I was shocked, shocked, to see Claude Rains as a priest who says Mass as it ought to be said. 

A friend of mine notified me about this episode from the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

This show, involving horse race betting, seems to be from the 1961 season. Hence, the portrayal of the moments of Mass remained the pre-Conciliar form… by a nose.

And, I’m shocked to find that it deals with gambling.

One thing that I noticed was the fairly accurate portrayal of Catholic elements. Of course people knew their stuff back then, unlike those who make TV shows today. For example, in the otherwise excellent show Blue Bloods, if there is anything having to do with a priest or the Church, it is invariably cringeworthy.   I suspect the advisors were Jesuits.

In this episode, they did a pretty good job of it, though I must admit that they got a little scrambled at 5:30 when Mass is moving from the Creed to the Offertory, and at the Orate Fratres.  Some Latin coaching was needed.

NB: Be thoroughly delighted by the Rains’ and Ed Gardner’s contrast of accents: English v. Queens.  Together, they are decidedly not the Queen’s English.  Just the sort of thing I imagine Hitchcock intended.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. Pingback: I was shocked, shocked, to see Claude Rains as a priest who says Mass as it ought to be said.  – Via Nova Media

  2. acardnal says:

    Well, Alfred WAS a Catholic.

  3. mo7 says:

    I watched the whole thing. It was charming and Mass said by ‘Fr’ Rains was a plus. Here’s another old TV moment to charm the Catholic heart. [No Mass scenes though] Be sure to watch until the end. https://youtu.be/6NwoPxwJMjc

  4. WVC says:

    A friend of mine who attended UCLA said he looked through Hitchcock’s Daily (Latin) Missal which is apparently in the library’s archive.

  5. gracem says:

    Thank you, Father…..that was delightful!!

  6. Joe says:

    A double thank-you, Father. A memory of the mass I grew up with and Ed Gardner, the star of hit radio show “Duffeys Tavern.”

  7. WGS says:

    and now that you mention it…from the radio show…Duffy’s Tavern was a place on Third Avenue and 23rd St. in New York City, where the “elite meet to eat, Duffy ain’t here, Archie the Manager speakin’…” Anyone who loved old time radio probably knows that phone patter by heart!

  8. donato2 says:

    Well golly gee look at that, the way we do it at TLMs today really is the same way they did it before VII. And the other way around, before VII just like today at the conclusion the priest sometimes turns around and makes announcements like “the meeting of the mothers’ committee has been postponed until next Thursday.”

  9. NB says:

    Very wry and enjoyable.

  10. hwriggles4 says:

    A good tv episode that depicts a priest and practicing Catholics in a positive way is an episode of Dragnet. It’s titled The Christmas Story. I won’t give away the plot but I make it a point to see it on Christmas Eve.

    It’s available on YouTube. There are two versions – one in black and white from the 1950s and one in color. I usually see the color one which was made when I was a baby – I first saw this years ago on TV Land.

    Jack Webb was good about authenticity. He probably would be turning in his grave if he saw the behavior of certain law enforcement officers on certain television shows today.

  11. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Belated thanks! It seems nicely worked out from the first prayer we hear, with some possible implications involving hardware and roof repair… Interesting to compare and contrast with the written and filmed contemporary Don Camillo stories.

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