Edinburgh, Scotland, March 1827: John McGregor works all day to support his wife, Aggie, a fat drunk who sleeps incessantly, snoring, and has not left their cottage in two years. He does a ... See full summary »



(teleplay) (as Morton Fine), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
Himself - Host
John McGregor
Aggie McGregor
Tommy Lad (as Bill Smith)
Dr. Knox
Betty Harford ...
Elsie Muldoon
Michael Macready ...
William Beckley ...
The Wench
Barry Macollum ...
The Vendor
Harriet Harper ...
Iris Bristol ...
Brendan Dillon ...
The Bartender


Edinburgh, Scotland, March 1827: John McGregor works all day to support his wife, Aggie, a fat drunk who sleeps incessantly, snoring, and has not left their cottage in two years. He does a lot of hauling for Hare, whom he suspects of being a resurrectionist, who digs up bodies to supply to medical schools. McGregor notes that some people who enter Hare's hotel never walk out again. McGregor is unhappy, and imagines killing his wife via bashing her head with a stone, drowning, and hanging, but realizes that none of those routes would be successful. One day he picks up another box of tanbark from Burke and Hare to deliver to Dr. Knox's medical museum. Knox says that he needs all of the tanbark to "spread around." McGregor notices a shock of human hair hanging from the box, and opens it with his pocket knife. He sees that the box contains the body of Elsie, the match vendor who was alive and well yesterday, frolicking in the spring countryside with Tommy Lad. McGregor decides to make ... Written by Lewis Amack

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Release Date:

23 November 1964 (USA)  »

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Alfred Hitchcock - Host: I understand that the inventor of the bagpipes was inspired when he saw a man carrying an indignant, asthmatic pig under his arm. Unfortunately, the man-made music has never equaled the purity of sound achieved by the pig.
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User Reviews

Andrew Duggan and Elsa Lanchester
5 January 2012 | by (Youngstown,Ohio) – See all my reviews

"The McGregor Affair" is the Hitchcock hour's take on the grisly doings of Burke and Hare, the 19th century graverobbers who supplied their own murder victims to the respected Doctor Knox (Boris Karloff's THRILLER did the same story with George Kennedy in 1962, "The Innocent Bystanders"). While the basic setup remains the same, including the three main protagonists, this version centers around simple minded John McGregor (Andrew Duggan), who earns easy money delivering the corpses from Burke (Arthur Malet) and Hare (Michael Pate) to Doctor Knox (John Hoyt), who tell him the boxes are full of tanbark, used to 'spread around.' Most of his bounty goes for booze for his fat spouse Aggie (Elsa Lanchester), who spends most of her lazy time sleeping off her hangovers, leaving her lonely husband with nothing to do but daydream about bumping her off (even in his own mind, he proves a miserable failure). When McGregor notices a lock of hair sticking out of his latest delivery, belonging to a young woman he had seen alive only hours earlier, he realizes that the boxes contain dead bodies, and soon devises a way to provide Burke and Hare access to his eternally slumbering wife. Much of the running time is padded out with the lead character talking to himself, not the best way to engage the audience with an already familiar tale whose outcome can easily be predicted. Among the supporting cast is William Smith, still a year away from his co-starring role on the Western series LAREDO, and already a Hollywood veteran of more than two decades. Playing a medical student is Michael Macready, son of character actor George Macready, best remembered as both actor and producer of 1970's "Count Yorga,Vampire" and its 1971 sequel "The Return of Count Yorga."

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