Alfred Hitchcock Presents s03e01 Episode Script

The Glass Eye

Good evening.
Tonight's narrative is about a private eye.
A very private eye.
A glass eye is a very interesting object.
For one thing, I've always thought a glass eye would be better than the real article.
It never gets bloodshot.
And being made of glass, it will certainly be easier to see through.
This evening, due to one of those delightful coincidences, our story happens to be about a glass eye.
It is entitled, "The Glass Eye.
" You see, everything fits in.
What appalls me is that cousin Julia had no one to leave her things to.
No one except us, that is.
Did she ever let you know how lonely she was? Nobody in the family ever knew much about Julia.
She was impossible to know.
She never talked about herself.
Well, I simply don't understand how she could possibly have stood it, living here so alone.
I wonder what went on in her mind.
Do you suppose she ever stood here, staring at these ships, and dreaming that she one day might sail right out of this drab little room? Once she very nearly did.
Just once.
Let me show you something, Dorothy.
Oh, how horrible.
What is it? An eye.
A glass eye.
What a strange thing to keep.
Stranger than you think.
If ever a life was symbolized by any one single object, Julia's was, and by this.
This glass eye.
How do you mean? I only got to know about it long after it happened.
Julia was still in her 30s then.
Many years ago.
The loneliness, the desolation of her life were beyond belief for she herself was unaware of just how lonely and desolate it really was.
I imagine that long ago, she had found a way to escape into a world where emotion and feeling never intrude.
In her own way, I suppose, she was happy.
She'd, well, adjusted to it.
Every morning she made tea on the single flame.
Then she would dress, go to work as a clerk for an old-fashioned solicitor, a man named Maufry, who wrote to his clients by hand, making copies by the old moist-paper method.
And each day, like clockwork, she lunched cheaply at a teashop where she read steadily from the volumes of the Tauchnitz edition of the best English authors.
She had worked her way down to the L's.
Did she look at those two young people and wonder why life had passed her by? I wish I knew.
In the evenings, she cooked a simple meal.
Fried some ham perhaps, or a chop and boiled vegetables, all on the same single flame, a complicated conjuring trick involving much juggling of pots and pans.
She had nothing to anticipate but retiring early, seldom later than 10:00 or 10:30.
Did she hope that the young man in the flat above might come home one night and, by mistake, enter the wrong room? Did she ever dream of a life with a husband, a home and children? How could Julia, whose life had been so loveless, possibly have known that when love did come, it might lead to something dangerous and horrifying? Yet, there is one small twist in it.
One odd and unaccountable thing.
Late one summer, as she was accustomed to do every Saturday afternoon, Julia took the small son of a neighbor to the Old Music Hall in Fulham.
She worshipped the boy, lavishing all her love on him, looking forward to the one day a week when her neighbor entrusted the child to her devoted care.
She fed him lunch on those days.
She bought him toys and books.
And the only reward he ever gave her was a smile.
Still, it was enough for Julia.
Enough until this summer afternoon.
The day she first saw Max Collodi.
Ladies and gentlemen, the management of the Music Hall takes pride in presenting the high spot of this week's program, the great Max Collodi, gentleman ventriloquist, and his amazing dummy, George.
Well, George, here we are back in Fulham once again.
What do you think about Fulham? I can't say.
You can't say? Why not? I haven't been around.
No money? That's right.
I'm a little short this week.
You forgot my lemonade.
Now, George, before we go ahead with our act, I want to ask you a question.
Did you give fresh water to the goldfish this morning? Goldfish? Yes, goldfish.
Fresh water? Yes.
Did you give fresh water to the goldfish this morning? What for? They haven't finished the water I gave them yesterday.
I'm thirsty.
I'll tell Mommy you were mean to me.
Please, Allan, dear, just as soon as this act is over.
George, do you like going to school? I like Sunday school best.
I'm glad to hear that.
Tell me, why do you prefer it? 'Cause I only have to go once a week.
