This is Peter Fonda pre-"Easy Rider" (1969), pre-"The Wild Angels," (1966) in which he played the leader of a gang of bikers so sociopathic they make the real Hell's Angels look like choirboys by comparison, even pre-1965, when he attended an LSD party in LA, presided over by three of the four Beatles (Paul was absent) and at which he told the psychedelic- tripping guests over and over again how he had accidentally shot and almost killed himself when he was a child and so he "knew what it was like to be dead," which John Lennon used as a line for his song "She Said She Said" on the Beatles' 1966 album "Revolver." Here he plays one of two sons of an ornery, independent-minded, hardscrabble peach farmer who winds up on the wrong end of a violent argument with the local bigwig corrupt politician/big businessman (Robert Emhardt). Fonda plays the impetuous title character out to avenge the wrong done to his father. Incidentally, other reviewers have reported here that Verge Likens is the older of the two brothers. I don't know if this is correct. The actor Sammy Reese, who plays timid, meek, and simple-minded brother Wilford, was in fact five years older than Peter Fonda, and I believe that Wilford is supposed to be chronologically older than his hot- tempered brother, but less intelligent and resourceful, though sweeter-natured.
In any case, this is my favorite of all AH TV episodes. We follow Verge's narrative as he moves from a plan to exact revenge in hot anger to a scheme, using the bad guy's money, to accomplish his payback with cool, calculated cunning. As the story unfolds, we get several nuanced characters: Verge's scared, sweet brother, the villain who is not without his share of remorse and guilt, even two maiden aunts who work to ease the brothers' loss and grief. Most of all we get a superb performance by Henry Fonda's little boy, Jane's baby brother. A quarter century earlier, we saw Peter's real-life dad play Tom Joad in the film version of Steinbeck's novel "The Grapes of Wrath," a man who has to go on the lam after he killed an exploitative bad guy. There is a lot Tom Joad in Verge Likens as well, and real-life son Peter does dad Henry proud. As a bonus, we get Hitchcock, complete with moptop wig, in the introduction, entr'acte, and finale doing a superb send-up of the British Invasion craze circa 1964. This episode is not to be missed.
2 out of 3 found this helpful.
Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.