"The Mail Order Prophet"

>> Saturday, February 19, 2011

I sort of hate to do this, because folks outside the United States can't watch Hulu, or can only watch it via proxy server, or they can't, or they can on alternate Wednesdays. I went looking for a YouTube link, and came up short, I'm afraid. If you can't share in the fun, I really am sorry.

With the apology out of the way: yesterday's post on scams reminded me of an old Alfred Hitchcock Presents ep, "The Mail Order Prophet" (warning--link includes spoilers), presented in its entirety below (twenty-five-and-a-half minutes) via Hulu. It's a cute enough episode, but the real delight (if you ask me) is that it brings Jack Klugman and E.G. Marshall back together a few months after they'd shot 12 Angry Men together with Sydney Lumet,1 and this time there's a little bit of reversal in the sorts of roles they play, which is nifty--here, Klugman is the cynical and somewhat more sophisticated guy and Marshall the naïf. The plotting is a little light for an AHP episode, but watching Marshall and Klugman sort out what's going on--or one of them, at least--is a helluva lot of fun. If you're not able or willing to watch the episode here and you can get it via Netflix or by renting or buying the AHP Season Three box, there's worth ways to kill half an hour, for sure.

And now, "The Mail Order Prophet":

112 Angry Men was released on April 13th, 1957 and "Mail Order Prophet" first aired on October 13th of the same year. According to Wikipedia, 12 Angry Men was shot in three weeks, but it's not clear if that occurred at the beginning of 1957 or end of 1956; meanwhile, I haven't found any information as to when "Prophet" was filmed (though I'm sure it's out there somewhere). It's actually vaguely possible, though I think very unlikely, that "Prophet" was shot first or close to the same time, but I went with "a few months after" as a reasonable speculation that could be wrong.

If you have any insights or, better yet, facts, feel free to share!


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