" A Man in the House" is one of many Suspense episodes that revolve around a relative, who is both an invalid and a terrible burden. In this story, a daughter has sacrificed her own happiness to care for her elderly mother. The Suspense episode, "The Copper Tea Strainer," portrays a similar mother-daughter situation but with a different outcome.
"A Man in the House" is hard to beat when it comes to depressing opening scenes. Violin music swells as Emily Barrett explains how she came to be a mousy, spinster librarian at a young age. It all began when her father's unexpected death turned her mother into a difficult, bitter woman. Later, her mother became chronically ill and bound to a wheelchair.
The neighbors think that what Emily and her mother need is a man in the house. As it turns out, that is what they get. One day, an intruder breaks into their home, kills their dog, and announces that he will be their guest for an unspecified amount of time. The intruder knows that no one will come to the house because no one can stand Emily's mother. He tells Emily to do what he says, or her mother will get hurt -- yet he disapproves of how Emily has sacrificed her youth for her mother.
"Man in the House" was written by Leslie Edgely and starred Joan Lorring as Emily. At the time, she was promoting the film The Corn is Green (1945), for which she would receive an Academy Award nomination. Joseph Kearns played the intruder. This episode aired on August 2, 1945.
This episode was also presented on the television show Suspense in 1949, with different results. For more information visit Suspense Television.
(Image of Alan Baxter and Kim Hunter from "Man in the House" (1949) from the television show Suspense.)