Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV-Series): “Triggers in Leash” (1955, Season 1, Episode 3)


In the American old west, Madge (Ellen Corby, I Remember Mama) is famous for her cooking skills. She owns a little diner that attracts different types of customers. One day, two cowboys (Gene Barry, The War of the Worlds, and Darren McGavin, A Christmas Story) arrive at Madge’s establishment with trouble in their minds. Madge has to use her wits to persuade the men from killing each other.

Reaction & Thoughts:

I just didn’t like Triggers in Leash that much. It’s a rather odd choice for the series. It’s compact, maybe too compact, and too much talky. I kept look at my watch the whole time and that’s never a good sign.

I’m assuming that this episode was trying to capture some of Alfred Hitchcock’s famous black humor, but it turned into a one-joke bore instead — this is one of first season’s weakest episodes. The setting is interesting — the American old west — but I thought it wasn’t as strong as it could have been.

Something about the story didn’t click with me. I can’t put my finger on exactly what I didn’t like about it. I know for sure that I didn’t like the happy ending — it’s contrary to Hitchcock’s style. Triggers in Leash does have, fortunately, that moment of irony that made the show fun to watch.

As far as I’m concerned, Corby’s excellent performance prevents it from being a total bust. This fine character actor, who would later find fame and fortune in the hit TV series The Waltons (1971–1981) (she played Grandma Walton), is always watchable. It’s nice to see her dominate a story for a change. Despite the weakness in the material, Corby is superb. Barry and McGavin aren’t bad either, but it is Corby’s show. The cast also includes Casey MacGregor.

Conclusions & Final Thoughts:

Directed by Don Medford (The Organization) from a teleplay by Richard Carr (Macho Callahan), Triggers in Leash is slow and heavy-handed, but it does contain a wonderful performance by its leading actor. On the basis of Corby’s performance alone, I will recommend this episode. B&W, 25 minutes, Not Rated.


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