ALFRED HITCHCOCK Magazine - June 1961

“A Home Away from Home.” An episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (Season 2, Episode 1). First air date: 27 September 1963. Ray Milland, Claire Griswold, Mary La Roche, Virginia Gregg, Ben Wright, Connie Gilchrist, Brendan Dillan. Writer: Robert Bloch, based on his short story in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, June 1961. Director: Herschel Daugherty.

   Young and pretty Natalie Rivers (Claire Griswold) is on her way to visit relatives when she decides to drop in on her uncle, Dr. Howard Fennick (Ray Milland), whom she has never actually met. Fennick runs a private sanitarium, where he practices “permissive therapy,” allowing the inmates more latitude than is usual in such institutions.

   Natalie isn’t really surprised by the behavior of the patients — that they would be rather egocentric is to be expected. Her apprehension level rises, however, when she encounters a man locked away upstairs who keeps claiming that he is the doctor’s assistant and that Natalie’s uncle is no doctor.

   Imagine Natalie’s level of apprehension when she discovers that dead body in the dumbwaiter ….

   Ray Milland (1905-86) was a versatile Welsh actor, a leading man when he was younger but a fine villain in his latter days. He was murdered in Payment Deferred (1932) but came back as Bulldog Drummond (Bulldog Drummond Escapes) in 1937.

   He also appeared in Ministry of Fear (1944), The Big Clock (1948), Alias Nick Beal (1949), Dial M for Murder (1954), The Safecracker (1958), Markham (a TV series, 1959-60, as a lawyer/detective), tangled a couple of times with Lieutenant Columbo (1971-72), featured prominently in “Too Many Suspects” (1975, the prequel to the Ellery Queen TV series), and even menaced the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew (1978).

   Robert Bloch (1917-94) specialized in horror, but he could do suspense as well. After Psycho (1960), he got into TV with five episodes of Lock Up, ten installments of Thriller, ten with Alfred Hitchcock Presents and seven more with The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, as well as three episodes of Star Trek (including “Wolf in the Fold,” in which 23rd-century spacemen encounter Jack the Ripper).

    “A Home Away from Home” can be viewed on Hulu here.