Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 2, Episode 13 - Mr. Blanchard's Secret - full transcript

The kooky Babs Fenton's imagination is a great asset when writing murder mysteries. But it does not foster peace and harmony in the home, especially not when she has an unimaginative corporate lawyer for a husband. Her overstimulated mind begins working on her new next-door neighbors, the Blanchards, when she realizes she's never seen Mrs. Blanchard. And Mr. Blanchard seems less than eager for her to pay a call. Has Mr. Blanchard, a high school teacher and former university professor, murdered his wife?

Good evening, friends.

Would you all please examine
the tops of your television sets,

and see if one of you doesn't find
a goldfish bowl with a crack in it?

Thank you.

By the way,
I've been asked to announce

that some of you are missing
this program unnecessarily.

You have moved and not kept
us informed of your address.

So we don't know
where to send the show to you.

I hope you'll take care
of that matter at once.

Tonight, we are presenting a
tale of mystery and intrigue,

laid in middle-class suburbia.

It is called
"Mr. Blanchard's Secret. "

I realize this doesn't
tell you much about the story,

but several fine actors
have been hired to do that,

and I would hate to rob them
of the privilege.

And so, without further ado,

we reveal
Mr. Blanchard's secret.

Poor woman.

It's a shame I had to
kill her off that way.

A psychiatrist would
probably say that I had

some hidden homicidal
tendencies or something.

Who knows?

If I didn't get it off my chest
by writing mystery stories,

I might end up by committing
a few murders myself.


I'm glad it worked out
this way, of course.

It's so much healthier.

Also, it pays better.

Otherwise, I'd say
that I was pretty normal.

Even though my husband, John,
doesn't always agree with me.

It's my vivid imagination that
gives John the most trouble.

Poor John. He's a lawyer.

Corporations mostly.

Crime doesn't even
enter his mind.

But with me,
it's like eating peanuts.

Once I start thinking
about it, I can't stop.

Right now, I'm beginning to
think some pretty strange things

about the people next door.

If I thought about it enough, I could
really build it up into a production.

Knowing myself,
I probably will.

John? John, are you asleep?

There's just one light on
next door.

Don't you think
that's odd?

Ever since
the Blanchards moved in,

that one light
always burns all night.

It's not in the right place
to be coming from a hall.

It must be a bedroom!

Maybe it's hers.

Maybe she has insomnia
and she reads all night.

That's why I've never seen
her, because she sleeps all day.

It sounds like a lovely idea,
doesn't it?

It is funny, though.

They've been in that house
for over two weeks,

and I've never seen
Mrs. Blanchard.

Not once.

Well, isn't that funny?

He does all the chores.

He even hangs out her laundry.

I've bumped into him
at the market several times.

He was very strange.

Hardly even nodded.

He's such an odd,
withdrawn type.

Oh, I don't see how he could
make a good teacher.

Do you know that he used to be
a university professor?

What's he doing stuck away in a small
town high school like ours, anyway?

It's very strange.

Good night, darling.
I enjoyed our little chat.


Suppose there isn't
any Mrs. Blanchard?

Suppose he just invented her
for some reason,

or she's dead and he can't accept
it, so he just goes on pretending?

Or suppose he killed her.

Suppose he discovered
that she had some secret vice,

and he tried to get rid of her
to save his career.

Oh, boy, I bet I could
make a plot out of that.

I'm hungry all of a sudden.

Can I get you something,


It's not really so far-fetched
when you think about it.

Mr. Blanchard
gets rid of his wife,

but he's still afraid someone
will eventually get suspicious.

So, he pretends
that she's still with him.

He acted so peculiarly when
I asked him about his wife.

Wasn't a bit friendly when I said
I'd like to be neighborly and visit.

Of course!

Now I know
why he behaved that way.

It's because
there is no Mrs. Blanchard.

Why, he could go on like this
for years.

In fact, as long as he pretends
Mrs. Blanchard is alive,

he's safe.

That was not
my vivid imagination.

That was Mr. Blanchard.

Nobody is gonna come peeking through
my back door in the middle of the night

without an explanation.

