Conte.

Working since the mid-1950s Rowlands began to give shades of the forceful performances to come in the three episodes of Hitchcock’s series, in particular, The Lonely Hours playing off veteran stage actress Nancy Kelly.

Gena Rowlands was nominated for two Academy Awards for her performances in director/actor husband John Cassavetes’ films. In 1974 for A Woman Under the Influence and in 1980 for her gutsy portrait of one tough broad in Gloria 1980.

She was also nominated for eight Golden Globes having won two, and eight Emmys winning three. On November 14th, Gena Rowlands was finally given an Honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards ceremony.

“With her bold bone structure and the curtain of her wheat-gold Jackie O coif, Gena Rowlands is the classic Hollywood icon that got away…. Had she been born into the Studio ear of the 1930s or 1940s, one suspects that she would have sured up a career running across the grand roles, from the tough boots molls through to the stoic others and peppery femme fatales. She has the angular hardness which typifies the best of them in that period- one can imagine her, as easily as Crawford, Davis, Stanwyck or Bacall.”

“I’d never seen anyone that beautiful with a certain gravitas. It was particularly unique in that time, when many women were trying to be girlish, affecting a superficial, ‘I’m a pretty girl’ attitude. It seemed to be the best way to succeed, but Gena did none of that. There was a directness—not that she wasn’t fun and didn’t smolder—but it came from a place that was both genuine and deep.” – Mia Farrow

Director Sidney Lumet in an interview with critic James Grissom, said: “The highest compliment I can pay to her—to anyone—is that the talent frightens me, making me aware of the lack of it in so many and the power that accrues to those who have it and use it well. And the talent educates and illuminates. She is admirable, which can be said of only a few of us.”

In Faces 1968, nominated for 3 Oscars, Rowlands plays prostitute Jeannie with director Cassavetes with something like steel and fearlessness behind her eyes asserting a challenge to try and reach her after being crushed by men. Rowland manifests a performance ‘aching with wordless solitude’ (Ebert)

In the visual poem about loneliness and the feeling of isolation, Minnie & Moskowitz 1971 stars Rowland as the edgy blonde Minnie who perceptively flickers with co-star Seymour Cassel and displays her captivating sensuality under Cyclopean sunglasses.

Minnie works in a museum and has never forgiven the movies for selling her a bill of goods. “The movies lead you on,” she tells her friend Florence. “They make you believe in romance and love . . . and, Florence, there just aren’t any Clark Gables, not in the real world. Still, Minnie dreams, and keeps a romantic secret locked in her heart: She’s glad the movies sold her that bill of goods. (Roger Ebert)

Rowlands garnered her first Oscar nomination for her unforgettable performance as Mabel Longhetti in A Woman Under the Influence 1974 co-starring Peter Falk who is in the grips of Mabel’s mental illness.

“It left me exhausted and depressed-feeling. Some of the time, when you’re walking out there where the air is thin, you just hope you can walk back again.” -Gena Rowlands

From an interview with Matt Zoler Seitz – talking about A Woman Under the Influence-

“That was my favorite movie. I loved doing that movie. I loved it because I loved working with Peter Falk, I loved the mix of comedy in it, that was sort of real comedy. 

The film was about a woman who was obsessed with the love of her husband, for her husband. And he was a regular guy, worked for the city, had to do his work at night, or in daytime when there was a call for it. She plans so heavily for a romantic night, gets her mother to take her children over to her house, gets house in tiptop shape—she was a woman who was really obsessed. Then he got a call that the water line had broken and had to call her and say that he couldn’t come home later, and then he came back the next morning with all of his friends, and she was very happy to see him to offer them all breakfast, but mostly because she wanted to please him always, and she offers to make them spaghetti. Do you remember that scene?

Yes, I remember the spaghetti scene. Everybody remembers that scene, it was a great scene.

”It’s so wonderful to do a scene like that, where it feels so true. You can tell a lot about her in that scene. You see that everything she did was to please him…

I also liked the fact that in that film, I was a little wacko, but my husband understood that and he loved me, and it didn’t bother him that I was as strange as I could be. When I have this terrible breakdown and have to go away for a while, leave him and my children, oh—that’s a hard scene. We’re showing a hard moment in a person’s life, a terribly hard moment. Then she comes back and they try to make it easy for her as possible. It’s just so good, all the scenes.”

As Myrtle Gordon, Rowlands gives another masterful performance in Cassavetes’ Opening Night portraying a successful stage actress’s ‘final agony of bottoming out’ (Ebert), rehearsing a production of The Second Woman in New Haven, whose life is turned upside down after she witnesses a 17-year-old fan’s death outside the theater.

Gena Rowlands in Opening Night 1977.

Rowlands plays the role “At perfect pitch: She is able to suggest, even in the midst of seemingly ordinary moments, the controlled panic of a person who needs a drink, right here, right now.” (Roger Ebert)

She captures the restless energy that imbues the behind-the-scenes world of the theater and the ‘dreary perspective of Myrtle’s uninspiring production she stars in.’ (Chris Wiegand- The Guardian).

“All while descending into a prolonged crack-up involving binge drinking, consultations with mediums, and a repeat hallucination of a young girl… Early on, when Myrtle is first confronted with the hallucination/girl, there’s a closeup of Rowlands’ face that is an example of her unique genius. Even very talented actors feel the need to show an audience “what a moment is about.” Not Rowlands. In that closeup, Myrtle stares at the girl, wondering if she has finally lost her mind, and then she puts an almost welcoming expression on her face, before mouthing the word, “Hello!” It’s hair-raising.” Ebert)

Nipping at booze, Myrtle trips between reality on and off stage, drenched in an alcoholic delirium – “Rowlands’ drunkenness in “Opening Night” is in the pantheon of Great Drunks onscreen.” (Roger Ebert).

Myrtle drifts in and out of character conjuring visions of two women who do not exist. Virginia the role for which she is wary of, struggles to portray an older woman for the first time, a character who is aesthetically defined by her age. And embracing the phantom of Nancy, the young girl who died, whose youthful receptiveness is what she seeks to direct, all within an oppressive environment driven by the men she works with, director (Ben Gazzara) and ex-lover co-star (Cassavetes).

How can you bring a character alive if you don’t believe in them – Myrtle asks playwright Sarah Goode played by Joan Blondell. Myrtle needs to reclaim her identity on stage and for herself.

“The scenes in which Myrtle in Opening Night consults first one and then another spiritualist are typical of Cassavetes’ genius in filming madness. He gives us characters who are clearly breaking apart inside, and then sends them hurtling around crazily in search of quick fixes and Band-Aids. (In “Love Streams,” the hard-drinking Cassavetes surrounds himself with hookers, while Sarah (Rowlands), as his sister, fills a taxicab with animals she has “rescued” from a pet store; in “A Woman Under the Influence,” a crowd of basket cases sit down to eat a big dinner that has been whipped together under the delusion that life is normal and everybody is having a great time.” Roger Ebert

Gena Rowland in Gordon Douglas’ Tony Rome 1967.

In Gloria 1980 directed by John Cassavetes, a film Rowlands considers a ‘gangster comedy’ gets to play the hard-edged gun moll she would have perfected in the best film noirs of the 1940s. The film takes an unexpected approach to motherhood- as Gloria Swenson becomes the reluctant guardian of a little boy whose family is murdered by the mob. The two go on the run in the gritty streets of New York City in possession of a book that the mob wants. Rowland is never fake while she roars and swears at the thugs chasing her on the subway, moving like the wind down the sidewalks of New York in her silk suits, handling her gun like an uncompromising pro. ‘‘I don’t want to be a victim! Victim, that’s passe, I’ve played a victim. I don’t want to be a victimized, you know, a victimized person again…This is a victimized person isn’t it?’  he assures her -‘’ No, it’s not a victimized person. A very strong person. You’re not a victim, you’re an ‘anti-victim.” ”Good, don’t get it in your mind that I’m a victim!’” (Rowlands from a conversation with husband John Cassavetes).

Cassel and Rowlands in Minnie and Moskowitz in 1971.

Gloria for Gena Rowlands is where she gives flight her roles rooted in vulnerability and deep psychological storms. In the film, she attains ascendency and puts a gun to the head of the personal victimization, and defies some of her older collaborative roles with Cassavetes interpreted by instability and downward spirals. She wouldn’t allow herself to be trapped by stereotypes of ‘eccentric, middle-aged women.’ which was a role that established her on-screen persona in the 1970s.

“Love is a stream. It is continuous. It doesn’t stop.”

In 1984’s Love Streams, directed by John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands portrays Sarah Lawson, a character whose life has been unexpectedly upended when she finds herself in the midst of a divorce from her husband Jack, portrayed by Seymour Cassel.

Adding to her pain, her young daughter Debbie (Risa Martha Blewitt) chooses to live with her father instead. At a time when she questions whether she is worthy of love, experiencing an emotional breakdown she reaches out to her brother Robert (Cassavetes).

Rowlands objected to Cassavete’s script finding herself once again playing a ‘victimized person’, but he assured her that Sarah was truly strong.

Sarah’s divergence from the past ‘madwoman archetype’ is in her resilience from her earlier roles in the 70s – as Mabel in A Woman Under the Influence whereas her therapist in Love Streams has a similar commentary that her love is “too strong for her family,’’

And unlike Minnie who is stripped down by Cassel in Minnie and Moskowitz in 1971, and Myrtle Gordon whose mind becomes fractured during the New York premiere of her play in Opening Night, Sarah comes to a reckoning about how love flows and can be reached. And no one but Rowlands could compel heartache to emerge out of a smile.

Source Andrew Key

Source Chris Wiegand The Guardian

Source: RogerEbert.Com

Nancy Kelly Bio:

Actress of radio, stage, film, and television, Nancy Kelly with her whisky voice became a Hollywood child actress who performed alongside Gloria Swanson she was talented enough to appear on Broadway in a revival of Macbeth Macbeth in 1926 and was Tyrone Power’s leading lady in John Ford’s western Jesse James 1939. And cast in the lead role in the low-budget horror movie about a woman who claims the is the reincarnation of a witch burned at the stake 300 years ago in Woman Who Came Back 1945. Having worked on the radio on The March of Time between 1932-37 and appearing on stage drawing great reviews for her performances as Blossom in Susan of God and for Clifford Odets’s The Big Knife, and Season in the Sun 1950, her most unforgettable role was as Christine Penmark, Rhoda’s (Patty McCormack gave a delirious performance as the sociopathic Rhoda) mother in director Mervyn LeRoy’s psychological drama The Bad Seed 1956.

Nancy Kelly in John Ford’s Jesse James 1939.

Kelly’s performance is a riveting at times cringeworthy examination of a mother cornered by maternal conflict when she discovers that her seemingly innocent little blonde angel is in fact a cold-blooded psychopathic murderer.

“virtually everyone in the film becomes so fantastically abnormal that it grows ridiculous and grotesque. Little Patty McCormack, who plays the murderer, not only acts with incredible sang-froid but she also postures with such calculation that it is hard to see how anyone could mistake her show of innocence for a fraud.” – Bosley Crowther

Nancy Kelly wore the role of Rhoda’s mother in both the theatrical Broadway, 1954-55 stage production and the adaption to the big screen.

Walter Kerr of the New York Herald Tribune wrote of her Tony Award-winning stage performance:

“Though Miss Kelly has done attractive work on Broadway before, she has never really prepared us for the brilliance of the present portrait” (Walter Kerr-New York Times, January 14, 1995).

In contrast to Kerr’s take on Kelly’s performance, the often unforgiving Bosley Crowther wrote this scathing assessment of her work in the film:

“Nancy Kelly makes the mother of this child so saturnine and so foolishly fatalistic that her outbursts of frenzy toward the end when little darling coolly compounds her murders, deprive her of the sympathy she should have. This reviewer had the inhuman feeling that this poor woman oddly got what she deserved.”

In 1956, she was nominated for an Academy Award as Best Actress for her performance in The Bad Seed but lost to Ingrid Bergman in Anastasia.

Kelly dove effectively into television starting in the 1950s by appearing in episodes of Studio One, Playhouse 90, Climax!, Suspicion, Alcoa Theatre, and a particularly tense performance as Janet Willson who is daunted by an unseen manic during one dark rainy night in

As sure as my name is MonsterGirl, this is a Boris Karloff Thriller! “The Storm”

The Boris Karloff’s Thriller episode The Storm. She also appeared in the Edmund O’Brien series Sam Benedict, Medical Center, and her next last appearance in Jack Palance’s underappreciated cop show Bronc. And lastly, the made-for-TV movie Murder at the World Series in 1977.

She died in 1995 of complications from diabetes at the age of 73.


Vera-“Michael and I are leaving now Mrs Henderson, I’m taking him home with me. Oh, I am sorry for you because I think in your own way, you’ve grown really fond of my baby. But you see Michael is my child. I’ve known that from the very beginning….”


Amidst the chaos of family, confusion, and anxiety, Murray’s music is tragically beautiful and stretches you in deep places.

Directed by Jack Smight this is perhaps one of the most disturbing yet poignant performances for  Nancy Kelly The Bad Seed 1956 as Mrs. J. A. Williams/Vera Brandon alongside Gena Rowland as housewife Louise Henderson. Louise finds herself in conflict with the cryptic Vera Brandon who lives under the cloud of delusion, and despair.

Joan Harrison had envisioned a narrative that is entirely woman-centered, and the story is framed within the world of women, a tribalization of motherhood, viewed through the eyes of women and by using an all-female cast.

The episode which is driven by a sense of extreme unease was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Single Program – Drama. It is considered to be one of the best episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Joyce Van Patten is delightful, playing Louise’s next-door neighbor Grace, and it’s always fun to see her do anything. Juanita Moore has a bit part as Mrs. McFarland. And character actress Jesslyn Fax plays the landlady, Miss McGuiness.

Based on a novel by Celia Fremlin called The House Before Dawn with a screenplay by William Gordon, and a most extraordinary soundtrack music by composer Lyn Murray.

The Lonely Hours features the work of two masterful actresses, Rowlands who is solid and intuitively manages to tap into the wavelength that something is just not right with Kelly’s character. Nancy Kelly, while a menacing figure who threatens Rowland’s breezy yet frenetic suburban world, manages to come across as a sympathetic, damaged woman who is haunted by loss.

It is perhaps one of the most intense teleplays, the story and its performances of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour series, aside from perhaps Teresa Wright’s performance in Lonely Place, interesting that both titles include loneliness as their theme.

The Hendersons had considered renting a room upstairs to a student to bring in extra money. Louise’s husband is out of the picture for the entire episode except when Louise invokes his existence during their sparse one-sided phone calls.

When the curious Vera Brandon shows up looking for a quiet room to rent in order to finish her thesis, she spots Louise’s little boy Lonnie and the camera catches her fixating on him in his high chair. It strikes us as well, that little Lonnie has dark curly hair, looking more like he’d be the saturnine Vera Brandon’s child than the polished blonde Louise.

Once the dangerous, deranged Vera Brandon moves in the suspense begins.

but first…

The episode opens with Tchaikovsky blasting on the record player. Rowlands is on the phone trying to make arrangements and going over the minutia of life, taking care of the house and her two little girls who are a distraction running around. Nancy Kelly walks in on the din of the crazy life of an upper-middle-class housewife.

Though obviously a tireless mother and housewife, Louise Henderson is purely flawless, dashing around the kitchen serving breakfast, feeding her 7-month-old little boy named Lonnie, and keeping tabs on her girls, she still manages to look like the cover of Good Housekeeping with her chic sleeveless dress and fetchingly coifed golden hair. The telephone rings and it’s her husband calling long distance, he is away on a business trip and will be gone for another week.

The harried Louise is trying to wrangle the precocious and imaginative girls, one of them is Joyce Van Patten who comes over most days to play. All three keep her busy while her husband is away on business. We never meet him, he is a phantom on the phone to us.

Miss Vera Brandon (Kelly) enters comely, polite, tailored, and a bit more old-fashioned, she is a bit of a contrast next to Louise who is more bourgeois and chic. The girls let her in while their mom Louise is still talking on the phone. Vera Brandon already transforms the space as she begins to take control in tiny ways. She immediately turns off the record player, then she concentrates on Lonnie.

As Vera inquires about the room to let, and when Louise remarks that she and her husband had only been thinking about renting a room, Vera explains that someone at the university must have mentioned it. She explains to Louise (Rowlands) that she needs a quiet place to work on her thesis.

After seeing the room, which is a bit small and cluttered at first, Vera decides to rent the room for $30 a month.

Shortly after Vera Brandon moves in, Louise becomes very suspicious about the woman in her house and why she seems so engrossed in Lonnie.

In the next scene, Vera pulls up in front of a different house carrying a bassinet bundled up in blankets that she watchfully holds close to herself while she goes into this other secret apartment that she is renting under the name of Mrs. J.A. Williams.

Her landlady Miss McGuiness (character actress Jesslyn Fax known for Rear Window (1954), Kiss Me Deadly 1955 and The Ghost and Mr. Chicken (1966) is renting it to the mysterious Miss Brandon for an extra month and has been told that it’s for her and her baby son Michael.

Something strikes us as off with the way she is holding the bassinet, we sense there is no baby. There is something tangible about Vera – she is deranged and may even be dangerous.

When Miss McGuinness knocks on Vera’s door she seems alarmed. She tells her that Michael is asleep and keeps her landlady at bay standing outside the door, but takes the toy from her that came in the mail that day. After she tells her that they’ll be staying longer and that she and the baby will be staying with a friend for a few days. Vera puts the toy next to the bassinet and the baby is revealed to be a doll.

Miss McGuiness seems curious about the baby peeking in the baby’s room just a little to try and catch sight of him. Miss Brandon takes out a brand new musical toy horse, winds it up, and places it by an almost lifelike baby doll covered in the blanket.

Later while having coffee together with Grace (Van Patton), Louise mentions that Miss Brandon knows her professor’s husband but she tells Louise that Vera Brandon’s name doesn’t mean a thing to her.
Although Miss Brandon said she knew Grace’s brilliant husband. Brandon also seemed to know both she and Mark are blondes. Vera Brandon is very dark like Lonnie who has very thick dark black hair.

Joyce Van Patten – “If this woman is going to arouse all your latent hostility why take her in?”
Rowlands “In the first place it wasn’t hostility It was idle curiosity and in the second place I need the extra money in the first place.”

Vera Brandon arrives with her suitcase, and Louise introduces her to her friend, Mrs. Grace Thorpe

in a telling moment, explains the topic of her doctoral dissertation to Grace, who looks on blankly and then turns and invites Louise to a fashion tea. Vera is portrayed as a slightly older, educated woman, who does not fit in among the vapid suburban housewives.

Grace (Joyce Van Patten)“Louise tells me that you’re writing your doctoral thesis.”

Vera “Hmm, I’m a few years behind my original schedule.”

Grace “In what field?”

Vera “Oh, I’m doing a comparative study of the effects of alien philosophy. I’m in history – Greek origins really.”

Perhaps allusions to the classical myth of Medea about the woman who murdered her children.

Grace looks completely struck dumb by Vera’s intellectual nitty gritty. She switches to a topic she’s more comfortable with and tells Louise that she really wants her to come to the fashion tea tomorrow and so Vera Brandon uses the opportunity to volunteer to watch Lonnie and Louise agrees to it.

Vera Brandon goes into Lonnie’s room while he’s fussing and she quiets him down, “I’m here now. I’m here with you and I’ll never leave you. I’ll never leave you – sshh Michael.” She holds Lonnie’s hand as he looks up smiling at her.

