OK, I’m just not understanding anything about this one. Alfred Hitchcock Presents has been my refuge from the frequent non-stories of Ray Bradbury Theater, the often hokey mess of Night Gallery, the uneven tone Tales From the Crypt, and frankly the 60 minutes of Outer Limits (which is usually pretty good, but it’s still an hour of my life). AHP has a great track record for being interesting, logical and pretty leanly written.
Gangsta Eddie Slovak has called a TV repairman (a guy who used to actually come to your house and fix your TV). His wife is baffled that Slovak intentionally sabotaged the set, then called a repair shop in far away Queens.
Repairman Pete Williams rings the bell, so the appointment must have been three hours earlier. Eddie opens the door and both men are all smiles as they recognize each other as old army buddies.
Slovak’s wife Faye rats him out for purposely busting the TV so he could call Pete to take a look at it. After she leaves, Slovak tears into Pete. He wants Williams to call him a coward for his actions in Korea. Williams seems like a nice guy and says he hasn’t thought about that incident in years. Slovak says he hasn’t forgotten for one day that he “went chicken one day” and Pete covered for him at risk to his own career.
The titular percentage is the edge that Slovak thinks Pete has on him by keeping this little secret of his cowardice. He offers Pete big money, even a house to make them even in his mind. The more Slovak offers, the more Eddie insists he doesn’t want anything except what he can earn on his own. He is perfectly happy with his modest life.
Slovak is baffled by that and wants to know how much it would cost to keep quiet about him being chicken. “I gotta pay you back!” he yells at Pete.
They agree to go out to dinner with their wives and he tells Pete’s wife he wants to put some big money in Pete’s pocket. His wife tries to talk Pete into taking the money, but he just won’t accept anything he hasn’t earned. When Slovak goes to see Pete’s wife to see how it went, she is all over him.
A few days later, Pete’s wife invites Slovak over to talk about how to get Pete to take the money, and also to fool around. Slovak is really only interested in evening up the percentage. When Louise says she has not really talked to Pete about accepting the money, Eddie kills her.
Slovak is caught red-handed by Pete. Slovak says to Pete that they are even now. “She made a play for me and I did the best thing I knew. For your sake, Pete. All for you. She was no good.” Slovak implores Pete to make up a story to protect them both just like he did in Korea. So he thinks he did Pete a favor by killing his wife who he clearly adored? Pete rats him out to the police immediately.
Everyone did their job, but maybe they should have saved this one for the hour-long season of AHP.
- AHP Deathwatch: The two wives are still alive. Don Keefer (Pete Williams) just died last year at 98.
- Slovak was possibly named for Eddie Slovik, the only American to be executed for desertion since the Civil War.
- Nice guy Eddie could have been named for Nice Guy Eddie, except Eddie was a dick here — Pete was the nice guy. And Nice Guy Eddie came along 30 years later.