Thursday, September 7, 2023

The Hitchcock Project-Allan Gordon, Part Two-The Man Who Found the Money [6.13]

by Jack Seabrook

While on a gambling vacation in Las Vegas, William Benson, a professor from St. Louis, finds $92,000 in a gold clip with the initials "C.N." on a sidewalk. He puts it in a bank's safe deposit box and visits the police station, where a captain is already aware of the missing money, though the missing amount is said to be $102,000. Benson lost all of his savings, or $400, the night before while playing roulette. Soon, a flashy car pulls up and Mr. Newsome strides into the captain's office. Benson tells Newsome that he found $92,000 and Newsome does not seem disturbed by the discrepancy.

"The Man Who Found
the Money" was first
published here
Though the captain wanted to put Benson on the 11 o'clock train out of town, Newsome has other plans. He and Benson visit the bank, where the money is returned, and Newsome drives Benson to his casino, the Pinto, offering to fly his wife Joyce out to Vegas for a weeklong stay, on the house. Newsome leaves Benson in the casino, where he is given free chips and wins even more. Eventually, Benson is taken to Newsome's office, where Newsome hands him a telephone receiver and Benson hears his wife's terrified voice telling him that two men are at their house. Newsome hangs up the phone and tells Benson that his wife and child will be dead soon unless he hands over the missing $10,000.

"The Man Who Found the Money" is a straightforward story where the ending is no great surprise. The suspense comes from the question of whether Newsome's kindness to Benson is sincere. Benson is in a no-win situation; his best option would have been to leave the money on the sidewalk or to figure out a way to turn it in anonymously, yet he had no way of knowing that $10,000 was missing and by the time he learned that fact it was too late.

Arthur Hill as Benson
The story was first published in the February 1954 issue of Manhunt and appears to be the only published fiction by James Cronin, a professor who taught a creative writing workshop at St. Louis University and who founded that school's Writer's Institute. The story was reprinted in the 1958 collection, The Best from Manhunt, which is probably where associate producer Norman Lloyd saw it.

Allan Gordon adapted the story for TV and the show aired on NBC on Tuesday, December 27, 1960. "The Man Who Found the Money" is an excellent adaptation, one that improves on its source while following the plot closely. While the short story begins as Benson places an ad about the money in the newspaper and we learn what happened leading up to that when Benson speaks to the police captain, with his thoughts revealing what he's leaving out, the TV show presents the events chronologically as they occur, beginning with an establishing shot of the Las Vegas strip at night.

Rod Cameron as Newsome
There is a dissolve to the interior of the casino, which is soon identified as the Pinto Inn (in the story, Benson had played at a different casino), where we see Benson lose his money at the roulette table. He leaves and finds the money in the parking lot outside; there is a dissolve to the interior of his motel room and the camera at first hovers high above Benson from a God's eye point of view as he sits on the bed and counts the money. A neon sign blinks on and off outside the room's window, visible through the closed curtains, demonstrating that he's staying at a cheap motel rather than the more expensive casino hotel. Clearly, $92,000 is a significant sum of money for this man.

Benson takes out his suitcase and opens it, seemingly to put the money inside, but when he picks up a framed photo of his wife he slams the suitcase shut and it seems like her face triggered an attack of conscience. A shot of Benson in a large mirror suggests that he's of two minds about what to do with the money. He ends up sitting in a chair, looking at the money and thinking, and we see that the time is 3:50 a.m. The camera pulls back up to the Godlike angle and there is a dissolve to a close-up of another clock; this time, it reads 10 a.m. and it's on the wall at the bank, so we understand that Benson has decided not to run off with the cash.

R.G. Armstrong as Captain Bone
He puts the money in the safe deposit box and we learn his name for the first time as the teller addresses him as Mr. Benson. The camera watches him from a high angle as he puts the money in the box, again implying judgment. There is a dissolve to the office of the Las Vegas Times, and at this point, the TV show picks up where the short story begins. From here on, the events and dialogue follow the short story closely. Benson goes to the police station, where some of his thoughts from the story are converted into dialogue and R.G. Armstrong is excellent as police Captain Bone; he's all business and presents a sense of strength and menace.

The show's best performance comes from Rod Cameron as Newsome. He arrives at the police station and the desk sergeant calls him by name; he walks into the captain's office without being asked, as if he's been there before and knows that he won't be challenged. Newsome is clearly a wealthy local man who is treated with deference by everyone he meets, in contrast to Benson, the visitor from out of town who is harassed even though he is trying to be honest. An earlier remark by the newspaper editor about people in Las Vegas being very concerned about money proves to be prescient.

At the bank, the teller, Miss Purdy, also calls Newsome by name and, after Newsome drops the captain back at the police station, his car is seen pulling up in front of the casino. Everyone knows Newsome and addresses him by name: the young man who parks his car and, most entertaining of all, the hat check girl, to whom Newsome cheerfully barks, "'Park it, honey!'" as he tosses his hat to her behind Benson's back. The rest of the show follows the story closely for the most part. Benson gambles and is taken to Newsome's office, where he briefly hears his terrified wife's voice on the phone; unlike the story, there is no mention of a baby and here, Newsome's threat is less specific--in the short story, he says, "'they're going to find your wife and kid at the bottom of a hill in a burning car,'" while on the show this is softened to, "'something will happen to your wife.'"

