Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Season 2, Episode 24

The Cream of the Jest (10 Mar. 1957)

TV Episode  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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Ratings: 7.5/10 from 175 users  
Reviews: 4 user

Broken-down actor Charles Gresham,with a weakness for booze, demands that playwright Wayne Campbell give him a part. When Campbell refuses, Gresham resorts to blackmail.



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Episode complete credited cast:
Himself - Host
Charles Gresham
Wayne Campbell
Nick Roper
Joan Banks ...
Jerry the Bartender
Don Garrett ...
Carol Shannon ...
Mrs. Campbell
Thomas Martin ...


Charles Hanover Gresham is a broken-down old actor whose bar tab is so steep the bartender won't even serve him another drink. Gresham learns that the playwright, Wayne Campbell, is auditioning actors for a new play. He begs Campbell for a part, but his old colleague has no use for this unreliable has-been. Gresham resorts to blackmail. Since Campbell won't give him a part, he demands an "annuity" or he'll reveal Campbell's secret past. Campbell has another idea. Written by J. Spurlin

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis





Release Date:

10 March 1957 (USA)  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


[first lines]
Jerry the Bartender: [to a customer] Thank you.
Charles Gresham: Hello, Jerry. How fresh and dewy you look.
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User Reviews

Old Actors Just Fade Away
22 June 2007 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

Sub-standard Hitchcock. The only reason to comment is the presence of that fine, dominating actor of the 30's and 40's, Claude Rains. Here he plays a drunken, out-of-work actor, who's reduced to begging for parts from nemesis James Gregory. On this particular day, producer Gregory first refuses and then insults Rains, evicting him from the office. But then, inexplicably, he turns up the next day to congenially offer Rains a part. The only suspense or plot involvement revolves around why this sudden change of heart. Has Gregory sincerely decided to befriend the old actor, or has he an ulterior motive. The answer may keep you hanging around.

Anyway. Rains looks so much the part that I'm not sure he's acting. But the resonant voice, powerful build (of a much larger man), and dominant screen presence are still in evidence. In his prime, Rains could compete with the most dominating actors of the time, including the redoubtable Bette Davis. Too bad he never received the official recognition his talent merited. He may be only a shadow here, but the presence is still impressive.

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