Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Season 2 Episode 24

The Cream of the Jest

1
Aired Sunday 9:30 PM Mar 10, 1957 on CBS
7.9
out of 10
User Rating
21 votes
1

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Episode Summary

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An unemployed actor plays his last role.

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SUBMIT REVIEW
  • An old, penniless actor tries to blackmail a newly-successful playwright into giving him a star part.

    8.5
    The story is only so-so, but this segment, like the previous season's "And So Died Riabouchinska" is worth watching just for its star, Claude Rains. This great actor - whom John Gielgud regarded as a mentor - was heading for his seventies when he did this, and TV work was, by that time, beginning to take up more of his time than either stage work or films. As the old has-been actor whose desperation leads him to attempt blackmail against a distinctly dubious writer, Rains catches exactly the seediness under the suave veneer, and also the self-disgust and fatalism of this once-proud old man. He's heading for death and knows it - and that's "the cream of the jest", for him.moreless
James Gregory

James Gregory

Wayne Campbell

Guest Star

Paul Picerni

Paul Picerni

Nick Roper

Guest Star

Johnny Silver

Johnny Silver

Jerry the Bartender

Guest Star

Claude Rains

Claude Rains

Charles Gresham

Recurring Role

Trivia, Notes, Quotes and Allusions

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  • TRIVIA (0)

  • QUOTES (5)

    • Closing Narration
      Alfred Hitchcock: (slams a book shut) Well, there's no use taking that book home with us, now that we've finished it. By the way, in case you were interested, the police learned of Wayne Campbell's connection with tonight's crime (struggles with his overcoat and mutters) ...I can't seem to figure out why this coat doesn't fit. I just bought it. There seems to be a message stitched inside. (Opens his coat and reads from a tag sewn into it) "Occupancy by more than one person contrary to law." Well, no wonder! Next time, we shall return for another story. Join us then. Good night.

    • Wayne: If you played that part it'd be the cream of the jest, wouldn't it? It'd also be the first time a blackmailer ever earned his money.

    • Charles: I'm only real when I'm acting!

    • Wayne: Charles, I wouldn't touch you again with a ten-foot pole. You're a drunk, let's face it!

    • [Opening Narration]
      Alfred Hitchcock: (picking out a book from a library shelf) Good evening. I understand it is fashionable to introduce television shows from a library, so I thought I would preface tonight's play, "The Cream of the Jest," in this way. "The Cream of the Jest" is a play about the theatrical business (walks past a group of older people reading at a table, and they shush him. Alfred resumes in a whisper ...and it has as it's central character a fading actor named Charles Haliver Gresham. Our play will - (the people hush him again. Alfred stops, looks annoyed, then quickly resumes) our play will begin in just one moment!

  • NOTES (0)

  • ALLUSIONS (1)

    • Charles: "All our yesterday have lighted fools the way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle! Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more."

      Charles is quoting Macbeth in Shakespeare's play of the same name.

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