"Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Disappearing Trick (TV Episode 1958) Poster

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Smoothly Done
dougdoepke10 August 2011
Solid Hitchcock. Actor Robert Horton was an early favorite of the series. Certainly, he could play the handsome, virile young man to the proverbial T. Here, he shills for a bookie, using his manly charms as a part-time gigolo. That is, until he runs into a flirty young widow (Furstenberg). Their initial scene together is a little gem of predatory cats circling one another-- she all coy and leading, he all self-assured and playing the game. The innuendo is perfect for the restrictive 1950's. Just as importantly, it's hard to know where the story is going. When it comes, the payoff itself is mildly amusing and suitably ironic. Excellent turn by both performers, but what, I wonder, became of Furstenberg. She certainly had a distinctive look about her.
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"Disappearing Trick" is solid entry in series
chuck-reilly12 April 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Robert Horton, who was almost an Alfred Hitchcock regular, plays a womanizing tennis player in Los Angeles who moonlights as a bookie's assistant in this episode from 1958. His semi-concerned boss tells him to investigate one of his better (or "bettor") clients who hasn't placed a wager in months. When Horton visits the man's residence in San Diego, he finds out that the fellow had been killed in a boating accident nearly a year ago. His good-looking wife (Betsy Von Furstenberg), however, is still around and it's readily apparent that her grieving period didn't last too long. Except for some small Life Insurance money, it seems that her late husband left her only a pittance. But that fact doesn't prevent Horton and Ms. Von Furstenberg from immediately take a liking to each other. They become ardent "tennis" partners, among other things. Yet Horton knows already that something is amiss. The dead husband placed bets long after his supposed demise. He obviously faked his own death and probably headed to Mexico. Horton soon drives down to Tijuana to see a colleague (Perry Lopez) who aids him in locating the missing gambler. That's when Horton takes the wrong approach to the situation. Posing as a representative from the Life Insurance company, he decides to extort money ($10,000) from the "dead" gambler (Raymond Bailey) so that he and Betsy can live happily ever after. But the best laid plans "Of Mice and Men" go array. Horton lives to love another day, but without Ms. Furstenberg around, without the money, and without the full use of his right arm. "It's okay," the doctor tells him, "you'll be able to do everything with it except play some tennis." Ouch.

Nothing really deadly happens in this episode; it's kind of a live and learn lesson more than anything else. Money makes people do stupid things, and Horton finds that out the hard way. The sad and knowing grin on this face in the final moments tells the story. This episode was directed by the prolific and talented Arthur Hiller. He's still around today and his career has spanned decades. Robert Horton and Betsy Von Furstenberg are also alive and well and retired from the business. Horton is widely remembered for his role on "Wagon Train." Perry Lopez, the bookie in Tijuana, was best known for playing Lt. Lou Escobar in Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" and the Jack Nicholson directed sequel,"The Two Jakes." He passed away several years ago.
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Two Worthless People
Hitchcoc5 July 2013
This is a clash between two people of the most questionable character. They come together when a bookmaker sends Robert Horton to find what happened to one of his customers. It turns out the man has drowned in a boating accident. Now it's the sly byplay between the widow and Horton. There are secrets in play here and that's what they do, "play" each other. While there is a good deal of sexual tension and the acting is good, I need to have some investment in the people involved. We can see the twist a mile away. When the show concluded, I was left with a big "Is that all there is?" I can't imagine any insurance company being so incompetent as to allow this sort of thing to play out.
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