Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 7, Episode 1 - The Hatbox - full transcript

Professor Jarvis is, as one student describes him, the most henpecked man in the world. When he catches Perry Hatch cheating on an exam, he informs him that he will not be reported to the university but rather to his father who, Prof. Jarivs hopes, will mete out appropriate punishment. Hatch is none too pleased and when he hears that Jarvis's wife has been gone for several weeks, starts to wonder if Jarvis may have gotten rid of her. He and a friend spy on him and find him throwing away some of his wife's belongings. They take their case to the police who decide to question him.

Are you wondering how healthy the food you are eating is? Check it -
Good evening students,

I have always felt that night
school had a distinct advantage,

people may not be able to learn
more at night than in the day,

but what they do learn is
infinitely more interesting,

tonight's subject is
phrenology miss Forbes,

phrenology is the
system of psychology,

based on the belief,

that the size and shape of the surface
of certain regions of the body,

have a relation to the function
performed within that region,

uh pull down the
chart please,

thank you,

this area number six,

is referred to by doctors and
phrenologists as the forehead,

this is the worry center,

in the case of this individual,

his forehead seems to have
slipped down over his eyes,

I’m sure many of you
know that feeling,

oh dear it's time for you to
move on to the next class,

you'd better hurry as you have
just one minute to make the change,

during that minute you will hear the
voice of the head of this institution,

urging you on to greater
and greater achievement.


Mr Hatch,

drop it, drop it this second.

-You're hurting me professor.
-Not heard what I said?

Your excuse mr Hatch, you don't
have to complete the examination,

you will sit there while
the others finish up,

and you will remain
after class, understand?

-Gosh professor...
-Never mind.

All right, time's up,

class dismissed.

Come up here mr Hatch,

-why do you cheat?
-Oh I don't cheat professor,

not all, the time. I just happened to be
caught unprepared this time that's all.

You mean you got caught, period,

I hate cheats and liars, Hatch,

there's no place for
them at the university.

-Oh, professor you can't...
-Don't tell me what I can or can't,

how many other examinations
have you been cribbing?

None I swear it.

I wonder if the dean
would believe that.

-Please professor...
-I won't report you Hatch,

-not to the dean.
-Gee, that's swell of you.

Let me finish,

I won't report you to dean
because it's too early in the semester,

to get a
student into serious trouble,

you'll have plenty of time to rectify
your error, in the months ahead, however,

I don't intend to let your
dishonesty go unnoticed,

I’m writing a letter
to your father tonight.

To my father? What for?

I find that I’m often not as
persuasive as a parent can be,

so I intend to enlist some
support in your discipline,

good afternoon.

Wait professor...

you don't understand, I mean about
my father, about what he's like.

I hope he's very very strict.

-Oh hi Perry. -Oh, hi Dan.
-Did old Jarvis report you?

That crum, I’d like to kick
him right in his baggy pants.

-Rough, huh? -He says he's gonna
write a letter to my old man,

-I can see the fireworks now.
-Ah what the heck?

everybody cribs
once in a while,

well I’ll bet even your pop
did when he was in school.

Well maybe but he never got caught
at it that's the difference,

What a crumb, what's he
always picking on me for?

what makes him such
a grouch anyway?

Uh you know what they
say about him Perry,

well about what a
terror his wife is,

man, he's the original
impact husband,

-you know that.
-Yeah I bet that's what it is,

oh truly married gives him a hard
time and he takes it out on me,

that's why he hates
everybody on account of her.

Hey, say remember last year when she
kicked him out of the house of the house,

and he had to
bunk up at the Real hotel,

man, was that wild, and how everybody
rised in the next day at school.

-I hope she really makes him suffer tonight.
-No such luck,

she's not home. She went off a couple of
months ago and hasn't gotten back yet.

Well that's a drag, now there's
nothing to look forward to,

except no more
money from home.

Oh gosh do you really
think your father do that?

He's sure to do it, so
you can forget about,

hitting me for bread, man,
because I won't have any.

Well say Perry, maybe if
you go see the professor...

-What good would that do?
-Well you could tell him that you're really sorry,

well you may have to crawl a
little and make with the tears,
but what's the

that's better than losing
all that money, right?

-Well anything's better than that.
-Ah come on,

go see the old boy tonight,

well I’ll come with
you if you want me to.

-Well I don't know.
-Oh come on now, let's go get a hamburger,

and you can rehearse your
speech I’ll be your audience,

say by the way Perry, can
you pick up the check?

I’m tapped out.

No, time, time.

Are you going in or not?

Well you know the old guy, Danny, he'd
probably just ball me out again.