"The Man Who Found the Money" is an excellent adaptation of the short story of the same name. The acting is great, with Arthur Hill seeming suitably nervous and indignant as Benson, Rod Cameron embodying the local bigwig, Newsome, and R.G. Armstrong, as Captain Bone, caught in the middle and knowing all too well the danger the out of town visitor faces. Director Alan Crosland, Jr., keeps the story moving along briskly and uses unusual and interesting camera angles to keep viewer interest high and to subtly comment on the proceedings. Even the stock music cues, presumably selected by music supervisor Joseph E. Romero, are effective, demonstrating once again how the later seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents had a better library of musical themes to choose from than the earlier seasons.

Lucy Prentis as Miss Purdy
Alan Crosland, Jr. (1918-2001), the director, started out as a film editor, working on features from 1944 to 1954 and on TV from 1955 to 1957, then began directing episodic television in 1956. He directed 16 half-hours and three hours of the Hitchcock series, including "The Woman Who Wanted to Live," as well as episodes of The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits. Crosland directed a handful of movies, but his main focus was on TV, and he directed his last show in 1986.

William Benson is played by Arthur Hill (1922-2006), a Canadian actor who served in the Canadian Air Force in WWII and began acting on stage, TV, and film in the late 1940s. He won a Tony Award for his role in Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway and starred in the TV series, Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law, from 1971 to 1974. He was in one other episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Human Interest Story."

Giving an energetic performance as Newsome is Rod Cameron (1910-1983), another Canadian actor. Born Nathan Roderick Cox, he started out as a stuntman in Hollywood and has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His screen career lasted from 1939 to 1977 and he starred in three TV series: City Detective, from 1953 to 1955, State Trooper, from 1956 to 1959, and Coronado 9, from 1960 to 1961. This was the only episode of the Hitchcock TV show in which he appeared.

Clancy Cooper
R.G. Armstrong (1917-2002) plays Captain Bone. He was on four episodes of the Hitchcock show, including "Final Vow," and had a long career, spanning the years from 1954-2001. He was also in many westerns. Online sources report that he grew up in a family of fundamentalists and that his mother wanted him to be a pastor, but he became an actor instead and his onscreen roles sometimes played off the tension between his upbringing and his profession.

In smaller roles:
  • Lucy Prentis as Miss Purdy, the bank teller; born Lucy Propst, she had a television career from 1950 to 1962. She also appeared in one other episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, "Bang! You're Dead."
  • Clancy Cooper (1906-1975) as the newspaper editor; he was on screen in small roles from 1938 to 1972, appearing on The Twilight Zone, two episodes of Thriller (including "Knock Three-One-Two"), and three episodes of the Hitchcock show.
  • Baynes Barron (1917-1982) as Lent, who takes care of Benson in the casino near the end of the show; Barron was onscreen from 1946 to 1979 and appeared in three episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including "Listen, Listen . . . . .!"
Baynes Barron
  • Mark Allen (1920-2003) as the desk sergeant at the police station; he played small roles onscreen from 1952 to 1975 and this was the only time he was seen on the Hitchcock show.
Mark Allen
Watch "The Man Who Found the Money" online here or buy the DVD here. Read the GenreSnaps review of this episode here.

It's too bad that Allan Gordon did not write any more episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The two episodes he adapted from short stories show real skill in translating events from the page to the small screen and I would love to find out more about him!


Cronin, James. "The Man Who Found the Money." The Best of Manhunt. Ed. Jeff Vorzimmer. Eureka, CA: Stark House, 2019. 122-127.


Galactic Central,

Grams, Martin, and Patrik Wikstrom. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub., 2001.


"Jeff Vorzimmer." Interviewed by Richard Krauss. The Digest Enthusiast 11, 2020. 150-157.

"The Man Who Found the Money." Alfred Hitchcock Presents, season 6, episode 13, NBC, 27 December 1960.


“Writers Who Joined the Peace Corps to ‘Burn with a Hard, Gemlike Flame.’” Peace Corps Worldwide, 9 Mar. 2016,

Listen to Al Sjoerdsma discuss "The Manacled" here!

In two weeks: Our series on Dick Carr begins with a look at "Triggers in Leash," starring Gene Barry and Darren McGavin!


john kenrick said...

A top notch episode, Jack. The plot is actually dealt with meticulously, with no loose ends. We see and get to know what the unfortunate professor, Arthur Hill, does, and little if anything else. R.G. Armstrong's probably reasonably honest policeman, given where he lives and works, and who holds the strings there, struck me as solid, and somewhat likable early on; and then, as the story developed, he became more than a bit unsettling.

Rod Cameron was transparently a nasty piece of work as soon as he entered the scene. There was no nuance or ambivalence to him; no mulling over the issue of the missing money; nor any sense of fairness; his bonhomie was transparently fake. Good work from Cameron, who sometimes showed that he was a better actor than one might imagine given that he got his start in the movies as Fred MacMurray's stand-in.

Arthur Hill served the material well, and I suppose his part wasn't the kind that an actor can knock it out of the ballpark with; and a far cry from Oscar Homolka's junkman in another Hitchcock half-hour, in which his cupidity got the best of him. He was his own worst enemy; heck, his wife was a better person than he was.In this entry, poor good citizen Arthur Hill's worst enemy was a (likely mobbed up) casino owner, in an episode where there's no justice at all.

Jack Seabrook said...

Thanks, John! I agree that this is a strong episode.