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

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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TV-PG
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1 February 1963 (USA)  »

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1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

 
Butterflies Are Free
22 November 2013 | by (brighton, ma) – See all my reviews

To Catch a Butterfly had all the makings of something top notch, one of the best of the series Hitchcock hours; and even as it is it's a well above average episode. There is a brief reference to a butterfly on but the episode isn't about flying insects at all. It's about a disturbed child and how his bad, often very bad behavior affects the young couple that just moved next door in the suburban community he and his no-nonsense, plain speaking father reside in.

As a study of a troubled child, the episode doesn't delve as deeply as it might have; and the script presents the young couple next door with almost too many issues of their own. Nor is the family of the boy presented with much insight. There's a disappointingly routine quality to the script that continually drags down what might have been either a gripping psychological thriller or an ahead of its time presentation of dysfunctional suburban family life circa 1962.

For all it's flaws, most of them minor, the episode has some powerful moments; and that the boy himself clearly shows the makings of a psychopath holds the viewer's interest. It's the grownups who are plain, with the rather prosaic problems of the sort middle class suburbanites faced back in the pre-JFK assassination (fifty years ago this day, as I write,--and it was a Friday also) early 1960s. The acting of the adult players is decent but unexceptional, with Bradford Dillman a tad too Ivy League seeming for the character he portrays.

It's young Mickey Sholdar's performance as the bad boy that shines. He was a gifted child actor, excellent at playing troubled kids, and To Catch a Butterfly was a good showcase for him. Somewhat ironically, a few months earlier, he played the son of troubled alcoholic father in a Route 66 episode, Hey Moth, Come Eat the Flame, in which he gave an exceptional performance, far better than the one he gives here. Young Sholdar went from a TV episode with a moth in the title to one that used a butterfly. Coincidence? Probably.


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