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How to Get Rid of Your Wife 

Gerald Swinney is a henpecked husband suffering under the constant verbal abuse of his overbearing wife. Gerald devises a plan to rid himself of her and begin his life over again, but the results have unexpected consequences.


Alf Kjellin


Robert Gould (based on a teleplay by)


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Episode cast overview:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
Bob Newhart ... Gerald Swinney
Jane Withers ... Edith Swinney
Joyce Jameson ... Rosie Feather
Mary Scott ... Laura
George Petrie ... Henry
Ann Morgan Guilbert ... Pet Shop Proprietress
Robert Karnes ... Sergeant
William Wellman Jr. ... Delivery Man
Joseph Hamilton ... Oscar - Stage Doorman
Helene Winston ... Mrs. Penny
Harold Gould ... District Attorney
Bill Quinn ... Mr. Penny
Harry Hines Harry Hines ... Rat poison salesman
Gail Bonney ... Mrs. Harris


Gerald Swinney's wife Edith is a termagant who won't give him a divorce, so he devises a scheme to get rid of her. He makes everyone believe that he might commit suicide, then puts rats in the kitchen. When Edith buys rat poison, Gerald gives her a note that sounds suicidal, entrapping her into trying to poison him. She reports his death, but the police are surprised to find him sleeping in bed. When Edith is sentenced to five years for attempted murder, Gerald visits Rosie, who was part of his scheme, and they make a date. Unfortunately, Gerald is apprehended before he can make the date by the lonely woman who sold him the rats. Written by Lewis O. Amack

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Plot Keywords:

plot to murder wife | See All (1) »





Release Date:

20 December 1963 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Filmed using the 'Leave it to Beaver' house on Colonial Street, Universal Studios. The matching interiors were also used, except the kitchen island was turned 90 degrees. See more »


The newspaper account of the crime lists Bob Newhart's address as 206 Locust Avenue. But in an earlier scene when he returns home late from a bar, the house number by the door reads "1326." See more »

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User Reviews

The Great Comedy Duo of Newhart and Hitchcock

Alfred Hitchcock often included some comic relief in his thrillers, and occasionally an outright comedy. This may have been the best of his comedies, featuring Bob Newhard as a husband who decided to get rid of his wife -- perfectly legally. Her predictability makes it easier -- he knows exactly how she'll react to a variety of incidents leading to an attempt to poison him with their usual bedtime drink of hot chocolate.

Knowing that she will use rat poison (to get rid of a pair of rats he had bought at a pet store in a nearby town -- including "the big fat one", of course), he pours it into another container. This proves handy when the police come by, making it much easier to get her for attempted murder. He explains all this to a showgirl who had played a minor and probably unintentional part in the plot ("I'm Gerald's wife." "Oh . . . who's Gerald?"), played Joyce Jameson, late of the Vincent Price/Peter Lorre/Basil Rathbone/Boris Karloff classic The Comedy of Terrors.

And then he gets ambushed on the way out by the one person who could put the kibosh on his plans, and who liked his picture in the paper so much she says she had it framed. "Funny word, framed."

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