The next morning the girls joke that Miss Brandon is ‘a spy… a secret, atomic spy’ but Louise is used to the girls and their wild imaginations and the games they play with each other.

When Louise leaves for the fashion tea, Vera is left alone with Lonnie, and she is able to call him Michael. She drives him to her other home and now can freely show him off to her landlady, no longer a doll hidden in a blanket. Vera is thrilled when Miss McGuiness tells her that Michael is ‘just the image of you.’ Once inside, she takes Lonnie into the room she has turned into a nursery with a crib and toys. Vera’s neurotic motherly attachment to the baby only intensifies the tragic and disturbing nature of her actions.

We assume that Vera has finally taken off with Lonnie but at the end of the day she has returned to Louise’s home, Vera opens up Lonnie’s door. It is a surprise to us that she has brought him back to his mother. Louise finds Vera holding Lonnie very dearly.

The moment is a tense one and Louise seems disquieted by Vera’s attention on her son, then she sees the toy horse in the crib. “Where did this come from?” She asks the little horse. Vera Brandon tells her she bought it while she was out and that it has a music box and plays a lullaby. Louise seems visibly struck in a weird way. Her Intuition?

At night, Louise is reading in bed when she hears Lonnie crying. She goes to his room to find Vera holding him and walking back and forth, trying to comfort him. Louise gives Vera a quick lesson in parenting and Vera internalizes her antagonized by this.

cross Fade:

Late at night, Louise hears Lonnie crying. When she goes in to check on him she finds Vera Brandon holding him.

“I was awake Mrs. Henderson. I thought I might reach him before he disturbed your sleep.”

Louise seems vexed and grabs Lonnie from her arms and admonishes her.

Louise “It’s wrong to pick up a baby every time he cries, Miss Brandon. I’m trying to coax him to sleep through the night.” But she replies, “I think the baby is hungry Mrs. Henderson.”
Louise “I’m sure he is, I’ll take care of it. “

Vera Brandon looks wounded. Louise calls upon her maternal privilege to put Vera in her place.

Louise is quickly developing a more heightened sense of distrust, and drawing on her instincts that something’s off with this woman in her home.

Her girls find a little book with a few men’s names in it, including their father’s name. Louise assures her daughter that Miss Brandon is not a spy. But even her little girl notices that there’s something strange about Vera. And senses that her mother doesn’t like her.

Vera overhears that Mark will be home in a couple of days.

When Louise and Grace go out for the day and Lonnie is left with Katie, a babysitter that Louise specifically hired to watch Lonnie instead of Vera.

But Vera takes Lonnie out of the house again, telling Katie that Louise said it would be okay for her to take him out with her shopping. Vera takes Lonnie back to her secret apartment again.

When Louise returns home and finds Lonnie gone, Katie tells her, “Miss Brandon hasn’t come back yet.”
Louise “Yes I noticed her car was gone.”
Katie  (Willa Pearl Curtis) “But the baby’s with her.”
Louise “What!”
Katie ”Well Lonnie was fussy and she had some shopping to do, so she thought the fresh air might do him good.”
Louise yells “Katie!”
Katie “What, What’s wrong?”
Louise “Wrong! She has Lonnie”
Katie “Well she said it would be alright with you.” Shaking her head
Louise “Katie you had no right to do this.”
Katie “Do what?”
Louise “How could you let her take him out of your sight?”
Katie “Well she said it was alright with you.”
Louise “Katie I changed your day this week so you would be here with him YOU, not HER!”
Katie “But you never told me, Mrs. Henderson.”
Louise “Oh Katie.”

Grace “Louise Louise you’re falling apart.”

Louise “You haven’t seen anything yet!”

Grace “What are you going to do?”

Louise “I’m gonna call the police.”

Grace “Louise don’t you think you should find out what happened first before you make a fool of yourself?”

Vera Brandon walks in with Lonnie.

“Mrs. Henderson.”

Louise “Where have you been?’’

Vera Brandon “Surely Katie told you we went for a little walk.”

Louise “How dare you take my baby out of this house without my permission!”

Louise grabs him away from Vera Brandon. 
Vera Brandon “It just never occurred to me that it would upset you. I was out shopping and I found your little bakery. Well, we’d a been home earlier but I stopped to buy you some of that coffee cake you like so much.”

Louise looks over at Grace. Feeling guilty and Grace looks back like she believes that her friend has overreacted to a very nice gesture. She has embarrassed herself momentarily but trusts that she’s right about the situation and her suspicions about Vera Brandon.

Louise is snooping through the drawers in Vera’s bedroom and finds the small black book with three names and addresses in it and tears out the page. Her husband, Mark Henderson is one of them.

As Louise does some investigating she finds out that Vera Brandon has given three different reasons including her renting the room from her, for trying to get close to each of the three families, each with a boy 7 months old.

Louise goes in search of the two other names in the book. Looking for some answers and hoping to find a connection between the three people and Vera Brandon.

Louise hunts down Sandra Mathews, (Jackie Russell who appeared on episodes of Thriller and The Night Stalker, as well as the episode with Diana Dors- Run for Doom of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) a young mother who accomplishes looking upbeat and snapping gum in her mouth while filling Louise in about her encounter with Vera Brandon. Sandra recalls that Vera came to the house when her baby was three months old to offer him a modeling contract. Robbie is a little blonde boy.

She tells Louise –“Oh yeah did she come after you too? That one with that baby modeling pitch?”

Louise “Well she’s rather tall and dark.”

Sandra “Yeah that’s her. She came around when Robby was about 3 months old. I told her when Robbie’s six months I’ll sign, but I didn’t expect to see her again.”

Louise “Why not?”

Wife “Well I mean my little guy’s real handsome, I mean a real doll, but this Miss Brandon hardly even looked at him. Like nothing.”

Next Louise goes to the McFarland Motel. There she meets Juanita Moore. Her son Joel is 7 months too, like Robbie and Lonnie.

Louise “I’m looking for some people name McFarland.”

Mrs. McFarland (Juanita Moore) “I’m Mrs. McFarland.”

Louise “Oh how do you do I’m Mrs. Henderson. Your name was given to me by Vera Brandon.”

Mrs. McFarland ‘‘Oh yes, I remember her.”

Louise “Was she working with a modeling agency?”

Mrs. McFarland “No, she didn’t mention that. She read my husband’s advertisement and telephoned for part-time secretarial work We’re in insurance and real estate, we run this Motel.”

Louise “But she never worked for you?”

Mrs. McFarland “She came by to see us but then she lost interest right away.”

Louise “Oh well thank you I won’t take any more of your time. Bye-bye Joel. He sure is a healthy looking one.”

Mrs. McFarland “He really is. I had him with me from the very first. I think it makes a difference.”

Louise “So did I. That’s why I love St. Dominics.”

Mrs. McFarland “St Dominic Hospital? That’s where I had Joel.”

Suddenly Gena has a flash, “St Dominics?”

She goes to the hospital and asks about the other two mothers she finds from the book and
questions the sister if she remembers a Vera Brandon. The sister tells her, there was a Vera but, “it wasn’t Brandon, it was Williams.” She goes to look at the records. Louise finds out that Vera lost her baby named Michael.

The sister, “Oh yes I remember her now. She was one of our sad ones. Her husband had deserted her and her baby died.”

Later on the phone with her invisible husband “Oh no Marc I’m not afraid, it’s just that I don’t want her here any longer.” Louise plans on gonna asking her to find another place to live.

Vera Brandon comes into the room once Louise hangs up with her husband, and informs Louise that she’s leaving. “Actually Mrs. Henderson I’d like to talk to you about the room. I do hope you won’t be offended, but I spend almost the entire afternoon looking for another place to live.”

Louise, “Well no, we said we’d try it, and if it didn’t work out.”

Vera Brandon “Well if it weren’t for my work I’d be pleased to stay, but I did see a place this afternoon that I think will be a little better for me.”

It seems that Vera is planning something with Lonnie and it’s about to happen.

Louise seems relieved, a light comes over her she doesn’t have to deal with this problem anymore –

Louise “When would you be leaving?”

Cinematographer John F. Warren always seems to frame the two women’s faces using low-key lighting to emphasize their eyes.

Gena Rowlands sparkles and Nancy Kelly is deep and sadly hollow. The dramatic exchange between these two marvelous actors throughout the episode is remarkable as it is disquieting.

Vera Brandon “Oh tomorrow, the weekend is a good time to get settled.”

She asks for a cup of coffee, then she laces it with sleeping pills to knock Louise out so she can grab Lonnie/Michael.

In Louise’s stupor -half sleep-half woozy from the drugs she hears Vera Brandon speak to her

“Michael and I are leaving now Mrs. Henderson. I’m taking him home with me. Oh, I am sorry, I really do feel sorry for you. I think in your own way you’ve grown really fond of my baby. But you see Michael is my child. I’ve known that from the very beginning. From that first day 7 months ago. See they brought me your baby and they told me it was mine. Oh, that poor pale weak little thing. But I knew they were lying.”

Louise figures out where Vera Brandon has taken Lonnie after the girls tell her that ‘the spy lady’ left her coat behind with a piece of paper with her address on the rent receipt in the pocket. She calls the police and tells them that Vera has kidnapped Lonnie, and Grace comes over for support.

Louise confronts Vera.

Louise “If you’ve harmed that baby.”
Vera “Harmed, you think I’d harm my own son.”
Louise “That baby’s not yours.”
Vera Mrs. Henderson everybody in this neighborhood knows my son. We’ve lived here for over a month. They know him at the candy store, they know him at the drug store, at the toy store, and even my own landlady knows him. “Would you like to talk to her?”
Louise Mrs. Williams, Miss Brandon, You’re Michael is dead.”
Vera “Your Lonnie is dead. Oh, I know how hard it is for you to face it. I know but you have a beautiful home and a lovely family.”
Louise “Hospitals don’t make mistakes.”
Vera “It was deliberate they meant to do it.”
Louise “No you’re wrong.”
Vera “No I was conscious every minute when Lonnie was delivered I saw him before he took his first breath I know. Mrs. Henderson, I don’t think there’s any point in continuing this. Now I want you to go away and I want you to stop annoying us and if you still persist in coming here I’m gonna have to take steps to see that you stop.”

Finally, a policewoman arrives pretending to come help clear everything up and to take Vera to the hospital to get the birth certificate for Michael so she can prove he is hers. She convinces Vera to come with her to St. Dominics.

The turmoil wakes up Lonnie but when Vera picks him up, she cannot quiet him, becoming frustrated she begins to shake him violently. Hysterical, Vera yells at him “What’s wrong with you!”

Vera speaks not to the two women, but to herself, “That’s another terrible thing that they’ve done, they’ve let him stay with them for all these months he doesn’t even know me.”

Louise comes out of the nursery holding the doll swathed in the blanket and offers him to Vera, “He’s quiet now.’ The pain of watching Vera Brandon quietly disassemble is unbearable to watch. His pain is palpable. She is lost in a state of agonizing delusion. Nancy Kelly’s performance is absolutely heart-wrenching.

The policewoman takes Lonnie and hands him to Louise, then there is a shot of the creepy lifelike doll sitting in a playpen.

Vera walks toward the door of her apartment, accompanied by the policewoman, and Louise returns to the nursery and holds Lonnie tightly in her arms.


Starting in 1960, Gordon added writing for TV to his repertoire in addition to his acting career. He went on to pen scripts for a range of shows, such as Thriller, The Fugitive, and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, among others, until 1981. During this time, he also took on roles as story editor or consultant for various series, including The Fugitive, and directed a couple of TV shows. Moreover, Gordon produced a total of 32 episodes of The Fugitive. Among his notable writing credits are six teleplays for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, the first being “Bonfire,” co-written with Alfred Hayes. He followed up with “The Lonely Hours,” adapted from the novel The Hours Before Dawn.

In 1958, Celia Fremlin Gollar published her debut novel, The Hours Before Dawn, which she wrote during sleepless nights spent pushing her baby around London. Inspired by her own experience with parental sleeplessness, she crafted a story exploring this theme, which became her first published work.

The Hours Before Dawn was adapted for television for the first time as a live broadcast on the U.S. Steel Hour on September 23, 1959. The cast included Colleen Dewhurst as Vera, Mark Richman as Mark, Teresa Wright as Louise, and Jack Carter as another character, with Philip Lewis credited as the teleplay writer. Unfortunately, this live broadcast is now lost.
The second TV adaptation of Fremlin’s novel, titled “The Lonely Hours,” aired on CBS as part of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour on Friday, March 8, 1963. The teleplay was written by William D. Gordon.

Joyce van Patten plays Louise’s friend, Grace; she was a busy actress in film and television from 1946 to 2018 – Her TV roles included parts on The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and The Odd Couple.

Alice Backes plays the policewoman at the end of the episode. She is a familiar face on television having worked in radio and then in film from 1948 to 1978. Her busy television career lasted from 1952 to 1997 and included roles in Boris Karloff’s Thriller, The Night Stalker, and six episodes of the Hitchcock series, including one of the most eerie, The Jar.

Willa Pearl Curtis plays the babysitter, Katie, this was the only episode of the Hitchcock show in which she appeared. She had a part in The Wages of Sin 1948 as the Bordello maid. She appeared in Second Chorus 1940 with Fred Astaire and Paulette Goddard, as Mrs. Wertheim’s Assistant in The Lost Weekend with Ray Milland 1945, also a maid in The Pirate 1948, and as Hannah Thomas in Native Son 1951.

Juanita Moore (1914-2014) as Mrs. McFarland, is featured in 3 of this series starring in Where the Woodbine Twineth. She plays the second woman whom Louise visits after seeing her husband’s name and number in Vera’s little black book; she had a six-decade career on screen from 1939 to 2001 and is best remembered for co-starring in Douglas Sirk’s remake of Imitation of Life (1959). She was also in four episodes of the Hitchcock series, including Where the Woodbine Twineth.

Playing the role of Miss McGuinness, Vera’s landlady, was Jesslyn Fax (1893-1975) who appeared on screen from 1950 to 1969. She had minor roles in Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window (1954) and North By Northwest (1959), as well as on five episodes of Hitchcock’s TV show, including “Coming. Mama”. Fax also made an appearance on the TV show Batman.

Alice Backes plays the policewoman at the end. She had a busy career in television, including roles on Thriller, The Night Stalker, and six episodes of the Hitchcock series in particular the odd installment entitled The Jar.

*Death and the Joyful Woman S1e27 – Laraine Day – aired April 12, 1963

Laraine Day Bio

Laraine Day was an American actress born on October 13, 1920, in Roosevelt, Utah. She began her acting career in the late 1930s. Her trademark was ‘often portrayed women who were career-oriented or matronly.’ She appeared in her first film in 1937 in a blink and you’ll miss her part ‘Girl in the soda shop’ in Stella Dallas. After that, her next film was Scandal Street in 1938. Then she appeared in several George O’Brien westerns including Border G-Man and Painted Desert.

Initially, she was cast in small roles before eventually rising to prominence in the 1940s, following the signing of her contract with MGM, Laraine Day gained popularity through her portrayal of Nurse Lamont in the studio’s “Dr. Kildare” series. She appeared in I Take This Woman in 1940 starring Spencer Tracy and Hedy Lamar, and had the starring role as Carol Fisher in Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent starring Joel McCrea. She was the lead in Unholy Partners 1941 alongside Edward G. Robinson and appeared in the western The Bad Man with Wallace Beery and Lionel Barrymore. She was cast in the entertaining mystery Fingers at the Window 1942 directed by Charles Lederer co-starring with Kildare lead actor- Lew Ayers. After starring with Robert Young in Lewis Allen’s Those Endearing Young Charms in 1945, she landed the role of Nancy in the noir gem The Locket 1946 directed by John Brahm and starring Robert Mitchum.

Laraine Day and Joel McCrea in Alfred Hitchcock’s Foreign Correspondent 1940.

Day and Lew Ayres in Calling Dr. Kildare 1939.

Lew Ayres, Laraine Day and Basil Rathbone in Fingers at the Window 1942.

The Locket is a psychological drama that tells the story of Nancy, a troubled young woman with a traumatic past. The film opens with Nancy being arrested for attempted murder. As she awaits trial, she recounts her life story to a psychiatrist. Through a series of flashbacks, we learn about Nancy’s childhood and her obsession with a locket that was given to her by a young man named Norman. The locket becomes a recurring symbol throughout the film, representing Nancy’s psychological turmoil and her inability to let go of her past.

Laraine Day starred in the next film noir in 1949, with Robert Ryan in Robert Stevenson’s The Woman on Pier 13 She entered television in a teleplay Hired Mother for General Electric Theater in 1953 and then co-starred with John Wayne in the action-adventure The High and the Mighty in 1954. On tv, she made appearances in Screen Directors Playhouse, Celebrity Playhouse, Lux Video Theatre, The Ford Television Theatre, Climax!, Schlitz Playhouse, The Loretta Young Show, and Playhouse 90. One of the more interesting films she did was the crime thriller – The 3rd Voice in 1960 directed by Hubert Cornfield, co-starring Edmund O’Brien and Julie London.

Robert Mitchum, Ricardo Cortez and Laraine Day in The Locket 1946.

In the 1960s she continued to appear on television in Checkmate, The New Breed and then she was cast as Ruth in The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’s Death and The Joyful Woman in 1963. Until her last tv show in 1986 Murder She Wrote, she had appeared in popular series including Burke’s Law, Wagon Train, The Name of the Game, The F.B.I., The Sixth Sense with Gary Collins in the atmospheric episode The Heart That Wouldn’t Stay Buried in 1972. She did an episode of Medical Center, The Love Boat, and Fantasy Island. She also entered the realm of the made-for-TV movie Murder on Flight 502 in 1975.

Although she was an engaging and attractive performer, Day never attained significant stardom, despite playing lead roles in several medium-budget films for various studios. She was also on the board of the Screen Actors Guild.

At MGM, she was told that if she did Keep Your Powder Dry 1945, she would be rewarded with the female lead in the suspense thriller Undercurrent 1946 with Robert Taylor. When the role was given to Katharine Hepburn, Laraine left MGM and never returned.

She was the first choice to play Mary Hatch in It’s a Wonderful Life 1946 but had to decline the role as she was already busy working on the noir mystery, The Locket 1946, Donna Reed would later get the role. Coincidentally, both films were released to theaters on December 20, 1946

In addition to her work in film, Laraine Day transitioned to television, making appearances on shows like “The Ford Television Theatre” and in addition to Death and the Joyful Woman for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, she appeared on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Day was also recognized for her philanthropic efforts, specifically her advocacy for cancer research. She passed away on November 10, 2007, in Ivins, Utah at the age of 87 after a long and accomplished career in the entertainment industry.

Day’s career also extended to television, where she appeared in various shows such as “The Ford Television Theatre” and “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”. In addition to her acting work, Day was known for her philanthropic efforts, particularly in support of cancer research.
After a long and successful career in the entertainment industry, Day passed away on November 10, 2007, in Ivins, Utah, at the age of 87.

Interesting trivia:

Laraine Day, dubbed the “First Lady of baseball,” was married to Leo Durocher from 1947 to 1960. Durocher, also known as “Leo the Lip” and “Lippy,” was a successful American professional baseball player, coach, and manager. He won his only World Series championship as a manager in 1954 by sweeping the heavily favored Cleveland Indians. Durocher retired with 2,008 career victories, ranking fifth all-time among managers and second only to John McGraw in National League history.

