Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Canary Sedan (06/15/58)

ahpcanarysedan02On board a literal slow boat to China, Laura Bowlby is using a Ouija Board to steal money from unsuspecting rubes, much like the producers of Ouija.  Her husband James St. George Bernard Bowlby has invited her to be with him in Hong Kong where is he working for a bank which I’m sure is entirely reputable.

We see her do a reading with an Asian man for which he lauds her. Her performance is impressive as the Ouija Board produces an answer in Chinese, which she does not speak; and even more impressive, as there are no Chinese characters on the board.  She also established her bona fides earlier by telling the bartender where he was born.

Laura is greeted at the port by her husband who immediately has to take off to oversee an acquisition.  He leaves Laura with is assistant and asks him to order her cards with her name engraved on them.  Apparently, this is a thing in Hong Kong — new people give out cards of introduction.  As the cards read Mrs. J. St. G. B. Bowlby, they really aren’t much of an introduction for Laura.

ahpcanarysedan04He tells Thompson to rent a car and driver from Nixon’s Garage as he is a reliable fellow.  I wonder if this was some sort of sly political reference to buying a used car from then Vice-President Richard Nixon.  He suggests a sight-seeing drive to Repulse Bay which is a real place and must be better than it sounds.

At the garage, Laura is immediately draw to a particular car.  She says she would like it better if it were canary yellow.  The salesman tells her it originally was that color.  So apparently she is a Silver Ghost-Whisperer also.

Laura (Jessica Tandy) gets in the car and begins her 30-year career of being driven around by non-white men.  Along the way, she hears a ghostly voice say, “You’re so silly Jacques.”  It is implied that the voice is coming from a flower in a sconce in the car.


AHP (1958), Driving Miss Daisy (1989)

The next day, James St. George Bernard is back in town.  The Bowlby’s are riding in the car and Laura says, “I’m sorry I upset you Jim, about the car.”  James St. George Bernard replies, “Oh, I just felt it was too big for our needs.”  So the script seems to indicate this is different car.  However, it looks the same, the upholstery is the same, and it has the same sconce with a talking flower in it.  A different car is not necessary to the story, so I am baffled by this reference.

She takes the flower from the sconce and hears voices again.  This time, the woman’s voice describes her house and the driver is able to find it for Laura.  An old man answers and says there is no woman there.  After the man closes his door, as in every post on this blog, Laura feels free to open a gate to his China Garden (not the one by the airport) and walk right in.

ahpcanarysedan07It is a lovely garden with a brook, a bridge, some sort of exotic bird.  It’s all fun and games if you describe fun as breaking and games as entering. Laura is all smiles until she sees a carved stone by the water.

Sweetest Love, I do not go, For weariness of thee, They who one another keep alive,

Ne’er parted be.

Which is more fun and games if you define fun as cheating and games as bastard.  The inscription at the bottom is ADA and JstGBB.  She had determined that the disembodied voice was a woman named d’Ardennes (I’m not sure A first name was mentioned), and of course, we now understand the point of the writer giving her husband that ridiculously unique moniker.

Not a lot going on here, but it is a unique episode in that there is a supernatural element which is never exposed as fakery.  There still are questions, though.  Why was the flower the conduit for the voices?  Didn’t Francois (husband of Madam A. d’Ardennes) object to having another man’s love for his wife carved into a rock in his garden?

Nothing great going on here, and I’m disappointed to see AHP stray into the paranormal. Still, Jessica Tandy was quite good and the stock footage of Hong Know was nicely cut in.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  Once again, Nixon got the last laugh.
  • OK, the driver is still alive also.

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