Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 1, Episode 27 - Help Wanted - full transcript

Mrs. Crabtree's health is poor, and Mr. Crabtree is out of work, having been let go from his job because his personnel manager thought he had become too old for the work. He receives a call from an employer to whom he had written, and the employer sends his secretary to discuss the job with Crabtree. He begins working in a private office, reviewing financial information and writing reports, but he is baffled by his employer's secretive nature. Then one day he arrives at the office to find his employer waiting for him, with a most unexpected assignment.

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Good evening.
How did you find me?

I specifically asked
for an unlisted channel.

I'm taking the week off.

I wanted a rest
from television.

If you're one of those critics
who thinks that television
is frightful...

all I can say is
you should see it
from this side.

I've been reading
the want ads.

A man has a right
to look around
for a better job.

"Wanted: host
for television program."

Sounds like a job for me.

"Must be witty,
charming, handsome."

Why, this is perfect.

"Gracious. And must be
willing to work every week.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents. "

I think I better scamper back
to the old job.

I don't want to miss the show.
And don't you miss it, either.

There, I guess
that covers everything.

I've used a slightly
different approach
on this one.

Read it to me.
All right, dear.

"April 9.

[clears throat]

"Box 111.

"Post Office Annex, City.
Dear sir...

"Regarding your advertisement
in the help wanted section
of the news...

"of this date.

"If the position
has not been filled...

"I should like to present
my qualifications
for your consideration.

"My age is 52
as of last October.

"I have been married
for 27 years, have no family,
my health is excellent."

That's a blessing.

Now, Laura.

We're going to have you
up and around in no time.

Just as soon....


To go on.

"For 31 years,
I was employed by the firm
of Stowe and Baker...

"the accounting
and audit company,
in the capacity of clerk.

"I believe my record
for attendance and punctuality
stands alone.

"The termination
of my services was due
entirely to my age...

"a short-sighted policy...

"which I feel certain
already has been regretted
by the individuals at fault."

Now, dear.
You mustn't excite yourself.

That's all over
and done with now.

It doesn't do any good
to brood over it.

I know, Laura.
But every time
I think of it...

that personnel manager
telling me I was too old.

Too old?

I can still do that job
better than anybody
they can get...

at the salary
they were paying me.

It just makes me
see red all over again.

We're not going
to think about that.

You're right, Laura.

I just...

get all excited
and I just burn with shame.

In 52 years, Laura...

it was the only time
I really lost my head.

Makes you wonder sometimes
how far you might
let yourself go.

[telephone ringing]


Yes, this is Mr. Crabtree.

Yes, I answered
the advertisement.

I have been considering
your letter of application,
Mr. Crabtree.

I must say I found it
to be an excellent one.

Thank you, sir.
Thank you very much.

You gave as a reference
the firm of Stowe and Baker.

I took the liberty
of telephoning them.
Of course.

The personnel manager,
while reluctant
to discuss the matter...

did inform me that when told
you were being retired...

you attempted
to attack him physically.

Is this true, Mr. Crabtree?

Yes, I'm afraid it is.

I don't know
what came over me.

The terrible injustice
of it, I guess.

You see, I desperately
needed that job.
My wife, she's been ill.

It could never happen again,
I assure you.
Very well.

My secretary will call on you
within an hour.

Good day, Mr. Crabtree.

I wonder what could be
delaying her?

He said she'd be here
in an hour.

It's longer than that now.

But isn't it rather strange
that someone should come here
to interview you?

Yeah, if she does come.

[knocking on door]


[clears throat]

Won't you come in,
Mr. Crabtree?

I believe
you were expecting me.

Yes, I was.

This is Mrs. Crabtree,
my wife.

Brown. How do you do?

I'm happy to know you,
Miss Brown.

Won't you sit down?
Thank you.

[clears throat]

Your job, Mr. Crabtree,
will consist of preparing
confidential reports...

which must be mailed
to your employer.

Mailed? But why?

Because you will be
working alone
in your own office...

with no direct supervision
and no assistants.

You mean I'm going
to be in charge?

Miss Brown, I hope
I didn't misrepresent
my previous experience.

I've always held a job
as an employee.
That has been understood.

Now, your office
will receive subscriptions...

to a number of
financial journals.

You will be supplied
with a list
of important corporations.

Whenever one of these
corporations is referred to
in the journals...

you will make a note of it,
and consolidate these
into a report...

which must be mailed
at the end of every day.

I quite understand,
Miss Brown.

But to whom do I
mail these reports?

To the box number
you already have, of course.

The office is completely
prepared for you.

And here are your keys.
Thank you.

Your hours will be
9:00 to 5:00,
and half day on Saturday.

Can you start
in the morning?

Yes, I think so.

Yes, of course.
Now as to your salary.

You will be paid $100 a week.
Is that satisfactory?

One hundred? Well, yes.

That's very generous,

You will receive your salary
every Saturday in cash,
by mail.

And here is the address
of your office.

Are there
any further questions?

No. Well, yes.

