Friday, October 26, 2012

Why I Love TV, Chapter 121

Here is one small reason:

I saw the greatest Alfred Hitchcock Hour the other night that I DVR’d, mostly because it starred June Lockhart post-“Lassie.” It was called “The Second Wife” from 1965.

June plays a librarian (neon lights: Old Maid! Mary Hatch without George Bailey!) from Florida who has been in a “Correspondence Club” aka “Lonely Hearts Club” aka “O...

KCupid on Onionskin Paper” and has agreed to marriage via mail to "Mr. Hunter" who lives in a dreary town that’s always wet. She arrives in the dreary town with her luggage and her tweed coat and heels and gloves, never having met or seen a photo of Mr. Hunter. It turns out, he isn’t bad looking… yet may be … sinister.

As they are driving away from the bus station, they show each other their bank books (!), yes, while driving. Mr. Hunter (“you can call me Luke,” he’s a man of few words) says, “Well, let’s just go do this tonight.” And June says, “Oh my goodness, I just wanted at least a chance to freshen up…” but instead they drive over to the minister’s house and are married in his living room. (I recognize the minister's "fancy house" as being on Wisteria Lane from “Desperate Housewives”; I think it’s Bree’s house, which means it’s just around the corner on the Universal backlot from the Munsters’ house.)  The minister’s perky wife says, “Well, are you going to kiss the bride?” and Mr. Hunter pecks her cheek. Minister’s wife winks and says, “Oh, shy is he? Well, you’ll soon cure him of that, won’t you dear?” Luke decides they don’t even have time to stay for coffee, even though the minister’s wife says, “But I have some perking!”

Watch "The Second Wife"....if you dare!

Off they go to the slightly scary Hunter house. It's gloomy. There is no central heating. The basement has a dirt floor and an old-fashioned wringer washing machine. In the living room, June finds a framed photo turned facedown on the mantel and suddenly we hear Luke shouting, “WHAT ARE YOU DOING!.... You’ll get burned standing so close to the fireplace.”

Soon June settles in with the church ladies of the dreary town and is invited to a quilting bee of the Missionary Society. One lady says, “Why, I just remembered something! The last time we saw Joanna was at our last quilting bee. And she was sitting right where you are!” pointing to June. June says, “Who is Joanna?” “Why, she was Luke’s first wife, surely he’s told you about her… well, we thought she was a ‘confirmed spinster’” [[**actual dialogue from the script**]] but then she met Luke through one of those Lonely Hearts Clubs.” Other lady at the bee: “Oh, I don’t think so, I think Joanna had more sense than to get involved with one of THOSE things….” Camera pans to June’s face which is drawing tighter and tighter into a panic.

Well, you guessed it: Mr. Hunter took first wife out of town for something or another and “just like that, she died of food poisoning, and Mr. Hunter decided to bury her in a family plot, in Texas, I think it was….”

And so June of course now suspects that her new husband, for whom she prepares legs of lamb on Sundays now and calls “dear,” is probably plotting to kill her for her bank balance of $11,500.

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