Do you suppose he could be Italian? I'm thirsty.
Oh, please, Allan, in a moment, dear.
That name, Max Collodi.
Do you suppose that could be Italian? I said, "I'm thirsty!" Why not? What key is best for unlocking the tongue? Here, Allan, dear.
You buy yourself some lemonade or whatever you want.
I'll be right back.
You're not going to leave me, are you? Mommy says I'm never to be left alone.
No, dear, I'll be right there, at the other side of the lobby.
Excuse me.
I want a ticket for tonight.
Just one.
Thank you.
Where are we going now? Let's go back inside.
No, dear.
No, I have to go straight home.
I have a great deal to do this evening.
Such a great deal, really, to do.
But he didn't leave you any money, did he? No.
I am the executor of his estate.
And he left me 500 quid for a memorial stone.
And this is it.
George, I refuse to work with you tonight unless you answer a very personal question.
You refuse to work with me? Now that's a bit of news.
Where would you be without me? Please, George.
All right, ask whatever you like.
George, have you ever met a girl you cared for? Have I ever met a girl I cared for? Yes.
It was love at first sight.
Wonderful, George.
Are you going to marry her? No.
No? But I thought that you Yes? I thought you said it was love at first sight.
I took a second look.
And so all in a summer's day and night a warmth came to Julia she had never known before.
She did not know exactly what it was she felt for Max Collodi.
Certainly if she had known, she could never have confessed it to herself, not that first night anyway.
She couldn't get his image out of her mind.
Max Collodi, a wonderful name she thought, a name full of poetry.
Max Collodi.
Max Collodi.
Madame Collodi.
Or was it to be Signora Collodi? Suppose she was Signora Collodi? She was lying in the upper room of their villa in Italy on the outskirts of Rome.
Max had bean appearing at the theater.
It was his footsteps she heard now.
He would come in.
He would come close to her.
She would hold him.
She would comfort him.
She would send him to sleep.
That was the beginning of Julia's romance with Max Collodi.
And this was the end of it.
Let me show you something, Dorothy.
This, she managed to steal it from one of the theaters in London where he appeared and these programs.
From the Hippodrome at Stratham, Pavilion at Finsbury.
Every night she traveled across London to pay her half crown to sit in the balconies wherever he appeared.
How pitiful.
Was it really, Dorothy? Or was it better to have these programs to look at every night before she went to bed and every morning before she set off to work? No, it wasn't pitiful.
It was frightening.
Because, you see, Julia had made a resolution.
A resolution? Yes.
She resolved to meet Max Collodi.
He had to love her as she loved him, no matter what.
No matter what she had to do.
Julia wrote Max Collodi a letter.
I'm not able to quote it.
I don't know what was in it.
I do know that somewhere in the course of it, she asked if she might meet him.
She'd given her employer her notice.
She had read that the Great Collodi was going on tour of the provinces.
She had a small capital accumulated through many years of saving.
And she proposed living on this while she followed Collodi about the country.
So, for a while at least, possibly forever, who could know, it was goodbye to the alarm clock, the narrow bed, the lonely meals, the faded wallpaper.
Collodi had replied to her very first letter, saying he was grateful for her praises, but that he never gave interviews.
Nevertheless, Julia went on writing and he went on replying.
Finally, he asked her to send him a photograph, and Julia, with great trepidation, sent him a blurred snapshot taken long ago when she was 23.
As she grew more persistent in her letters, he grew more benevolent.
He began to hint a meeting might be possible.
Finally, in Blackpool, it happened.
Yes? A letter for you, ma'am.
Come in.
Are you Miss Julia Lester? Yes.
He sent this letter by hand.
He give it to me just 10 minutes ago backstage.
"Take it to the lady," he said, ma'am.
Max Collodi.
Yes, ma'am.
Oh! Oh.
Thank you.
Thank you so much.
Thank you, ma'am.
