Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 5, Episode 10 - Special Delivery - full transcript

Young Tom Fortnam is thrilled when he receives his guaranteed to grow mushroom seeds by special delivery mail. His father Bill is then approached by a friend, Roger, who thinks people are disappearing. Bill isn't quite sure what to make of it all until Roger's wife calls him to say that Roger has vanished, as has all of his clothes. When he visits Roger's house, he sees that Roger's son, who is the same age as Tom, is also busy growing mushrooms in the basement. Convinced there is a connection, Bill confronts his son - with fantastic results.

Good evening,
ladies and gentlemen.

There will be a slight delay
in starting tonight's show.

Our play, "Special Delivery,"
has not yet arrived.

However, it is being rushed to us
by the fastest means available.

Unfortunately, it has a long and
very complicated route to travel.

We haven't much more time, but
I assure you that our producer

will make every effort
to get the message through.

I'm afraid we'll have
to start without it.


Just in the nick of time.

Special delivery for Fortnum.

Yes, that's right. Thank you.

Good morning, darling.

Oh, for me?

Sorry, no. It's for your son.

Tom. Tom!

Yeah, Mom?

Mail call!

Oh, boy!

It's from the Great Bayou
Novelty Greenhouse!

Excuse me! Boy!

Why so excited?

Don't you ever read the back
pages of Mechanical Inventions?

Look, here!

See, there they are.

There they are, what?

The Sylvan Glade Jumbo Giant.


Profit Mushrooms!

Well, it looks like wheat.

The mushroom spawns
in the wheat.

I've got to plant
them of course.

Fabulous growth in just
24 hours, the ad said.

Well, it's better than tree
toads and garter snakes.

It sure is!


Happy harvest, farmer!

Bill, hi! Just the man I want to see.
Come on over.

Well, maybe I better check and
see if Cynthia wants anything.

I'll be right over.

No, no, no. Look.

This can't wait.

I want you to play
psychiatrist for five minutes.

Sure, if it's important.

Something strange is
going on in the world.

Hasn't there always been?

No, I mean something
terrible is happening.

Mrs. Goodbody was complaining
about flying saucers.

Hey, Dad, get the ball.

No, I don't mean saucers!

Hi, Joe. Hi, Son.

Tell me, what exactly
is intuition?


Well, I'd say it was
subconscious information that

you finally get around to recognizing
with your conscious mind.


Over a long period of
time, things gather.

Like this garage.

You start working with wood,
you don't notice the shavings.

Then one day, you
look at the floor,


Dust collects,

and suddenly we know something.

Have you noticed that more people are
vanishing nowadays than ever before?

Are they? Yeah. Just
dropping out of sight.

Old Charlie Bemis, gone.
Ben Hamilton, gone.

More violence, too.
And murders.

But... That's not what I mean.

I know something beyond that.

Come on!

Aren't you gonna
let me in on it.

How can I?

It's like the old verse,

"By the pricking of my thumbs,
something wicked this way comes."

I fear nothing.

I fear everything.

Could be your glands.

Doctor says I'm A1.

Got a wonderful wife and child. I'm
the luckiest man in the world.

Yet, I'm scared stiff

for me,

for my family,

and even, right now, for you.



And your friends and
your friends' friends.

What are we gonna do about it?

For a few days, Bill,
watch everything,

feel everything,

taste everything,
smell everything.

Maybe it's the way the wind
blows through those weeds

in that lot over there.

Maybe it's the way the sun
hums on the telephone wires.

Come on, Dad, let's
play monkey in the middle.


I've never been so sure
of anything in my life.

Something terrible
is going to happen.

Well, that's it
for now, fellows.




and listen.

And in a couple of days,
we'll compare notes.

Hey, Pop.

I said that's enough, fellows.

Roger, I'll be glad to
keep an eye peeled,

but, frankly, you've given
me nothing to go on.