She was the photo girl of the World War II plane “Lucky Lady”. A P38 headed by Max Pyles debuted the plane in September 1944. Laraine (who was at the time a favorite with lonesome G.I.’s) was asked for a photograph to be put on the plane. Laraine immediately wrote back and attached a photo of herself in a negligee. The “Lucky Lady” soon held the honor of having the highest number of record flights in the autumn of 1944. Her photo remained pasted on the L/gun door, and the crew and Laraine frequently sent letters back and forth. She was very proud and interested to get updates about “her airplane”


Death and the Joyful Woman tells the story of Luis Aguilar (Gilbert Roland), a wealthy tyrannical wine vineyard owner who has disowned his son for refusing to marry vineyard owner Kitty Norris.

Ruth (Laraine Day), his fiancée, has been his faithful secretary for over 20 years before he finally pledged to marry her.

Aguilar summons his son to his extravagant ball, where he agrees to give him $5,000 if he can outdrink him. After Aguilar wins the drinking contest, he makes a pass at Kitty, and in the resulting scuffle, she accidentally pushes him down the stairs. Aguilar’s secretary, Ruth (played by Laraine Day), witnesses the incident and, wanting the wine baron for herself, kills him with a wine bottle, hoping to blame the murder on Kitty.

The situation becomes more complicated when Dominic who is acting as a waiter that night discovers Aguilar’s body and is then knocked out by Ruth. She puts the unconscious man in a large wine cask and begins to fill it with water. Meanwhile, the police, including investigating Sheriff Frank Overton, discover Aguilar’s body and launch a frantic search for the missing waiter, who happens to be Sheriff Overton’s son.
As the clock ticks down, the guilt-ridden Ruth takes a bottle of sleeping pills. But the sheriff manages to revive her and get the truth in time to rescue his son from drowning in the wine cask.

The story opens:



All the events happen in one night, at Aguilar’s harvest ball. Young Dominic Felse (Tom Lowell) is working as a hired waiter. While people dance and socialize, Dominic rekindles his friendship with Kitty Norris (Laura Devon), another successful vineyard owner, and they engage in playful banter. It is clear that at one time Dominic had a crush on Kitty, but now is portrayed as comical and not romantic. Ruth enters the kitchen-

Laraine Day as Ruth “Hello Al” – (Don Galloway -Det. Sgt. Ed Brown- Ironside is playing Aguilar’s son)

Al “Hello Ruth, thanks for the invitation.”

Ruth “Oh it wasn’t from me. I wouldn’t have sent it. Your father put your name at the head of the list. Your father watched you drive up while he was tying his tie. He’s in a mean mood Al.”

Ruth says to the sheriff’s son who is working for the party “Take a bottle of wine up to Mr. Aguilar’s bedroom he’s waiting for it.”

He asks “Red or white please?”

Ruth “The white wine.”

Al pipes in, after all, it is the family vineyard’s top wine- “It’s called the Joyful Woman.”

Ruth “He’s always in a mean mood right before harvest. But tonight something nice is going to happen.”

Dominic brings the bottle of the Joyful Woman to Aguilar’s room, who is sitting alone in the darkness. After the boy leaves, Aguilar removes a gun from a drawer and sets it on the table.

After Aguilar makes an appearance at the party downstairs, he brings his son Al to his new tasting room. They are joined by Dominic who will serve the wine during the challenge.

Aguilar is a cruel and belligerent man, who tells Al that he is no longer his son. He makes a wager that he will be able to drink him under the table but offers him the chance for $5,000 to help with the baby that is on the way. This has been a legacy of the Aguilar men, his father did the same thing with him. Dominic looks on as Al fails to keep his head off the table, he passes out and loses the wager.

Down in Luis Aguilar’s tasting room.

Ruth is Luis Aguilar’s lover but he still refers to her as his secretary. He tells his son has bought his ‘secretary Ruth’ a fur coat. She must have a fur coat. Al has come to ask for money as there’s a baby coming. But Aguilar tells him he can no longer hide behind his mother. Aguilar is a mean man and cruel to his son. He offers him the best of all the wine. The Joyful Woman

Aguilar says to his son, “Prove something to me, boy, prove something.”

But when Al fails to outdrink his father. He passes out and Aguilar is ashamed of his son and furious that he is so weak, and not a real man.

Al’s wife comes down and sees him passed out on the table

Aguilar “Get him out of here! Are you the little thing he found to spite me with? So you are. Take Mr. X home!”

Al begins to cry.

Aguilar “Don’t you cry! Don’t you cry! Get him out of here! Don’t you cry!”

Kitty, Al’s wife Jean (an uncredited Maggie Pierce), and Ruth enter the tasting room and see Al nearly comatose and Jean helps him up the stairs.

He yells up the stairs as Al is being carried off.

Ruth tells him, “Luis you have a house full of guests. I’ll get some coffee.”

Luis “I don’t want any coffee.”

(He turns to Kitty )”Do you like my tasting room kitty? I wanted him to marry you.”

Kitty “But you can’t force that on someone.”
Aguilar “He should have listened to me. Look what he ended up with. A mouse.”

He begins to get amorous with Kitty. “What a lovely vision I have Kitty.”

He does this in front of Ruth. And continues to drunkenly woo Kitty -“I am going to make you fall in love with me.”

When he finally goes too far with her she yells for Ruth. But he tells Ruth to “Leave us alone.”

Ruth leaves the tasting room and goes up the stairs, but stays by the door for a moment and begins to cry.

Kitty calls to her but Aguilar says “Let her go!”

He offers her the consideration of an Empire, but Kitty rebukes his advances and his offer of marriage.

She pushes him down the stairs by accident and quickly runs for help while
Laraine Day goes back down the stairs and finds him knocked down and in a stupor.

Aguilar “Get out of here! Get out!”

Ruth “It’s almost 12 Luis.”

Aguilar “Go Away.”

Ruth “At 12 you were going to make the announcement.” She descends the stairs. He tells her, “I’m not going to make any announcement at 12 or 3 or 4.”

He grips the back of his head. She turns to him, a woman scorned. “I heard what you said to Kitty about marrying her.”

Aguilar “Good, now go away.”

Ruth “You didn’t mean it.”
Aguilar “Yes I did, I meant every word I said every word.”

Clenching his words “Every word!” Ruth smashes a heavy bottle over his head several times, killing him.

Dominic- That didn’t happen falling down the stairs

Ruth- No you’re too bright a boy to waste time on such simple arithmetic Two and two is still the same Do you have the answer young man.

Dominic- Yes.

Ruth- Too bad, too bad, too bad.

Dominic –But why?

Ruth- Why?, Because I was the only one who loved him. After 20 years of being patient. Waiting for his wife to die. And then still waiting til after she was dead. I’m going to marry you, Ruth. Just be patient. Then last week he said he would marry me this Fall. After 20 years of being a secretary a letter opener a letter typer, he said to make all the arrangements and he would make the announcement tonight Tonight at the stroke of twelve. Right now. At this moment It took someone who loved him To hate him enough to finally do it!
But he’s just as guilty as I am He wasn’t planning on marrying me and there’s an end of patience.


Afterward, outside the tasting room, Kitty reveals to Dominic that she murdered Aguilar. When Dominic goes inside, he discovers his lifeless body. Ruth then points a gun at Dominic and forces him to go to the wine vats. There, she strikes him on the head with the gun, causing him to fall into a large vat. Ruth proceeds to turn on a water spigot, leaving Dominic to drown in the vat.

Sheriff George Felse, Dominic’s father arrives at the estate after Kitty tells him she’s fearful that something has happened to Dominic. The doctor determine that Aguilar died from several blows to the head. Sheriff Felse seems to focus on solving the murder while his son is still missing. When Kitty finds out that Aguilar was supposed to marry Ruth she puts two and two together and realizes after Ruth had listened in on his coming onto her, Ruth must have killed him in a jealous rage.

When they go to Ruth to question her Sheriff Felse discovers that she has overdosed on sleeping pills and is not making sense. He slaps her trying to wake her up, shouting “Where is my son!”

When Kitty notices that water pouring out of a pipe, they follow it to the flooding vat just in time to save Dominic who is submerged but still alive. He and Kitty resume their playful banter from the earlier exchange and share a moment of laughter together.


Death and the Joyful Woman was adapted from the 1961 novel by Ellis Peters. It was awarded the Edgar for Best Novel in 1963. Ellis Peters was a pseudonym of Edith Pargeter a British novelist

She gained widespread recognition for her series of 21 mystery novels that revolved around the twelfth-century monk, Brother Cadfael, which were published between 1977 and 1992. These novels were later adapted for television and were broadcasted on PBS’s Mystery series between 1994 and 1997, featuring Derek Jacobi in the lead role.

The episode premiered on CBS on Friday, April 12, 1963, and was directed by John Brahm who did fifteen episodes of the Hitchcock series. He also directed 12 memorable episodes of Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone including Time Enough at Last featuring Burgess Meredith the blind as a bat terminal reader who ironically breaks his glasses in a post-nuclear world. Included in the Hitchcock Hour series
Is Don’t Look Behind You, Murder Case, Final Performance, and The Trap. And 10 episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Having directed 12 episodes of Boris Karloff’s Thriller, he also directed The Bellero Shield starring Martin Landau in the 1963 episode of the superior 1960s fantasy anthology series The Outer Limits. He also directed 15 episodes of Naked City which ran from 1959-1962.

Death and the Joyful Woman cast is filled out by early screen idol Gilbert Roland is known for She Done Him Wrong 1933, The Furies 1959, The Bad and the Beautiful 1952, and Cheyenne Autumn 1964. Roland had a very busy career on television in the late 1950s and 60s.

Don Galloway is best known for his role on the long-running detective show Ironside starring Raymond Burr, where he co-starred from 1967 to 1975.

Laura Devon who plays Kitty Norris worked on the stage in the 1950s before entering television and movies from 1960 to 1967. She gave up acting once she married romantic composer Maurice Jarre

And familiar character actor Frank Overton appeared in movies from 1948 and on television in 1952. He may be remembered as Gig Young’s father in the Twilight Zone episode Walking Distance. Sheriff Felse would wind up being his last role before his untimely death at age 49.

*Last Seen Wearing Blue Jeans – Anna Lee -S1e28 – aired April 19, 1963

Anna Lee Bio:

“I want to die with my boots on. English actors have a great reputation for longevity.” – Anna Lee

British actress Anna Lee originally named Joan Boniface Winnifrith is listed as having 125 films and television roles to her credit including, 212 episodes of General Hospital playing Lila Quartermaine. On one of the most recognizable soap operas that ran from 1979-2003. She was born in Kent England and the daughter of a clergyman who encouraged her to pursue a career in acting.

Anna Lee in King Solomon’s Mines 1937.

Lee trained at London’s Royal Albert Hall and started her career on stage before transitioning to appearing in English films. Starting out in 1934 as an extra she gradually worked her way up to starring roles, earning the nickname “The Queen of the Quota Quickies”. In 1935 Lee appeared in The Passing of the Third Floor Back with Conrad Veidt. And started off with one of her supportive roles alongside Boris Karloff in the horror film The Man Who Lived Again 1936 directed by husband Robert Stevenson. In 1937 she was cast as Kathy O’Brien in King Solomon’s Mines and Non-Stop New York. By 1940 she appeared with John Wayne and Marlene Dietrich in Tay Garnett’s Seven Sinners. And co-starred with Wayne once again in Flying Tigers in 1942.

Maureen O’Hara, Roddy McDowall, and Anna Lee in How Green Was My Valley 1941

She and her husband, director Robert Stevenson, moved to Hollywood where she starred in American productions and became a regular member of director John Ford’s stock company, appearing in films such as How Green Was My Valley 1941 in one of her most memorable roles as Bronwyn in John Ford’s substantive masterpiece about the Morgans who struggle toward a better life in a Welsh mining village. Other of Lee’s films include Fritz Lang’s noir Hangmen Also Die! 1943 and she is featured in the second segment of Julien Duviver’s fantasy anthology Flesh and Fantasy 1943 as Rowena alongside her co-star Edward G. Robinson.

From The Vault: Flesh & Fantasy (1943)

Perhaps my favorite incarnation of Anna Lee is her performance of Mistress Nell Bowan in Producer Val Lewton & director Mark Robson’s Bedlam 1943. Starring alongside Boris Karloff once again, as he manifests perhaps one of his most vile and menacing characters. Lee plays the protégé of Lord Mortimer (Billy House), Nell is horrified by the inhumane treatment at St. Mary’s of Bethlehem Asylum of its patients. She becomes determined to help change the conditions at Bedlam. However, the cruel Master George Sims (Karloff), who runs the asylum, has Nell committed there as a patient. As Nell struggles to maintain her sanity, she witnesses the brutal treatment of the inmates and the dangerous power struggles that take place among them. Eventually, the inmates take over the asylum, and Nell must fight for her survival in a world turned upside down by madness and cruelty.

Her career in film continued with The Ghost and Mrs. Muir in 1947, and Fort Apache in 1948. Then in 1950, she made her foray into television, in Somerset Maugham TV Theatre, Lux Video Theatre, The Web, The Ford Theatre Hour, Robert Montgomery Presents, Kraft Theatre, Armstrong Circle Theatre, and Studio One. She was back on the big screen in 1958 with The Last Hurrah, and This Earth is Mine 1959 with Rock Hudson, Jean Simmons, and Claude Rains, and in Sam Fuller’s crime drama The Crimson Kimono 1959. As a stock actor with John Ford in 1962 she played Mrs. Prescott the widow in the stage hold-up in The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance and has a small supporting role as Mrs. Bates the neighbor of the Hudson sisters Blanche and Jane in Aldrich’s campy landmark psychological drama What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford.

Grande Dames/ Guignol Cinema: Robert Aldrich’s Hag Cinema “But you *are* Blanche, you *are in that chair” Part I

She continued to appear on television in shows like Lock UP, 77 Sunset Strip, Maverick, and Wagon Train. Last Seen Wearing Blue Jeans would be the only episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour that Anna Lee would appear on.

Lee would play Sister Margaretha in The Sound of Music 1965, and Mrs. Russell in John Ford’s volatile drama 7 Women 1965, which boasts an incredible ensemble of actresses Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton, Mildred Dunnock Flora Robson, and Betty Field, several of who have appeared in the Hitchcock series.

Lee’s personal life also made headlines when she married novelist, poet, and playwright Robert Nathan in 1970, three months after they met. Despite facing adversity, including the loss of her husband and health challenges, she continued to act and was a regular on the soap opera General Hospital, where she played the wealthy Lila Quartermaine.

In recognition of her contributions to drama, Lee was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire in the 1982 Queen’s Birthday Honours. Sadly, Anna Lee passed away from pneumonia at her home in Beverly Hills, California on May 14, 2004, at the age of 91. Her daughter is actress Venetia Stevenson whose roles included the unfortunate Nan Barlow in City of the Dead 1960.

IMDb Trivia:

Personal Quote:

[on working with John Wayne in Seven Sinners 1940 –“ Marlene Dietrich didn’t want a blonde in the picture–other than herself. So it was the first time I had to rinse [color] my hair. John Wayne was a lovely man, what I would call a typical American–very nice, very modest. His stature as a star never came up, although we worked together many times over the years. On our first encounter, we were engaged in conversation and he asked me if I was a Republican. Since I was new to this country, I thought he was asking if I was a publican, which is a person who keeps a public-house for drinking beer. I told him I was not a publican, but that I did enjoy beer. [Laughs] That really confused him!”

Was paralyzed from the waist down in an automobile accident, and acted in a wheelchair for more than two decades. Was the Goddaughter of Dame Sybil Thorndike and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

She passed away just a week before she was to have received a Daytime Emmy Award for lifetime achievement. Her actor son Jeffrey Byron accepted on her behalf at the New York ceremony.

During World War II, Lee performed with Jack Benny and others in USO tours entertaining troops in North Africa and Europe. General George S. Patton awarded her a special medal for her efforts.


Based on Amber Dean’s novel “Encounter with Evil” and directed by Alan Crosland Jr., the episode features Anna Lee and Michael Wilding as the distraught parents, who take matters into their own hands to find their missing daughter.

Admittedly Anna Lee as Roberta Saunders doesn’t have much of a challenge playing the panicked mother along with her husband Michael Wilding the very proper British couple who spend the entire episode searching desperately for answers to their daughter’s disappearance.

While making a cross-country tour of America by car A British family, David Saunders (Michael Wilding) his wife Roberta (Anna Lee) and their daughter Loren (Katherine Crawford) stop at a roadside cafe in Arizona late at night to rest and grab a spot of tea.

The beautiful 17-year-old Loren, exhausted, falls asleep in the back seat, unaware that it’s the wrong car and is stolen, and is inadvertently bound for Mexico. The mastermind of the hot car ring is revealed to be the cafe owner and the local Sheriff. In Mexico, things turn violent as Loren witnesses a murder and is pursued by dangerous criminals while her parents are in a race to find her.

The smart duo decides to search for Loren (Katherine Crawford) themselves when they hit a wall at the sheriff’s office which is in on the crime ring. He calls ahead to the Mexican police to warn them the couple is heading his way to look for their daughter.

Roberta “David I have a feeling something’s wrong.”
David “I think I know what you mean. Those two are trying to stop us from going to Mexico.”
Roberta “Why would they do that?”
David “I don’t know but I tell you what, we’re gonna do, we’re going to go to Dos Cucheros and talk to the police there ourselves. He said we should ask to call in the FBI.”
Roberta “The FBI? That means he thinks, he thinks Laura may have been kidnapped!”
David “Yes darling, I’m afraid so. Well, I suppose we should go on to Los Angeles and talk to the FBI there.”
Roberta “No! No, I’m staying here.”
David “But we’ve done all we can in Slawson – Look how bout a drink.”
Roberta “I don’t want a drink.”
David “How bout a little one?”
Roberta “All right just a short one.”

The thugs manage to find Loren in a small cafe but she manages to get away and run off into the night. Her parents arrive in Mexico and of course the police are once again no help.


Loren manages to elude the crooks at first with the help of a young American rancher, Randy Boone. They are spotted by a customs officer who alerts her parents. The couple takes matters into their own hands, searching for their daughter and ultimately reuniting at the cafe, where they find the kids being held in a back room. Loren’s father, Randy’s dad, and Randy overpower the gang and the family is reunited.

*The Dark Pool – Doris Lloyd s1e29 – aired May 3, 1963


Hessy Doris Lloyd was a British actress, born on July 3, 1896, in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, England,

With a face that seemed to bare witness to a multitude of life’s labor and lesson, a beautiful face carved out of determination and worldliness, she’s an actress who always showcased an incredible dimension to her characterizations. Lloyd had a prolific film career spanning from 1920 to 1960, on the stage and in film, radio, and television with appearances in over 150 films and 203 credits in total not including her stage work.

Her extensive work included countless small parts as British charwomen and domestics, landladies, and occasionally society matrons and dowagers in supportive roles in costumers. Lloyd worked as a freelance actress and had a non-exclusive contract with various studios.

She appeared in two Oscar Best Picture winners – Mutiny on the Bounty 1935 and The Sound of Music 1965 and four other nominees Disraeli 1929, A Farewell to Arms 1932, and The Letter 1940 starring Bette Davis and Mary Poppins in 1964.

Notable as a spy in Disraeli 1929 and Nancy Sykes in the Monogram version of Oliver Twist 1933, and on Broadway in ‘An Inspector Calls’ from 1947-1948 in the role of Sybil Birling.

Lloyd began her career on stage in London and quickly gained popularity with her strong performances in various plays, her theatrical debut with the Liverpool Repertory Company in 1914.

In 1920 she made her film debut in the crime film The Shadow Between based on a novel by Silas Kitto Hocking (1850-1935) In the early 1920s, she moved to Hollywood and began working in the film industry.

