A professor is convinced his boarding housemate (a bank teller) stole $200 from his bank deposit, the teller vehemently denies it. He wants his money back, and employs a series of pranks to challenge the tellers' sanity - but to what end?
Norman Logan and William Tritt both live in the same boarding house. Tritt is a teller at a local bank and Logan is a professor, who is convinced that Tritt cheated him out of $200 on a deposit he made almost a year ago. Since that time Logan has been harassing Tritt, attempting to get him to admit to the theft, but to no avail. Logan then hatches a plot to challenge Tritts' sanity, and discredit him in the eyes of the bank manager. Logan accidentally discovers an unused, virtually hidden drawer in the desk used for seated transactions at the bank, and as Tritt comes to help him with his bonds, the light bulb over Logans' head has switched on, and he races out to get what he needs to put his plan into action - he buys a fake gun, returns to the bank, and demands $10,000 from Tritt, but by the time Tritt has raised the alarm, Logan has slipped the gun into the hidden desk drawer. He continues upping his antics with the increasingly rattled teller, until Logan is satisfied with the outcome.
- The Dusty Drawer opens with a prologue by Alfred Hitchcock at a cashier's window and he explains how to fill out a withdrawal slip. The sample slip sounds very much like a holdup note. It's okay because it was written by the president of another bank across the street. The opening act starts at a boarding house where we learn that Norman Logan (Dick York) was once cheated out of $200 by bank teller William Tritt (Philip Coolidge). Logan claims that he deposited $324, but Tritt only recorded $124. Tritt states this was not possible because his till has to balance at the end of the day. Logan has sent Tritt a telegram stating to pay him back. Logan reasons that Tritt took his $200 to cover for a mistake that he made with another account. Unbeknownst to Logan, Tritt doesn't want anything to hold up his fast rising career at the bank. Logan is angry and doesn't want to be taken advantage of, so vows to get even. In the next scene, we see Logan go into the bank Tritt works at and talks with the bank president Mr. Pinkson (Wilton Graff) about cashing some bonds because his mother had an operation. He finds out that Tritt handles this type of transaction and has moved up to first cage teller. The president states that Tritt will be vice-president soon. While Logan is waiting at a desk at the bank, he finds a hidden drawer that hasn't been used for some time. Thus, the title of the episode. He gets an idea which makes him smile and when Tritt comes out to cash Logan's bonds, he is too happy and says that he'll be back to complete the transaction. Tritt is puzzled by Logan's demeanor. We see Logan enter a toy store and discuss getting a toy gun for himself. He tells the clerk that it doesn't have to shoot or anything, but has to look real. The clerk shows him a plastic revolver. He says all one has to do is hold it in the palm of hand to make anyone believe.
Afterwards, we see Logan back at the bank again. He has a briefcase with him. Tritt notices him come in and sit at the desk, so asks him if Logan wants to cash his bonds now. Tritt comes out with the bond exchange sheet and a notepad. He states that the bonds are worth $67.25 and holds up the sheet to double check the price. He carefully calculates how much the total is. While Tritt is doing this, Logan pulls out the fake gun from his pocket and points it at Tritt and says confidently that there is one more thing Tritt can do for him. He demands that Tritt put $10,000 in $20 bills in a paper bag and hand it to him or else he will shoot him. He shows Tritt that he puts the gun back in his overcoat pocket, but when Tritt goes to his cage to prepare the money Logan slips the gun in the hidden drawer. Logan goes to Tritt's cage and we see that Tritt has called the bank president and told him about the holdup. The president gets the armed security guard and confronts Logan. The guard checks Logan and doesn't find a gun. Tritt checks his overcoat, suit coat and cannot find a gun. The president apologizes for the mistake and Logan is not upset about being accused of robbery. Logan doesn't want Tritt to get into trouble and derail his career. The president says that is very nice of Logan to which Logan replies that it's Christmas.
In the second act, we see Logan back at Tritt's cage and he watches as Tritt makes a mistake and frustratingly tosses the paper into the wastebasket. He appears rattled by what happened with Logan. Logan whistles, "Jingle Bells" in order to get Tritt's attention. Tritt is stressed and talks to himself about his circumstance. He goes to Mr. Pinkson's office and tells him that he doesn't feel well and that Mr. Logan is out on the floor and wants to cash some bonds. Pinkson goes to help Logan and they talk about Tritt and he tells Logan that ever since the incident last month that Tritt has changed. Logan says that once a person has had a hallucination, then they're probably afraid that it may come back. Logan tells Pinkson that he isn't there for bank business, but to see how Tritt is doing. They both go back into Pinkson's office and Logan talks with Tritt about driving him home because he wasn't feeling well. Instead of agreeing with Logan, he says that he's in excellent shape. Logan tells Pinkson that the interesting thing about nervous breakdowns is that chemically speaking; it is the same as the decay of meat. He leaves by telling Tritt not to be late for supper because they're having oyster stew. Tritt thinks about it and he looks queasy again.
At the dinner table, the boarding house residents are ready for supper and there is a ring at the door. This time it's a telegram for Logan. We see Tritt is still unsteady and is very curious about the telegram. He even reaches for it and fingers it possibly trying to open and read it. Logan is patient and decides to wait until after eating. Tritt's anxious behavior is noticed by the others and one woman asks Tritt why he's so interested in Mr. Logan's business? He tells them that Logan has been at the bank often whistling Christmas carols at his cage and trying to get him to make a mistake. He thinks Logan has some diabolical plan so he would make a mistake. He claims the telegram is part of the plan. The others think he's gone loony. Logan tells Tritt that people are going to think that he has some persecution complex. Tritt responds that he'll prove it and grabs Logan's telegram in order to read it. He asks Logan if he wants for him to prove it and Logan agrees to let Tritt open the telegram. Tritt responds by giving the envelope back to Logan and he opens it in front of everybody. He says that it's from his mother and that she's back in the hospital for a displaced disk. Tritt is flustered and ends up reading the telegram to himself and it says, "If at first you don't succeed, then try, try again. Mother." Next, we see Logan is back at the bank again and he tells Pinkson that he wants to cash some bonds. Pinkson goes gets Tritt to handle the transaction. We see that Logan has the gun again from the drawer and he demands $10,000 and to put it in an envelope and for Tritt to bring it to him. Tritt walks like a zombie to do what he was told. Logan puts the gun back in the drawer and then pretends to put the envelope in his briefcase and walk out. Instead, he puts the envelope in the drawer. Tritt again has alerted Pinkson and the security guard and they all confront Logan outside the bank. Logan is searched and doesn't have the gun nor the money. Tritt claims that Logan hid it in the snow and dives in to look for it. The others think he's gone loony for good. In the final scene, we find out from the boarding house residents that Tritt is under psychiatric care and under suspicion of stealing the money. Logan types out a note that states Tritt took the money and is returning it less the $200 restitution and signs it William Tritt. Tritt denies it all and we find that he has lost his job at the bank. During the epilogue, Alfred Hitchcock is back in the cashier's cage to say almost everyone lived happily ever after. He says that he will be taking his counting the money work home and proceeds to put the stacks in his pocket.