I mean, how am I
gonna recognize this

whatever-it-is I'm looking
for when I see it?

Oh, you'll know.

You've got to know.

If you don't we're
done for, all of us.

Am I crazy?

You seem perfectly sane to me.

I'll see you in
a couple of days then?




Be careful.

Hey, Pop!

What are you doing?

Being aware.





is your intuition
in working order?

Try me.


is this earthquake weather?
Is the land going to sink?

Is a hurricane coming?

Will our delphiniums
die of blight?

Wait a moment.

Let me feel my bones.


No flood, no
hurricane, no blight.


Oh, I've run into a lot
of doom talkers lately.

Two, anyway.



What's wrong, Dad?

Haven't you heard?
The world's ending.

Nope. The way I see it
everybody lives forward.


What's this? The crop!

The what? The mushrooms!

They're doing great.

Look how big they are!

Well, by gosh, now!
They really are.

Those are mushrooms,
aren't they?

Well, I mean, by mistake,
they couldn't be...


Heck, Mom. What do
you think I am?

Well, I don't mean to criticize,
but, well, how do you tell?

Eat 'em!

If you live, they're mushrooms.

If you drop dead, well...

I don't like them.

Aw, Mom, that's not
what you said before!

Well, I'm sorry. I didn't
really think they'd grow.

I thought we'd plant them, they'd
die, and you'd throw them out,

and that'll be that.
But now I just...

Boy, when are we gonna have

the next wet blanket
sale in this house?


Never mind. To heck with it!

I just had to be honest.

I don't know why,
I just had to say it.



Oh, hello, Dorothy.

Well, yes, I saw Roger today...

He what?


Are you sure?

I'll be right over.

Something happened to Roger?

He vanished.


Dropped out of sight.

How long ago did
your father leave?

I've no idea. I was just walking
by and saw the closet empty.

All of Dad's clothes, gone.

You mean, he left the house
without your hearing?

I think he must have
packed in five minutes

and walked wherever he was going

so we wouldn't hear a cab drive
up in front of the house.

Well, I'll check the airport
and the train depot.


Dorothy, was...

Was there anything in
Roger's family background.

You mean Insanity?

Oh, no, nothing like that.

No, Bill.

Somehow I feel... I feel
he's been kidnapped.

You mean to tell me that
he arranged to pack,

walk out of the house, and
go and meet his kidnappers?

Well, I... I don't know.

But somehow I feel that...

That they came into the house
and forced him to leave.

Wait a minute. Roger
warned me today.

He said something
terrible was gonna happen

to somebody we know.

But what?

And how?


Find him for me, please.

If it's humanly possible.


Oh, Tom, he's all right now.

Those darn mushrooms
mean so much to him.

Do they?

What about Roger?

He's gone, all right.


Doesn't this kind of thing happen
to lots of men in their 40s?


Dreams of youth,

immortal wines,

golden women,

a chance for one last fling?
Maybe to some men,

but not Roger. He...

Fortnum? Yes.


Thank you.


"Traveling New Orleans."

"This telegram possible
off guard moment."


"repeat, refuse all special
delivery packages."


What does he mean?

Operator, give me
the police, and hurry!


Oh, I see.

Well, under the circumstances,
I'm sorry, very sorry.

Thank you.

That was Green City, downstate.

The police boarded a
southbound train there.

Roger was in a roomette.

He was traveling alone.

How could that be?

What about his telegram?

That must have been sent
when his kidnappers

were of their
guard for a moment.

He denies sending any telegram
or that he needs any help.

He was polite,

cheerful, in good
spirits, the police said.

Said he was on a quick
business trip downstate.

Much obliged.

Thank you. Good night.

Good night?


What did the police do?

What could they do?

They looked around to see if
anyone had a gun on Roger,

and got off the train.


As long as he's all right.

But is he?

Well, you just said...
They said.

After all, they couldn't very
well insist he was in danger,

and drag him off the train?
Could they?