I'm afraid I don't
quite understand
the reason for all--

You are not expected to,
Mr. Crabtree.

Your work is important
and highly confidential.

The less you know of it...

the less temptation
there will be
to discuss it with anyone.

I wouldn't do that.

You can absolutely depend
on my discretion.

Very well. Good luck.
Goodbye, Mrs. Crabtree.

Goodbye, Miss Brown.

Goodbye and thank you
very much.

$100 a week!

It's wonderful but....
Now you can have
your treatments, Laura.

And after we've saved
a little, the operation.

It seems too good
to be true.


"Crabtree Affiliated Reports."

[cars honking]

I can't explain it exactly.
It's like working in a vacuum.

All these weeks and I really
don't know what I'm doing.

I'm sure there's
a good reason for it, dear.

Take those reports.
steady as a rock.

Efficiency Instruments,
exploring new techniques.
Universal, this or that.

I can't make
head or tail out of it.

Your work must be satisfactory
or you would have
heard from him.

Sometimes I wonder if he
even remembers I'm there.

I have a feeling
that I'm just a name
on a payroll...

and, someday,
someone is gonna ask...

who is this man, Crabtree?

Why are we paying him
$100 a week? And nobody
will know the answer.

But you are being paid
and that's a blessing.

Yes. And the treatments
are doing you a world of good.

A few more months
and we'll have saved enough
for the hospital.

If the job lasts.

We won't think
about that.
No, of course not.

Now, don't overdo it.
Goodbye, dear.


Come in, Mr. Crabtree.

And shut the door, please.

Yes, of course.

I seem
to have startled you.

Yes, I....

What are you doing here?
Who are you?

I think that should be
quite obvious.

I'm your employer.

You seem surprised,
Mr. Crabtree.

Why, yes.
I was beginning to wonder.

Of course,
it's a very pleasant surprise.

I've been looking forward
to meeting you, Mr....

Have you any complaints
about your job?

No, it's been
thoroughly enjoyable.

My reports have been
satisfactory, I hope.

Very likely.
I haven't read them.

I understand...

you'd hardly have time
to give them
your personal attention.

You're quite wrong there,
Mr. Crabtree.

I personally burn them.

You burn them?

On arrival.

But I don't understand.

You must be joking.

If you knew me
a little better,
Mr. Crabtree...

you'd realize that
I'm almost totally devoid
of a sense of humor.

That's one of the penalties
of devoting
one's entire energies...

to accumulating
a vast fortune.

But why?

Why pay me to prepare reports
if you're gonna burn them?

It had its purpose,
I assure you.

Incredible as it may sound,
Mr. Crabtree, I need you.

That is, I need a loyal,
conscientious employee...

to handle
an important assignment.

Then you're not going
to terminate my services?

That depends
entirely on you.

If this assignment
is completed successfully...

you will receive
one year's salary
in advance...

and no more reports
to mail.

One year's salary?
Why, that's more than $5,000.

And $5,000 would mean
a great deal to you...

and your wife.

It certainly would.
It would mean that she could
have her operation.


I hope you will consider me
for this assignment, sir.

Excellent. I rather thought
you would, Mr. Crabtree.

I want you to kill a man
for me.

I? You don't mean....

This must be a joke. Isn't it?

You will recall, I think,
that I have already told you
I never learnt to make jokes.

And certainly not
pointless ones.

No, Mr. Crabtree,
I mean exactly what I said.

You are to kill a man for me.
But that's murder.

I couldn't.

I am absolutely incapable
of such an act.

Are you, really?

I was led to believe that
had you not been restrained...

you would have murdered
the personnel manager
for Stowe and Baker.

But that was different.
I lost control of myself
for the moment.

I envy you, Mr. Crabtree.

I deeply envy you.

You have emotions.

I am entirely devoid
of feeling.

Then why don't you
kill this man yourself?

That's a reasonable question
and it deserves an answer.

Let me explain.

Some years ago,
I married a woman...

whose first husband
we both believed to be dead.

Unfortunately, we were wrong.

For the past five years,
I have bought his silence
for a monthly sum...

that would stagger
your imagination.

He's blackmailing you?

You could report this
to the police.

That would only result
in having...

my wife revealed as
a bigamist and destroy
the lives of our children.

The scandal would ruin us.

No, Mr. Crabtree,
this man must be
eliminated by someone...

not even
remotely connected to him.

that cannot be me.

But there must be people
you can hire, gangsters
or someone like that?

And exchange
one blackmailer for another?
That's hardly a solution.

But you have no guarantee
that I won't blackmail you...

or, better than that,
go to the police.
Right now, I mean.

If I told them
the proposition you gave me--

My dear Mr. Crabtree,
what could you
possibly tell them?

You don't know who I am
or where I come from.

As far as you're concerned,
I don't even exist.

But the advertisement
you put in the paper.

It's true that Box 111
could be traced to me, but
I fail to see any connection.

Any connection?
You hired me. I wrote
a letter of application.

Did you, Mr. Crabtree?

