The Strange Case of Mr. Hitchcock

 DATELINE: Body Doubles

 Impostor Taken Away!

We thought we had seen all of Hitch’s TV directorial efforts, but we were wrong. Hitchcock introduces this episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents from the first season, but discovers someone has put bubblegum in his suitcoat pocket.

In December of 1955, the series aired an episode called “The Case of Mr. Pelham,” with Tom Ewell in a surprisingly dramatic turn. He is an intense lawyer with pedestrian habits and style.

As a well-to-do attorney, likely making millions, living a sedate life in Manhattan luxury, with Petersen his manservant, Pelham finds himself cracking up. Something strange is happening in his life. In a prediction of a futuristic issue, Pelham is faced with identity theft.

He starts to discover there is a double taking over his life, using his bank accounts, appearing here and there, doing his job better than he, and showing up at the university club.

Pelham consults another member who is a psychiatrist. In flashback form he narrates the various occasions that he come to realize that identity theft is taking a physical form. He even wonders if there is another supernatural agency at work.

Advised to break his routine, he buys a one-of-a-kind tasteless necktie. Upon returning home, he encounters his fastidious double. The servant states that Mr. Pelham would never wear such a tie—and the man is taken away, clearly insane, trying to impersonate Pelham, despite their resemblances.

As the show ends, Hitch (in a bizarre necktie) is taken away by men in white coats—and a sober Hitchcock says the real Hitch would never be caught dead with bubblegum in his pocket. Off-camera there is a gunshot.

Good grief.