Why did he send us
that telegram

warning us not to accept any
special delivery packages?

We never get
any special deliveries.

Just that one
that came for Tom.

New Orleans.

Roger was on his way
to New Orleans.

Hello, Dorothy?

Did the police get
in touch with you?

Well, yes,
and I don't understand.

Roger told them
to leave him alone.

Oh, I see.


did your or any
member of your family

receive any special
airmail delivery packages

in the last few days?


Well, yes.

About three days ago.

All the boys on the block
are going in for it.

Going in for what?

Why do you ask?

There's nothing wrong with
raising mushrooms, is there?

I said, there's nothing wrong
with raising mushrooms, is there?

Marasmius Oreades.

Fungoid growth.

But how does it fit?

Anyone dead?
No. Anyone poisoned?


You can't sleep?

Oh, no. Too warm.

Cynthia, what if Roger was right
and a terrible thing is happening?

Like the Earth being invaded
by things from other worlds.


How could creatures from outer space
invade us without us not noticing them?

No, I don't mean meteors or flying
saucers, or anything like that, but...

Bacteria comes from outer
space, too, doesn't it?

Seeds, spores, pollen, viruses

by the billions

hitting the atmosphere
every second

of every hour for
millions of years,

pouring down on us like
an invisible rain.

Falling on our cities,
our towns, our street.

Our lawn!

Our lawn?

And Mrs. Goodbody's.

Of course, people like her
are always spraying poisons

and kicking mushrooms
off their lawns.

So it would be hard for a strange new
life form to survive in the city.


Maybe they'd be better
off down south, say,

Alabama, Louisiana.

Back in the dark bayous,

mightn't they grow
to a fine size?


Oh, really.

You don't seriously
believe, do you, that

the Great Bayou or whatever the
greenhouse novelty company

that sent Tom his package

is owned and operated
by six-foot-tall mushrooms

from another planet?

Good heavens, Cynthia. There
is some connection between

Roger, mushrooms,

special delivery telegrams,
Mrs. Goodbody, the whole works!

Don't get angry. Oh, I'm not!
It's just that...

Think how insidious
this plan could be.

These creatures
from another world

establish a greenery

then advertise in
Mechanical Inventions,

"Grow giant mushrooms
for profit."

And a million boys
send in their money.

Tonight, this very minute, in how
many homes all over the USA,

are billions of mushrooms being grown
by innocent boys in their cellars!

Now I know you aren't serious.

Well, half serious.

Mushrooms, however big,

can't think or feel.

Well, they haven't
got arms or legs.

How could they run
a mail order business

and take over the world?

Come on, let's go
see your monsters!

There! There are
your terrible fiends!

Come on, I'll fix you a snack.

Get the milk,
will you, darling?

Cynthia, did you put these
mushrooms in the refrigerator?

No. Tom must have.

Close the door, will you?


there is a way for the mushrooms
to grow arms and legs.

What if a man wandering
through the swamp

picked them up

and ate them?

Once inside,

would not the mushrooms
spread through his blood,

and take over every cell,

change that man from a man to a.


Maybe Roger ate some of the
mushrooms given to him by his son

and was changed
into something else.

But in one last moment of
sanity, of being himself,

he sent us a telegram, warning
us not to accept any mushrooms,

by special delivery.

Now, couldn't that
be it, couldn't it?

I've had enough of this!
I'm going to bed!


Don't put the light on, Dad.

It's bad for the mushrooms.


Why did you put the mushrooms
in the refrigerator?

Because I wanted you and
Mother to eat them.


You didn't eat any
of them yourself?


I did.

You're hungry, aren't you?

You're hungry.

You're hungry.

I think that story has a
very comforting message

for mushrooms
all over the world.

I'm seriously thinking

of starting a counter movement
to persuade the mushrooms

to grow people in
their basements.

Now that we've seen our play,

I think we'll send it back.

Until next time, good night.