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.

Body Doubles Required at White House

DATELINE:  Ultimate Fake News

The latest White House outrage centers on the bizarre theory that President Trump trots out a body double for Melania. It never hurts to have a spare First Lady for the most mundane duties.

You may wonder if the First Lady is indisposed, or so fed up with the public appearances that Mr. Trump has hired a legion of doubles to accompany him in photo ops and to disaster zones.

We know that Trump has a history with doubles: he was known to associate with a dubious and conceivably fake Andy Warhol.

We also have seen evidence that Trump was not averse to having his picture taken with a fake Michael Jackson. Mr. Trump even owns a fake Renoir that he passes off as the real thing.

Body doubles for politicians are a long-standing practice. We have heard that Saddam Hussein often sent out body doubles for appearances he deemed too dangerous for the real thing. There was even a movie about the body double of Adolph Hitler during the war, who suffered assassination, thus fulfilling his duty to protect the Fuhrer. The movie was called The Strange Death of Adolph Hitler and came out in 1943, two years before the alleged fake death of the real Hitler.

It would be quite easy to send in the fake Melania in spike heels and baseball hat over a wig with oversize Jackie O sunglasses.  The President would not have to worry about her slapping away his hand when he tried to grab hers.

Body doubles are in the great tradition of fake news, and Mr. Trump is the prime purveyor of fake in the world today.