Alfred Hitchcock Presents – Vicious Circle (S2E29)

Dick York plays young tough Manny Coe . . . well, we can stop right there.  Dick York’s appearance in this role belongs in the Miscasting Hall of Fame.  When he walks in to the gangsta’s apartment and pulls a gun on him, the incongruity between that act and his gaunt boyish mug, pencil-neck, reedy voice, and loosely-hanging leather jacket is absurd.  There is a reason Dick York was cast as the panicky husband in Bewitched — he is not a bundle of confidence and gravitas.  This is like the time George-Michael bought the leather jacket on Arrested Development.

He calmly shoots the gangsta, Boss William’s former deputy who has botched a heist.  His girlfriend sees the murder in the paper and asks him about it.  He says he hasn’t killed anybody.  He lays her down and starts kissing her, no more convincing in this scene than the last.  Of course, how he bagged Samantha on Bewitched was also a great TV mystery of LOSTian proportions.  She wants him to get out of “da life” and get a real job, away from Mr. Williams.

ahpviscious03York storms out of the apartment and sees Russell Johnson on the stoop playing a harmonica — another huge casting blunder.  Like York, he would later go on to a role that he portrayed to perfection, the Professor on Gilligan’s Island.  But here playing a hipster named Turk, saying “man”, it just doesn’t work.

York goes to Boss William’s penthouse and is offered the job as the boss’s new deputy.  Strangely, during the interview, York pours some liquid into a tiny glass too small for a demitasse, or a shot, or even a demi-shot.  He hands it to Williams who uses it as an eyewash.  Hunh?  Maybe whatever he was doing was commonplace in the 50’s.  And, oh by the way, he tells York that his girlfriend must be killed.

Seems Williams fears Betty is a rat, and all rats have to suck the pipe (in the words of Dennis Miller).  Sadly, Williams is being 100% figurative.  A mere 50% figurative would have been a treat for York.  He gets as far as pulling a gun on her, but can’t pull the trigger.  She swats the gun away and runs away.  Unfortunately, she is hit by a car and killed.  Williams compliments York on making the death look like an accident.

1950's booty call.

1950’s booty call.

Unfortunately, York is not so lucky on his next assignment and botches the job.  Soon he has a visitor at his apartment — a short, even younger kid with ambition and an ill-fitting leather jacket.  At least this kid seems to have a short-man’s complex chip on his shoulder, so he is slightly more menacing.  You know, in that silly short-man way.

Hence the titular Vicious Circle.


  • AHP Deathwatch:  Only Kathleen Hughes and Mickey Kuhn are still with us.
  • Based on the eyewashes and dark glasses, I diagnose Boss Williams as having conjunctivitis aka pink eye.  I appreciate that it was part pf the scene, but was never commented on.  This is not Chekhov’s Eyewash.

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