Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955–1962): Season 7, Episode 8 - The Old Pro - full transcript

Frank Burns sets off fishing and promises his wife a half dozen fresh trout for them and their dinner guests. In fact, he's meeting Cullen, a blackmailing journalist, who knows Frank was once a killer and promises not to publish the story for a fee. Frank's wife thinks he's a retired engineer and he's accepted as a member of the local society set. Frank is tired of paying off his blackmailer and arranges with one of his former associates to take care of the situation permanently. Cullen has something else in mind, however, but Frank knows what he has to do. Unfortunately his former associates also have plans for Frank.

Good evening ladies
and gentlemen,

beach comas, sun worshipers,

skin divers and other flotsam and jetsam,

which may have washed ashore on the
sandy wasteland of television,

I have a new position now,

I’m not certain I was cut out for this work,

I can't swim, but that doesn't
bother me,

what is embarrassing,
is that I can't even climb into the chair,

I shall have to keep an
eye on that gentleman,

to see that he doesn't go in over his head,

while I’m doing that, why don't you keep
your eye on this gentleman,


our sponsor, to be followed by
The Old Pro, our story.



-Leaving now?

-Get you anything from
across the lake? -No darling,

just wanted to remind you the
Robinsons will be here for cocktails.

I know better than to burden a man's
mind with errands when he's going fishing.

Now that's what I call
an understanding woman,

you know they should dedicate
a medal to fisherman's wives.

I’II settle for a half dozen
fat trout and broiler tonight.

Your wish shall be granted,
and even half dozen,

fat and frisky.

Beautiful piece of wood,

something about quality,

gun, woman, wine, touch equality
makes all the difference,

you bring the money

How long do you think
I can afford to pay?

And you've got a lovely lake house
another beautiful home in the city,

a wife wearing nothing
but the best of clothes,

if you're selling poor
mouth nobody's buying.

I’m telling you
Cullen, you hit bedrock.

Come, come, Burns you've
got enough to spread around,

all I’m asking is a reasonable
weekly retainer for services rent.

You call it by its right name or
those blackmail stick in your throat?

I prefer 'retainer',

after all my paper would pay
me a fat bonus for this story,

"Hired killer retires to
Westlake society" said,

Frank Burns,
wedded to a junior league beauty,

now using a four iron on the golf course,
instead of a 38, along the waterfront,

you're getting off cheap Burns,

I’ve seen that doll you married,

I happen to know that she thinks you're a,

retired engineer with
interests in south America,

I am no miss lonely hearts but before
I let that doll be disillusioned,

I would dig down for my last dollar.

You've taken me for
40 thousand,

quit now while you're ahead.

You bring the money?


wait a minute.


I’II bring it later.

it's about five o'clock.

You got something
on your mind Burns?

about maybe paying
me off in another way?

If you're afraid to meet
me I’II mail it to you.


now why should I be afraid of you?

I can take you any day in the week,

you've gone soft Burns,
that's why you retired,

man gets a beautiful wife and enough money,

happens that way, becomes afraid,

we understand each

I’II be here later,

at 5.


-Any luck?

Well, I have a surprise for you,

I didn't want you
to be disappointed darling,

so I ordered these
from the market,

just in case.

-Remind me to get you that medal.
-I’II start cooking lunch.

-How about a drink?
-’II have one ready for you right away.

Good, I’II get rid of my stuff.

-Let me speak to Nicholson, this is Burns.

-Burnsie boy, how goes it?
-Goodny, good,

I didn't recognize
your voice.

Hey I’m just talking about
you with some of the boys,

-retirement been agreed with you?
-Yeah, nothing like it, Nick.

-A pretty wife, good health?
-She's fine, Nick, just fine.

Look uh something
came up that's why I’m calling.

Oh you sound kind of worried
like uh maybe he had a problem.

I was wondering if you could refer
someone to me,

an engineer experienced
in removing obstructions.

