Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Fatal Figures (04/20/58)

ahpfatalfigures01Netflix recently lost all except the first AHP season and I was forced to crawl to Hulu.  Amazingly, the episodes did not require membership.  Not truly amazing because they do have commercials, but amazing because Hulu does not make you pay for them on top of getting stuck with commercials.

But having done one thing which did not piss off its customers (yes, enduring ads makes me a “paying customer”), Hulu clearly had to regress back to it’s mean.  I just noticed that certain episodes are missing from its queue.  I assume they are not available to subscribers either because the icons do not appear at all.

Today’s episode would have been, probably the most famous episode of the series, Lamb to the Slaughter by Raold Dahl.  But no.  Instead we flashforward one episode to a an episode starring a very irritating John McGiver, but with an admirably dark ending for 1958.

ahpfatalfigures02Bookkeeper Harold Goames (McGiver) is whining to his sister, who he lives with, about the sameness of his life.  Every day, for thirteen years, the same job, the same suits.  They receive an almanac in the mail and George is devastated to realize the sum value of his contribution to humanity is to be 1 of the 172 million citizens of the country (this is back when we had a border).

That night he looks through the almanac and finds some other statistics that pep him up. His voiceover reads that the US labor force is 121 million, and he is happy that he is a slightly more significant man in that figure.  Strangely, when he speaks the figure he says, “One of those 60 million is Harold Goames.”  Why the number is different seems to be an editing error because he then reads out loud out loud, “male labor force only 60 million.”

Determined to improve his standing in the 172 million, he sees that there were 226,000 auto thefts that year. ahpfatalfigures04 We see him get into a car which is not his and easily steal it.  Did cars not require a key back then?

Realizing that he is still basically a big zero, he sees that there were only 63,000 robberies last year.  A brutha’s life could start having some meaning in this smaller figure — so he robs a drugstore.  This must have gotten him pumped because he forgets about the Chinese Checkers game that he and his live-in sister have played every Sunday night for 13 years.

How about 45 years old guys who live with their sister in what seems to be a marital — but to be fair, non-sexual — relationship.  She doesn’t seem to work, but cooks his meals and washes his laundry like a dutiful 1950’s wife.  That is probably a pretty small sliver of the population.  In that tiny figure, he is royalty!  No,wait, I mean a loser.

ahpfatalfigures05Thinking he can be an even bigger cog in the wheel, he sees that there were only 7,000 murders last year — so he kills his sister.  Well, she had become a bit of a nag creepily accusing him of philandering and “having another woman.”  Much to his chagrin, the murder is ruled accidental, foiling his attempt to be one of the few, the elite 7,000.  So he confesses to poisoning her.

He explains his theory to the police detective and seems happy with his new role in society.  He is positively chirpy as he goes upstairs to get his coat so they can be off to jail.  He takes out the almanac one last time and sees a really select breed — there were 16,000 suicides.  He takes out the pistol he used in the great drugstore heist, the camera pans away, and there is the sound of thunder.

I like the very dark climax, but he was already 1 in 7,000 so why would he throw that distinction away to be a mere 1 in 16,000?  It’s almost like he was crazy.

A good episode if you can stand Harold’s incessant whining.  The real mystery is why his sister did not kill Harold first.

For a more thorough, better written recap, and background on the production, head over to bare-bones ezine.


  • AHP Deathatch:  No survivors.  His sister gave it a good try, hanging on until this year when she died at 98 . . . cause of death unknown.
  • Hulu sucks

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