Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Little White Frock (06/29/58)

ahpwhitefrock01My first inclination was to post a JPG of the old Monopoly Free Parking tile and close up shop for the day.  I always knew I’d get to an episode of something that was so mind-numbing that I just couldn’t go on — I just thought it would part of Ray Bradbury Theater.

Flipping around the whopping — if you were lucky — TWO other channels the Sunday night this aired, you could have turned to the Dinah Shore show on NBC, or The All-American Football Game of the Week on ABC.  Strangely, the football game only had a 30 minute time slot; even at that, it must have been about 20 minutes of guys standing around.  Most worthless game ever.  But still more interesting that this CBS AHP POS.

Been unseasonably warm this year, hasn’t it . . . oh, hell I might as well get on with it.

Writer Adam Longsworth and director Nofirstname Robinson are auditioning actors for their new play.  They are starting starting to wonder if they will ever find the right actor for the 2nd lead.  Their anxiety is understandable as the old guy on-stage is the 1950’s version of Bill Paxton.

ahpwhitefrock03They retire to their gentleman’s club for a drink and to meet with their friend Koslow to discuss casting alternatives.  As they dismiss actor after actor, Colin Bragner approaches them.  He is a bit of a has-been, but was well regarded back in the day. He invites Longsworth and his wife to dinner, but Longsworth declines.

The two big-shots are dismissive of Bragner because of his age — but they should be dismissive because he is a bore.  And they should know because these are two most brutally boring characters I’ve encountered in almost 500 posts.  Sadly, their performances are not elevated by the dreary and infrequent score and leaden direction.  This is a rock.  An island.

When Longsworth arrives home, he finds that Bragner has tricked his wife into accepting his invitation to dinner.  He mansplains to his wife that it is just a ruse for Bragner to get cast in his new play.  He says that Bragner’s style is passe, that modern audiences wouldn’t accept him.  Longsworth warns his wife that Bragner’s place is probably filled with “scrapbooks, faded reviews and brass spittoons.”  Wait, what?

ahpwhitefrock06His wife is a little more sympathetic and reminds her husband how they were broke themselves just three years ago.  So they go.

Bragner pours the wine and gives an interminable toast which is merely a hint of the soul-crushing monologue to come.  He assures the Longsworths that he did not invite them just to weasel his way into the new play.  He invited them to announce his retirement.

He picks up the titular white frock and begins telling them the story of Lila Gordon.  He and another actor named Terry had the hots for her.  Bragner proposed, but she rejected him, possibly because he was costumed like Ming the Merciless at the time.  He told Terry that it is him that Lila wants, so Terry went to Lila to propose.  If that isn’t bad enough, the lucky son-of-a-bitch inherited millions of dollars and bought a New York penthouse.  Before Terry got a chance to marry Lila, he met a younger babe named Annabelle and married her.  Terry ended up being killed in a mugging, but he and Annabelle produced a daughter named Jeanie.  Lila took an interest in Terry & Annabelle’s daughter.

ahpwhitefrock08When Jeanie was 10 years old, Lila summoned Bragner and he came so quickly he still had the operatic clown tears on his face.  Lila asked him to take a dress to Annabelle.  Jeanie is a spoiled brat and throws it on the floor.  When he went back to Lila, she was dead.

Bragner’s maid enters and says the dress belongs to her niece.  The Longsworths realize this has been one long audition.

With the exception of Julie Adams, this was the most boring group of people I have ever seen.

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