-Nicholson? -You're still here Burnsy.

-What's so funny? -Well
in a way Burnsy, you,

you of all people need an engineer, huh?

-Well do I get him?
-Sure Burnsy, sure it's our business,

I got a good man on
hand right now.

We're gonna be down here
at the lake, say around 4:30.

At 4:30 it is.

Get a hold of Mace,
tell him I want to see him.

So you're Burns.

-What's your name?
-Mace, just call me 'engineer' for short.

He's waiting for me about a
quarter of a mile down the shore,

we could take the boat but I think it
better be cut through the woods.

You're the boss,

Nicholson says you were the best in the

and I’m always willing
to learn from an old pro.

You understand this has
to look like an accident,

I wouldn't want anything happening
that would give this lake a bad name.

I guess finding a body with a bullet in it,

would make the good people
up here a bit uneasy.

He uses a boat when
he meets me,

if he's found with water in his
lungs and the boat overturned,

there wouldn't be many questions.

Accidental drowning,
nice, makes it clearly cut.

Hey hold up, I’m tired.

-Just another 100 yards.
-I’m ready to sit down right here.

Do you want to go on

his name is Cullen,

always waiting me
that clearing up ahead,

he'll be carrying a shotgun, so
you'll have to circle in from behind him,

go ahead.

Oh wait a minute,

be a big joke if I mistake some
hiccup hunting rabbits for our man.


I’d better go with you.

Clean cut, just like
the old days, hey Burns?

Forget the old days.

stay behind me.

Sure why dirty your hands when you
can afford your own engineer now.

That's Colin,

since when does Nicholson take on
a job and throw in a devil cross?

No double cross,
just in case of first come first served,

after a little talk this morning
I anticipated your next move,

I called Nicholson first,

you've got a choice between me and a shakedown,
punk like Cullen, and you take his side?

The way I see it he had the guts to
shake you down,

guy with guts is always valuable,

who knows? maybe someday we'll do,

you're expendable now Burns. -Mace...

let's get over there.

Down to the water.

I should have blown a hole in you
the first time you put the bite on me.

Start walking or I’II let
you have it here.

You'll walk, even that final
minute of life can be a sweet thing,

-I’II wait here. -Suit yourself.

-Can we talk business Mace?
-I’II let you answer your own question Burns.

did you ever talk business when
you were removing an obstruction?

How much is Colin pay?

Nice quiet place Burns,

I can see why you
want to retire here.

How much is Colin Pay?

And you'll double it?

I can raise 25000 cash in an hour.

Kind of hurts to see
an old pro begging.

25000 will buy you that
front is right at the...

-Mace... -Mace was doing a job he just
managed badly that's all.

-Mace is a fool. -Was Colin, was a fool,

you should have listened to me,

you should have quit
when you were ahead.


Burns that money you gave me,

most of it is still intact,

we got a talking point?

What you got from me was peanuts,

now start walking,

no, straight ahead

like you said before

that final minute of life,

can be a sweet thing,

now start walking down to the lake,

and you can have that final minute.

That mistake will be corrected immediately.

-I’ve been at it again.
-I see.

You like?


How about this one?

-Which do you like better?

Well I like them both.

Did you hear about those two
men who drowned yesterday?

Yeah, I heard something
about it on the radio this morning,

-boating accident, wasn't it?
-Yeah at the far end of the lake, they're both overturned,


two hunters from the city, weren't they?

No one seems to know
anything about them,

well, did you like all
three, I’II buy all three,

As long as you don't
wear them all at the same time.

Why not?



we're having lobster for lunch,
won't take a minute.

You really know how
to live Burnsy,

a wonderful setup, wonderful,

I see you brought
your muscles along.

I just want a little company on the
way down, you know I hate to be alone,

oh this is living,

you can keep
the city, fresh air,

maybe a bird to wake
you up in the morning...

Nick, I want to explain,
a couple of things.

