William Callew is involved in a bad traffic accident on a rural road, that leaves him so paralyzed he appears lifeless, and when help arrives they think he's really dead.



(teleplay) (as Francis Cockrell), (teleplay) | 1 more credit »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
Himself - Host
William Callew
Ed Johnson
Harry Shannon ...
Dr. Harner
James Edwards ...
Marvin Press ...
Mike Ragan ...
Escaped Convict
Jimmy Weldon ...
Guard (as Jim Weldon)
Richard Newton ...
Ambulance Driver
Road Worker
Harry Landers ...
Elzie Emanuel ...
Black Escaped Convict


Mr. Callew, a demanding businessman, is resting by the beach when he receives a telephone call from a recently discharged employee. The man is in tears, but the unyielding Callew shows no sympathy, and hangs up on him. Later, when Callew starts to drive home, his car runs off the road at a construction site. When he comes to, Callew is paralyzed. Several persons come by, but he is unable to communicate with them, so they think he is dead. Fully aware of his predicament, he becomes increasingly terrified. Written by Snow Leopard

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

13 November 1955 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Stephen King said his short story, Autopsy Room Four was inspired by this episode. See more »


When watching current film-transferred versions on a modern definition television, one can see William Callew's (Joseph Cotton) blinking his eyes even though it was established earlier that he could not move anything, including his eyelids. This is especially noticeable when the two escaped convicts are moving his body and disrobing him in the car. This would not of been noticeable at the time of first broadcast due to the poor resolution of television at that time. See more »


Alfred Hitchcock: Well, that was a bit of a near thing. He reminded me of my own situation. Imagine, if you can, the terror of being inside a television set, knowing that any moment, the viewer may shut you off, and being powerless to prevent it. And I go through this every week. My only consolation is that some portions of our program are so fascinating, that they hold the viewer spellbound. Such an episode follows immediately, and then I'll be back again.
[commercial break]
Alfred Hitchcock: There, now. That really ...
See more »


Remade as Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Breakdown (1985) See more »

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User Reviews

Unique and truly terrifying
7 January 2012 | by (Denmark) – See all my reviews

After firing an employee who gets choked up about it(practicing for his acceptance speech for the Academy, perhaps... or, more likely, his identity is closely tied to his job) and briely discussing the matter with Mr. Ed(not a horse, of course), William Callew goes for a drive. He is forced to take a detour, and crashes on a rural road, where not many come by. This leaves him paralyzed, and several of the few that come by mistake him for dead, and present a revealing look into how uncaring and callous some people can be. I'm not certain if this is meant to be a sort of Karmic retribution(since our lead is not established as a real jerk, just someone uncomfortable with others losing control of their emotions), though there is a kind of moral lesson. And even if you don't enjoy that aspect, this is incredible. The acting is phenomenal; Cotten, who portrays our protagonist, is literally limited to his voice in getting across every single feeling(and the lines are impeccably written, they hit the nail on the head for what one would be thinking, and make for some of the best monologing in this medium) he experiences for most of this(and yes, that's slightly less than half an hour, but it is still an accomplishment... and the pacing is spot-on, and kudos to them for adapting this to this length, it would have been excessive otherwise... rather than perfect). For the duration, this remains on his "lifeless" body, the camera not leaving his side(and only showing a minimal amount that he himself does not see or otherwise realize), forcing the desperation, isolation and absolute hopelessness of his situation to sink in completely. This is extremely creepy and builds suspense expertly. There is a bit of disturbing and violent content in this. I recommend this to anyone who can handle it. 10/10

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