-You're chicken that's what's wrong with you.
-No that's not it.

Well then think of the letter
he's going to write your father,

and all the money you're
going to be missing.

Yeah you're right let's go.

-Well he's not there.
-Well it was there a minute ago.

-Did you see that?
-See what?

He's just throwing some junk away.

-In a box like that?
-Well so is neat.

-Come on let's take a
look at it. -For what? -Come on.

-Well it's a hat box.
-Well now wait wait...

-I just thought of something.
-Well what?

See, his wife's been
gone a long time.

Yeah about six, seven weeks I think.

-Well you may think I’ve lost my marbles.
-Well I do.

No I’m serious,
you know how that dame treated him...

well what if,

I mean isn't it possible that the
old guy finally got up enough nerve,

to do something
about her.

Well for Pete sakes Perry,

what's eating you?

-well you don't think...? -That what
do you mean? It happens, doesn't it?

I mean, guys are always
knocking off their wives,

he just said she was going to visit
her sister that doesn't make it true.

Well you don't
think that...

You better open it.

-Oh no I’m not touching that...

If you're trying to scare
me you've succeeded,

you want to open that box, go
ahead, I’m not touching it,

-well go ahead open it.

It's a hat.

Sure it's only a hat,
lieutenant but it's a,

brand new hat look the
price tag is still on it.

-Okay so it's new.
-Then why did he throw it out?

-Maybe he didn't like it.
-Yeah but I’ll bet his wife did,

only she's not here to complain
about it that's the point,

don't you see lieutenant
Roman, Professor Jarvis,

threw it out because he
didn't want it anymore,

-because he didn't need it anymore.
-He's screwed lieutenant don't listen to him.

Shut up Dan, can't you see
he got rid of her somehow,

and now he's getting rid of
her things, little by little,

piece by piece.

-He wouldn't have the guts.
-How do you know?

look he's been pushed don't
forget, and pushed hard,

so he pushed back,
well the hat proves it.

And just how do you suggest the
professor did this horrible deed?

-and where did he put the body?
-Well who knows,

maybe he buried it,
maybe he burned it,

listen lieutenant,

if anybody, if anybody
would know how to,

dispose of a body it
would be professor Jarvis,

and that's his game,

that's his business
this biology stuff,

he'd probably dissolve
her in quicklime.

-Well I don't know about that.
-And that crumb was gonna write my father,

and all the time he's a killer, a
murderer, and he's complaining about me.

-Look fellas, I appreciate your interest...
-But you don't believe it.

I know you're sorry
professor Jarvis...

What, you think that's all it is?

look you don't have to take my word
for anything, just ask around I mean,

what kind of home life
Jarvis and his wife had?

Tell you the truth
I know that already,

I don't think there's
anybody in town who doesn't,

bickering and quarrels don't
always end up in murder.

Then where did mrs Jarvis go?

We didn't check on her
movements we had no reason to,

maybe she went to visit
someplace, as for the hat,

maybe she told Jarvis
to get rid of it,

maybe she changed
her mind about it,

okay, okay if it'll make you feel any
better I’ll find out where she is.

Phyllis, Phyllis you know
professor Jarvis wife don't you?

any idea where she's
been these past weeks?



how do you know?

yeah thanks, look uh will you ring
her up for me please and call me back?

Phyllis has a cousin who cleans
for the Jarvis is once a week,

she said the professor told her,

that his wife had gone to visit
her sister mrs Beatty in Skylar.

That's his story.

Hello mrs Beatty I’m
sorry to disturb you but,

uh I wonder if I could speak with your
sister mrs Jarvis? It's nothing important but,


well no, I
thought she was,

yes, yes I guess I must
have been mistaken,

no, no there are no
messages, thank you.

-What's the matter, wasn't she there?

her sister says she hasn't
seen her in over a year.

Well I guess it wouldn't hurt
just to talk to the professor.

I want you two to stay in the car
and hold down the conversation,

-if I need you for anything I’ll call you.
-Yes sir.

-Why lieutenant Roman.
-Good evening professor Jarvis.

May I come in? I’d
like to talk to you.

it's about your wife.

-My wife?
-Yes, uh and this hat box.

You come in.

I don't understand lieutenant,
what about my wife?

Well just curiosity I guess,

it isn't every day that someone throws
a brand new hat into the trash can,

very attractive hat too,

you should see some of the
horrors my wife brings home.

you mind telling me
how you got this hat?

Well for the moment
professor I’d rather not.

I threw this hat out not
more than an hour ago,

since when do the police
investigate trash cans?

I’m afraid that's not the issue,

I’d appreciate it professor if
you tell me why you threw it away,

doesn't your wife
care for it anymore?

still new, it's got
the price tag on.