No sign of the woman's touch
so far.

Oh, I could
do myself a real favor

if I'd turn around
and go home right now.

Of course, I'm not going to.

Like those peanuts,
this is irresistible.

Looks like a set,

ready for the lady
to enter on cue.

Well, at least there was
a Mrs. Blanchard.

Lovely, too,

even if that stony face
doesn't seem to think so.


I'm sure these could put an awful
dent in the professor's salary.

Maybe he couldn't afford
to keep her,

so he killed her.

Good evening, Mrs. Fenton.

I was looking for you.

In the closet?

Well, not exactly.

Well, you see, when
I caught you peeking...

I mean, when I saw you outside
my kitchen a little while ago,

well, I thought there might be
something wrong with Mrs. Blanchard...

There's nothing wrong
with Mrs. Blanchard.

Well, can you prove it?

I mean...

Oh, I'd just love
to meet her.

Some other time, perhaps.

Then she is here?

This is her home.

I'm sorry if I frightened
you a while ago.

My wife went out
without telling me,

and I thought
perhaps she was with you.

Now, with your permission, I'd
like to see you to your door.

Well, so far
he's only got you

for illegal entry and
defamation of character.

What else happened
last night?

Nothing, unfortunately.

But you know, I'm positive there's
something wrong in that house.

Mr. Blanchard never once
looked me straight in the eye.

Maybe he was

You weren't exactly
dressed to go visiting.

Oh, don't be silly.

Besides, you should see some
of Mrs. Blanchard's negligees.


I just can't understand how a woman with
those tastes could pick a man like that.

And that house.
It's like a morgue.

Who knows, maybe it is.

Darling, how the Blanchards
live is none of our business.

You can't expect
Mr. Blanchard

to put the welcome mat
out for you

when you go prowling around his
house in the middle of the night,

asking questions that are about
as subtle as a sledge hammer.

He was prowling
around our house first.

Besides, what was he really doing
outside our kitchen door, anyway?

Who knows? Maybe he walks in his sleep.

I'd even settle for that if
I could just get some sleep.

I'm sorry, darling.

I wish I could forget.
You know me.

I just can't stop thinking
about that poor woman

probably lying in a cellar
someplace right this minute,

just ready to be popped
into the furnace.

Now, please, not right
on top of my breakfast.

Oh, sometimes I don't know
how you put up with me.

I'll tell you what. I'll try
working the Blanchards into a script.

Then maybe we'll both
get some sleep tonight.

Can I count on that?

Of course, darling.
By the time you get home,

Mrs. Blanchard will be buried
for the last time.

All right.


Maybe the secret vice angle
for Mrs. Blanchard

is a good one.

Maybe she was an alcoholic
or something.

Mr. Blanchard's university
career was being destroyed,

so he finally
had to take steps.

Where are you going?

No place especially.

Just out for a walk.

A walk to the liquor store,
you mean.

Get back to your room
at once.

Charles. Charles,
I promise to behave.

Oh, Charles,
I can't stand it any longer.

I can't stand it.

I... If I don't get out
of this house, I'll go mad!

Oh, Charles, I want to
make friends... Friends.

...go shopping...
Shopping. like other women.

Don't you understand?

But you are not
like other women.

Other women do not get
themselves into a drunken stupor

and nearly set fire
to their homes,

or go off on a spree and wind
up almost running a child down!

Other women help their husbands'
careers. They do not destroy them.

Now, get back
to your room.

No! No, no!

I will not be kept a prisoner
in this house any longer.

I am going to tell the world
what you have done to me.

Have you counted the number of
times that we have had to move,

the positions I have given
up because of you? Have you?

You have ruined my career
for the last time.

The last time.

And that's the end of her.
Oh, John will be so happy.

Mrs. Fenton?

I'm Mrs. Blanchard.
I've been wanting to meet you.

I know I should have knocked,
but the door was open,

so I took the liberty
of walking in.

Mrs. Blanchard?

Well, yes.

Come in, please.

You have no idea
how glad I am to see you.

It's all so pretty here,
just the way I imagined it.

I was beginning to think
that you didn't exist at all.

