|Emile Genest as DuBois|
|John Ireland as McCabe|
|Michael King as Conroy|
|"They can't do that to me!"|
Airing on NBC on Tuesday, April 24, 1962, "The Matched Pearl" is a very entertaining episode with a satisfying conclusion, a miniature jewel of a TV show that would please fans of movies like The Sting. Slesar's script is well thought out and clever, with small touches sprinkled throughout that increase the viewer's enjoyment, especially on repeat viewings.
|Ernest Truex as Wilkens|
|Poopsie and Sugar Cup|
DuBois is most foolish when he thinks himself most clever. He takes a bottle of whisky along on his second visit to McCabe, having observed the sailor's fondness for drink the first time they met and assuming that he can use alcohol to help take advantage of the man of the sea. Yet the besuited, smooth jeweler is easy prey for the seemingly besotted con artist, whose careful planning is evident in retrospect. McCabe must have placed the pearl on consignment with DuBois some weeks or months before Wilkens ever entered the shop to purchase it. McCabe also seems to have made note of the location of DuBois's bank when he accepted the first check, because he has placed the pearl in a safe deposit box at the same bank by the end, ensuring a quick cashing of the final check in order to make a rapid escape before DuBois discovers that he has been the victim of an elaborate plot.
Slesar's characters are a study in contrasts. DuBois seems slicker than Wilkens, who appears to be a foolish old man. DuBois is also more down to earth than his prissy assistant Conroy. DuBois seems positively polished when set against the slovenly sailor, McCabe, and DuBois seems to be the height of reason when put in the hotel room with the silly couple, Hubert and Lolly Wilkens. Yet the contrasts go even further, as is revealed in the final scene, where it turns out that none of the three con artists were at all like the parts they were playing.
|Sharon Farrell as Lolly|
Director Bernard Girard does not make use of any special camera angles or unusual shot setups, but his ability to translate the script into pictures is outstanding. The show moves at a rapid clip to a most delectable conclusion. Especially well done are the scenes on McCabe's boat, which have a cramped and claustrophobic feeling to them. The final scene is doubly surprising because, though Randolph and Lolly are clearly on intimate terms, it is never stated that they are actually married. In addition, the suggestion that a father pretends to be married to his daughter was scandalous for network television in 1962! The situation where a father flirts with his daughter came up in another episode penned by Slesar, "Coming Home," though in that instance neither character was aware of the identity of the other when the flirting occurred. The final scene in "The Matched Pearl" also recalls the final scene in Slesar's "Not the Running Type," when a luxurious ocean voyage is seen to be the reward for some financial trickery.
Director Bernard Girard (1918-1997) was born Bernard Goldstein and worked as both a writer and director of movies and TV from the late 1940s to the mid 1970s. He directed a Twilight Zone as well as four half-hour Hitchcock episodes and eight hour-length Hitchcock episodes, including the Robert Bloch classic, "Water's Edge."
John Ireland (1914-1992) played McCabe, the sailor. He was in many movies and TV episodes from 1945 to 1992. His first film was A Walk in the Sun (1945), followed by My Darling Clementine (1946), Red River (1948), Spartacus (1960), I Saw What You Did (1965), and many others. He starred in a TV series called The Cheaters (1960-1962) and appeared in a single episode of Thriller. This was his only appearance on the Hitchcock show. Viewers at the time may have recalled a minor scandal from a few years earlier when the 45-year-old Ireland dated the 16-year-old Tuesday Weld. Was producer Joan Harrison thinking of that when she cast him as the lover of 21 year old Sharon Farrell in this episode?
Ernest Truex (1889-1973) was a wonderful actor who began his career on stage at age three. He was in movies from 1913 to 1965 and his many film roles included one in His Girl Friday (1940). He was seen on TV from its earliest days, in 1948, and his TV career ran until 1966. He was a regular on a series called Jamie from 1953-1954, appeared in two very memorable episodes of The Twilight Zone ("Kick the Can" and "What You Need"), and was on Alfred Hitchcock Presents twice.
Emile Genest (1921-2003) played DuBois. He was French Canadian, from Quebec, and he appeared in movies and on TV from the early 1950s until 2000. This was his only episode of the Hitchcock show. In the onscreen closing credits, his character is misidentified as Lawrence Kirkwood. In the dialogue during the show, it is clearly Laurent DuBois.
Finally, Sharon Farrell (1940- ) played Lolly, in what was only her third onscreen credit. Born Sharon Forsmoe, she started in the movies in 1959 and on TV in 1961. She still appears on TV as of this writing. She was on an episode of Kolchak: The Night Stalker, in the movie It's Alive (1974), and in three episodes of the Hitchcock series, including another Robert Bloch classic, "Final Performance," where she most memorably became a puppet of Franchot Tone's. She published an autobiography last year and maintains a website here.
Look for ""The Matched Pearl" in syndication reruns--it's worth watching!
Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. Churchville, MD: OTR Pub., 2001. Print.