Alfred Hitchcock Presents – The Waxwork (04/12/59)

ahpwaxwork4

L to R: The Avon Emeralds, Waxwork.                 LotR: Lord of the Rings

  1. This is the exact same establishing shot as opened The Avon Emeralds.
  2. This episode aired in 1959.  Why was it so important to set it in 1955?  Not exactly a period piece.
  3. Why was it necessary to set either episode in England?

Raymond Houston is quite the wild-man.  He heads off to the Marriner’s Wax Museum and buys both a guidebook and souvenir program.  He sneaks off the tour and up the stairs to find the owner.  He is a reporter with a great idea — he wants to report on politics without contempt or bias, and ask penetrating questions with insistent follow-ups. No wait, this isn’t The Twilight Zone; he just wants to spend the night in the museum.

Houston specifically wants wants to spend the night in the Murderer’s Den.  He has a bit of a gambling problem.  Writing this swell story will put a few bucks in his pocket.  After an interminable and unnecessary tour of the waxworks, Houston is locked away for the night.

He has a phobia about being locked up, so quickly becomes anxious.  Surrounded by the wax murderers, he stares longingly at the door.  Sweat pours off of his brow as he loosens his tie.  He types a few words:  This is no place for anyone with a weak heart . . . or weak nerves.

So far, this is the only remotely interesting thing about this episode.  Consider:  21 years later, Barry Nelson (Houston) would play the hotel manager in The Shining — a story about a writer trapped in a confined area for a pre-determined period of time who goes a little mad and types drivel on his typewriter.

It gets a little more interesting as we are treated to a POV shot which, like Charlotte McKinney, looks out over an impressive rack.  We witness the agitated Houston going from figure to figure in a panic.  Somehow the guillotine chops off a wax head.  Even more incredibly, he manages to get his hand caught in the afore-mentioned and afore-grounded rack.  Houston runs up the stairs to the door, but it is locked tight.

I’m getting a little restless myself.  Blah blah blah.  This episode had a lot of potential. Sadly it was torpedoed by too much unnecessary exposition, a very dull turn by Everett Sloane as the owner, and an unexceptional performance by Barry Nelson.

The Twilight Zone had a much better wax museum visit in The New Exhibit.

Post-Post:

  • AHP Deathwatch:  One of the guards is still with us.
  • Houston name-checks one of the murderous figures as Landru.  His waxy ass was also seen in The New Exhibit.

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