Dana Edwards is making out with his gal Laura in a car parked across from a hamburger stand. I just get a strange stand-offish vibe from Dana, like maybe he isn’t totally into it. Could be because he has the androgynous moniker of Dana; also the actor is named Biff — a la the biggest loser in American literature, according to no less a scholar than G. Costanza.
After sharing a smoke, they go across the street to the hamburger stand. Laura, however, has forgotten her compact (compact what is not specified). Tragically, she is killed by a hit-and-run driver, but not before this shot which I love so much I am putting it on my Christmas Cards: Dana saw the car and the license, but is so distraught by the death of his beard, that he can’t recall either one. He has taken to spending his days in bed, cared for by his mother (surprisingly, a living woman, not a corpse in the fruit cellar).
He gets a visit from John Hurley, offering to help Dana remember the car and license through hypnosis. Hurley had similarly lost a son to a H&R driver. For several days, Dana is reluctant to regress because he would have to relive the accident. After much persistence from Hurley, he recalls that night with such clarity that it is almost like there is footage of it being replayed. Anticipating a breakthrough, Hurley has called the investigating officer.
Sure enough, Dana soon remembers the license number. He gives full credit to Hurley for his help. The decidedly anti-climactic kicker is that the detective says Hurley did not have a son who was run down, he’s just a police-groupie who frequently shows up on his cases. “He’s just a nut.” Cue wacky music.
Almost 60 years later, the dialog below actually provides a more shocking climax than the one shown.
- Biff McGuire was in another AHP episode just 3 weeks earlier; the detective was in an episode only 2 weeks earlier. Were actors really that scarce in 1956?
- Laura orders a double hamburger because like all actresses from Lillian Gish to Lorelei Gilmore, she does not understand thermodynamics. Calories in / calories out, ladies.
- Greater minds than mine have suggested that the driver should have been revealed as one of the other characters. Really, just about anything would have been better.