"Blood Bargain" first appeared in the September 1961 issue of Web Detective Stories. The story begins as William Derry, professional hit man, gets off a train and is met by Earl, who takes him to see his boss, Harney, in a warehouse office. Harney hires Derry to kill Eddie Breech, who used to work for him but who began stealing from him. Earl takes Derry to the apartment house where Breech lives with his wife, Connie, a beautiful blond who is confined to a wheelchair. Derry learns that Breech had hit his wife, causing her to fall down a flight of stairs and injure her back.
Derry spends the night in a cheap hotel and the next day asks about Breech and his wife in a neighborhood bar. Soon, Derry waits outside for Breech and gets in his car with him, gun in hand. Breech offers to double Harney's offer and admits to having cheated the man but says that he did it to get money to help his wife. Instead of killing Breech, Derry accompanies him to his apartment and meets Connie. Derry tells Breech and his wife to get ready to leave the country and plans to fake Breech's murder. He visits Joe Figaro at the funeral parlor and arranges to get a dead body.
|Richard Kiley as Derry|
|Anne Francis as Connie|
Slesar's teleplay does not make any significant changes to the story. The character of Earl, Harney's young assistant, is expanded and he becomes an ambitious young man who is too cocky for his own good. Right from the start, he tells Derry that he thinks hiring a hit man for the job was unnecessary, and later in the show he waits for Derry at the door to his hotel room. Earl pulls a gun on the older man, who quickly disarms him and tosses him to the ground, telling him to go home.
|Barney Martin as Harney|
The scene in the story where Derry goes to a bar alone to ask about the Breeches is altered in the TV version, where he observes the Breeches in the bar and even speaks to Mrs. Breech, gallantly picking up a coin she has dropped on the floor and inserting it into a jukebox for her. The implication is that Derry is attracted to the beautiful blond, a suggestion that is played out even more in the scenes in the Breeches' apartment. Connie seems to grasp Derry's attraction to her right away and uses it to her advantage.
|Derry sees the hearse reflected in a window|
Derry goes out again and calls the mortuary to ask about a corpse. Figaro calls back to say he has a body that Derry may pick up that night. This sets up Derry's third visit to the apartment. This time, Connie is alone; she has been drinking and wallows in self-pity, telling Derry that pity is the reason he is helping her and her husband. Derry tells her no and seems like he is about to tell her something else when she begins to talk about his line of work and he shuts down just as Eddie comes home.
|Derry is stunned and forgets his coffee|
|Connie smiles to herself|
"Blood Bargain" is a good, hard boiled story that Slesar expanded into a strong, noir hour of television, made better by a very good cast.
Richard Kiley (1922-1999) plays Derry as a no-nonsense hit man who almost seems surprised by his own decision to help the man he was hired to kill. Kiley won two Tony awards and three Emmy awards; he was an accomplished actor on stage, screen and television. He appeared in one half-hour episode of the Hitchcock show as well as "Blood Bargain," and his other notable roles included the live television play "Patterns" by Rod Serling (1955) and two episodes of Night Gallery.
|Richard Long as Breech|
Anne Francis (1930-2011) plays Connie; she was also in the prior Slesar episode, "What Really Happened," as well as Slesar's "Keep Me Company" and three other episodes.
Turning in a strong performance as Harney, who hires Derry, is Barney Martin (1923-2005). Martin started out as a stand in for Jackie Gleason on The Honeymooners (1955-1956) and went on to a long career in movies and on TV. He was in The Producers (1967), on The Odd Couple, and a semi-regular on Seinfeld as Jerry's father. This was his only appearance on the Hitchcock show.
|Ross Elliott as Lt. Geer|
Anthony Call plays Earl, the ambitious young hoodlum. He was born Anthony Biberman, the son of director Abner Biberman. He was on the Hitchcock show only once, appeared on The Twilight Zone and Star Trek, and has been acting on TV in one form or another since 1952. He is still working today.
|Peter Brocco as Figaro|
Finally, Bernard Girard (1918-1997) directed "Blood Bargain." He worked in movies and on TV from the early 1950s through the mid-1970s. He directed four episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, including Slesar's "The Matched Pearl," as well as eight episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, including Robert Bloch's "Water's Edge."
As usual, "Blood Bargain" has yet to be released in the U.S. on DVD and I was not able to find it on YouTube.
"Blood Bargain." The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. CBS. 25 Oct. 1963. Television.
|Anthony Call as Earl|
|Derry gets the drop on Breech|
|Getting ready to torch the car|
|Derry runs from the burning car|
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