Recently discharged museum curator Lyle Endicott (Darren McGavin
) uses a forged letter to gain entry to the home of elderly recluse Martha Cheney (played by Patricia Collinge
, who had been prominently featured in Alfred Hitchcock
's 1943 movie classic Shadow of a Doubt
). A lonely invalid, Martha is kept alive only by her obsession with preventing her prized possession, a priceless vase, from falling into the hands of strangers. Conversely, Lyle wants nothing more out of life than to wrest the vase away from Martha and sell it to a museum for a hefty price. Needless to say, one of these two characters is in for a big disappointment by episode's end.