I'm sorry,
I can't stay very long.

My husband
doesn't know I'm here.

He wouldn't like it.

Oh, I don't see why not.
After all, we are neighbors.

It's a little difficult.

Don't you say another word
until I get some coffee.

I'm sure we're going to
have a lot to talk about.

Mr. Blanchard. How
charming of you to call.

Well, you'll join us in
some coffee, won't you?

I'm sorry, Mrs. Fenton, but I'm
afraid there won't be time for that.

Come, Ellen.

Are you angry with me?

Come, Ellen, I said.

All right, Charles.

I'm sorry that I couldn't stay
for coffee.

Men are such babies.

They just can't be left
alone for one minute.

When a man is so jealous

that he keeps his wife a
virtual prisoner in her own home,

won't even let her out to talk to a
neighbor, then he has to be insane.

Well, I'm not going
to just sit here.

I just couldn't live
with myself

if I didn't do something
to help.

Her light is on, as usual.

When you think of it, that
bedroom is her whole world.

No wonder she doesn't care what
the rest of the house looks like.

And all those pretty clothes
that no one ever gets to see.

Honestly, John, I'd just
like to take that man and...

He just came out of the house.

He's carrying something.

It looks like a large sack.

He's putting it into his car.

he's driving off with it.

Oh, John!

John! John, something awful.

How can you read
at a time like this?

Doesn't everybody?

Oh, for heaven's sakes,
do something!

About what?

John, 10 minutes ago, Mr. Blanchard
left here in a great hurry,

practically dragging
a heavy sack.

I've been pounding
on their door ever since.

Mrs. Blanchard's light
is still on,

but Mrs. Blanchard
doesn't answer.

Now do you understand?

Not in the least.

Didn't we both agree that Mr.
Blanchard is a homicidal maniac?

He was furious with her for
coming over here this morning.

John, suppose that what Mr.
Blanchard had in that sack

was the body of Ellen Blanchard! What?

Now will you
call the police?

Look, you've done some
pretty wacky things in your...

Oh, never mind,
I'll do it myself.

Get me the police.

Now, stop that!

I beg of you, don't...

Maybe you don't mind having
a murder committed right...

Hello, this is
Mrs. John Fenton.

I'm awfully sorry
to bother you,

but I believe a woman
has just been murdered.

Who? Oh! Oh, she's
my next door neighbor.

No, no, I'm not
absolutely sure, but...

You see,
I saw her husband

dragging a sack out of their
house in the middle of the night.

Do you mean that you still
haven't found the body?

You haven't even looked?

No, I am not crazy,

although it's a wonder with all
that's been going on around here.

No, of course I can't be
absolutely sure there was a murder.

But how can you be absolutely sure
that there wasn't unless you look?

I don't know.
You're the police.

Just ask yourself where you'd go
to get rid of a body if you had one!

Don't worry, darling.

I didn't say anything that
would get us into trouble.

Certainly not.

Of course, when the police arrest
you for being a general nuisance,

don't you come to me.

But if you need help,
I'll be at the office.

Poor John!

I wish he had just
a little more imagination.

He wouldn't suffer so.

Now, let me see if I can
reconstruct the murder.


I've come for coffee.

You had such a funny look on your face
when I came in, as if I were a ghost.

To be perfectly frank,

I thought I'd never see
you again after yesterday.

My husband and I had quite
a quarrel over my being here.

Well, as a matter of fact,
he got so furious

he threw a few things into a duffle
bag and stormed into the night.

He hasn't come back yet.

Duffle bag.
So that was it.

But didn't you hear me
ringing your bell?


Oh, but then I was so upset
I took a sleeping pill.

I didn't hear a thing
after that.

Oh, how pretty.
Do you mind?

No, of course not.
Help yourself.

Only, it doesn't work.
They never do for me.

I guess I just don't have
a red thumb with lighters.

Try this.

Thank you.
It's such a lovely one.

I adore silver, but I
suppose every woman does.

Oh, if you knew some of the
wild theories I've had about you.


I think
we'd better skip those.

From now on,
I'm gonna stick to writing.

