Professor Donald Mason is reading from Richard III (bloody sequels!). One student in particular is enthralled. Claudia stays after class and asks if the line “my conscience hath a thousand several tongues” is Freudian — yikes! She asks if he is getting a guilt complex — it is clear they are having an affair.
Just wait until Act 6 when she reads “My kingdom for a horse.” Now that will give him a complex.
When he tries to make an excuse not to see her that night, she busts him on his alibi and says she knows that this is his wife’s gym class night.
That night, Mason suggests that he and his wife go for a drive or to a movie. When she enters the room, we see she is played by Alfred’s daughter, Pat Hitchcock. After playing a series of spinsters, maids, schoolmarms and “nottie” friends, here she is cast as the dowdy wife who can’t possibly compete with Claudia on a physical level. It is piling on to have her character going to the gym — it just ain’t gonna make a difference. She even says, “I’ve got to control my figure if I want to compete with all the jail-bait in your classes.”
Claudia calls him at home. She says she took a babysitting job at his next-door neighbors, the Davidsons — and can see him right that second. She invites him over after his wife leaves, but he refuses. Yeah, but he does show up as soon as Pat is out of the house.
Claudia surprises Mason by suggesting they get married. When he says that is impossible, she threatens to “ruin him forever.” Then he ruins her forever by strangling her. Then the baby starts crying.
The next day a detective comes to question him. The detective says that there is a witness, but Mason is relieved to hear that he is just talking about the baby. “If only she could talk,” the detective says.
He is less relieved when his wife tells him later that at one year, babies start to understand the world. That there are cases where babies start to talk about things that they saw before they could speak. At 14 months, this kid could start squealing soon. And not in the good way . . . no, wait . . . yes, the good way.
Mason sees Mrs. Davidson in the yard and she says the baby has been acting strange. When Mason leans in to look at her, she screams at him. Mason starts getting paranoid that the baby is growing up and will be talking soon. Later that day, he peeks at the baby again, setting her off.
The next day, leaving for work, he sees the baby in a stroller and learns that she has said her first word, “Dada.” Now that the tike is capable of discussing the early 20th avant-garde art scene, we see in his eyes that he is actually thinking about strangling the baby.
Overcome with paranoia, he goes to the police station and confesses.
Mr. Davidson finally gets home from Germany. When he looks in on his daughter, she again begins screaming. Mrs. Davidson says the baby is always around women, so has that reaction whenever she sees a man.
There are really no problems here other than it is just a ludicrous plot point to worry that a 14-month old baby is going to rat you out.
One negative is that the beautiful Claudia (Delores Hart) disappears from the story so early. She also disappeared from Hollywood pretty early, having no credits after age 25. According to IMDb, she became a nun and remains one to this day.
- AHP Deathwatch: Patricia Hitchcock,
and Katherine WarrenTheodora Davitt and Dolores Hart are still holding on. [CORRECTED]
- At 37, the Professor is almost exactly twice as old as Claudia. I am very disturbed by this; I mean disturbed that I didn’t go into teaching.
- The Professor’s name is Don on IMDb and is referred as Don in Hitchcock’s remarks. In the episode, however, he is called Bob.