Throughout her career, Doris appeared in over 150 films and television shows. Her first major role was in the silent film “Potiphar’s Wife” (1917), where she played the title role. She continued to work in silent films, but with the advent of talkies, she became one of the most sought-after character actresses in Hollywood.

Doris appeared in many notable classic films, including “David Copperfield” (1935), “The Invisible Man” (1933), “The Time Machine” (1960), “Mary Poppins” (1964), and “The Sound of Music” (1965). She was also known for her marvelous voice work in Disney’s animated films, including “Alice in Wonderland” (1951) and “Peter Pan” (1953).

Doris Lloyd played the designer Kettisha who is sought after for her one-of-a-kind hat designs in the highly unrecognized film noir Phantom Lady 1944, directed by Robert Siodmak and produced by long-time Hitchcock collaborator Joan Harrison who became a force in her own right.

Doris Lloyd with Ella Raines and Franchot Tone in Phantom Lady 1944.

Phantom Lady: Forgotten Cerebral Noir: It’s not how a man looks, it’s how his mind works that makes him a killer.

She is an omnipresent character actress who contributed her impactful presence throughout her career – in the 1930s in some uncredited roles with – Charlie’s Aunt 1930, Waterloo Bridge1931, Tarzan the Ape Man 1932, Back Street 1932, uncredited in A Farewell to Arms 1932, Secrets 1933 with Mary Pickford, A Study in Scarlet 1933 the Sherlock Holmes feature starring Reginald Owen and Anna May Wong. Voltaire 1933, In 1934 she was uncredited as Madame of Dear Park in Madame Du Barry 1934 starring Dolores del Rio, that same year appearing In British Agent 1934, Strange Wives, and The Man Who Reclaimed His Head starring Claude Rains.

Doris Lloyd was a very prolific character actor.

Doris Lloyd as Jennie in John Brahm’s The Lodger 1944.

In 1935 she appeared in A Shot in the Dark, The Woman in Red, as the Duchess of Richmond in Becky Sharp directed by Mamoulian and starring Miriam Hopkins, Francis Dee and Cedric Hardwicke, Peter Ibbetson, as a Cockney Moll in Mutiny on the Bounty and Lucy Weston in the superior mystery Kind Lady starring Aline MacMahon and Basil Rathbone. She would play Rose in the 1951 remake of Kind Lady which stars Ethel Barrymore and Angela Lansbury.

In 1936 her films included Follow the Fleet, Mary of Scotland, The Plough and the Stars and the list goes on. The crime/film noir They Made Me A Criminal, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex, Intermezzo 1939, Mrs. Cooper in The Letter 1940, and Bertha, Mary Astor’s Maid in The Great Lie 1941, The Lodger 1944, The Constant Nymph 1943, The White Cliffs of Dover 1944, The Conspirators 1944, Allotment Wives 1945 and in 1946To Each His Own, Devotion. Of Human Bondage, Sister Kenny, and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, and in 1949 she appeared in Adam’s Rib, The Prisoner of Zenda 1952, The Black Shield of Falworth 1954, Jeanne Eagels 1957, and The Notorious Landlady 1962.

Doris Lloyd in Oliver Twist 1933.

Doris Lloyd in My Name is Julia Ross 1945.

Doris Lloyd in Mary Poppins 1964.

From The Vault-My Name is Julia Ross (1945)

Lloyd had a habit of showing up mysteries, horror, and science fiction films and television shows, The Invisible Man’s Revenge 1944, The House of Fear 1945, My Name is Julia Ross 1945, Three Strangers 1946, The Sign of the Ram 1948, The Son of Dr. Jekyll 1951, The Time Machine 1960, and Midnight Lace 1960. Doris Lloyd’s last appearance on screen was in 1967 in Rosie! starring Rosalind Russell and written by Ruth Gordon and directed worked heavily in television David Lowell Rich.

Women-in-Peril – 4 Obscure Gothic Thrillers of the 1940s!

1950 began her foray into television- in 1952 with an episode of The House of Death for Schlitz Playhouse, in 1955 with one episode of Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theater, 2 episodes of Lux Video Theatre, Love Letters and Ivy, 3 episodes of The 20th Century-Fox Hour, an episode of Studio 57, Matinee Theatre, Suspicion, Playhouse 90, One Step Beyond’s episode The Haunting in 1960.

Then arrived her 5 performances for the Hitchcock series. Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Season 3 with Dip in the Pool, The Impromptu Murder, season 4 Safety for the Witness, Season 5 with The Schartz-Metterklume Method, and Season 7 with The Silk Petticoat. In 4 episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, she lent her presence to this one The Dark Pool as well as Isabel Season 3 with One of the Family and Thou Still Unravished Bride. Both I cover in this feature.

”In the darkness, there’s comfort and fear. Fear is for fools.” from Thriller’s Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook.


For Boris Karloff’s Thriller in 1961, Doris Lloyd lent her eerie and perfectly imposing Mother Evans who terrorizes Audrey Dalton in the atmospheric Hay-Fork and Bill-Hook and appears as Mrs. Pringle Dark Legacy, in Season 2- The Closed Cabinet and The Specialist.

Aside from her work in film and television, Doris was an active member of the Actors’ Equity Association and served on the board of the Screen Actors Guild. She was a strong advocate for actors’ rights and fought for better working conditions for those in the industry.
Doris Lloyd passed away on May 21, 1968, in Santa Barbara, California, at the age of 71. She left behind a legacy of memorable performances and dedication to the craft of acting.


Lloyd is a strong nurturing force who raised Dianne when she was a young girl. She takes the blame for the accidental drowning of her adopted son, so her husband won’t leave her and gives her a chance for redemption. But a blackmailing scheme arises…

Dianne Castillejo adopts a little boy, who drowns in their swimming pool while she leaves briefly to answer the phone inside the house.

Dianne has Pedro Sanches (Eugene Iglesias) bring her a very light cocktail which is met with dismay by her nurse Andrina Gibbs who raised her. She is a recovering alcoholic and so there is a question as to whether she was intoxicated when the tragic accident occurred. Nanny Andrina takes the blame for the baby’s death in order to spare Dianna from ruination and losing her husband for good. Her husband Victor insists that Nanny leave the house after the court rules his son’s death as accidental.

Dianne-“Oh Nanny it’s wrong, I didn’t think he’d blame you.”

Andrina -“The important thing is that he isn’t blaming you.”

Dianne- “Oh I’m letting you be hurt and I can’t do that.. I didn’t think he’d react this way. Nanny I”m going to tell him the truth.”

Nanny-“What are ya going to tell him that you were with the baby holding a drink!”

Dianne-“But you’re not the guilty one, he mustn’t blame you.”

Nanny-“Dear in the past when things went badly you know what happened. You don’t want that now You promised him that you’d give it up. Oh, when the baby was here it was better… but better’s not what you promised!

…You promised to give it up entirely and he believes that you have. Oh, my dear don’t you see – he’d never be sure. He’d always be wondering deep down if was it only one drink or if was it several that kept you from watching the baby. I took it upon myself to lie for you. Dianne, It doesn’t matter if they blame me. That poor wee babe’s gone It’s a terrible punishment for you to bare but you’ve got to bare it Dianne And you’ve got to keep that promise And you got to take hold of yourself Once and for all…”

Dianne is visited by a mysterious woman, (Madlyn Rhue) Consuela Sandino, who is conspiring with Pedro (Eugene Iglesias) to extort money from her. Consuela claims to be the little boy’s birth mother. She proceeds to blackmail Dianne about the circumstances of the little boy’s death.

And persuades Dianne to allow to her stay in the house as a guest being an old school friend. Here she plans on helping Dianne submerge herself in booze again and eventually has to be taken back to the sanatorium leaving her to seduce her husband Victor (Anthony George).

Consuela- “She feels guilty, she feels responsible for the baby’s death. and the drinking helps her to forget. so we’ll see that she continues to drink. And when the bottle is all gone. We’ll get more Vodka. Or whiskey or whatever she likes. She can hide it from Victor for a while I suppose. But he will find out and then he’ll be terribly hurt. and disappointed in her. He’ll need help and sympathy from someone else!”

Diana begins to drink heavily again and it seems like Consuela’s plan is working until she uncovers the truth behind Consuela’s deception when she visits the orphanage where she adopted her son. After she talks to Sister Marie Theresa about adopting another child she finds out that Consueala is not the real mother of the son who drowned. Finally, Pedro breaks down and admits that Diana only had one watered-down drink. He is asked how many drinks did Dianne have that day. “One, one drink” and Consuela convinced him to go along with the blackmail by saying she was drunk, threatening to tell her husband if she didn’t give them money. Money they needed so they could go away together because they were in love. ‘In love. Do you know who she loves? Herself! And she’s greedy. Greedy for this house and $5 million and greedy for you senior.”


Directed by Jack Smight with a teleplay by Alec Coppel (Vertigo 1958) and William D. Gordon, based on a story by William D. Gordon. The Dark Pool stars Louis Nettleton (a busy character actress whose television roles include the panic-inducing The Twilight Zone episode The Midnight Sun) and the underrated Madlyn Rhue as the conniving Consuela. Rhue was an extremely busy actress in television from the late 1950s to the mid-1990s.

Louis Nettleton was a dynamic, prolific actress who started out in the 50s on stage in film and television until the early 2000s. She delivered an exceptional performance in the iconic 1961 “Midnight Sun” episode of “The Twilight Zone” (1959) She attended at The Twilight Zone convention in Hasbrouck Heights New Jersey in 2006.

She appeared in a ton of popular television series including 4 episodes of Naked City, Route 66, The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive, Medical Center, Night Gallery, Cannon and The Mary Tylor Moore Show, Kung Fu, The Streets of San Francisco, she played Bea Arthur’s lesbian friend Jean in The Golden Girls and played Daggair in Babylon 5. She did a slew of Made for Tv movies like Weekend of Terror 1970, The Forgotten Man 1971, Terror in the Sky 1971, and Women in Chains 1972.

Her personal favorite screen role was as an Israeli prosecutor alongside Maximilian Schell in “The Man in the Glass Booth” (1975). Roger Ebert of the New York Times regarded Lois as the film’s moral compass, stating, “She has a steadiness and intelligence and doesn’t back down.” in the 1970s she appeared in several off-beat motion pictures, Dirty Dingus Magee in 1970, Echos of a Summer 1976, and in 1981 she appeared in Wes Craven’s horror film Deadly Blessing.

Eugene Iglesias who plays Pedro was a busy Hollywood supporting actor in Westerns until he moved into television, Anthony George who plays Victor Castillejostarred in his own crime series Checkmate from 1960-62 and 48 episodes of Dark Shadows in 1968.

And character actor Isobel Elsom who I feature in this series plays Sister Marie Theresa who runs the orphanage.

*RUN FOR DOOM – Diana Dors s1e31 -aired May 17, 1963


Platinum Blonde and British bombshell, the voluptuous Dors, knew she wanted to be an actress at a young age, fascinated by the movie stars on screen.

Diana Fluck was born in England, but changed her name to Diana Dors, jokingly claiming that her real name might cause a marquee light to burn out. Her life was filled with both intriguing and scandalous moments, which she recounted in four different autobiographies. Dors appeared in films from 1947 to 1984 and on television from 1951 to 1981.

Dors also developed sooner than soon can be and appeared to be much older than she was. After winning a beauty contest at age 13 she joined a theatre group. Diana enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. In 1948 she had minor roles in 6 films, having to lie about her age, which she was able to pull off. Diana had been groomed to be Britain’s version of Marilyn Monroe.

She appeared in several uncredited bit parts in the late 1940s and played Charlotte in Oliver Twist in 1948. In 1952 she played Ruby Bruce in the film noir Man Bait in 1955 An Alligator Named Daisy, in John Farrow’s film noir The Unholy Wife in 1957 co-starred as Rod Steiger’s wife the half-angel half-devil Phyllis Hochen.

Diana Does continued to work through the 1950s becoming very popular in England. But she wanted to go to Hollywood. Diana continued to play sexy sirens and was a big draw on the screen in British theaters, and really came into her own as an actress. I loved her in the underrated noir crime thriller The Long Haul 1957 with Victor Mature. Dors proved that she could act and wasn’t just robust cleavage and full lips.

With Victor Mature, Diana Dors proved that she could act and wasn’t just robust cleavage and full lips, in her grippingly intense performance in the British film noir The Long Haul 1957.

Lynn (Diana Dors) You know something else I like about you – you haven’t tried to make one pass at me. Usually, when a fellow takes a girl out and buys her a meal, he thinks that she’s the dessert.

Diana Dors and Victor Mature in the British noir The Long Haul 1957.

31 Flavors of Noir on the Fringe to Lure you in! Part 3

BRIDES OF HORROR – Scream Queens of the 1960s! 🎃 Part 2

In the 1960s Dors made her foray into television with a guest appearance on The Red Skelton Hour, The Jack Benny Program, in the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode The Sorcerers Apprentice, Burke’s Law, The Eleventh Hour, and Armchair Theatre.

On the big screen, she plays the archetypal woman in peril in Berserk starring Joan Crawford who runs a doomed circus cursed by an unseen psychopath killing off her crew.

Diana Dors was more than a woman who exuded her sexy side, she was a very fine actress as her films show. As the 1960s turned into the 1970s, she began to play more mature roles. Like Mamie Van Doran she was considered for the role of Venus De Marco in the warped horror film about a serial killer in The Ice House 1969.

She was cast as the wife in There’s a Girl in My Soup in 1970, and as a Madame in Hannie Caulder 1971 starring another sex symbol with just as much brains as boobs- Raquel Welch.

In 1973 she kept up her penchant for horror films and appeared as Maisie Psaltery alongside Vincent Price in Theater of Blood, and in Segment 2 of An Act of Kindness sequence of From Beyond the Grave in 1974, in addition to an episode of the British anthology horror series Thriller – Nurse Will Make it Better, also an episode of Hammer House of Horror in 1980.

She dismissed most of the films she appeared in as rubbish but cherished A Kid for Two Farthings  (1955),  the British crime drama by J.Lee Thompson Blonde Sinner (1956) aka Yield to the Night, and the psychological thriller Deep End (1970). Dors later said, “They asked me to change my name. I suppose they were afraid that if ‘Diana Fluck’ was in lights and one of the lights blew…” As an early adolescent living in Swindon, her screen hero was Margaret Lockwood.

Below: Blonde Sinner 1956 with Michael Craig and Yvonne Mitchell.

Sadly, Dors passed away from cancer at the early age of 52.

Personal quotes:

“I was the first home-grown sex symbol, rather like Britain’s naughty seaside postcards. When Marilyn Monroe’s first film was shown here (The Asphalt Jungle 1950) a columnist actually wrote “How much like our Diana Dors she is.
I’ve played my share of drunken sluts, good-time girls, and whores. Being bumped off is really no novelty for me. I’ve been shot, hanged, strangled, gassed, burned to death, and even pushed off a cliff. And for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955), I was sawn in half by an electrical buzz saw.”

[on Nothing But the Night 1973 (1973)] I play a triple murderess with a record of assault, larceny, and prostitution. I play a mother who fights to get her daughter back from an orphanage. I was hunted all over like a wild animal in the moors. I wore a red wig, and my clothes were dirty and disheveled, a million miles from my old image.

[comment on the decline of the British film industry and acting in sex comedies and horror movies in the early to mid-1970s] The trouble is that there are so many good actors in this country and they are obliged to work in films like that because there is nothing else for them to do. This is why I get so sad. There is no film industry here anymore and the only types of films being made are either horror or sex films {… }But if I was sitting around, as the majority of actors and actresses are today for an acting role to come along, then I’d never work unless I did horror films and sex films.

Dors appeared in Berserk! 1967 with Hollywood legend Joan Crawford who plays a scheming circus owner who finds her authority challenged when the show is targeted by a vicious killer. And in another episode for the Hitchcock series she meets another gruesome fate in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was adapted by Robert Bloch from the story by French writer Paul Dukas.


Nickie-singing Just One of Those Things-“So goodbye dear and amen… Bill- “Where you going?” Nickie-“Maybe California. You know I came back just to have a look at you. You got real weak eyes Bill. Here’s hoping we meet now and then.”  Bill- “But you haven’t asked me to come along “Nickie-“Well I came here thinking I’d have to, but I don’t need you anymore the boomerang’s broken baby’ Bill-“You wanna bet!” Nickie “Uhuh, It was great fun, but it was just one of those things.”


Run for Doom was directed by Bernard Girard with a screenplay by Henry Slesar adapted from Henry Kane’s novel – Run for Doom. The episode was broadcasted on CBS on May 17, 1963.

Diana Dors as the voluptuous torch singer Nickie is not what she seems. She is a dangerous and manipulative femme fatale who eats through men and spits them out like watermelon seeds. Nickie will always return to her piano player boyfriend Scott Brady as Billy Floyd.

Dr. Don Reed (John Gavin) is a young, idealistic doctor who falls in love with Nickie Carroll (Diana Dors), a beautiful nightclub singer, despite warnings from his ailing father and her resolute bandleader boyfriend that she is no damn good. She puts her hooks into the young, naive doctor but she’s only interested in his money.

The show opens with Nickie singing “Just One of Those Things,” the 1935 Cole Porter standard.

Nickie approaches Don Reed at his table, and Bill Floyd (Scott Brady) is more visibly jealous and riled by yet another of Nikie’s suitors.

Don has recently graduated from Medical school and is already a practicing physician.

Nickie leaves Don after they share a cheap meal together, and she returns to the club, where Floyd slaps her before kissing her.

“Is this kid gonna be another one?”


Bill Flloyd “Don’t get in the husband’s seat doc. Oh, she’ll give you a mean ride but she’ll throw ya…

…Ok here’s how it is Doc -Nikkie’s free to come and go as she pleases cause I learned a long time ago that’s the only way to keep her. But she’s mine. It doesn’t leave me out in the cold, you see she’s been married before and she always comes back to me. And when she does I just call her my boomerang baby – this advice is to save you a fall from Niagara -It’s a long way down Doc.”

Bill “You know silence isn’t always golden Nikki – it can be dangerous.”

The courtship between Don and Nickie is implied in the scene that follows, where he uses baseball imagery at the sandwich shop as sexual foreplay in a lead-up to a marriage proposal.

Don’s father Horace Reed (Carl Benton Reid) talks to him, and Nickie sings “How Long Has This Been Going on.”

Don and Nickie then visit Don’s father at home, where the old man had Nickie investigated and learned that her real name is Nadine Bryant, and she has been married three times.

He confesses his feelings to Nickie and she agrees to marry him, but he tells her, “You make me jealous, I’ll kill you,” foreshadowing the show’s conclusion. After Don tells his father about his plans, he drops dead of a heart attack With the inheritance he gets from his father, they spend their honeymoon on a cruise ship, where Nickie has already chosen a new lover, Curtis Cane ending with Don accidentally pushing the guy overboard during a struggle. Nickie immediately tells Don to keep his mouth shut.

”Yes, the honeymoon’s over.”

The bank account is cleared out…

Nikkie-”Give me back my money.”

“How is she Doc? You know that crazy musician thinks he killed her.”

Nickie receives a call from Bill Floyd and then tells Don that she is going to the city, taking his playful baseball analogy and throwing it in his face.

In the club, Nickie tells Floyd that she has left Don but also does not need him anymore.

Don goes to the bank and learns that Nickie has withdrawn all their money. He goes home and confronts her, and she points a gun at him when he takes their money from her suitcase.

He leaves in disgust after she threatens to tell the FBI agent about his role in Cane’s death aboard the cruise ship.

Floyd then pushes his way into the house. A violent struggle ensues between him and Nickie, ending with him strangling her in the upstairs bedroom.

