Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Anne Francis

            On Sunday I spent most of the day writing about and posting my latest food bank adventure. I had planned on taking a bike ride in the afternoon but it was just starting to gently rain when I woke up from my siesta, so I decided not to go.
            That afternoon I received an email from Cy Strom, forwarding an email from a cousin of Tom Phillips letting people know that Tom is in his last days and perhaps hours. I noticed that the hospital where he’s staying is just down the street from me and so I promised myself I’d go see him the next day.
            Speaking of quirky old men, that night I watched an Alfred Hitchcock Hour teleplay about a fun loving elderly toy tycoon named Teddy that hires a very competent male secretary named John who has eyes for Teddy’s young and beautiful wife, Peg. One of Teddy’s quirks is that all rather than communicating with Teddy by way of a phone extension, his receptionist has to load messages on a toy train that travels through the wall into Teddy’s office. Teddy starts his interview with John by giving him a plastic bat and lobbing balls at him with a pitching machine. When John strikes out Teddy tells him that he has failed the interview. John is on the way out the door when Teddy shouts “April fool!” At first Peg didn’t want Teddy to hire John because John had seen her cheating on her husband, but Teddy hires him anyway. Teddy’s home and place of business are in the same building but the elevator stalls sometimes when a fuse is blown. When Peg and John are stuck in the lift together between floors John seduces her and she falls for him. She wants John to help her kill Teddy but he says that Teddy is old and all they have to do is be patient. John impresses Teddy with his efficiency and good business advice and he gets promoted and sent to set up a branch of the company in Europe. It’s the beginning of summer holidays and Teddy sends Peg to the country, telling her he’ll meet her there that night. After John leaves for the airport in the limo and all of the staff has gone on holiday, the building is empty. She hears the elevator descending and knows it must be Teddy and so she takes out the fuse, leaving him stuck between floors. She leaves, and knowing there will be no one in the building for two weeks she knows she has killed him. Peg returns from holiday and is changing the fuse to bring the elevator down when Teddy steps down the stairs. He explained that he’d asked John at the last minute to straighten out things at the office and so Teddy had taken the limousine. That meant that John had been the last one in the building. Peg pushed the down button and John’s dead body descends. Teddy smiles as if he’d planned the whole thing.
            Teddy was played by comedic actor Robert Strauss. The portrayal of John was by Canadian actor Donnelly Rhodes and Anne Francis was Peg. Francis starred later that year (1965) in the show “Honey West” as a karate chopping, judo throwing and very fashionable detective.

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