Then you were informed
by letter that the position
had already been filled.

A copy of my reply
is in my files, in case
the matter should come up.

But this office,
the furnishings,
the magazine subscriptions...

you paid for them.

By mail.
In your name. In cash.

And if you're thinking
of Miss Brown as a witness,
she was never my secretary.

Like myself,
she never really existed.

But the reports....

I have one here
that's almost finished.
There it is.

To be sure, the reports.

A completely useless
jumble of words which
for some unknown reason...

you persisted in sending to me
despite my letter that I had
no use for this service.

[paper crushing]

Visualize the scene
if you will, Mr. Crabtree.

You go to the authorities.
You tell them
your incredible story.

As proof, you have
your pathetic little reports
and nothing else.

Why, you'd be fortunate
not to be committed...

to an institution
for the mentally deranged.

That would be preferable
to being hanged for murder.

Come now, Mr. Crabtree.
You should realize by now
that I wouldn't be that inept.

I have made such
careful preparations that...

there isn't
the slightest possibility
of your arrest.

Let me explain.
I don't want to hear it.

You will notice
that this office,
chosen after much searching...

is so small, so narrow
that anyone not sitting
behind the desk...

must necessarily stand
where I am now.

Directly behind me
is the window
overlooking the street...

20 stories below.

One hard shove
and it will be over.

You make it sound so easy.
I assure you it will be.

The gentleman in question
will be in the office
first thing tomorrow morning.

He will request a contribution
to a good cause.

You will take this envelope
from the drawer
and hand it to him.

He's a methodical man.
Not once
in the past 18 months...

has he bothered
to open the envelope
on receiving it.

He will put it
in his inside coat pocket.

At that precise moment,
Mr. Crabtree,
you will shove him out.

Then you close the window
and go back to your reports.

But the police are certain
to come here.
Of course.

And they will draw
the only possible conclusion:

the unfortunate man
leaped from the roof
above you.

They will know it's suicide
because that envelope
you hand him...

will contain not money,
Mr. Crabtree...

but a typed note explaining
why he took his own life.

You have until
tomorrow morning to decide.

If you carry out
this assignment, I shall
mail the money to your home.

If you do not...

you will never see
or hear of me again.

Of course, your salary will
automatically cease.

For your wife's sake,
Mr. Crabtree,
I think you'll have to do it.

Come to bed, dear.
It's nearly 3:00.


Yes, dear, in a moment.

You need your rest.
You won't be any good
at the office tomorrow.


Laura, how did you feel today?

I'm feeling
a little better every day.

Dr. Foley
is coming tomorrow.

Do you think I should ask him
when I ought to go
to the hospital?

Yes, Laura?

What do you think?

I think you might ask him.

[knocking on door]

Come in.


Come in.

Mr. Crabtree?

I was hoping you'd like
to make a contribution.

Yes, I have it ready
for you.

That's mighty good of you,
Mr. Crabtree.

I'd like to tell you....
Don't tell me anything!

Just get out of here,
quickly, before I....

It's parasites like you
who should be exterminated.

Now, look here.

Do you have any idea
of what you've done?
You've taken away my job.

I was out of work for a year,
one whole year...

through no fault of my own
because of a stupid
little man who....

Now you're ruining me
and my wife.

She'll be an invalid
as long as she lives.

Somebody ought to
have the nerve to....
I wish I could, I'd kill you.

[man screaming]

[people screaming]


[people chattering]



But I didn't. It was a....

You don't understand.

I'm not concerned
with your rationalizations,
Mr. Crabtree.

You've completed
the assignment.
That's all that interests me.

Your year's salary
is in the mail.

You'll never hear
from me again.

Congratulations and goodbye.

[police siren wailing]

Detective Grant.
I'd like to talk to you
for a minute, if we can.


There's been an accident.
A man fell from this building
and was killed.

Have you been in
all morning?

I always get here at 9:00.
I haven't left this office.

The door was closed,
I suppose.

Yes, I never leave it open.

And you didn't see anybody
go up the stairs
across the hall?


Must have fallen
right past this window.
You didn't see it?

I was working.
I'm closing out the office.

I very seldom look
at the window, anyway.

It's closed, you probably
wouldn't hear anything.
Well, I guess that's all.

Was it suicide?
All the way.

He had a suicide note
in his pocket.
Sorry we bothered you.

That's quite all right.

Mr. Crabtree?

Are you a reporter?

I came to pick up
a contribution
from a mutual friend.

I don't think I have to
mention any names.

Well, what about it?

Where's the money
I was to pick up?

The wrong man got it.

You came too late.

Only it wasn't money.
It was your suicide note.

Suicide? Look here,
I'd like to know
what's going on.

That's something you'll have
to take up with the man
you're blackmailing.

And if he asks for me,
tell him I no longer
work here.

As far as he is concerned,
I never existed.

A brilliant play.

Sneaky, but brilliant.

And now, please keep your eyes
on this space.

For I shall return here
next week...

to bring you another story.

Good night.