Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Tea Time (12/14/58)

Hat, hat.

Iris Teleton and Blanche Herbert meet in a tea room that has by far the largest number of extras ever seen in this series; or customers in a tea room.  I hope the guys over at bare bones take a look at this episode so I can find out what the hell was going on.  One possibility, judging from the head-wear, is that it was filmed during the Bad Hat Convention of 1958.

Blanch has asked Iris to meet her here.  Iris immediately tells Blanche that she knows she has been having an affair with her husband.  Iris doesn’t seem too upset by this — she orders tea and macaroons.  Iris says she is just surprised that her husband did not hook up with someone younger.  This is interesting as Blanche is five years older than Iris (at least in the actor’s ages).

Blanche tells Iris that Oliver is in love with her.  She suggests that Iris can’t want to stay in this loveless marriage.  She promises a quiet divorce and that she and Oliver would wait a respectable length of time before marrying so as to avoid any embarrassment. Iris takes this exceptionally well and says she is shocked at Oliver’s indiscretion.  She is willing to tolerate Oliver having an affair and even setting Blanche up in a little apartment; she even picks up the check.  She has no intention of divorcing Oliver, though.


Maitre d’, hat.

As Iris is walking out, Blanche plays her trump card — Robert Cressant.  This finally gets Iris’s attention.  Blanche claims to have a letter that Iris wrote to Cressant.  This time they order a couple of scotches. [1]  Iris wrote to him the day before her wedding that she did not love Oliver but was marrying him for a fancy house and hat money.  She assured Cressant that they could go on seeing each other behind Oliver’s back.

Blanche is giving Iris a chance to divorce Oliver without her showing him the letter.  That way, she says Iris can get something out of the divorce.  Interesting that the fact that Oliver is also having an affair is irrelevant.


Hat, hat.

Iris goes home to Oliver.  She suggests they go away together.  He suggests that maybe she could go alone with friends.  The next morning, she surreptitiously cuts a button off of his coat sleeve.  After Oliver goes to work, she calls Blanche and they agree they will meet at Blanche’s apartment at 4 pm.

Iris offers to buy the letter.  Being pre-Xerox, this would prevent Blanche from showing Oliver the letter after they are married.  Blanche notes that this would cause any settlement with Iris to be set-aside.  So apparently this was pre-Lawyer also.  Iris produces several pieces of jewelry as payment.  Blanche demands another $26,000 and gives Iris half of the letter as security.  All this is pointless, though, as Iris shoots Blanche with Oliver’s gun and plants the button as evidence.


Hat, hat, hat, hat.

Iris goes to Oliver’s office.  She overhears Oliver talking on the phone to a PI named Harper who saw her go to Blanche’s apartment.  She also hears that Oliver already knew about Cressant and has the original letter in his safe.  He hangs up with Harper and speaks to someone unseen in his office.  He tells her that he could never have married Blanche, but she was well-compensated to pull this ruse.  A blonde floozy comes out of Oliver’s office and Iris realizes it was all for nothing.

It was very clever to include the conversation with Harper in the script.  Otherwise, Iris would still be in good shape — Blanche dead and her husband in jail.


Hat, hat, hat, hat, Maitre d’, hat.


  • [1] The drinks brought to them must be Crystal Scotch as they are clear. Also, the drinks are served in tumblers.  I thought I was the only one to drink scotch like that.
  • AHP Deathwatch:  Marsha Hunt is still with us.
  • Fritz Feld was also credited as Maitre d’ in Amazing Stories, History of the World Part 1, Silent Movie, The Odd Couple, Way Way Out, Herbie Rides Again, The Patsy, Paris Playboys, and Skylark.  He also played an insanely long list of waiters.

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