Wednesday, January 12, 2022

THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR - "The Jar" (1964)

Tonight's Weird Wednesday presentation IS seriously just about as weird as it gets, and I am almost at a loss for words. I guess you just gotta see it to really understand, and I'll attempt to explain why.

"The Jar" was a short story written by Ray Bradbury, and was aired on "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" in February of 1964.

I was urged to watch "The Jar" by my good friend and associate Lord Litter in Germany, and when he recommends something, I pay attention because he's never sent me on the wrong path yet. So THIS is "The Jar!" What's really in it is anybody's guess, but it is without a doubt, Very Creepy, as you can see! It kind of looks like they took Chris Robinson's monster from "Beast From Haunted Cave," chopped it up, and stuffed it in a pickle jar.

The show is over, and the fair is getting ready to shut down, but this goober named Charlie Hill continues to stare at "The Magic Jar," just as he's done for the last three hours.

 
This show has a completely outstanding and unique cast, starting with Billy Barty as the barker at the sideshow attraction featuring "The Jar." It just gets better from there. Charlie Hill is so mesmerized by "The Jar," he offers to buy it, and gives the barker the last twelve dollars he owns, and takes it home.
No stranger to jars, Billy Barty was only eleven years old when he was in a jar himself in the role of "The Baby" in "The Bride Of Frankenstein."

Pat Buttram has the lead role as Charlie. I haven't seen all of Pat's work, but I'm willing to bet this was the weirdest role he probably ever had. Pat was a born comedian, and is more known for being Gene Autry's sidekick, or Mr. Haney in 147 episodes of "Green Acres," than he is for being a weirdo.

Charlie Hill's ding dong wife Thedy Sue Hill is played by Collin Wilcox Paxton. In 1962, Collin was Mayella Violet Ewell in the forever classic "To Kill A Mockingbird," and in 1964, she was in "The Twilight Zone" episode entitled "Number 12 Looks Just Like You."

Remember those "Oh, Dear, What Can The Matter Be" days, when guys used to buy their sweeties blue ribbons at the fair? Yeah, me neither, but before he spent the rest of his money on "The Jar," Charlie paid extra to get Thedy Sue's name put on this ribbon. 
 
 Charlie and Thedy's loser marriage reminded me a lot of Dave and Liz Walker's relationship in "Attack Of The Giant Leeches," as seen in this photo.

Charlie is SO excited to share his purchase of "The Jar" with Thedy Sue!

Thedy is much less enthused than he is. 
"Take it back Charlie!"

"The Jar" continues to keep Charlie "Hypnotized!"
Everybody in the small town where Charlie lives wants to come and get a peek at what's in "The Jar."

The town members are so transfixed by "The Jar," like they're watching the first episode of "Hee Haw" or a wrasslin' match featuring Gorgeous George. 
I'm not going to try and name them all, but here are just some of the spectacular cast you're seeing here.
There's William (Blacula) Marshall as Jahdoo, there's George (Goober Pyle) Lindsey as Juke Marmer, there's Slim (Dr. Strangelove) Pickens as Clem Carter, there's Marlon Brando's older sister Jocelyn as Emma Jane, there's James (The Killer Shrews) Best as Tom Carmody, there's Jane (Ma Joad in The Grapes Of Wrath) Darwell as Granny Carnation, there's Sam (Two episodes of Outer Limits) Reese as Milt Marshall, and that's only a little over half of them.

 
Transfixed!

 
Baffled!!

Bewildered!!!

This woman finally has a nervous breakdown after she decides what's in "The Jar" are the remains of her son who drowned in the swamp many years previous!

But, no, that's not what's in there, and it sure as Hell ain't pickled pig's feet neither!

Pat Buttram had a condition called exotropic strabismus, which is basically the opposite of being cross-eyed, and his eyes at times turned outwards instead.

This little brat thinks what's in the jar is the Boogey Man.

Thedy Sue is a slutty tramp, and after leaving and coming back again, her marriage to Charlie really heads the other way in a hurry. No, they're not dancing!

Thedy Sue is about to make a mistake she's going to regret for the rest of her short life!

 
Oh, I could tell you how it all ends up, but I'm not that nice, and besides, you can see it for yourself on Uncle Earl's Classic TV Channel, if you're that curious.
"The Jar" has fascinated enough people that it has been remade more than once. Ray Bradbury redid it in 1992 on his show "The Ray Bradbury Theater," and Alfred Hitchcock did an updated "Bucket Of Blood" type version about an artist that had Paul Bartel in it as an art critic, and was directed by Tim Burton in 1986, on his updated "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," and that one you can also watch on YouTube for free!

3 comments:

Grant said...

I don't know it all that well, but it's strange to see Pat Buttram playing that slightly kinky game (the cat one) with Collin Wilcox.
(It's too bad for her the way it ends.)

knobgobbler said...

I knew I'd seen this one but it was long enough ago that I was missing the specifics of the payoff. Still pretty obvious, but well done.
Now to watch the Tim Burton version, which I was unaware of.

kd said...

Good grief! I saw this on its first network airing on Valentine's Day of '64, scared the bejeezus out of me until the next day, when I got a large Skippy peanut butter jar, some clay, a baby doll eye, and and and...well, you know what came next! ;P

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