Believing the police call him to the house to identify Nickie’s dead body he is more concerned about the suitcase full of his money that she was about to run off. When he shoves her hand aside, he is startled when her limp hand moves and the seemingly dead Nicked suddenly comes back to life as she sits up in bed like an apparition.

Figuring that Floyd has already been set up for the murder he finishes the job and strangles her with a cold clinical detachment by checking her pulse, and grabbing the money, and stuffing it in his pockets. Thinking that Floyd has already confessed to the crime he goes back downstairs confident that he has gotten away with murder.

In the twisted conclusion of the show – that usually follows with much of its charm based on its sense of irony, he rejoins the police downstairs who tell him that they only told Floyd that he killed Nickie in an effort to restrain him. They would like to question his wife further.

As the detective makes his way up the stairs to take Nickie’s statement, the camera zooms in on Don’s anguished expression, indicating that he is acutely aware that he’s been caught.


Diana Dors co-stars with John Gavin who was considered for the role of James Bond in Diamonds Are Forever (1971), but ultimately lost the part to the returning Sean Connery. Similarly, he was also a contender for the lead role in Live and Let Die (1973), but was ultimately passed over in favor of Roger Moore. He went on to appear in two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, with this being the first one and the second one being Off Season.

He started out in movies in 1956 and appeared in such classics as Imitation of Life (1959), and was hunky Sam Loomis in Hitchcock’s Psycho (1960) and Spartacus (1960).

Born in 1908, writer Henry Kane made a name for himself as a writer of novels, short stories, and scripts for radio and television. His most renowned works comprise a series of hard-boiled detective novels featuring private eye Peter Chambers, with the first in the series titled A Halo for Nobody (1947). Kane worked on TV and film projects between 1949 and 1974, he primarily wrote for the screen during the 1950s. “Run for Doom” was one of two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour that were based on his novels.

Scott Brady who plays Bill was a real hunk when he started out as a leading man in action films and noir, including 1948s Canon City, He Walked By Night, Port of New York 1949, and Undertow in 1949. He wound up having a busy career in Hollywood in the 1950s and 60s. In the 1970s he appeared in lesser-known movies such as Doctors’ Wives (1971), $ (1971), The Loners (1972), and the psychological horror flick, Wicked, Wicked (1973), Brady usually portrayed tough guys and hard-ass cops. Brady also did his share of schlocky horror and exploitation films in 1969 –Nightmare in Wax, Satan’s Sadists, The Ice House, The Cycle Savages, and Five Bloody Graves. And in 1970 with Cain’s Cutthroats and Hell’s Bloody Devils.

He also made a ton of appearances on television including 4 episodes of All in the Family as Joe Foley and made for tv movies including Kolchak the Night Stranger in 1973. He appeared n a few notable big-screen films like The China Syndrome (1979) and Gremlins (1984). Brady is the brother of bad boy actor Lawrence Tierney.


*A NICE TOUCH – Anne Baxter -S2E2 -Oct. 4, 1963


There are a few strong impressions etched into Ann Baxter’s persona. Her dreamy hazel eyes and her raspy amber voice had an expressive reverie that very few actors possess without looking histrionic. Most notable about her personal background is the fact that her grandfather was the innovative Frank Lloyd Wright, the iconic architect of the 20th century.

She was 11 when her family moved to New York City, and living in the heart of the entertainment industry influenced her decision to get involved with acting.

She already performed in a stage production of “Seen but Not Heard” and received positive feedback from rigorous Broadway critics, when she was just 13 years old. This performance played a pivotal role in securing her admission to a prestigious acting school.

in 1937, Anne ventured to Hollywood for the first time, to explore opportunities in the film industry. However, as she was considered too young for a career in movies, she decided to go back to New York and focus on her Broadway and summer stock along the East Coast, with her mother accompanying her. Despite facing disappointment in her initial attempt to break into Hollywood, Anne was determined to act and returned to California two years later for another shot at it.

On her second attempt, Anne’s dreams evolved into a tangible triumph as she underwent a screen test that caught the attention of the executives at Twentieth Century-Fox, who offered her a seven-year contract.

But, before Anne could star in a Fox production, MGM borrowed her to act in “20 Mule Team” (1940). Remarkably, at the tender age of 17, she was already cast in significant roles, a feat that other aspiring actresses could only dream of after years of toiling as extras.

In the same year, Anne returned to Fox and starred as Mary Maxwell in “The Great Profile” (1940), which unfortunately failed at the box office. The next year, she played the character of Amy Spettigue in the remake of “Charley’s Aunt” (1941). Although it wasn’t a breakthrough role, it was still an improvement over her earlier minor roles.

In 1941 Baxter starred in impressionist director – Jean Renoir’s Southern Gothic mystery thriller Swamp Water playing Julie, Dana Andrew’s love interest. Baxter also co-stars with Walter Brennan and Walter Huston. John Carradine has a bit part as Jesse Wick. The film is situated in the labyrinthine Okefenokee swamps of Georgia and involves Andrew’s lost dog and fugitive Tom (Walter Brennan) framed for murder.

Tom, who had vehemently denied the murder accusations against him, forms an unexpected business alliance with Ben (Andrews). Together, they trap animals in the swamp and sell their pelts in the nearby town, with the aim of providing money and stability for themselves and Tom’s daughter Julie who leads a solitary life.

Then in 1942, she was cast as Nicole Rougeron in The Pied Piper. That same year she scored the role of Lucy Morgan in Orson Welle’s The Magnificent Ambersons, with Agnes Moorehead giving one of her finest performances as Fanny Minafer, the romantically frustrate aunt Fanny.

Directed by Orson Welles and Robert Wise The Magnificent Ambersons is a relentlessly funereal drama of an American aristocracy and the parallel love stories within the crumbling family fortune. The film is a ceremonious, imaginative character study of the pedigree which by design reflects the passing of an era. Anne Baxter’s performance is memorable as Lucy is in love with George (Tim Holt) who like her father Joseph Cotten is fated to a broken heart for loving an Amberson.

Lucy to Tim Holt as George-“Don’t you remember? We’d had a quarrel and we didn’t speak to each other all the way home from a long, long drive. And since we couldn’t play together like good children, of course, it was plain we oughtn’t of play at all.”

Anne Baxter appeared in several pictures in 1943, including Crash Dive, and Five Graves to Cairo.

In 1943, Anne Baxter landed her first lead role in a film directed by Lewis Milestone and written by Lillian Hellman – “The North Star,” which garnered both critical acclaim and commercial success. This romantic war movie starred Dana Andrews.

In the film version of the Hagar Wilde-Dale Eunson play [Dear Evelyn] in 1944 Anne Baxter was cast in the lead role for the American melodrama/film noir thriller Guest in the House. Directed by John Brahm, Baxter plays the very disturbed Evelyn Heath.

Evelyn is a vulnerable, weak young woman who moves to the home of her fiancé Dr. Dan Proctor’s (Scott McKay) brother’s house in Maine. after he discovers that she is suffering from a heart condition and a traumatic past involving a disturbed father. Once there she begins to set her sights on his brother Douglas (Ralph Bellamy). It is soon discovered that Evelyn has an irrational fear of birds, an aversion to being touched, and protests against anyone opening the window in her room.

Unbeknownst to anyone, Evelyn is orchestrating a series of events that causes each member of Dan’s brother’s family to leave the house one by one. The family is oblivious to the reason behind there’s sudden turmoil in their previously contented household and the family is turning in on itself. Guest in the House co-stars Aline MacMahon as Aunt Martha, Ruth Warrick as Ann Proctor, Marie MacDonald as Miriam, and Margaret Hamilton as Hilda the Maid.

When Evelyn confesses her love to Douglas, he is horrified and plans to send Evelyn to a sanatorium, but she calls Dan to come and get her. When she realizes that the birdcage is empty. In a panic that the bird is loose, she flees from the house and falls off the cliff into the sea.

The film proved to be a flop. The Tagline – PRAY YOU NEVER HAVE THIS EVIL GUEST IN THE HOUSE!

But “Sunday Dinner for a Soldier” (1944) was a hit with audiences even though the critics panned it. Her co-star in the latter film was John Hodiak, whom she later married in 1947 Anne would divorce Hodiak in 1954.

In 1946, Anne’s portrayal of Sophie MacDonald in “The Razor’s Edge” earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, a significant accomplishment in a short span of time.

Baxter delivered an outstanding performance in the company of a star-studded cast, featuring the likes of Tyrone Power, Gene Tierney, John Payne, and Clifton Webb. Her portrayal of Sophie, a pure-hearted woman married to Frank Latimore) earned her the Academy Award, as the suffering wife whose husband Bob has become a tragic alcoholic. The heart-wrenching scene where Sophie discovers that she has lost everything is crippling. Anne channeled the pain of her three-year-old brother’s death to motivate herself for the scene.

Also that year she would appear in Angel on My Shoulder. However, in her subsequent films, “Mother Wore Tights” (1947) and “Blaze of Noon” (1947), she only assumed the role of narrator.

In 1948 she would be cast in several other smaller pictures, Homecoming, The Walls of Jericho, The Luck of the Irish, Yellow Sky, and in 1949, You’re My Everything.

Anne’s substantial role would not come until 1950 when she was cast as Eve Harrington in All About Eve. Anne Baxter is inspiring as the predatory sycophantic fan – Eve Harrington who very calculatingly insinuates herself into Bette Davis’ personal life, circle of friends, and most importantly her career, she succeeds in climbing up the ladder.

Bette Davis plays Margo Channing, an aging theatrical star who is stalked by a waif-like poppet, Eve Harrington, a girl from a small town – anywhere USA who is a pathological opportunist.

“In the movie, Margo finds her life invaded by Eve Harrington (Anne Baxter), a worshipful fan whose ingenuousness barely conceals her own deep ambition. Eve wants to be Margo, and with the help of the cynical theater critic Addison DeWitt (George Sanders), she will do anything to reach her goal. At a party, Margo finally confronts the challenge. ”Fasten your seat belts,” she warns her guests. ”It’s going to be a bumpy night.” This is just one of the film’s famous lines from a script filled with imperishable dialogue”.- (Mel Gussow NY Times)

Eve has a ‘queer’ obsession with Margo, having followed her all around the country waiting in the dark parts of the theater, studying her with an odd intensity. Once Eve gains entrance into Margo’s world, she refers to her time spent with the newly adopted Eve, with sarcastic sentimentality as their, “honeymoon.”

As Anne Baxter emerges at the other side of her theoretical seduction of stardom she seamlessly steps into her transformation –

“Her voice is also low and grave in this scene, she sounds tired. She is seductive, if tired, and playing into that seductiveness. This is the climax of the movie’s gradual sexualization of her character. She has now completed her arc and the viewer gets to see her physical “deterioration” from innocence to sexuality. This mirrors her descent from innocence and genuine love for acting to her disillusionment with Hollywood… “ (By Oatmore The Star Factor: Metaphorical Changes: Ann Baxter as Eve Harrington)

Anne Baxter backstabs her way to the top. In many ways, she is a sexual animal whenever it suits her scheme. There is an undertow of hero-worship, although it is mostly feigned to gain access to Margo’s inner circle. Within her sycophantic devotion, there are traces of a sexual attraction toward Margo. Perhaps a ‘single white female’ dynamic, where Eve slowly subsumes Margo’s entire life. There are many queer cues delivered by way of cagey dialogue and suggestive scene setups.

As the nefarious presence of Eve begins to reveal itself, Margo confronts her with swift verbal blows. Margo: ”Eve would take my clothes off… tuck me in, wouldn’t you Eve?”
 Eve: ”If you’d like.” Margo sharply answers: ‘‘I wouldn’t like.”

Margot to Eve- “Nice speech, Eve. But I wouldn’t worry too much about your heart. You can always put that award where your heart ought to be.”

Mankiewicz acknowledged that he wrote Eve as a predatory lesbian and apparently coached Baxter in her role to insinuate this.

Chapter 3 – Queers and Dykes in the Dark: Classic, Noir & Horror Cinema’s Coded Gay Characters:

“Although the title character—the self-seeking, ruthless Eve, who would make a black-widow spider look like a ladybug—is the motivating figure in the story and is played by Anne Baxter with icy calm, the focal figure and most intriguing character is the actress whom Bette Davis plays.” -NY Times critic Bosley Crowthers

While that performance earned her a second nomination for an Academy Award, she ultimately lost to Judy Holliday for “Born Yesterday” (1950).

In the 1950s, Anne appeared in numerous films after All About Eve before landing the coveted role of Queen Nefretiri in Cecil B. DeMille’s “The Ten Commandments” (1956).

Follow the Sun in 1951, The Outcasts of Poker Flats in 1952, and O. Henry’s Full House. In 1953 she co-starred with Montgomery Clift in I Confess directed by Alfred Hitchcock.

She appeared in the film noir The Blue Gardenia starring alongside Richard Conte, Ann Sothern, and Raymond Burr. In 1954 she played Willie in Carnival Story and in 1955 she appeared in Bedeviled, One Desire, and The Spoilers.

The story follows a grim and somber plot where Baxter plays a telephone operator who receives a heartbreaking letter from her lover in Korea, leading her to fall prey to a seductive artist (Raymond Burr). After being drugged and aggressively propositioned, she suspects that she may have killed him.

Fritz Lang’s signature paranoid ambiance is visible, depicting the criminal’s fight to master the art of deception in the stifling atmosphere of a telephone booth, as the operator tries to confide in a prominent newspaper writer (Richard Conte).

Anne’s appearance as the Egyptian queen in “The Ten Commandments” opposite Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner was arguably the pinnacle of her beauty during her Hollywood career. However, following this epic film, job offers became less frequent because she was not under contract with a specific studio and instead chose to work as a freelance actress.

In 1957 she played Lorna Hunter Saunders in Three Violent People and the psychological thriller Chase a Crooked Road in 1958 starring Richard Todd.

One night, Diamond heiress Kimberly Prescott returns to her Spanish villa and is shocked to discover her brother Ward (Richard Todd) waiting for her. Ward is supposed to have died in a car accident. She even viewed his body, but the man who is the spitting image of her brother refuses to leave. When she calls the police, Herbert Lom, the man is able to prove his identity by showing his passport. The next day his coldhearted housekeeper Faith Brook arrives. And the two begin to gaslight Kimberly. Todd begins to live as her brother and Lom doesn’t know who to believe.

Michael Anderson’s crime drama explores Baxter’s paranoia and her pursuit of the imposter’s motives. Baxter thrives on the psychological turmoil while looking fabulous as usual in Anthony Mendlson’s fashions as she journey’s toward finding out the truth – She creates a believable gradually bewildered heroine. is she losing her mind or is there going to be a twist by the film’s end. Chase a Crooked Shadow plays very much like one of Hammer’s psychological thrillers of the 1960’s they became artful at Paranoiac, Nightmare, and Scream of Fear.

Anne Baxter’s foray into television came in 1957 -60 with 3 episodes of General Electric Theater – Bitter Choice, Stopover, and Goodbye, My Love. In 1958 she was in a teleplay for Playhouse 90. And appeared in 1959 in Dick Powell’s Zane Grey Theatre. In 1960 she made an appearance on The DuPont Show with June Allyson and an episode of Checkmate ‘Death Runs Wild’
Then in 1961 with The United States Steel Hour, and in 1963 she guest starred in the episode A Nice Touch for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

After that, she continued on television with appearances on Dr. Kildare, Batman as Zelda the Great, and Olga, Queen of the Cossacks. She wasn’t afraid to be campy.

She had no acting roles in 1958 and the next year she made two films, “Season of Passion” (1959) and “Cimarron” (1960). In 1962 she appeared in Walk on the Wild Side as cafe ownerTeresina Vidaverri.

Edward Dmytryk’s Walk on the Wild Side (1962) At the Doll House; “When people are kind to each other why do they have to find a dirty word for it”

In 1966 she appeared in Seven Vengeful Women, in 1967, The Busy Body, and in 1971 Fool’s Parade.

Various Stage Roles:

In 1936 – Seen But Not Heard as Elizabeth Winthrop at Henry Miller’s Theatre.
In 1938 – There’s Always a Breeze as Lita Hammond at Windsor Theatre and Madame Capet as Rosalie at the Fort Theatre.
In 1957 The Square Root of Wonderful as Mollie Lovejoy at The National Theatre.
From 1971-72 in Applause as Margo Channing at The Palace Theatre.
In 1974 – Come into the Garden Maud as Maud Caragnani at The Ethel Barrymore Theatre.
And A Song at Twilight as Carlotta Gray.
In 1982 – Hamlet as Gertrude at the American Shakespeare Theatre.

On television, she appeared in Stranger on the Run 1967, My Three Sons, The F.B.I., Run For Your Life, A 1968 TV movie Companions in Nightmare, The Virginian, 2 episodes of Ironside and 3 episodes of The Name of the Game in particular an odd yet compelling story All the Familiar Faces. She had a lead role in Marcus Welby M.D. as Robert Young’s love interest. Then in 1970, she played Jolene Wiley in the Made for Tv supernatural horror story Ritual of Evil starring Louis Jourdan. She was in an episode of Bracken’s World.

And in 1973 she had the honor of being a Columbo murderess Nora Chandler in the episode Requiem for a Falling Star.

Nora Chandler, a former movie star whose career has faded away, finds herself in a precarious situation when a gossip columnist named Jerry Parks (Mel Ferrer) starts blackmailing her. Parks is also involved with Chandler’s secretary, Pippa Scott, who knows all of Chandler’s dark secrets. In a moment of desperation, Chandler blows up Parks’ car, only to later discover that it was her secretary who was driving it. Lt. Columbo, a devoted fan of Chandler’s, is assigned to the case.

Anne Baxter wears fabulous clothes circa 1970s fashions.

As the investigation unfolds, it is revealed that Chandler had intended to kill Pippa Scott, who knew the whereabouts of her husband’s body. Nora has a cottage on the grounds of the Studio lot, which features a fountain in the back that doesn’t work. Her late husband Al who used to run the studio supposedly walked out on her and then disappeared. In actuality, Nora bashed her philandering casting couch husband’s skull during an argument one night.

Nora panics when the new Studio head wants to sell off parts of the land, but Nora won’t sell her bungalow because of what’s buried under the fountain.

During the episode, Nora is working with Edith Head, the most celebrated Hollywood costume designer and a close friend of Anne Baxter, who makes a guest appearance. Head’s designer office is shown, featuring her seven real Academy Awards on display. Head went on to become the most nominated (35) and most honored woman in Academy Award history, winning a total of eight Oscars for Costume Design. Baxter and Peter Falk have a wonderful chemistry especially because he is star-struck with Nora, yet knows she is guilty of murder.

Anne Baxter would also appear on Banacek, Mannix, and Nero Wolfe in 1979 and In 1980 in Jane Austen in Manhattan as Lilliana Zorska. In the 70s much like Barbara Rush, she made her foray into spooky television fare with Ritual of Evil in 1970 co-starring Louis Jourdan.

Anne took a break from filming for the following four years, but she remained active in the entertainment industry. She frequently performed on stage and appeared on television. Anne did not prioritize becoming a celebrity or public figure, but instead focused on her craft as an actress and consistently worked to deliver her best performances. She made several noteworthy appearances on television before returning to the big screen.

She became a regular on two major television series, a noteworthy portrayal as Faye in the miniseries East of Eden in 1981 and starring in the TV series Hotel in 1983 that featured Baxter as Victoria Cabot amidst an all-star cast.

It is ironic to note that Baxter had to step in as a replacement for her former All About Eve co-star, Bette Davis, who departed from the show.

