Alfred Hitchcock Presents – And the Desert Shall Blossom (12/21/58)

ahpdesertblossom16Sheriff Jeff rides out to the Tom & Ben’s shack in the desert.  The town council is concerned about the two old coots living with no visible means of support.  They claim to be homesteaders but can provide no evidence of being farmers or prospectors.

Sigh . . . this is a pretty thin story that relies on a ludicrous plot-point and has a familiar ending.  There just isn’t much to grab onto here.

The Sheriff assures them that the town council just has their welfare in mind.  The fact that this beautiful location would be the perfect spot for a red rock spa resort surely plays no role in their decision, and is not mentioned here.  And where is this utopia where the government is so concerned about old people who pay no taxes and give no campaign contributions?

ahpdesertblossom13The Sheriff is on their side and just needs some evidence, any evidence that they are really homesteaders — say, growing a single crop or mining enough gold to sustain them.  The absurd plot-point is that they finally agree that if the geezers can grow a single rose bush that flowers, they can can technically be considered farmers.  Are we sure these guys aren’t making campaign contributions?  That kind of sleazy technicality is the essence of politics.

As luck would have it, they get a visitor.  A stranger’s car breaks down just in front of their shack.  The old guys tell the man — credited spoilerifically as Killer on IMDb — that the nearest town is 47 miles away.  They claim they can walk it in a day and a half which seems unlikely.  Killer pulls a gun and insists that they lead him to town.  Tom — or Ben, it really doesn’t matter — gets his hand on a pistol and shoots Killer with one of those AHP patented one-shot kills.  This series wounds less people than Jack Bauer.

ahpdesertblossom30One month later, the Sheriff comes by again looking for Killer.  He doesn’t find Killer, but the boys do show him a thriving rose bush on top of a burial plot-shaped mound of dirt.

In Alfred Hitchcock’s closing remarks, as usual, he assures the audience — and by audience, I mean FCC —  that the old fellows were caught and punished.  In an unusual departure, however, he actually says that after using Killer for fertilizer, they continued the practice with other criminals and innocent passersby.

That comment and the camaraderie of the guys are the only reasons to sit through this episode.  I rate it 17.5 out of Isaiah 35.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  No survivors.
  • Title Analysis: Very good.  Streamlined from the source, but still identifiable.  Even more on-point if you look at the original.
  • Killer played Chief Bell in The Thirty-Fathom Grave.

4 thoughts on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents – And the Desert Shall Blossom (12/21/58)

  1. Your wry review was great fun, but not as fun as this episode of AHP, to which I keep returning, as I do to nearly all of the seven seasons’ worth of them. I feel bad you don’t seem to enjoy this series as much as I do. For me, perhaps the greatest attraction is the canned musical underscoring, much of it recycled in many episodes of this as well as earlier 50s TV series. But I just never get tired of how well it all works. Thanks again!

    • I’m sorry to hear I come across that way. I think I have posted that AHP really is my oasis. I know it is always going to be pretty good amid rubbish like The Hitchhiker and Ray Bradbury Theatre. That said, I guess I see the shows each having their own bell curve. If I say an AHP is iffy, it is still better than any Tales of Tomorrow.

      • Well put, and sorry to take so long to reply. Last week I read your response to “The Young One.”. Bull’s-eye!

        I became an AHP fanatic sometime back around 1990, just before Nick at Nite ran their Halloween marathon. Back when we were all still depending on videotape to create our libraries. More particularly I’m a perpetual student of the scenic underscoring. Not only is this very polished stock music recycled throughout the run of the show. But, too, you hear it previously & expertly used in earlier shows, such as State Trooper, which is on the AHP level of storytelling. Even the potboiler film Wicked Woman (fun to watch over & over), contains themes which find their way into several AHP episodes, even a few who don’t have anything in common with the lurid sensuality of that movie.

        In re Tales of Tomorrow, the production quality & video preservation are so poor, they sabotage any concern for their ideas.

        • Thanks for following up! I wish I had your ear for the scoring.

          I just watched the first few seconds of Wicked Woman on You Tube. I like how the bus is speeding down the highway, then pulls onto the shoulder and slows to almost a rolling-stop so we can get a close-up of (I assume) the titular star. In a split second, it takes off again. There was no way for anyone to get off, and indeed there is no one left behind — it was just to get the close-up. I love it already! Seems like a gag the Naked Gun TV show would have used. I’ll have to watch the rest later.

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