Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Episode 109: The Long Shot
Original air date 11.27.55
Written by Harold Swanton
Directed by Robert Stevenson
Charlie Raymond...Peter Lawford
Walker Hendricks...John Williams
Inveterate gambler and swindler Charlie Raymond finds himself deep in debt when his horse fails to place at the track. Rather than wait around for the bookie to come break his kneecaps, Charlie answers a classified ad for a British chap, Walker Hendricks, seeking a driver to take him to San Francisco. What better way to get out of town than in someone else's car and on someone else's dime?
Hendricks is paying him $150 for the drive, but when Charlie learns that he is en route to collect a large inheritance, he sees an opportunity to make a much bigger payday.
It's a decent episode with a nice little payoff, but there's really not much suspense or anything of interest until towards the end. The scheme that Charlie concocts is pretty far fetched, and highly unlikely that it would have worked even back then. But there's some enjoyment to be found here, so long as you don't think too hard about the specifics.
I was unable to find much information about scriptwriter Harold Swanton beyond his filmography. He had written for The Whistler radio series, and went on to contribute to the television series as well, and the episode he wrote for The Alcoa Hour ("Mechanical Manhunt", 1958) won an Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Episode in a TV Series. This was the first of ten episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that he would script, and would contribute one more to the Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
Director Robert Stevenson had previously directed the episode "Don't Come Back Alive". Please see that entry for more information about him. This was the second of seven episodes he would direct.
Actor Peter Lawford was invited into the folds of the Rat Pack by Frank Sinatra in 1959, and appeared with the other members in 1960s Ocean's 11. His first wife was John F. Kennedy's sister Patricia, and the two had a son named Christopher Kennedy Lawford, and three daughters. Christopher is an author and actor, who has appeared in Terminator 3, The Doors, and All My Children. Lawford and Sinatra apparently had a nasty falling out when it became apparent that Lawford's Camelot acquaintances weren't too fond of Sinatra's organized crime acquaintances. Go figure.
Peter Lawford later married Mary Rowan, daughter of Dan Rowan of Rowan and Martin's Laugh-In; he then married would-be actress Deborah Gould. His married his final wife, Patricia Seaton (who he had been involved with since she was 17) just months before his death in 1984 at age 61. This was his only appearance on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, though he appeared in 1962 on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
Actor John Williams (not to be confused with the composer of the same name) played Inspector Hubbard in the broadway play Dial M For Murder, a role he reprised in Hitchcock's film version in 1954. He appeared in the 1961 Thriller episode "Yours Truly, Jack the Ripper," which was based on a story by Robert Bloch, who also wrote the source material for Hitchcock's Psycho. This was the first of ten episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that he would appear on.