The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 1, Episode 19

To Catch a Butterfly (1 Feb. 1963)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.8/10 from 104 users  
Reviews: 7 user

At first, a childless young couple (Diana Hyland, Bradford Dillman) are thrilled to relocate for the husband's new executive job, and especially happy with their new home. Is the next-door ... See full summary »



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Title: To Catch a Butterfly (01 Feb 1963)

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Episode cast overview:
Himself - Host
Bill Nelson
Diana Hyland ...
Janet Nelson
Jack Stander
June Dayton ...
Barbara Stander
Than Wyenn ...
Dr. Burns
Clegg Hoyt ...
John Newton ...
The Policeman
Andy Romano ...
The 2nd Fireman
John Pickard ...
Mickey Sholdar ...
Eddie Stander


At first, a childless young couple (Diana Hyland, Bradford Dillman) are thrilled to relocate for the husband's new executive job, and especially happy with their new home. Is the next-door neighbor boy's cruelty to them just a youngster rebelling against his blue-collar, strict father (Ed Asner) ? The husband's empathy for the boy drives a dangerous wedge into their marriage. Written by David Stevens

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Release Date:

1 February 1963 (USA)  »

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Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

It Ain't The Brady Bunch
10 March 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

I'll bet this was a 'water cooler' entry back in '63, the kind of Hitch that gets talked about the next day. Seems nice young couple, the Nelsons, move in next door to a kid with criminal-cum-homicidal tendencies. The kid's transgressions move up the ladder from lying to stealing to endangering lives, while new neighbor Nelson (Dillman) reacts by trying to befriend the kid, but to no avail. The kid's problem relates to his overbearing dad (Asner), who's mistreated him and now tries to cover up by arguing that the kid never lies to him. So when Nelson tells Dad what the kid's done, Dad refuses to believe him. So, what's Nelson to do since Dad's uncooperative and the kid's apparently incorrigible.

There's a subplot here concerning Nelson's being ineffectual. He blames himself for not being able to take charge of situations, especially with the dangers coming from next door. So we're concerned too with how his self-doubt will play out.

Subject matter like this is really tricky and perhaps even ominous. The Bad Seed (1956) solved the problem of a murderous little girl with a bolt of lightning. Resolution here, however, is much more conventional and perhaps too facile for what's gone before. Nonetheless, there are genuinely disturbing moments not like anything else on screen of the time. Watching the kid move toward a trapped Mrs. Nelson with a whirling drill is galaxies away from The Brady Bunch.

Anyway, the acting is first-rate, especially Mickey Sholdar who's completely convincing as the pathological kid. It's really that performance on which the intense drama turns. But I wouldn't watch unless you're prepared to be not just frightened, but more chillingly, to be disturbed.

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