Her final appearance was in the TV movie Sherlock Holmes and the Masks of Death in 1984. Tragically on December 12, 1985, Anne died of a stroke in New York at the age of 62.


Janice refers to Larry (George Segal) –“He’s the kind of man who could make you do anything… anything at all…”

Janice-“Darling. My darling what are we going to do I’m so mixed up?”


A Nice Touch was directed by Joseph Pevney and written by Mann Rubin and was first broadcast on October 4, 1963.

The episode opens with wealthy editor Harry Townes swearing at Baxter who plays his casting agent wife Janice Brandt, then beating her in a drunken blind rage, refusing to give her a divorce. In the violent scuffle, he is knocked unconscious and Baxter makes a call to her lover in California in a panic.

Larry Duke, a scarcely believable toughy from the streets and ambitious actor receives an urgent call from Janice Brandt, his lover and former casting director in New York, while he’s in Hollywood for his film debut.

He manages to seduce Janice who winds up sacrificing her career and marriage to provide him with everything he needs to attain his dream of being a star. However, Harry Townes, Janice’s husband, has tracked her down and, in a drunken state begins to assault her.

The episode affords several flashbacks. The first of which goes back to the first day while looking at potential actors.

In her busy office casting agent Janice Brandt passes on Larry after he steamrolls over her while she’s auditioning actors doing a read-through for a script. He confronts her insisting that she let him do a reading… He makes a fool of himself interpreting the British part using an exaggerated high-toned accent. The audition is a flop.

Larry “Just a second Miss High and Mighty – I’ve been waiting three hours to do a reading for you and I was the first one here.”
Janie “I’m sorry you’re not the type.”
Larry “I’m an actor I can be any type you want. What right do you have to judge me without a reading?”
Janice “Just call it intuition.”
Larry “I’d rather call it stupidity.”
Janice “What’s your name?”
Larry “Duke, Larry Duke. remember it it’s gonna be on a lot of Marquees before I’m finished.”
Janice “As far as I’m concerned you’re finished right now.
Larry “What’s he got that I haven’t got?”
Janice “Good manners. Look for your edification this is not the way to win friends and influence casting agents.”
Larry “Look all I want is a chance I’m a good actor. Right now I need a job it’s as simple as that.”
Janice “I’ll make it simpler Go home you’re not right for the part.”
Larry “Why not?’’
Janice “You read the description it calls for nobility breeding a kind of English aristocracy.”
Larry “So?”
Janice “You’re Greenwich Village- the drifter type – shows all over you.”
Larry “So I’ll fall on my face, so what, it’s my face.”
Janice “Mr. Duke this is a very busy office.”
Larry “I’ll bet you’ve never even looked at my face.”
Janice “I see it!’’
Larry “I bet you think there’s nothing behind it. Lady you’re wrong there’s dreams and feelings behind it the size of mountains.”

Janice scores a huge screen test for Larry, squashing the lead actor’s chance at securing the role he was promised in an upcoming major motion picture and her marriage with Ed is also on the skids. For all her work toward Larry’s career, ruining her own reputation and the agency’s, she is canned.

Returning to the present, in the aftermath of the violent struggle, Harry Townes hits his head and lies unconscious on the floor. Janice is still on the phone with Larry, he convinces her to finish the job by smothering him with a souvenir pillow he sent her. This would clear the way for Janice to leave New York and join him in Hollywood. He instructs her how to dispose of the body down to the how, when, and where. Despite her initial reluctance, Janice ultimately agrees to commit the murder. After the deed is done, Larry calls the police to report Janice’s actions before returning to his new bride and climbing the ladder of success.

Anne Baxter initially gives Janice her striking independence later in her acting career flair, but her character increasingly devolves into a neurotic mess, losing her self-respect and professional composure as she obsesses over Larry.


”Right now you gotta come through for me and finish what we begun.”

”Ed Ed forgive me, Ed. Forgive me.”

”Who’s that, Mr. Duke?” ”Just a friend, Mrs. Duke.”

It’s cringy to watch Baxter act pathetic, beaten down by a young untalented punk from the streets who does not possess enough magnetism to cause a sophisticated and influential woman to sacrifice everything for him. Even committing the most despicable act of murder. It’s not a flattering role for her, as she’s a bit too over the top. She becomes increasingly more desperate and hysterical at the mercy of Larry’s threat to break things off with her if she doesn’t go through with killing her husband.

She thrashes around in the dark dreary space of her apartment hanging onto the only connection she has left to Larry is the telephone. While this slick operator is soaking up the California rays and his impending stardom as a leading man in Hollywood.

*THE DIVIDING WALL -Katharine Ross -S2E9 -aired Dec.6, 1963


Katharine Ross lays bare a thick blanket of dark hair that frames her face in a way that draws your attention to it. Her large crystal-like eyes give the impression of vernal naïveté, and in her prime, she was the quintessential image of youthful beauty, intelligence, and a heavenly allure that was vulnerable as it was unyielding.

She rose to fame with her portrayal of Anne Bancroft’s daughter in Mike Nichols’ “The Graduate” (1967). The film stars Anne Bancroft as the seductress Mrs. Robinson – featuring the Simon and Garfunkel iconic song.

Benjamin Braddock returns home to California after successfully completing college. Ben is most definitely a ponderer with a hole in his heart and no desire to get into plastics but does manage to fall into bed with Bancroft, Ross’s chain-smoking dragon lady mother.
He is lauded by his parents on his return, but Ben isn’t quite sure what to do with the rest of his life. He is soon seduced by Mrs. Robinson, the wife of his father’s partner, who methodically pursues the inexperienced young man. Soon, they are meeting regularly in hotel rooms. Warned by her to stay away from her daughter Elaine, his father goads him into taking her out on a date. He finds he quite likes Elaine but when she learns he’s been having an affair with her own mother. Elaine turns her back on Benjamin and goes through with her wedding plans instead. But he will not give Elaine up and goes after her in a frenzied moment, screaming and pounding on the glass wall, “Elaine’ much like Stanley’s mating call for “Stella!” which culminates in the classic scene at the end when she leaves her groom and the altar and runs off with Ben.

Despite the high expectations others had for Ben’s future, he ultimately disappoints them all. Their shocked expressions at the church bear witness to his decision to abandon the future they had envisioned for him and escape with Elaine.

As the bus carries Elaine and Ben further from the debacle at the church, a sense of joy seems to fill their hearts, although this emotion is tinged with a hint of doubt, evident in the fleeting fade of their smiles, replaced by looks of reality and uncertainty. But in that moment, for Ben at least, he believes he did the right thing.

She went on to deliver impressive performances, including her role as the female lead in George Roy Hill’s hit film “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” (1969). As Etta Place, the young woman who loves Redford’s Sundance Kid, she expertly navigated the film’s blend of humor and drama. Ross and Redford also appeared together in Abraham Polonsky’s period drama “Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here” (also 1969), where Ross played the kidnapped lover of a Native American (Robert Blake), and Redford stars as the reluctant sheriff who must track them down. While Ross’s character is a bit ambiguous she still gives a strong performance, avoiding Hollywood tropes.

She won critical acclaim for her supporting role as a hooker and the daughter of Jewish refugees in “Voyage of the Damned” (1976).

Ross was also frequently cast opposite her husband Sam Elliott, including in the TV movie “Murder in Texas” (NBC, 1981), based on a true story, where she played the second wife of a plastic surgeon (Elliott) who may have murdered his first wife.

Ross and Elliott also starred together in several Westerns, including “Louis L’Amour’s ‘The Shadow Riders’ (CBS, 1982) and the biopic “Houston: ”The Legend of Texas” (CBS, 1986). They co-wrote and co-starred in the 1991 TV movie “Conagher”, which was based on another Louis L’Amour novel.

On January 29, 1940, Katharine Juliet Ross was born in Hollywood, CA. She began her acting career as an understudy in Actor’s Workshop productions and in no time she was auditioning for roles In the 1960s.

Ross was able to secure work quickly, primarily in television westerns. Her striking natural beauty was a strong asset in this genre, which made up the majority of her well-known work. A wide-eyed faithful beauty, Katherine Ross made her television debut in a 1962 episode of Sam Benedict, and her first film role was in the Civil War-era western Shenandoah (1965), which starred James Stewart.

In the 1960s, Katharine Ross appeared in two television thrillers, Kraft Suspense Theater Are There Anymore Out There Like You? In 1963, and in this feature’s The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Season 2 – The Dividing Wall 1963.

In 1966 she had a small role in Delbert Mann’s Mister Buddwing starring James Garner as a distressed amnesiac, it co-stars Jean Simmons and Suzanne Pleshette. That same year she appeared in The Singing Nun starring Debbie Reynolds and Greer Garson.

BRIDES OF HORROR – Scream Queens of the 1960s! 🎃 Part 3

It was in 1967, however, that Ross’s career as a leading actress took off with her standout performance alongside James Caan and Simone Signoret in director Curtis Harrington’s psychological warfare – Games (1967). Signoret is the conniving woman of the world, a tarot card-reading femme fatale who slinks in and turns Katherine Ross’s life upside down.

The Classic Movie History Project Blogathon: the 60s: The Bold & The Beautiful

In Games, Ross plays one of the chic NYC beautiful people – Jennifer Montgomery and James Caan plays her husband Paul. They’re a hip arty New York couple who get off on aesthetic pleasures, collecting memorabilia and Objet d’art.

Jennifer is an heiress who inherited their upper west side brownstone from her mother and Paul siphons off her money in order to indulge his preoccupation with fine art. They throw eccentric parties for their social set friends where they get to act out their bizarre games.

Katharine Ross is terrified at what Simone Signoret receives from a crystal ball in a scene from the film ‘Games’, 1967. (Photo by Universal/Getty Images)


Enter Lisa Schindler (Signoret) a make-up rep who pays a sales call to their door, then passes out from exhaustion. The trap has been set and nothing is as it seems. Games’ ensemble of characters pivots on psychological disquiet and hidden motivations.

The couple decides to play a joke on Norman (Don Stroud) the hunky grocery-delivery guy (sexy Don Stroud), Paul accuses him of coming onto Jennifer. Paul shoots him twice, supposedly with blanks, which they initially get off on from their ruse until the third bullet shoots Norman through the eye and kills him. Jennifer begins seeing his shadowy apparition throughout the house.

The entire movie works on misdirection, and a masquerade of chicanery, as Paul gaslights Jennifer with the help of French icon, Simone Signoret and a sinister plot to murder her for the money.

Katharine Ross is utterly flawless as the whispery victim, a beautiful ‘object’ herself, chosen for dispatch by the opportunistic pair of schemers.

The ethereal Ross was ideal as a woman in peril in Curtis Harrington’s psychological cat-and-mouse thriller.

After Games, Ross went on to earn recognition in two of the most highly acclaimed box office hits, as Elaine Robinson in The Graduate 1967, she earned an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress.

She then appeared in the ineffective and derivative John Wayne film Hellfighters (1968). (She was only 10 years and 5 months younger than Vera Miles who portrayed her mother in Hellfighters).

Butch Cassidy & Sundance Kid Paul Newman rides a bicycle with Katharine Ross riding side saddle in a scene from the classic 1969 western. (Photo by Screen Archives/Getty Images)

Ross was back in form by starring in two films, both with Robert Redford. In Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), she was cast as Etta Place featured in the film’s most memorable scene. In what would become an indelible image – Ross is seen balancing on the handlebars of a bicycle -barefoot- as Paul Newman’s Butch Cassidy takes her for a spin to Burt Bacharach’s memorable ‘Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head.

While Paul Newman and Robert Redford are often the first names that come to mind when thinking of “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” it’s worth remembering that Katharine Ross played a crucial role in the film as well. As Etta Place, she provided a third member to the outlaw gang. Ross brought a full blooming enchantment and satirical edge, holding her own with her two superstar leading men, as she joins them on their wild journey from train robberies in Wyoming to hiding out in Bolivia. Despite her being part of the heart of the film within the group dynamic, Ross was forbidden from being on set when not filming her scenes.

“…there was a shot that he [Hall] let me operate sort of an obsolete camera. You had to have an operator for every camera, so it was sort of an extra camera and it made Mr. [George Roy] Hill very angry… I didn’t know it at the time, but when we got back to the hotel, the production manager came and told me that I was banned from the set except when I was working.”

“The experience made the rest of the shoot stressful for Ross, and she mentioned that it took her some time before she even watched the whole movie herself. There was no mention of Hill ever having the same reaction to his own cinematographer even though it was Hall’s decision to put Ross behind the camera. Hill himself had a reputation for being a bit of a control freak who wanted to run every aspect of the production himself. Screenwriter William Goldman has mentioned that he would ban writers and producers from the set if he found them intrusive, so Ross’ exile wasn’t even an anomaly. All of this considered it’s a testament to Ross’ talents as an actress that she was able to maintain her in-character cool under the pressure of Hill’s draconian direction” from

In Tell Them Willie Boy Is Here (1969), which was less commercially successful but more highly regarded by critics, Ross won a BAFTA Award for her portrayal of Lola, a Paiute Indian who flees with her boyfriend, played by Robert Blake, after he kills her father in self-defense.

Ross married cinematographer Conrad L. Hall the year Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Tell Them Willie Boy is Here were released. Both movies featured Ross and were filmed by Hall.

Katharine Ross was the quintessential symbol of beauty for a generation of 1960s lotus-eaters, her entire career seemed to synthesize in one sensational moment between 1967 and ’69.

In 1970 Katharine Ross starred with her leading man Jason Robards in Fools. Robards falls for the much younger beautiful wife (Ross) married to Scott Hylands.

She regained her visibility when she starred as Joanna Eberhart in the science fiction pop cult film directed by Bryan Forbe – The Stepford Wives 1975. Based on Ira Levin’s novel (Rosemary’s Baby, A Kiss Before Dying The Boys From Brazil) with a screenplay by William Goldman, it’s a social commentary on the objectification of women, male ownership and suburban duplicity, and male Utopian society. All the women in Stepford appear eerily ideal and obedient to their husbands. Ross became the face of the frightening subjugated woman – a backlash of the women’s lib movement of the 1970s.

“A lot of horror movies are dark and gloomy and sinister, but this was a horror that was in sunlight with beautiful surroundings and beautiful people,” Newman says. “It made it so it lulled you along until it finally terrified you.”

Jean Seberg was in the running for the role of Joanna but said no and Tuesday Weld was cast but decided to drop out of the film.

The Stepford Wives undoubtedly left a profound impact on popular culture. Its influence and the lasting use of the term Stepford wife within the American lexicon symbolize the notion of unquestioning conformity.

Joanna Eberhart a New York City photographer whose husband, Walter (Peter Masterson) persuades her to move to Connecticut.

Joanna and the wise-cracking Bobbie (Paul Prentiss) sporting halter tops and short shorts are lost amid a flock of Stepford wives adorned in pastel-colored long skirts and wavy ruffles, quickly become best friends, bonding over their shared status as the only wives in Stepford without a perfectly spotless kitchen. After witnessing their neighbors’ bizarre behavior and obsession with cleaning, the two women begin to investigate.

All the women in Stepford appear eerily ideal and obedient to their husbands. Joanna’s husband quickly joins The Men’s Association, and at some point she sits for a famous artist Mazzard (William Prince) who makes very detailed drawings of her, capturing every angle. After that, Claude Axhelm (George Coe) asks her to record a list of vocabulary words.
“I don’t know what they do, exactly. They draw our pictures and they tape our voices.”
Patrick O’Neal who plays the arrogant Diz one of the founding members of the Mens’ Association comes over to Joanna and Walters’ house, and quickly follows Joanna into the kitchen. “I like watching women doing little domestic chores.”

But soon enough, Bobbie herself falls under the spell of the Stepford wives, transforming almost overnight into a cheerfully anesthetized housewife who spends hours applying makeup, and meticulously cleaning her kitchen.

Shocked by the drastic transformation of her friend, Joanna becomes determined to escape Stepford and leave Walter. However, just as she’s about to make her move, she discovers that her children have vanished.
Isolated from the world and desperate to find them, she runs to Bobbie’s house and the terrifying truth is revealed. The Men’s Association has been killing the wives, and replacing them with subservient humanoids. In a disturbing climatic sequence, Joanna thrusts a kitchen knife into Bobbie’s stomach to find out if she’ll bleed. Apparently, Katharine Ross found it hard to stab Prentiss, so Forbes did it for her.
“I remember that it was very hard for me, even though they had made this sort of Styrofoam midsection [for Prentiss], It was very hard for me to stab, even something that wasn’t real. So that’s his hand on the knife that you see going in.”
Joanna realizes she will be next, so she goes to The Men’s Association to find her missing children. When it’s Joanne’s time to transform into the Stepfordian ideal woman, she gets lost inside a labyrinthine building,
she stumbles onto her humanoid doppelgänger except her breast are fuller and her eyes are a cold black void, they are soulless, emotionless, and lacking humanity. In her final moments, Joanna asks Diz the simple reason Why? Diz’s response is equally uncomplicated: “Because we can.”

Ross delivered a powerful portrayal of an independent and individualistic wife who had recently moved to a suburb where the other wives appeared to be excessively perfect and submissive.

Bunny Lake is Missing (1965) & Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964): Otto Preminger/Bryan Forbes -‘A Conspiracy of Madness’: Part 1

Director Bryan Forbes (Seance on a Wet Afternoon 1964, King Rat 1965) and Ross talked about the look of her humanoid Joanna at the end of the picture, deciding that what would leave the film with the most lasting impact would be to emphasize the part of her that is most human: her eyes. Ross was fitted with custom black contact lenses that made her eyes water but gave her that dark, spiritless look.
“What they really wanted was for them to not look shiny, to look like these black holes,”  reflects Ross. “With my eyes tearing, I don’t think it was possible for them to not look shiny. But it was still kind of spooky, wasn’t it?”
Ultimately, the doppelgänger of Joanna approaches with a smile, swiftly overpowering the real Joanna, and strangling her with a stocking. Joanna’s murder takes place off-screen, leaving no room for uncertainty.
When we next see Ross she is in the Stepford supermarket in a colorful synchronized almost Buzby Berkely musical number with the other wives, all now wired to perfection moving in a fully automated manner up and down the aisles.
Forbes chose to depict this scene with ethereal flare, resembling a graceful ballet as the wives move harmoniously throughout the aisles. Reflecting on the ending, Newman acknowledges its melancholic tone, as nearly every female character meets a grim fate, replaced by mechanical replicas.
It’s a very nihilistic and controversial ending, leaving all the replicants masquerading as the dead women of Stepford. The ending elicited strong and deeply divisive reactions from viewers.
Ross expresses her own regrets – “If I had a chance to do it again, I would do the ending differently on my part,” Ross says. “I sort of end up giving up. I don’t fight at the very end, and I think I would fight harder.”

She continued to appear in psychological/ horror films including They Only Kill Their Masters 1972 co-starring with James Garner.

In 1976 Katharine Ross was cast as Mira Hauser in the distressing film Voyage of the Damned which tells the true story of the tragic Jewish refugees, passengers in 1939 who fled Nazi Germany and cannot find sanctuary when no Nation will take them in. The film was directed by Stuart Rosenberg and Ross was in the company of an all-star cast, including an incredible performance by Lee Grant.

“Out Loud” Part 1– A Biography of the Legendary Lee Grant…

“Out Loud” Part 2– My Extraordinary Conversation with the Legendary Lee Grant…

Before she appeared in her next horror film, she starred in Daniel Petrie’s The Betsy in 1978.

Then she would venture into The Legacy 1978 where she met her long-time husband Sam Elliot.
Both she and Elliot appeared in Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969, although they had no scenes together and did not meet until 1978. Elliott had a bit part as a card player in the opening scene, while Ross portrayed Etta Place, the female lead role,

That same year she starred in the appropriately maligned science fiction disaster movie, The Swarm 1978.

