Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Road Hog (12/06/59)

I wouldn’t mind seeing London.  I guess it would be interesting to see France.  But in the opening shot of this episode, I did not need to see a little girl’s underpants; and she is literally credited as “Little Girl” on IMDb.[1]

She is a butterfly whisperer, playing with a Monarch Butterfly on the porch of a rural gas station / cafe. Salesman Ed Fratus takes pleasure in grinding it under his shoe as he steps up on the porch. [2] When she starts to cry, he laughs and musses her hair.  He obnoxiously tries to sell the cafe owner on various salacious products — key chains with nudie picture viewers, risque playing cards, Pomade lubricant — oh wait, that’s for your hair.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch — literally, the Pine ranch (although they do not literally raise pine trees) — Davey Pine has just been gored by a bull.  His father and brother load him into the bed of the pickup to take him to the hospital.  They get stuck behind Fratus, poking along on a narrow dirt road.  Clay Pine blows the horn, trying to get by, but that just irritates Fratus who yells, “Stupid farmers!  Cornholing Cornpicking yokels!”  Clay yells that it is an emergency.  Fratus yells back, “So what, ain’t no skin off my nose!”

Pa Pine tells Clay, he has to get around the car, no matter what it takes.  When Clay tries to pass him, Fratus runs him off the road into a mudhole.  The Pines have to fill in the mudhole so they can drive out.  They finally make it to the hospital, but it is too late.  Davey is dead.  The doctor says if they had only gotten Davey there 15 minutes earlier . . .

Sons Clay and Sam Jr are ready to find the man and kill him, but Pa says they will do things his way.  Pine psychically goes to the gas station and demands to know who the driver of the station wagon is.  The owner rats out Ed Fratus.

Pine sits in the cafe day after day waiting for Fratus to return.  He just sits and stares at the cafe door, even refusing a free beer.  Eventually Fratus does return — and fortuitously on a day when Clay and Sam Jr are in the cafe.  When he enters, Clay and Sam Jr go outside.  Clay puts a hose in his mouth and starts siphoning the gas out of Fratus’s car.  They leave him enough for 2-3 miles, which would have been about a gallon back then.

Pa says nothing as Fratus and the owner do a little business.  Fratus leaves, and a few minutes later, the Pine family finds him stranded by the side of the road.  Pa says he has a drum of gas back at the ranch and uses his truck to push the car back to his house.  He tells Sam to gas up the car while he and Fratus have a drink.  As we are all guilty of doing, Clay was storing two bottles of unlabeled clear liquid on the same shelf — one liquor and one poison.  They make a big deal about preventing Fratus from drinking the poison.  After a few glasses, Pa tells him the story of Davey and how he died because of a titular road hog.

The perfectly-cast sweaty, fat-faced Fratus says, “You did poison me.”  He screams that he still has time to get to the hospital.  He takes off in his car, but darn the luck, Clay’s truck is blocking the road.  Trying to pass Clay, Fratus runs off the road and is killed.  Of course, it is revealed that there was no poison.

Classic AHP.  Robert Emhardt (Ed Fratus) was so smug and full of hate, I don’t know how he went out in public without people punching him in the face.  If I ever meet Stephen Colbert, I’ll ask him.

Other Stuff:

  • [1]  I always thought the rhyme referenced “a little girl”, but it seems to be the more generic “someone.”  I guess I could rewrite the opening, but do I appear to put that much effort into this?
  • AHP Deathwatch:  Richard Chamberlain, Jack Easton and Betsy Hale are still making the effort.
  • [2] Unlike Eckles in A Sound of Thunder, this was done on purpose and gleefully.  I actually did expend some effort to add that above, but couldn’t figure out how to do it.
  • These were the two filthiest vehicles I’ve ever seen, even before running off the road.

4 thoughts on “Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Road Hog (12/06/59)

  1. Fratus also played an impatient, too much in a hurry, businessman on Andy Griffith
    Although, in that episode he was redeemed in the end. Redemption doesn’t usually occur on Alfred Hitchcock.

  2. I love Robert Emhardt. Such a great actor. I’ve seen all of his appearances on AHP. It was either an episode of the original series or the hour long one, I forgot, but the one where he tries to buy the old lady’s house was great too.

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