Sat 15 May 2010
“An Out for Oscar.” An episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (Season 1, Episode 26). First air date: 5 April 1963. Larry Storch, Linda Christian, Henry Silva, John Marley, Myron Healey, Alan Napier, David White, George Petrie, Rayford Barnes. Teleplay: David Goodis, based on the novel My Darlin’ Evangeline by Henry Kane (Dell, pbo, 1961). Director: Bernard Girard.
Only a blind man could fail to see that beautiful Eva Ashley (Linda Christian) is trouble from the get go. Since love is blind, it might explain why Oscar Blenny (Larry Storch) has fallen for her — hard.
While working at a Vegas casino, Eva has two-timed not just one but two possible meal tickets: Pete Rogan (Myron Healey) and Bill Grant (Henry Silva). Oddly enough, it isn’t Grant who kills Rogan, but Eva herself. The official verdict is self-defense, and Eva has no tears to shed for Pete.
Hoping to use Grant as a way out of a very uncomfortable situation, Eva tries to get him to take her to Mexico, where Grant has been exiled by their boss, Mike Chambers (John Marley). Chambers sees Eva as a liability, but more than that — “a chiseler” is how he puts it, and, brother, is he so right! But Grant is fed up with her, too, and abandons Eva on a lonely street corner.
Enter mild-mannered Oscar, a guest at the casino hotel. Eva’s got his number: He’s her next meal ticket. What makes him even more attractive is that he’s a bank teller in a Los Angeles bank — and if there’s one thing Eva can’t get enough of, it’s money. Oscar is totally taken in, and it’s wedding bells for them.
A couple of weeks have passed when Bill Grant, just back from his exile in Mexico, shows up at the Blennys’ apartment. In addition to a little nooky with Eva, Grant has a surefire “perfect crime” plan for stealing $250,000, needing only Oscar’s cooperation. Moreover, unknown to Eva, Grant has plans for that quarter million that don’t include her ….
… all of which will culminate in a perfect murder — done in broad daylight — with dozens of witnesses — AND the approval of the police.
Mystery*File readers who may be aficionados of “the perfect murder” should enjoy this one. By the end of the third act, the viewer is hooked: Just how is this tangled situation going to unravel? The ending is awash in irony. Good show.
Since 1950, Henry Silva has been ably playing villains in films and TV, e.g., The Untouchables, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Johnny Cool (1963), Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Sharky’s Machine (1980), Dick Tracy (1990), and many others.
Larry Storch also appeared in “The Jack Is High,” reviewed here, a segment of the Kraft Suspense Theatre.
Editorial Comment: As Rittster points out in Comment #1, a TV play written by David Goodis is a rarity. It was posted quite a while ago on this blog, but back in September 2007, Tise Vahimagi sent me an article in which he did a complete rundown of all of Goodis’s television credits, as well as W. R. Burnett’s. Check it out here.