The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 3, Episode 13

Where the Woodbine Twineth (11 Jan. 1965)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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After Eva Snyder becomes an orphan, she comes to live with the elderly Mississippi riverboat Captain King Snyder and his old maid daughter Nell. While the Captain is piloting his boat, Nell... See full summary »



(teleplay), (short story)
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Episode cast overview:
Himself - Host
Margaret Leighton ...
Nell Snyder
Carl Benton Reid ...
Capt. King Snyder
Joel Fluellen ...
E.J. André ...
The Preacher (as E.J. Andre)
Lila Perry ...
Eileen Baral ...
Eva Snyder


After Eva Snyder becomes an orphan, she comes to live with the elderly Mississippi riverboat Captain King Snyder and his old maid daughter Nell. While the Captain is piloting his boat, Nell finds it difficult to govern Eva, who constantly talks to imaginary friends whom Eva believes are real, including Mingo and her father Mr. Peppercorn. When the Captain returns, he presents Eva with a gift--a black doll named Numa. Nell hears Eva chatting and playing with Numa, but suspects that it is a child from the neighborhood. Eva warns that if Nell takes Numa away, Eva will trade places with Numa and go to the idyllic place "Where the Woodbine Twineth." When Nell puts Numa on top of the player piano, Eva steals Numa away, and the piano mysteriously plays by itself. Nell finds Eva in the backyard with a black girl playmate, and Nell chases the girl away, warning her to never return. Then Eva disappears. When Nell finds a doll in Numa's box that looks exactly like Eva, she tearfully realizes ... Written by Lew Amack

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Release Date:

11 January 1965 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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User Reviews

I finally found it
21 September 2014 | by (WI, USA) – See all my reviews

Judging by most of the reviews I've seen, this episode made an indelible impression on a lot of people when they watched it as children. You can count me among that number. However, I didn't see the entire episode or even most of it. At best, I only saw a couple minutes, and yet that was sufficient to stick with me to this day. Since the advent of the internet, I've made attempts to track down whatever it was I saw, looking through the episode descriptions of various older anthology series. The Alfred Hitchcock Hour was one I never considered, however, since I wasn't aware that it ever delved into the supernatural.

I could not have been more than three at the time. What I remember watching is this: A woman finds her little girl sitting in front of the davenport, talking to her "imaginary friends," most of whom have unusual sounding names. When the woman looks under the davenport, there's nobody there, and the distraught little girl accuses the woman of chasing her friends away. At that point, my Mom turned off the TV, probably fearing it was too frightening for me. She may have been right; the little girl's performance was unnerving, and at that age, I was easily scared; I was even freaked out by certain stuff I saw on Sesame Street (ie, Kermit chasing Grover while wearing fake teeth).

Despite the danger to my tender young psyche, I sort of wish my Mom had let me watch the entire thing. In a way, the damage had already been done; that one scene was eerily intense enough that it never left me, and I spent many years not knowing what I'd seen and wondering what happened next. I'm not sure if those decades of uncertainty were any better than the risk of an even greater childhood trauma.

One thing seems pretty certain. If I had seen the rest of the episode when I was little, it would definitely have made a much bigger impact on me than it did when I finally managed to watch it last night.

I was so excited to have stumbled upon the thing that I'd been trying to find for so long. I turned off the lights and prepared to be creeped out. But I'm not quite as easily frightened these days, and I suppose nothing could match over three decades' worth of expectations.

The ending is good, though while it might have emotionally scarred the three year old me for life, watching it now, I just found it rather predictable and not nearly as upsetting as the ending to some other episodes of this show I've seen. Some reviews I've read elsewhere suggest that voodoo is at play here- one person even referred to the doll the girl receives as a voodoo doll. Why? Because it's black? Seems like a somewhat racist assumption. I thought it was kind of cool that this little white girl would become enamored of a black doll, though I don't for a second think it was a colorblind choice; rather, when the ending comes, the racial difference helps make things abundantly clear that something magical has occurred. Anyway, if voodoo folklore involves wee folk who live under furniture and ride on frogs, this is the first I've heard of it.

Speaking of which, if this had been a half hour episode, all the stuff about the little people that only the girl could see- the part I remembered so vividly- could have easily been cut out without it affecting the rest of the plot. Also, what's with the disagreement the servants have about the ham she asked him to get from the smoke house? She insists she told him, but he insists he would have remembered. It can't be there for no reason, but it's never explained either. All of it hints at something strange going on, and is supposedly tied together in a way the audience isn't meant to fully understand, but the story feels a bit padded or disjointed as a result.

It's often been said that what is left up to the imagination is scarier than what you are actually shown. That's definitely true in this case. Thinking about the brief snippet I saw as an impressionable child was far creepier than seeing the episode in full as a jaded adult.

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