Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Safe Place (06/08/58)

ahpsafeplace06There is a new manager at the bank. When a customer begins chatting with teller George Piper, he mentions that the source of his income is from playing cards and getting his opponents get drunk (just like casinos).  Piper tells Mr. Manett that he should keep that quiet because the new manager might not approve of such immorality and could close Manett’s account.  Of course, this was the old days before a bank could piss away billions and be bailed out by corrupt politicians and tax-paying suckers.

Piper goes out to lunch with a much younger girl in the bank.  He looks older than his 47 years, and Millie looks younger than her age of 30.  George, despite being a bald, pudgy, bow-tied bank teller is apparently quite a player.  Millie notes that he has asked out a lot of the girls at the bank, but nothing — I assume meaning marriage — ever comes of it.

That night, we see George on the phone with another girl, Barbara.  He is wearing a lovely smoking jacket over his still bow-tied shirt.  His brother Fred drops by — taller, thinner, hairier and wearing a straight tie. ahpsafeplace04 Fred has dropped by with an investment opportunity, and doesn’t seem too concerned over where the capital comes from.  That starts George thinking.  If he were to embezzle, steal or extort some cash, where would he hide it.

The next day, Manett comes into the bank to get $15,000 in cash out of his account.  That night, Piper goes to see Manett at his home.  Piper says he thinks he might have given Manett too much cash. To his credit, Manett seems to be a pretty nice guy.  He doesn’t question Piper coming to his home, and pulls out the cash to recount it.  When Manett produces the cash, George shoots him.

The next morning, George places the money in the safest place he can think of — the bank.  Not in the vault, but hidden in a drawer.  A detective shows up investigating Manett’s murder.  He asks George if they know the serial numbers on the $15,000 he withdrew.  The branch manager is concerned that having such a shady customer will hurt his chances at becoming a vice-president at the bank — this isn’t HSBC, after all.  So not only as this a time when banks were honest, this was apparently a time when 75% of the employees were not vice-presidents.

ahpsafeplace02The branch manager fires George for not telling him where Manett’s money came from.  He brings in another man and gives him a field promotion to head teller.  He won’t even let George balance out his drawer — which now contains an extra 15 large.

I’m not a stickler for logic or even reality.  In fact, the old bald guy getting all the young chicks is sounding better and better to me.  But there was just too much bizarre in this episode to give it much grounding.  I don’t know that banks ever cared where their customers got their cash.  Having a customer murdered would certainly bring no disrepute to a bank — we’re not talking about drug dealers and terrorists here.

There really is no through-line of suspense or dread or anticipation as there usually is in AHP episodes.  And why would anyone — especially a teller with 30 years experience — ever think the best place to hide money was in the bank?

Really just a lazy outing.  Still, I’m sure it is better than what is coming tomorrow.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  Only Joanna Linville (Millie) survives.  She also played a Romulan Commander on Star Trek.
  • Phillip Pine (Manett) was also on an episode of Star Trek.

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