You write?
How exciting!

That depends on if your
taste runs to crime.


Upsets me horribly.

My husband adores murder
mysteries, the gorier the better.

Well, at least I was right
about something.


Ellen, forgive me
for being personal,

but are you happy?

Oh, you mean with Charles?

Yes. Yes, I think so.

Of course, he is nervous,
sort of high-strung,

doesn't want me
out of his sight,

watches me a little
too closely sometimes,

but he's sweet
when you get to know him.

I'm sure.


But don't you mind
being cooped up,

never getting out,
never seeing anyone?

Oh, I sneak off away

to the movies,
or go shopping.

I adore to go shopping
by myself.

But, well,
Charles doesn't approve.

I suppose
he knows what's best.

You know, I just don't
think that you're real.

No, no. No, no. Actually,
I'm very grateful to him.

He understands
my little foibles.

Besides, I am the most
dreadful housekeeper.

Sometimes I think he's an
angel to put up with me.

You know,
I really must be going.

Charles generally gets home
for lunch about this time,

and I'm going
to be there.

But you said that
last night he...

Oh, you mean
about leaving me?

He's done that before.
He always comes back.

You know, I can't tell you
how much I've enjoyed this.

I do hope there's something
I can do for you sometime.

Just come again,
as often as your husband...

As often as you like.

Oh, my Irish stew,
I forgot all about it!

Oh, don't worry about me.
I'll let myself out.

See you soon.

Okay. Bye!

I really thought I had the
Blanchards all figured out.


Now I don't know
who's crazy.

Unless it's me.

That's funny.

That lighter was here
just a few minutes ago.

I remember distinctly

because Mrs. Blanchard had
it in her hand, admiring it.

She said how much she

adored silver.

Now I know what
Mr. Blanchard's secret is!

Well, I finished it, and I
think it's good. Wanna hear it?

If it has anything to do
with the Blanchards, no.

I disguised them

I don't think
I've lost anything.

Imagine me thinking all those
dreadful things about him.

And all the time the poor man
had a kleptomaniac on his hands.

That's funny.

It's one plot that
never occurred to me.

No wonder he had to leave
the university.

He probably can't keep any
position very long because of her.

I mean... Well...

Gee, the minute he lets her
out of his sight,

she just goes right out
and steals things.

She can't help it,
of course,

but it must be awfully
nerve-wracking for him.

Think of the strain
he must live under,

never knowing when
the blow will fall again.

It's a wonder
that he hasn't killed her.

People simply
don't go around

murdering each other
so easily, my love.

Except in your stories.

They also don't take quite as
many silver cigarette lighters

as you might think.

Hmm. Well,
I'd just like to know

what happened to that silver
cigarette lighter, then.

Why don't you try
the direct approach?

Why don't you ask Mrs.
Blanchard if she took it?

Don't be silly, darling.

You just can't go around

asking people personal
questions like that.

it didn't work, anyway.

If that's for me,
I'm asleep.



That was the police.

They've just found
a woman's body.

They say she was around 30
and a brunette.

It must be Mrs. Blanchard.

I don't believe it.

It's down at the morgue, and I
have to go down and identify it.

She was hit over the head
and thrown over a cliff.

Oh, I really feel

It must have been
that silver lighter

that finally
broke the camel's back.

What camel?

Mr. Blanchard.

When he discovered that
his wife had stolen again,

I guess he just went
berserk and murdered...


you don't think that he
really did murder her?

Of course not, darling. Now, it's
got to have been somebody else.

She was so nice.

I'll just never
forgive myself for this.

What has it got to do
with you?

I was so suspicious

I was always
inventing things.

It's almost as though I made
it happen. Don't you see?

No, I don't see.

I'm going down to the morgue
and settle this right now.

No, John.

I started it,
and I'm gonna finish it.

It works now.
I had Charles fix it.

He's awfully good at that sort of
thing, although he hates to admit it.

This concludes our show.

Now, if you'll excuse me,

I must hurry off
to a little social affair.

A dear friend
is guest of honor.

It's a stoning.

I wouldn't miss it
for the world.

Good night.