Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which premiered on 02/Oct/1955, was a half-hour anthology television series hosted by Alfred Hitchcock. The series featured both mysteries and melodramas.
Initial press coverage for the series announced that it was to be called the Alfred Hitchcock Theater.
The series is well known for its title sequence — the camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile; as the program's theme music (Charles Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette") plays, Hitchcock himself appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen, and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. The sequence has been parodied countless times in films and on television, and the caricature and "Funeral March of a Marionette" music have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.
Hitchcock appears again after the title sequence and drolly introduces the story from a mostly empty studio, or from the set of the current episode. At least two versions of the opening were shot for every episode:
- a version intended for the American audience, which would often spoof a recent popular commercial or poke fun at the sponsor
- an alternative version for European audiences, which would instead include jokes at the expense of Americans in general
Hitchcock would close the show in much the same way as it was opened, but would usually tie up loose ends rather than joke. He told the "TV Guide" that his reassurances that the criminal had been apprehended were "a necessary gesture to morality..."
For later seasons the opening remarks were also filmed with Hitchcock speaking in French and German for the show's international presentations, reflecting his real life fluency in both languages.
All of Hitchcock's segments were written by James Allardice.
Originally running at half an hour, the show was later extended to a full hour and retitled The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Despite what the viewer may be lead to believe, Hitchcock only directed 17 of the 268 filmed episodes.
The series was revived in the mid-1980s as The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which ran for 4 seasons.
The stories for several of the episodes were later refilmed for Roald Dahl's UK TV series Tales of the Unexpected.
In 2010, BBC Radio 7 adapted five stories that were deemed unsuitable for the television series as The Late Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
For further details of the individual episodes, see:
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 1 (02/Oct/1955 - 24/Jun/1956)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 2 (30/Sep/1956 - 23/Jun/1957)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 3 (06/Oct/1957 - 29/Jun/1958)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 4 (05/Oct/1958 - 21/Jun/1959)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 5 (27/Sep/1959 - 25/Sep/1960)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 6 (27/Sep/1960 - 04/Jul/1961)
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (TV) - Season 7 (10/Oct/1961 - 26/Jun/1962)
For a complete list on a single page, see:
Episodes Directed by Hitchcock
The following 17 episodes were directed by Hitchcock...
- Revenge (02/Oct/1955) — based on a story by Samuel Blas
- Breakdown (13/Nov/1955) — based on a story by Louis Pollock
- The Case of Mr. Pelham (04/Dec/1955) — based on a story by Anthony Armstrong
- Back for Christmas (04/Mar/1956) — based on a story by John Collier
- Wet Saturday (30/Sep/1956) — based on a story by John Collier
- Mr. Blanchard's Secret (23/Dec/1956) — based on a story by Emily Neff
- One More Mile to Go (07/Apr/1957) — based on a story by F.J. Smith
- The Perfect Crime (20/Oct/1957) — based on a story by Ben Ray Redman
- Lamb to the Slaughter (13/Apr/1958) — written by Roald Dahl
- Dip in the Pool (01/Jun/1958) — based on a story by Roald Dahl
- Poison (05/Oct/1958) — based on a story by Roald Dahl
- Banquo's Chair (03/May/1959) — based on a story by Rupert Croft-Cooke
- Arthur (27/Sep/1959) — based on a story by Arthur Williams
- The Crystal Trench (04/Oct/1959) — based on a story by A.E.W. Mason
- Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat (27/Sep/1960) — based on a story by Roald Dahl
- The Horse Player (14/Mar/1961) — written by Henry Slesar
- Bang! You're Dead (17/Oct/1961) — based on a story by Margery Vosper
The episodes often starred household names and familiar faces, including...
Martin Balsam, Barbara Bel Geddes, Charles Bronson, John Cassavetes, Richard Chamberlain, James Coburn, Joseph Cotten, Hume Cronyn, Scatman Crothers, Patricia Cutts (daughter of Graham Cutts), Bette Davis, Harry Dean Stanton, Diana Dors, Robert Duvall, Denholm Elliott, Peter Falk, John Forsythe, Anne Francis, Arthur Gould-Porter, Lorne Greene, Edmund Gwenn, Cedric Hardwicke, Tom Helmore, Wendy Hiller, Patricia Hitchcock, Oskar Homolka, Norman Lloyd, Peter Lorre, Walter Matthau, Vera Miles, Steve McQueen, Roger Moore, Robert Morley, Leslie Nielsen, Robert Newton, Cecil Parker, Slim Pickens, Suzanne Pleshette, Sydney Pollack, Vincent Price, Claude Rains, Burt Reynolds, Thelma Ritter, Jessie Royce Landis, William Shatner, Harry Shearer, Everett Sloane, Jessica Tandy, Ann Todd, Dick Van Dyke, Robert Vaughn, John Williams, and Fay Wray.
Notes & References
- See, for example, "Cotten Picks TV Spots, Keeps Busy" in Los Angeles Times (19/Sep/1955).