Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate
- This article is about an American television film. For the phrase as used regarding punched cards, see Punched card#Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate. For the similarly titled Canadian film, see Do Not Fold, Staple, Spindle or Mutilate.
|Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate|
|Based on||the novel by|
Doris Miles Disney
|Screenplay by||John D. F. Black|
|Directed by||Ted Post|
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Country of origin||United States|
Robert Jacks (producer)
|Cinematography||Stanley Cortez, A.S.C.|
|Editor(s)||Folmar Blangsted, A.C.E.|
|Running time||73 minutes|
|Production company(s)||Samuel Goldwyn Studios|
|Distributor||MGM Television (syndication)|
|Original release||November 9, 1971|
Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate is an American television film made for the 90-minute series ABC Movie of the Week which broadcast it on November 9, 1971. Directed by Ted Post, it stars Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Mildred Natwick, Sylvia Sidney, John Beradino and Vince Edwards, with the screenplay adapted by John D. F. Black from a novel of the same name by Doris Miles Disney.
Four middle-class Pasadena ladies in their late sixties (Helen Hayes, Myrna Loy, Mildred Natwick and Sylvia Sidney) habitually meet for lunch and exchange small talk with their waitress (Dodo Denney). They propose to create a fictitious young woman and to submit her profile to a computer dating service. Several days after doing so they begin to receive letters from potential suitors, and derive additional amusement from reading them out loud.
Concurrently, a young woman (Diane Shalet) becomes alarmed by her date Mal's (Vince Edwards) attempts to force himself upon her, and manages to escape into her home. His audible thoughts reveal that he has dangerous difficulty in relating to women.
Mal turns his obsessive attentions to the fictitious "Rebecca", and not only sends a letter but tracks down the telephone number of "her" address. He calls and speaks to one of the old ladies, who impishly accepts a date with him at a local bar. In a spirit of fun, the four ladies wait at the bar to see what Mal looks like; however, when he arrives he mistakes a hooker, Brenda (Barbara Davis) for "Rebecca", and leaves with her. When they arrive at Brenda's apartment and she asks for money, an outraged Mal attacks and kills her.
Once the ladies realize their actions have led to murder, they go to the police; however, they also investigate Mal themselves, which places them in grave danger...
Brief continuation in a similar form
On December 16, 1972, thirteen months after the ABC broadcast of Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate on November 9, 1971, NBC reunited Hayes and Natwick in The Snoop Sisters, a two-hour television film about two aged sisters who write mysteries as well as solve crimes.
Although different characters than in Do Not Fold, the Snoop sisters' relationship clearly resembles that of the one adventurous / one sensible style of Do Not Fold's Helen Hayes and Myrna Loy, but with Natwick now cast as the level-headed sibling. Four additional ninety-minute episodes of The Snoop Sisters were screened between December 1973 and March 1974. 
- Helen Hayes as Sophie Tate Curtis
- Vince Edwards as Mal Weston
- Myrna Loy as Evelyn Tryon
- Mildred Natwick as Shelby Saunders
- Sylvia Sidney as Elizabeth Gibson
- John Beradino as Detective Hallum
- Larry D. Mann as Police Sergeant Lutz
- Barbara Davis as Brenda
- Paul Smith as Cutter
- Gary Vinson as Jonas
- Diane Shalet as Ruth Mellon
- Dodo Denney as Trudy
- Patrecia Wynand as Hostess
- Leonidas Ossetynski as Florist
- John Mitchum as Mr. Tubbs
- Margaret Wheeler as Mrs. Mellon
- Joe Haworth as Detective
- William Sumper as Man in Handcuffs
Evaluation in film guides
In its title heading for this telefilm's write-up, Leonard Maltin's TV Movies & Video Guide (1989 edition) inserted a comma between "Spindle" and "or", although no such comma appears in the production's on-screen title. Maltin rated it "Average" (the other two rating possibilities being "Above average" or "Below average"), with the comment that "[W]ay in which prank turns frightening could've been handled far, far better; otherwise, good performances." Steven H. Scheuer's Movies on TV and Videocassette (1986–87 edition) had a lower opinion of it, assigning 1½ stars (out of 4), with the opening sentence stating, "[T]his all-star comedy about murder tends to be a bit coy..."
- "Punched card readers sense the uniform rectangular holes in cards but damage to a card may make it unreadable. Frequently, office workers organize papers and forms by stapling or folding them together, or by impaling them on a spindle - all damaging to a card. Thus, beginning in the 1950s when punched cards became widespread, manufacturers printed a warning on cards that would be individually handled. IBM's “Do not fold, spindle, or mutilate” was the best known." — Balaban, Naomi E.; Bobick, James E., eds. (April 1, 2011), The Handy Science Answer Book (Fourth ed.), Canton, MI: Visible Ink Press, p. 34, ISBN 978-1578593217
- "Spindle" refers to a pointed vertical metal pin on a weighted base that many office workers utilized on their desks to hold stray notes and documents; the sheets of paper would be "skewered" on the pin to form a stacked bundle of pierced pages. This device is less in use nowadays because of the injury hazard presented by the sharpened tip.
- "Helen Hayes Tops Cast Of 4 Veteran Actresses" (Schenectady Gazette, November 6, 1971, TV section p.19)
- "Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved April 24, 2016.
- Doris Miles Disney (1970). Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate. New York City: Doubleday. OCLC 98757.
- Maxwell, Brini. "Helen Hayes & Myrna Loy in Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate" (The Obscurity Factor, April 3, 2011)
- Photos, screenshots and other images related to Do Not Fold, Spindle or Mutilate
- The Snoop Sisters at AllRovi