"My dear Miss Lester, "like all of us in show business, "I, too, have a certain amount of the theatrical within my makeup.
"Therefore, you must forgive my exacting certain conditions for this, our first meeting.
" Our first meeting.
"This first time you are only to stay five minutes.
"Later, perhaps, if you still wish to go on seeing me, "we might arrange longer appointments.
"If you do not mind being received with no other chaperone "than my dummy, George, "then, dear lady, come to the Seabank Hotel "on Mortimer Street at 10:00 tonight "after my performance at the Winter Garden Theater.
"Respectfully, Max Collodi.
" Oh.
Imagine him writing, "If you still wish to go on seeing me.
" Oh, perhaps he may not notice how much I've changed since the snapshot.
Let me see, I How did I do my hair? I had it What I'm trying to do is to look as I once did in a snapshot.
What do you think? Most becoming.
Women of my age must be more discriminating.
I suppose so.
What time is it? Past closing time, madam.
Oh, I'm so sorry.
I'll take this one, the one I've got on.
Very well, I'll have it wrapped.
Oh, no, no, that's all right, I'll wear it.
I'm in a hurry, you see.
Thank you, madam.
You would not want me to go into details about the hour and a half Julia spent that night before the mirror.
Nor will I say anything about the agony she must have undergone before she could make up her mind what to wear.
But it was 9:30, and no turning back.
Max Collodi's room? He expecting you? Yes.
Number seven.
Number seven? First floor.
Down that corridor.
Oh, help me.
Come in.
Collodi? Max Collodi, at your service.
I I'm most grateful to you that you would consent to see me.
And I am most flattered, dear lady.
Adulation is something one savors all too seldom at close quarters.
Oh, forgive the darkness, but I have an aversion to strong light.
I suppose, because in my professional life, I'm constantly exposed to the glare of the footlights.
You are May I say something? But of course.
You're just as I knew you would be.
So, so handsome.
Thank you.
There was a woman, I remember.
She sat just behind me during your performance at the Old Palace at Fulham.
That was when I first saw you.
She said, "He's too handsome for my liking.
" Of course, I was furious with her.
You're not disappointed in my appearance? Your devotion touches me more deeply than anything in my whole life.
You are most beautiful.
Please sit down.
I thought the snap I sent you was taken a while back.
You have mellowed with time.
Some people do not.
I'm so grateful to you for letting me come.
Oh, I've said that before, haven't I? Actually, I'm Well, tense, I suppose.
You know, I've seen every one of your performances since that first one a year ago.
It is I who am grateful to you, dear lady.
My life, I regret to tell you, has been an unbelievably lonely one.
Of course, you wouldn't know how that is.
Oh, forgive me.
Did I say something to No, no.
I was just thinking how lonely your life must be after all.
We, in the audience, never think of an artist as being lonely.
I suppose we only think about ourselves.
I do want to come back again.
And my time, I see, is almost up.
Collodi, I don't quite know how to say this.
But ever since I first saw you, I've had the greatest urge to touch you.
Oh, Max! Max! Madame.
Oh, Max.
Max? Please.
You are Max Collodi? Get out of here.
Get out of here! Get out of here! Get out.
Get out.
Get out.
Get out of here! Leave me! In her desperation, without knowing it, she picked up the eye.
And that's the story of Julia and Max Collodi.
And this is all she had to remember of her one love, of her one chance to, as you say, sail out of this room forever.
Oh, Jim, how terrible for her.
But what about Max Collodi? Yes, what happened to him? He made no more appearances.
There were no more notices about him in Stage Magazine.
But I have heard of a small traveling circus somewhere in the provinces which has a strange clown in its company.
He has a beautiful voice.
And the children love to watch him, it is said, because he is so very sad and yet so very funny.
That was a heart-warming little story, wasn't it? Obviously, heaven does protect the working girl.
Now I have a confession.
This is not a glass eye.
We were unable to find one, but we got the next best thing.
I hope you don't mind.
Good night.

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