She would appear in two made-for-TV movies, Murder by Natural Causes in 1979 and Murder in Texas in 1981, in between she starred in the science fiction thriller The Final Countdown in 1980.

Continuing to work in television in the 1980s Ross was cast in the regular role as the married socialite Francesca Scott Colby Hamilton in the ABC primetime soap opera “The Colbys” that ran from 1985 -87.

She starred as Suzy Hendrix, the character that Audrey Hepburn made famous in the tv version of Wait Until Dark.

Katharine Ross returned to her Western roots in 1991 when she starred in a teleplay she wrote with her husband Sam Elliot based on Louis L’Amour’s character Conn Conagher. Sam Elliot also starred in the lead role.

In 1991, Katharine Ross revisited her original roots in the Western adapted from Louis L’Amour’s character Conn Conagher. The teleplay was written by Sam Elliot who stars in the lead role alongside Katharine Ross.

In 2000 Ross appeared in the bizarre mystery/ sci-fi film Donnie Darko, cast in the role of Donnie’s psychiatrist. Katharine Ross continues to take roles here and there. She and Sam Elliott live on their ranch in Malibu.


Katharine Ross is also an accomplished children’s book author, who has written the books “Little Ballerina” and “My Favorite Things”.

Always horse crazy as a youngster spending every possible minute with them.
Auditioned for a role in West Side Story 1961. 

Often mistaken for actress Ali MacGraw. Coincidentally, they both dated Fran Tarkenton.

Turned down Jacqueline Bisset’s roles in Bullitt (1968) and Airport (1970).

She has appeared in two films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically or aesthetically” significant: The Graduate 1967 and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid 1969.

For her work in Voyage of the Damned (1976), she’s one of only 4 actresses to win the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress in a motion picture without receiving an Oscar nomination for the same performance. The other 3 are, in chronological order: Katy Jurado in High Noon (1952), Hermione Gingold in Gigi (1958), and Karen Black in The Great Gatsby (1974).

Producer Edgar J. Scherick recruited Forbes to direct the screenplay by Oscar winner William Goldman (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) and they soon set about finding their Joanna. Forbes came up with the signature Stepford style: Think Marilyn Monroe meets June Cleaver.
“When Bill Goldman wrote the script, he said he intended for it to be a bunch of Playboy Bunnies,”
It wasn’t easy: Jean Seberg (Breathless, Lilith) was in the running but ultimately said no. Diane Keaton met with Forbes, but he later said she turned down the script because her analyst didn’t like it. And Tuesday Weld (Play It as It Lays) was actually cast but decided to drop out at the last minute. In the end, the role of the doomed heroine went to Katharine Ross, then best known for The Graduate and Goldman’s Butch Cassidy.
The film was shot on location in Connecticut, with towns like Darien and Fairfield standing in for the utopian Stepford.
Source Credit: Everett Collection


[in 1974, about a film she shot in France, Le hasard et la violence (1974)] What the hell, I got a trip to the French Riviera out of it. It was shot in Nice. I have no idea how good it is. I spoke English and Yves Montand spoke French and the whole thing was dubbed.

[on meeting ‘The Graduate” co-star, Dustin Hoffman. He looked about three feet tall. He was so dead serious, so humorless, so unkempt. [I thought] this is going to be a disaster.

[on filming the last scene in “The Graduate”]: They got on the bus and Mike let the cameras roll. And roll. And roll. You learn when you’re making movies that unless something is really terribly wrong, you let the director cut. You should stay in character, and stay in the moment until you hear the word “cut”. So it was kind of like doing an improv. I’d have to say it was my favorite piece of the whole movie.”


Katharine Ross plays Carol a wholesome dark brown-eyed pixie, whose presence brings a humanistic element and calming equilibrium to the very nihilist tone of the story, which is more about two damaged souls who find each other in the midst of a life-threatening ordeal.

She dreams of getting a job but in the meantime helps run her father Otto’s neighborhood candy store. Carol is all her father has in the world. His shop adjoins a garage warehouse where three paroled ex-cons who served time for robbery work as mechanics, and hide out after they pull a heist.

Actors, Chris Robinson as Terry, Norman Fell as Al, and James Gregory as Fred now trying to go legit decide to rob a payroll office.

When they can’t crack open the safe they take the truck to the warehouse next door to Carol’s father’s shop.

They have unwittingly stashed the truck filled with radioactive cobalt-60, and now it threatens to unleash the deadly cobalt upon the city.

Terry who is acutely claustrophobic (Chris Robinson) begins a romance with Carol, as he struggles between self-preservation, his sense of humanity, and his love for this beautiful young woman. She and Terry begin a romance while her father gets mysteriously sick by poisoning.

All three men expose themselves to dangerous levels of radiation, causing them to experience symptoms of radiation poisoning. As they struggle with their deteriorating health, they also face the constant threat of being caught by the police, who are hot on their trail.

In the end, all three men are killed by the radiation poisoning. But Chris Robinson sacrifices himself to save Kathrine Ross by destroying the container of cobalt and averting the disaster from happening.

The Dividing Wall begins with a shot of Halloween masks on display in a glass case. The camera then focuses on Carol Brandt, a young shop girl waiting for two children to choose a mask. The scene, a little visually ghoulish pleasantry is a ruse for the serious tone of the story to come. The lighthearted tone is short-lived, as the story takes a serious turn. As the children run down the street with their masks, Carol follows them outside and glances over toward the garage.

Inside the three mechanics are working on a car. Terry who suffers from claustrophobia has a panic attack while working in a repair pit. The sweat pours out of him as the walls begin to close in like a grave. A car drives over the pit, which further intensifies Terry’s fear. He climbs out of the hole and makes a break for the fresh air outside. That’s when he meets up with Carol.

Carol-“You don’t talk much do you?” Terry-“I guess not” Carol –“Is the rest of your family like that? Quiet I mean? ”Terry- ”I don’t know. I don’t even know who they were. I was raised in a county home” Carol- “You mean like an Orphanage?” Terry “Now what else could it mean? I’m sorry maybe we oughta start back, it’s a long way” Carol –“We can take the subwayTerry –“I wanna walk-you wanna take the subway go ahead if that’s the way you feel about it “ Carol-“Why did you come with me?” Terry– “I didn’t mean it like that. It’s just that it’s the rush hour now…. Look I gotta thing about being closed up in places is all.”

Carol- “Claustrophobia?” Terry- “Yeah” Carol- “So does Mr. Calucci… He was a prisoner of war” Terry– “I was a prisoner once… No war though.” Carol –“You mean the home.” “Terry- “Home reformatory, state prison, take your pick. Anything else you’d like to know?” Carol– “Some date huh?” Terry-‘‘Bet you don’t have any boyfriends like me.” Carol- ”I don’t have any boyfriends” Terry– “Come on” Carol- “I haven’t dated since high school.” Terry- “Girl like you why not?” Carol defensively says -“What do you know about me?”  Terry– “I could learn.”

Terry and Carol engage in a shy conversation, revealing they know each other as Carol’s father runs the candy store next to the garage where Terry works. They arrange to meet at the park later that day and we see them walking together.

Carol admits to him that she never dated in high school and Terry confides in Carol about his claustrophobia and how it prevents him from taking the subway, so he needs to walk back to the candy store and garage.

He also shares his troubled past with her, describing his time at the orphanage where he was confined inside most of the time and his eventual theft of a bus which landed him in a reformatory, and how he wound up stealing cars when he couldn’t find a job which led to him doing time in prison. Carol is kind and listens to Terry with a lot of compassion. They walk back to the store, but when he tries to kiss her she pulls away and he walks away from her.

Later at the garage, the hot-headed Fred reveals his plan to rob a safe, despite Al’s reservations. Fred is short-tempered and insistent that his plan is foolproof. Late one night, they put the plan into action, with Terry driving the getaway vehicle. To conceal their identities, they don Halloween masks, as seen in the opening shot of the episode.

When the trio reaches the safe, they discover that it is much heavier than anticipated and requires a forklift to move it onto their truck. As they drive away, a suspension spring breaks, and they are pursued by the police. They barely escape a collision with an oncoming train.

The scene then cuts to the inside of the garage, where Al uses a welding torch to open the safe. Among the payroll, they find a small cylinder that Al opens, curious about its contents. He soon discovers that it is radioactive Cobalt 60. They quickly flee the garage, with Al worried that he has been exposed to the dangerous material.

Al pleads with Fred to let him see a doctor for his radiation burn, but with Fred’s desire for money refuses and suggests they fly to Mexico City for treatment. Despite Al’s insistence, Fred dismisses the danger and resorts to violence


Terry worries about the potential harm caused to Carol and her father, who were exposed to the radiation on the other side of the “Dividing Wall.” However, Fred shows no remorse.

Terry defies Fred’s wishes and visits the candy store alone to borrow some tools from Carol to hang a sign on the garage door. He lies to her, saying that he’s leaving for a new job in Mexico and won’t be coming back to New York.

Carol confesses that she went to the garage looking for him on the night of the robbery. ”I came over last night I wanted to see you.”

But Mrs. Calucci comes in to get change for a phone call and interrupts them.

After hanging the sign, Terry and Carol kiss, but the moment is cut short when they find Carol’s dead bird inside the cage.

Terry suddenly begs Carol to come with him to Mexico City, where they can get married and Otto comes out from the back of the store. This is when Carol confesses a secret about her past. She had met a boy when she was 15 and ran away and married him, though she got divorced only three months later. Afterward, she had a baby boy whom she gave up for adoption. This hits too close to home with Terry growing up in an orphanage and he storms out of the candy store.

Ross gives a very formidable performance as a young woman who is stuck in the present by circumstances that have shaped her life. She is strong, defiant, and vulnerable as she conveys that strength and self-determination to Terry when he grills her about her baby.

Carol ‘‘I never saw him. I gave him away for adoption.”
Terry ‘‘You mean you dumped him?”
Terry ”You just gave him away to be brought up by somebody else.”
Carol defended herself,  ”How could you steal cars!?”
Terry ”Cause maybe I had a mother like you!”
Carol ”I needed somebody to love me.”
Terry ”What do you think your kid needed?”

He walks out of the store.

That night, Fred lets Al go to the emergency room and winds up shooting him just as he enters the hospital.

An Army truck arrives in the neighborhood with two of the three agents from the Atomic Energy Commission on board. They urgently search for the Cobalt 60.

In the meantime, the third agent calls from the hospital to report that Al has died from a gunshot wound and shows signs of radiation exposure.

As Terry watches TV, Fred returns and Terry expresses concern for the neighborhood kids who will be home from school on Saturday, playing near the garage and might be exposed to radiation.

Fred assures him that Al is fine, but Terry learns from the TV news report that reveals Al was killed by a gunshot wound and suffered radiation burns. The news bulletin also announces a manhunt for Terry and Fred, who get into a fight.


When Fred returns to the apartment, he finds that Terry is not there. Carol is taking care of her father who is suffering from radiation poisoning, when Terry arrives and urges her to leave with him. She refuses and reveals that she is also sick.

Terry “I didn’t mean what I said.”
Carol “I don’t care anymore.”
Terry “We’ll get married.”
Carol “So you can throw it up to me the rest of my life. Don’t do me any favors Terry. Let me go leave me alone.”

Terry goes into the garage and tries to lift the heavy canister attempting to remove it from the area but Fred surprises him and tries to force Terry, an expert driver to help him get away. When Terry threatens to call the police, Fred knocks him into the grease pit and maneuvers a car over the tap trapping him inside. Once again It is Terry’s descent into the abyss as he suffers another bout of paralyzing Clasutropbia.

Fred gets shot and killed when he tries to escape as the Army and police close in.

Carol rushes into the garage, and Terry’s voice echoes from the pit, instructing her to leave and summon the police. Later, Terry is rescued and brought to the sidewalk, where Carol pleads for mercy on his behalf.

Seated on the curb next to Terry, Carol remains silent as he apologizes, leaving their future together uncertain.


The Dividing Wall was first broadcast on December 6, 1963. The episode was directed by Bernard Girard and written by George Bellak.

George Bellak (1919-2002) authored several plays from the late 1940s but was most active as a TV scriptwriter between 1951 and 1982. His main work was in episodic television, including Suspense, Studio One, Playhouse 90, East Side, West Side, and 6 episodes of The Doctors and The Nurse – the pilot for Space: 1999 and an episode of Thriller ‘Choose a Victim’. Bellak also penned two novels during the 1980s. “The Dividing Wall” is his sole writing credit on the Hitchcock series.

James Gregory (1911-2002) played the leading role of the vile Fred Kruger in the episode. Gregory began his career on Broadway in 1939 He appeared in numerous films from 1948 to 1979, such as Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970), and was a prolific television actor from 1950 to 1986. His notable TV credits include his regular spot on the popular sitcom Barney Miller as the highly flawed and pestilent Lt. Luger. He also appeared three times on Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

Chris Robinson as Terry began his acting career on Broadway in 1954 before transitioning to film in 1957, including credited as the ‘beast’ in Beast from Haunted Cave (1959). Throughout the 1960s, he appeared frequently on episodic TV, including two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. In the mid-1970s, Robinson wrote the screenplays for three films and also directed movies and TV shows. He is also recognized for his long-running roles on the soap operas General Hospital, from 1978 to 2002, and The Bold and the Beautiful, from 1992 to 2005.

Norman Fell is a recognizable face in film and television. He joined the Actors Studio before embarking on a career on the big and small screens that ran from 1954 until his death. Fell was Juror Number One in the original Studio One TV broadcast of Twelve Angry Men (1954). He played the unfortunate Al Norman in this episode of Hitchcock’s show, which was his only appearance on the program. Fell was a regular on the TV version of Ed McBain’s 87th Precinct (1961-1962). He also appeared on Burt Reynold’s cop show Dan August which ran from 1970-1971. He also appeared in the iconic film The Graduate with Katherine Ross. However, he is perhaps best known for portraying the lecherous Mr. Roper on Three’s Company (1976-1981) and its spinoff, The Ropers (1979-1980).

An interesting note- Robert Kelljan who plays Agent Frank Ludden, acted and directed for film and TV from 1960 to 1982. Kelljan also appeared in Forty Detectives Later on Alfred Hitchcock Presents and was seen on The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. What’s most notable for me is that he wrote and directed Count Yorga, Vampire 1970, and its sequel in 1971 Return of Count Yorga starring perhaps one of the most mesmerizing of all vampires – Robert Quarry.


*BEYOND THE SEA OF DEATH – Mildred Dunnock s2e14 aired Jan. 24, 1964


NEW YORK CITY – JANUARY 20: Mildred Dunnock was sighted on January 10, 1975, at DJ Nite Club in New York City. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images).

A “superb actress who didn’t find nearly the roles she deserved” and “suffered the deprivations more keenly than less sensitive artists would have.” –Elia Kazan

With the dignity of a weathered carved tree, Dunnock is spare and angular, a handsome yet fey-looking woman with a modest hairstyle and time-worn features. She is an American actress who was prolific in playing spinsters and middle-class mothers. Her weighty performances earned her two Oscar nominations and praise for her performance in Tennessee William’s Sweet Bird of Youth.

But the role that would garner the most praise, both stage and screen versions, is Linda Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman originated the role of Loman’s hapless wife in Arthur Miller’s classic play on Broadway in 1949.

1949: Lee J Cobb and Mildred Dunnock in a US production of Arthur Miller’s ‘Death Of A Salesman’. (Photo by Keystone Features/Getty Images)


Mildred Dunnock was a founding member of the Actors Studio.

Another of her outstanding performances was her portrayal of the painfully shy Aunt Rose Comfort in Elia Kazan’s deviant story, Baby Doll 1956 for which she garnered her second Oscar nomination. Her biggest hit was playing Lavinia in Lillian Hellman’s Another Part of the Forest. Even her small roles are astounding. She originated the part of Big Mama in Tennessee William’s Cat on a Hot Tin Roof on stage from 1955-56. Dunnock gives one hell of a performance as the “cruel and voracious she-wolf in deceptively virtuous sheep’s clothing” in The Story on Page One.

Many people remember her as the woman in the wheelchair that sadist Richard Widmark as Tommy Udo pushes down the stairs with his maniacal cackle in Kiss of Death 1947.

Dunnock was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and acted throughout her college years with the Vagabond Players and the John Hopkins University troupe in Baltimore. She later taught at the Friends School in New York and acted with the Morningside players in their show Life Begins which led her to Broadway, working with the Selwyn Theater in 1932.

Dunnock’s career spanned over four decades, and she was one of the few actresses to have created important roles in the theater by some of the leading playwrights of the twentieth century, Tennessee Williams and Arthur Miller. Her theatrical career debuting on The Great White Way at the age of thirty, lasted over 45 years including 23 shows on Broadway. Though she only appeared in 25 feature films, the quality of her work is to be celebrated.
Dunnock’s breakthrough role came eight years later, as Miss Ronberry in the original production of Emlyn Williams’ hit play The Corn is Green 1940-42.

Mildred Dunnock was cast in the supporting role of Ethel Barrymore who by that time, had a long and successful stage presence. Barrymore inhabited the role of Miss Moffat the spinster schoolteacher who is passionate about transforming the lives of uneducated, proud young Welsh Miners and giving them a chance to lift themselves out of the darkness and reach toward a better life.

Dunnock plays the prissy spinster Miss Ronberry, a reluctant assistant teacher who becomes devoted to Moffat’s endeavor. Her performance attracted the attention of Hollywood.

Ironically it was Dunnock, and not Barrymore, who was asked to reprise her role on film when Warner Bros bought the rights and insisted their star Bette Davis be cast for the lead in 1945.

Dunnock with Bette Davis in The Corn Is Green 1945.

When we first meet Miss Ronberry she is eager to become acquainted with the new tenant whom she thinks is a rugged Colonel. She studies his sizable collection of books and includes his ‘virile’ wastepaper basket as one of the illuminating artifacts she infers as deliciously masculine. But Miss Ronberry is stunned when the “L.C.” who wrote the letter she receives turns out to be the feisty Lilly Christabel (“L.C.”) Moffat (Bette Davis).

Dunnock also created the role on the stage of Lavinia Hubbard in Lillian Hellman’s Another Part of the Forest with Patricia Neal as Regina. The play was the prequel to Hellman’s The Little Foxes, which was a story that reflected the assorted lives of a cunning, bourgeois Southern family in the wake of the Civil War. Bette Davis would bring to life the treacherous Regina in the 1941 film The Little Foxes directed by William Wyler. And Patricia Collinge would be cast in the role of Birdie Hubbard, giving one of the most poignant performances of her career. Dunnock’s role as Lavinia went to Florence Eldridge in the film version of Another Part of the Forest in 1948.

Dunnock appeared with Margaret Rutherford in the stage production of Farewell, Farewell Eugene, and co-starred with Hermione Baddley in Tennessee William’s play The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore at the Morosco Theatre. Shown below are the two actresses with playwright Tennessee Williams.

She starred in the dramatic television series, The Ford Theater Hour presentation of Night Must Fall in 1948 co-starring Fay Bainter and Cloris Leachman. Based on the play by Emlyn Williams, and adapted to the big screen in 1937 starring Rosalind Russell, Dame May Whitty, and Robert Montgomery.