It it is new, but I just
don't want it anymore.

Wouldn't your wife
have some objection?

I’m beginning to detect some strange
implication in all this lieutenant,

are you trying to
accuse me of something?

No I’m just trying
to gather some facts,

for instance, your wife is visiting
your sister in Skyler, is that correct?

No, as a matter of fact
that's not correct.

But you did tell people
that's where she went.

I did, it seemed
simpler than the truth.

And what was the truth professor?

I suppose it's all
right to tell you,

I’m sure there must be
some professional ethic,

to protect my confidence,

the truth is lieutenant, my wife and
I have frequent violent quarrels,

we had one about
six weeks ago,

and as a result, well,
she walked out on me.

And you haven't heard
from her in all this time?

Not a word.

Have you tried to find her?

Really lieutenant,

I wish you'd get
to the point,

if you have an
accusation to make...

I’m not accusing you
of anything professor.

Not even making little
guesses? Tiny speculations?

you really think I might
have done away with Margaret.

-I didn't say that.
-But that's the idea, isn't it?


this is very stimulating,

you actually suspect
murder don't you?

you think I’m some kind
of crippen or landru,

perhaps you think I
chopped her into hamburger,

and served her at
the school cafeteria.

-I don't find murder funny.
-Then it is homicide you're thinking about.

If I have to professor
I’ll be blunt,

if there's a slightest possibility of
a crime it's my duty to investigate it.

Now I’m not saying you're
not telling the truth,

but you must admit
their sufficient motive,

-and your recent actions.
-I suppose I have been acting like a criminal,

telling lies about my wife's
whereabouts and throwing out hats,

but tell me how you think I
might have done it lieutenant?

just from your
professional point of view.

Well professor it strikes
me as that you'd be an,

ideal man to dispose of a body intelligently.
-Isn't so?

Yes with your knowledge of
biology anatomy, body chemistry...

Oh so you think my special
training equips me for it?


all right then,

how for instance do you think I
might have covered up the crime?

buried her perhaps? sneaked out in
the backyard, and buried her there?

I’m afraid my neighbors would
find the spectacle amusing,

you know I don't own a car,

and couldn't very well carry Margaret
on my back to some remote spot,

she's a rather
large woman.

There are other ways.

Perhaps I burned the body,

I’m afraid that
won't do lieutenant,

my oil burner wouldn't
accommodate the poor woman,

of course if you want to search
this house, you have my permission.

There are other ways professor
quicklime for instance.


I’m afraid you weren't much of
a chemistry student, lieutenant,

let me clarify the point for you,

despite what you may have heard,

quicklime won't destroy a body,

it actually preserves it,

of course they're powerful acids,

however a truly corrosive acid,

will not only destroy a body,

but its container,

such as a bathtub for instance,

no lieutenant, I might
achieve partial destruction,

but complete entire disintegration,
I’m afraid I’m not that clever.

-Professor I think you're laughing at me.
-Do you?

yes I suppose I am,

I didn't intend to
make light of it,

I suppose I’m just covering
up for my feeling of guilt.



do you think I haven't wished
Margaret dead a thousand times?

wish that her nagging
tongue was still forever?

but the human animal
is a complicated beast,

and in my own tormented
fashion I endured our fights,

and quarrels for a very
bewildering reason,

I still loved my wife,

sounds strange does'n
it? But it's the truth.

I love her, lieutenant,
with all her faults,

if she were to walk in
that door right now,

I’d beg her to stay,

and that's why I can't bear to have
anything around that reminds me.

Professor Jarvis I
want to apologize,

I don't know how I get
set off like this but,

seeing that hat box,

and then coming up with this crazy
theory I guess I just got carried away,

if there's anything
I can do to help,

any way I can help
in finding your wife...

Finding her won't help, it won't
make her want to come back.

Well you can call on
me in case you need me.

Thank you,

thank you very
much lieutenant.

I'll show
myself out.

All right, you two, out.

What happened lieutenant
what did you find out?

Found out something, found out not
to listen to a couple of stupid kids.


what happened?

The next time you guys decide to rob a
trash can don't let me know about it.

Good night Margaret.

In these days of creeping

and anti-eggheadery,

we thought it would be wise to
show the other side of the picture,

that there are professors
who outside the classroom,

can be original and
inventive and who,

lead interesting
eventful lives in short,

that some of them are
just like you and I,

our lecture continues
after this brief footnote.

As it must to all men, the law
caught up with professor Jarvis,

thus ironically his wife
Margaret again had the last word,

which is what I’m having now,

until next week then, good night.