Tuesday, September 28, 2010


John D. MacDonald's fiction was not frequently, or successfully, adapted for film and television. There was a decent film adaptation of A Flash of Green, starring Ed Harris, and Cape Fear, of course, both versions, was based on JDM's 1957 novel The Executioners.

A story of JDM's, however, called "Hangover," was adapted into an episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour in 1962. I just read it--it's reprinted in a collection titled End of the Tiger. It's a perfect little story: an advertising man wakes up with a colossal hangover, its physical nature described spot-on by JDM, and as he slowly pieces together the previous night his memories take him from bad to worse to nightmarish.

The television adaptation--it's available on Hulu--is pretty faithful, although it adds a subplot involving another woman. Tony Randall plays Hadley Purvis, a Manhattan advertising man, who is an unrepentant smarmy drunk. We see him wreck an important meeting for his firm, pick up a gorgeous Jayne Mansfield at a bar (that part was very unbelievable) and eventually (spoilers herein) discover that he's done away with his wife in the midst of a blackout.

The episode goes on a little too long but it's well worth watching, especially if you're a Mad Men fan. The office scenes, with their mid-century furniture and brylcreemed men, are great. Also of note: I am not overly familiar with Jayne Mansfield's career. I feel like I know more about her sad fate and her daughter (Mariska Hargitay) than her actual filmwork but she's pretty delectable in "Hangover," particularly with her short hair-do. Maybe I'll check out her other collaboration with Tony Randall, Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually surprised, now that I know of this story's existence, that this basic plot hasn't popped up yet on "Mad Men". Not that someone woke up and realized they murdered someone during a blackout-but the basic idea that they drank too much and blacked out and had to piece the night together. Especially considering how much drinking they do on the show. But I suppose the recent comedy "Hangover" is still too fresh in people's minds to attempt something like that right now. That being said, man ad-men drinking a bunch was really a "thing", huh? Who knew?