Burnsy, ¿to a guest you talk
business before a drink?

-I want to explain about Mace.
-Oh I didn't realize we had company.

Oh not company, mrs Burns,
I’m an old friend.

This is mr Nicholson,
my former employer.

Oh I’m very pleased to
know you mr Nicholson.

Oh, Nick, what's with the mystery
to old friends, is Nick, right?

Uh you'll stay for lunch?

we're just having lobster and
a salad but please join us.

-I’m starved.
-Good I’II set another place.

She's beautiful,

that complexion, such a lovely skin,

reminds me of that girl in
St Louies, remember the one,

with the skin so smooth it
was a delight to touch it,

and before the
affair with the acid,

that was an unhappy affair,

but why should anybody want
to throw acid in your wife face?

huh Burnsy?
enemies you haven't gun, huh?

Just a minute Nick,

so I knocked off
your top boy,

he came here after me,

-let's just leave it at that then.
-Burnsy, I’m talking,

Joe Nicholson likes to talk,
if I upset you, thousand pardons.

-Aren't you going to give mr
Nicholson a drink darling. -Oh sure,

why don't we sit down.

Now there's a pretty table.

I love flattery, so you may continue.

-May I? -Please do.

Burnsy how does a man like you
deserve such a wife?

He doesn't really, what brings you up
here mr Nicholson?

Nick dear, Nick,

uh business,

if I may rear such an ugly word
amongst such pleasant surroundings us...

You're certainly talking to the
wrong man, Frank is retired,

and we've agreed he's
going to stay retired.

-Oh, what do you say to that Burnsy?
-Well I, I expect she's right,

what did bring you
up here Nick?

Well a very sad thing happened

my best engineer, not as good as your
husband there but my best at the moment,

-passed away. -Oh I’m
sorry to hear that.

Yeah, I was quite broken up by it,

he was just a young man but
uh very good at his work,

it's gonna be awfully hard to
find the right man to replace him,

I was hoping to talk your husband
into coming out of retirement.

What do you mean Nick?

Time and time again you've proved you're,

the best in the business I,
I really need you now.

-Mr Nicholson...
-Nick, dear.

Nick, you haven't got a chance.

Haven't I?
-I’m not ever, ever again going to

put up with being alone
those long evenings,

while he was off building a bridge or
repairing a dam or getting a contract,

or what have you, in
south America or Canada,

or wherever you took it
into your head to fly him.

Yeah but you loved it enginer boy?
you miss it don't you?

I always say an old
pro never retires,

-am I right Burnsy? -I’m not going
to give him a chance to answer that,

He stays retired,

we need some more mayonnaise.

I need you Burns,

job in Vegas,


Lok Nick
I thought I made it understood before,

I’m retired, get somebody else.

Get somebody else?
you think engineers grow on trees?

Look Nick the answer is no.

I got all I ever want right here,

and all I want now
is to be left alone.

I need you Burnsy boy,

you're the best we ever had.

I said no Nick.

You know your wife has the
loveliest skin I ever set eyes on,

just one more job Burns.

Yeah, yeah one more job, huh?

and one more and one more,
that's what you mean?

In a business like this Burns,
every job can be your last so,

why worry?

why look too far into the future?

welcome home to an old pro.

This is all of our story,

for Burns however,

there was more,

were other jobs to be done,

then inevitably there was the
job he didn't get away with,

which reminds me that time
is catching up with me,

one minute in

after which I shall reappear.

I’m trying to get
the young man we saw earlier,

to tell me where
he buried his father,

however, the boy's father is
no longer my greatest concern,

I think this demonstrates that
although quicksand may be cheap,

spreading it on a beach
does not pay in the long run,

fortunately the boy
doesn't seem to sink,

perhaps he doesn't
weigh as much as I do,

young man don't stand
there run for help, please,

oh I won't have to worry
about the sand anymore,

I see the tide is
coming in,

so until next week,

or later, good night.