Mildred Dunnock continued to turn in stellar performances on stage. In 1945 she had the supporting role of Tallulah Bankhead on Broadway in the comedy by Phillip Barry called Foolish Nation. Also on Broadway, she starred in Henrik Ibsen’s Peer Gynt 1951 where she played John Garfield’s mother Tase. Then she appeared in Lee Strasberg’s short-lived production of Jane Bowles in The Summer House 1953-54. A ‘surreal and operatic’ and ‘darkly funny’ (Axel Nissen) work, starring Judith Anderson and Dunnock as manipulative, domineering mothers.

In February of 1949, at the Morosco Theatre on Broadway, Mildred Dunnock premiered in the role that will forever be remembered as her most iconic performance, that of Linda Loman in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, co-starring Lee J. Cobb as Willy Loman. In 1951, Dunnock went on to star in the film version directed by Laszlo Benedek, with Fredrick March stepping into the role of Willy Loman.

New York Times’ snarky film critic Bosley Crowther wrote of Dunnock’s performance that she was, “simply superb, as she was on the stage … For her portrayal of a woman who bears the agony of seeing her sons and husband turn out a failure, supports the one pretension of this drama to genuine tragedy.”

Mildred Dunnock was nominated for her first Academy Award in 1951 for Death of a Salesman but lost to Kim Hunter for Tennessee William’s A Streetcar Named Desire. Though Dunnock did not win the Oscar her performance in Salesman began a fruitful decade in both film and theater.

After her 1956 performance in The Wings of a Dove (the stage adaptation of Henry James’ novel Child of Fortune), Dunnock disappeared from Broadway for almost four years.
In 1957 Dunnock appeared in the dramatic television series Climax! episode ‘Don’t Touch Me’ co-starring Shelley Winters, three episodes of Kraft Theatre 1950-1957, and four episodes of Studio One 1951-1957.

One of my favorite television appearances for Mildred Dunnock in one of the most engrossing episodes of Boris Karloff’s anthology series Thriller – The Cheaters, about a pair of specs that give the wearer the ability to know ‘the truth’, read other people’s thoughts and to see your true self. The episode features Dunnock as Mother Alcott, an eccentric little old-fashioned lady who is a kleptomaniac. She stumbles onto the cursed odd spectacles or ‘cheaters’ when she lifts them from a junk/antique store. When she wears them she is able to hear her nephew and his wife plan to kill off the old biddy for her money in Boris Karloff’s anthology series Thriller in the episode The Cheaters 1960.

The Cheaters [Essay on Thriller with Boris Karloff] ‘Know thyself’

Dunnock is perfectly waspish as the old gal who is convinced they are putting poison in her tea, which she spills into the flower pot next to her bed as she confesses to her family doctor/companion about her suspicions. However, her prickly neurosis does bear warning and she manages to take matters into her own hands.

Mother Olcott commits murder – ‘death by hat pin’ driven by the cheaters which exposes the plot by her greedy relatives.

Another anthology show with a twinge of macabre was the television series Way Out. She appeared in Roald Dahl’s warped television series episode – William and Mary 1961.

Mildred Dunnock in the episode ‘William & Mary’ from the television show ‘Way Out’, March 27, 1967. (Photo by CBS Photo Archive/Getty Images).

It was during these years she delivered some of her best and most beloved screen roles in films like Baby Doll 1956, Peyton Place 1957, The Nun’s Story 1959, Butterfield 8 1960 starring Elizabeth Taylor, and Jack Garfein’s Something Wild 1961. Dunnock co-stars as Carroll Baker’s judgmental mother, who goes through an emotional journey to reconnect with her traumatized daughter.

Dunnock as Rose Comfort and Carroll Baker in Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll 1956.

Dunnock and Elizabeth Taylor in BUtterfield 8 (1960).

Peyton Place earned Dunnock a Golden Globe nomination, for her sensitive portrayal of the devoted school teacher, Miss Elsie Thornton who is undeservedly passed over as principal. Miss Elsie shares strong felt wisdom,” Allison a person doesn’t always get what she deserves. Remember it.” – “Allison, if there is anything in life you want, go and get it. Don’t wait for anyone to give it to you.”

In The Nuns Story (Audrey Hepburn is a strong-willed nurse who struggles with her place in the church and whether taking her vows was the best direction for her humanitarian work ) Dunnock plays Sister Margarita “Mistress of Postulates” or The Living Rule, (which means an ideal example to the novices and other nuns), where she gives a quiet yet powerful performance as the very serious acolyte to the church. Other sisters include our featured actress Patricia Collinge, the great Peggy Ashcroft, and Dame Edith Evans.

Mildred Dunnock had a creative presence on television in the 1950s and though her film appearances were relatively sparse, they were no doubt memorable. Her keen acting style earned her two Oscar nominations, not just for Death of a Salesman but for Elia Kazan’s Baby Doll 1956. Kazan’s 1956 version of his play was the one dramatization, Tennessee Williams adapted for the screen himself. In 1957, while Dunnock was nominated for an Oscar a second time, It went to Dorothy Malone for Written on the Wind.

Baby Doll, is the uncomfortably, subtly amusing, sensually charged, deviant story set in the South about an abusive blustering slob Karl Malden, anxious with explosive sexual frustration, awaiting his virginal bride (Carroll Baker) to reach the age he can consummate his marriage. (Baker should have won an Oscar for her arresting performance in Something Wild).

Dunnock’s part as Aunt Rose Comfort, a Jacobson hat-wearing, ditzy spinster who shuffles around the house like a lost mouse, suffering from far-reaching timidity is a spark of vulnerability. Malden spends the entire film using Rose as a verbal punching bag bullying her, and threatening to throw her into a home. She may have occupied a tangential piece of the story, nevertheless, her contribution is distinctive.

Tennessee Williams considered Big Mamma to be one of Dunnock’s most poignant performances in his play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof 1955-56, which won the Pulitzer Prize. When the story was adapted to the screen, she lost the role to Judith Anderson. While I think Anderson is a force to be reckoned with, I believe she wasn’t the right choice to play Big Momma, the Southern vacuous wife of Big Daddy Pollitt. Dunnock should have been a natural choice.

Margaret “Maggie” Pollitt – He says bull when he’s disgusted. Ida “Big Momma” Pollitt – Yes, that’s right. I say bull too, like Big Daddy.

Dunnock took on a rare loathsome role as Gig Young’s emasculating mother. In the classic courtroom drama, The Story on Page One 1959 written and directed by Clifford Odets. This puts Dunnock in our view as an oppressive presence and a middle-class dragon in aloof clothing. Mrs. Ellis is a departure from her usual roles and gave her a
shot at playing a “monstrous mom”, a devouring mother.

Gig Young’s defense attorney (Anthony Franciosa), sums up Mrs. Ellis as an- ‘unmitigated monster” A film critic referred to her as “a cruel and voracious she-wolf in deceptively virtuous sheep’s clothing.”

He is on trial with his lover Rita Hayworth (who gives a fantastic performance) both accused of murdering her drunk and abusive husband played by Alfred Ryder, when Young shoots him in self-defense. Dunnock turns in a chilling performance with her taut strokes of hypocritical correctness, sanctimonious rhetoric, and unfailing selfishness that is an unnerving example of suffocating motherhood, as we watch her compressing the life out of her son.

Dressed in decorous tailored suits, hats, and gloves, Mrs. Ellis spouts banalities, “It’s one of the great lessons of life: There’s no substitute for breeding.”

Dunnocks’ role in BUtterfield 8 1960 is closer to her typified mother as she weighs in on her daughter’s (Elizabeth Taylor) life as a high-paid escort. Taylor won Best Actress for her performance.

BUtterfield 8 (1960) Part I “I’d know her with my eyes closed, at the bottom of a coal mine, during the eclipse of the sun”

Other films Dunnock made in the 1960s include Sweet Bird of Youth 1962, the adaptation of Tennessee William’s play from 1959. The film stars Geraldine Page as the aging screen diva Alexandra del Lago. Dunnock worked with Page once again in the psychological thriller (underscored by Gerald Fried’s menacing soundtrack) What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? 1969.

In Sweet Bird of Youth 1962, Dunnock plays Aunt Nonnie the sister-in-law to Boss Finley (Ed Begley) and aunt to Heavenly Finley (Shirley Knight). Dunnock brought to the film her signature “quiet authority and timorous tenderness.” (Axel Nissen)

Directed by John Ford, 7 Women (1966) features a dynamic cast, Anne Bancroft, Margaret Leighton, and Betty Field. Mildred Dunnock, along with Flora Robson, plays older missionaries who are seized by ruthless Mongolian bandits. The standout performance in the film is Anne Bancroft as a wildly ‘progressive’ doctor.

CIRCA 1966: Actress Anne Bancroft and Mildred Dunnock on the set of the movie “7 Women”, circa 196. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images).

Dunnock and Lee J Cobb revised their exceptional roles in a television version of Death of a Salesman, for which she was nominated for an Emmy.

After What Alice Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? in 1969, she appeared in television series and made for tv movies, like Murder or Mercy 1974 with Melvyn Douglas and The Patricia Neal Story in 1981. The Pick-Up Artist 1987 was her last appearance on the big screen.

She also appeared as Mrs. Rule in the television series, Circle of Fear 1972 once again co-starring with Melvyn Douglas in the episode ‘House of Evil’. Her final show on Broadway, was in Marguerite Duras’ play, Days in the Trees in 1976.

Dunnock remained active in theater through the 1980s, participating in numerous stage productions at the Long Wharf Theatre in New Haven where she starred in Long Day’s Journey Into Night. She also played Amanda Wingfield as part of her collaboration with Tennessee Williams from his story The Glass Menagerie.

Mildred Dunnock went on to teach at Yale Drama School. She passed away on July 5, 1991, at the age of 90.


When shall they meet? I cannot tell,
Indeed, when they shall meet again,
Except some day in Paradise:
For this they wait, one waits in pain.
Beyond the sea of death love lies
For ever, yesterday, to-day;
Angels shall ask them, ‘Is it well?’
And they shall answer, ‘Yea.’
–from “One Day” by Christina Rossetti

“Minnie a few weeks ago I was ready to kill myself, but Shankara saved me from that. He gave me faith Minnie and brought Keith back to me.”

Grace Renford (Diana Hyland) plays a wealthy socialite (set up as a supposed plain introvert though the pretense does not obscure Hyland’s sophistication) who has always been used by men for her money.

The episode begins with Grace’s voiceover, which quickly transitions to a flashback. Grace reminisces about the events from almost a year ago then reaches into her desk drawer and takes out a pistol.


Grace tells Minnie about the young man who expects to meet- not Grace Renfrue but Renford.

She yearns to meet someone who will love her for who she is and not the money and status that is her family’s legacy. The lonely Grace answers an ad in a spiritualist magazine where she begins to correspond with a young engineer named Keith Holloway (Jeremy Slate) who is based in Bolivia, or so he says. When he comes to the States to meet Grace for the first time, she has rented a modest apartment, takes a secretarial job earning very little money, and pretends that she is just an ordinary working-class girl who wears very modest clothes.

She brings her Aunt Minnie (Dunnock) who acts as guardian of this lost waif, to her humble apartment to let her into her secret life as a simple girl. But Minnie is skeptical about Grace’s orderly ruse. Dunnock is proficient in portraying women with a classy reserve, and in Beyond the Sea of Death she wields her protective essentiality like a white glove.

Grace “Here, her clothes are nice but inexpensive.”

Minnie “Well what she needs is an inexpensive straight jacket.’’
Grace ‘’Would you say that this apartment looks right for a girl in my situation?’’
Minnie ‘’In your situation I’d put padding on the walls.’’
Grace ‘’Minnie this is where he is coming to dinner.’’
Minnie ‘’Who?’’
Grace shows her a letter from Keith.
Minnie ‘’Who is he?’’
Grace ‘’I suppose you’d call him a pen pal.’’
Minnie ‘’I think I’d better sit down.’’

Grace “I know him. I know all about him.”

She tells Minnie that she put an ad in an Occult magazine five months ago, which already sets up the notion that Grace has always held an interest in spiritualism and the supernatural.

Minnie ‘’What sort of magazine?’’
Grace ‘’The World Beyond personal column.’’
Minnie ‘’That spooky spirit magazine you read?’’
Grace ‘’Minnie it’s not a spirit magazine, it deals with things like Oriental philosophy.’’
Minnie ‘’And you answered it?’’
Grace ‘’Yes but he was lonely Minnie.’’

Minnie thinks she being unwise but she assures her that he doesn’t know who she is – just that she’s Grace Renford with a P.O. Box.

Minnie ‘’You invited him to dinner? A man you’ve never even seen?’’
Grace ‘’I didn’t tell you about him because I didn’t want you to think I was being foolish.’’
Minnie ‘’You’re so right. Do you suppose I’d be happy that you’re having a nice cozy supper party with a man you don’t even know?’’
Grace ‘’You’re not even listening.’’
Minnie ‘’I am listening you said he writes beautiful letters. Probably got A’s in penmanship. Let me tell you a lot of bums write pretty things and they write pretty speeches like…’’
Grace ‘’Like Vincent is that who you mean?’’
Minnie ‘’You wouldn’t believe the truth about him.’’
Grace ‘’The truth that’s your favorite word.’’
Minnie ‘’Do you know of a better word?’’

Keith shows up at Grace’s mock apartment, he’s handsome but threadbare. She awkwardly tries to serve up a meal but winds up burning the steaks and screwing up the coffee.

Keith retrieves a volume of Christina Rossetti’s poetry from the bookshelf and begins reading aloud, laying the groundwork for the significance of her poem – the episode’s title – later on.

During the conversation with Grace, Keith shares his fascination with spiritualism, which was sparked during his time in New Delhi. He describes a peculiar sensation of being transported to another realm while exploring the mountains of Bolivia.

Drawing from the Rossetti book once more, Keith quotes the line “beyond the sea of death,” further hinting at the future significance of this verse.

Minnie knows something isn’t quite right with this Keith. When Grace and Keith get engaged, she tells him about her true identity.

Keith insists that he is not interested in her money and that he has his own business ventures in Bolivia.

The proposal.

“Nobody buys me a job. I never made a cent that I didn’t work for or earned.”

Ignoring Minnie’s advice to proceed with caution, Grace succumbs to her emotions and accepts Keith’s marriage proposal while standing on a romantic overlook that offers breathtaking views of San Francisco. The mention of the Rossetti poem resurfaces as Keith bids farewell to Grace, seemingly preparing to embark on his journey back to Bolivia.

Keith returns to South America, planning on having Grace join him soon. But Grace gets a telegram saying that he has been killed in a mining explosion.

When the devastating news reaches Grace she is overwhelmed by the tragedy. It sends her into the world of spreading grief, and she turns to mysticism to find a way to contact her lost love.

We find her seeking solace in the verses of the poem. In a moment of intense despair, she retrieves a gun from a case, her actions hinting at a deeper and more complex path ahead.

Thus appears the swami Dr.Shankara (Abraham Sofar) who can connect Grace with her dead love in the spirit realm.

Shankara, has given a lecture when Grace sees his ad in the magazine. Next, we see them in a dimly lit room as he plucks out of the ether, a message from beyond the grave. Instantly she believes that Keith is trying to reach her.

Minnie tries to convince her, “‘You’re in love with a ghost,” but Grace insists, “Keith is real to me. More real than this world or anyone in it.”

Dr. Shankara tells Grace that Keith is in a state of limbo and that she can help him cross over to the other side and agrees so she can be reunited with him.

Minnie-“If he’s a doctor at all he should be giving out pills not talking to dead people!”

Wanting to shed her worldly goods, she gives away her possessions to the Dr. in order to help him fund his temple.

Grace ‘’A few weeks ago I was ready to kill myself but Shankara gave me faith and brought Keith back to me. And now Keith has told me through Shankara that I should help others. And I can Minnie. And through helping others I can be closer to Keith. Closer, closer forever.’’
Minnie ‘’You promised him all your money?’’
Grace ‘’Yes, well he’s asked me to consider it carefully but I told him there was no need for that. I had already decided I’m going to provide the money for the shrine.’’
Minnie ‘’Do you have any idea what it means to be without money?’’
Grace ‘’I’ll manage Keith will tell me how.’’
Minnie ‘’Grace this is all so wrong. You’re in love with a ghost.’’
Grace ‘’Keith is real to me more real than this world or anyone in it.’’
Minnie ‘’Alright, let’s not talk about it anymore.’’

“He gave me faith Minnie… and brought Keith back to me.”

“I don’t think I should listen to you anymore.”

“You must listen to me I’ve got to make you understand.”

Minnie begins to investigate Shankara and meets a woman who is waiting to begin a session with him. She pretends to seek advice from her. While they share their interest, Minnie learns that the woman’s story parallels Grace’s, including the exact same photograph of Keith.

Minnie’s suspicions were correct, that Keith is very much alive and he and Shankara have been working this confidence game together for years deceiving vulnerable wealthy women out of their fortunes.

Minnie decides to approach the police before revealing the truth to Grace. She discloses the unsettling reality to Grace by arranging for Police Lieutenant Farrell (Francis De Sales) to come and see her. Lieutenant Farrell shows Grace Keith’s mug shot, shedding light on his numerous aliases.

Grace drops the photo and rushes upstairs to seek refuge in her room. The episode comes full circle as we are back at the opening scene. Minnie enters and sees the gun in Grace’s hand, and assumes she is contemplating suicide until it is revealed that Grace is aiming the gun at her.

Grace accuses Minnie of attempting to ruin her romantic notions of Keith, destroying her fantasy of their eternal love, and trying to take him away from her. With bitterness and revenge in her heart, Grace shoots and kills Minnie.


In “Beyond the Sea of Death” by Miriam Allen deFord, which was first published in the May 1949 issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and which won fourth prize in the magazine’s story competition that year.

William D. Gordon the co-writer of the teleplay, started out in the 1930s writing for radio, later he got into acting and then worked behind the scene. He made notable appearances on popular shows like Boris Karloff’s Thriller and Rod Serling’s The Twilight Zone. He contributed to six episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

Alf Kjellin directed one episode of the half-hour Hitchcock series Coming Home and eleven episodes of the hour series.

Diana Hyland as Grace, possesses striking features with her beautiful blue eyes and blonde hair. It becomes a challenge to imagine her struggling to find a husband, as the story initially depicts her as plain, shy, and socially awkward. However, Hyland gracefully adapts to the role, delivering a poignant portrayal of a woman engulfed in hopelessness.

Hyland established herself primarily in the realm of television from 1955 to 1977. Apart from her appearance in this episode of “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour,” she also graced the screens of “The Twilight Zone” in a particularly haunting episode Spur of the Moment which features her older black-cloaked doppelganger riding a horse pursuing her screaming ‘Anne’. It is poetic ad nightmarish and Hyland seems to grasp haunting scenarios quite well.

She also enjoyed a regular role on the series “Peyton Place” from 1968 to 1969.

Off-screen, Hyland had a notable romantic involvement with John Travolta, whom she met while filming the TV movie The Boy in the Plastic Bubble in 1976. Tragically, at the age of 41 Hyland’s life was cut short by breast cancer, leaving behind a legacy of her exceptional talent.


This is your EverLovin’ Joey sayin’ I’ll never be in a lonely place when I have you all waiting at The Last Drive-In!

STAY TUNED FOR PART 5 & 6 of THE SERIES FEATURING: Anne Francis in Blood Bargain, Gloria Swanson in Behind the Locked Door, Teresa Wright in Lonely Place, Lillian Gish in Body in the Barn, and Ann Sothern in Waters Edge, Jeannette Nolan in Triumph, Louise Latham & Dana Wynter in An Unlocked Window, Vera Miles in Death Scene, Sally Kellerman in Thou Still Unravished Bride, Geraldine Fitzgerald & Fay Bainter in Power of Attorney and Colleen Dewhurst in Night Fever…

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