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Radio appearances by Alfred Hitchcock


Alfred Hitchcock's first known radio appearance was in March 1937, when he took part in a 20-minute BBC Radio debate titled "Shakespeare: Broadcasting and the Cinema" with Val Gielgud (brother of actor John Gielgud), in which the director argued the merits of film adaptations of Shakespeare's plays.

During his first visit to America in August 1937, he was interviewed on WHN's Movie Club on Friday 27 August.[1]

In January 1938, Hitchcock gave a 30-minute discussion titled "The Cinema: The Director's Job", which was part of a BBC Radio series about cinema that also included contributions by Victor Saville and John Grierson.

Shortly after his move to America in March 1939, Hitchcock was a guest on The Royal Gelatin Hour, a radio variety show hosted by singer-bandleader Rudy Vallée.


Although Hitchcock's name was associated with the Suspense radio adaptation of The Lodger — which was broadcast in July 1940 and starred Herbert Marshall and Edmund Gwenn — the director apparently had little to do with the production and his appearance was voiced by actor Joseph Kearns.[2]

On 10 March 1942, Hitchcock appeared as a guest on the Bob Burns Variety Hour.[3]

He appeared as a guest several times on the NBC series Information Please in the 1940s and once on the Texaco Star Theatre in January 1943, a day after appearing on Information Please.

Hitchcock recorded a pilot of a proposed radio series titled Once Upon a Midnight for ABC Radio in May 1945, with the hope of attracting a sponsor. It was based on Malice Aforethought and went unbroadcast, as did a second pilot also based on the same story.

On 17 February 1946, Hitchcock appeared on the The Fred Allen Show (which was the successor to Texaco Star Theatre).[4]

He appeared alongside Jack Haley, Eve Arden and James Dunn on the WEAF New York Variety show, broadcast on Thursday 24 October 1946.[5]

In December 1946, BBC Radio North broadcast an hour long programme narrated by Stewart Granger titled "Continuous Performance: The Silent Film", which included a contribution from Hitchcock.

According to several contemporary sources, Ben Hecht's 1946 Christmas Eve radio play for the ABC Network, "Miracle of a Bum", was directed and narrated by Hitchcock.[6] The play had also been broadcast the year before, although seemingly without any involvement from Hitchcock.[7]

Another newspaper report from December 1946 stated that Hitchcock, "top director of suspense dramas, is turning actor and playing in 'The Wax Works', Mel Dinelli's radio show."[8]

Hitchcock appeared in March 1948 on The Charlie McCarthy Show, a comedy and variety show starring ventriloquist Edgar Bergen and his dummy, Charlie McCarthy.[9]

In May 1948, Hitchcock was interviewed by Peter Eton for the BBC Radio Picture Parade series.


Hitchcock appeared in at least three episodes of the Screen Directors' Playhouse series from 1949 to 1951. He also appeared as an occasional guest on the MBS Murder by Experts series (1941-51), which was co-written by Robert Arthur, before taking over as the host during 1951.

On 10 September 1950, he appeared alongside composer Bernard Herrmann on New York WCBS's Invitation to Music, presented by James Fassett. Amongst the music played were Chopin's Piano Concerto no. 2 and selections from William Walton's score for the film Hamlet (1948).[10]

He appeared as a guest alongside Rabbi Israel Zeldin and Virginia Keegan on New York WOR's Only Human, presented by Sidney Fields, on Sunday 15 July 1951.[11]

Hitchcock was one of several interviewees who appeared in an episode of Focus on Hollywood broadcast on BBC Radio in October 1951.

In August 1954, Hitchcock appeared alongside Gregory Peck and Gary Cooper on the Sunday with Garroway show.

Hitchcock appeared with actress Shirley MacLaine to promote The Trouble with Harry (1955) on NBC's Monitor in September 1955.

Whilst he was in London, Hitchcock was interviewed about The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) for the BBC Radio series Talking of Films, which was broadcast in October 1955.

A highly sought after recording, which seems likely to have been lost, was an episode of As Easy as A.B.C. entitled "O is for Old Wives' Tales" in which Hitchcock co-starred with actors Peter Lorre and Boris Karloff. The episode was broadcast on United Nations Radio in April 1958.


Hitchcock was also interviewed for the BBC Radio Movie-Go-Round, Close-Up and Framed series in the 1950s and 1960s.

As part of the publicity for Torn Curtain (1966), he was interviewed by Martha Deane for New York's WOR station on the morning of 6 July 1966 and then again on WNBC's Monitor programme on 16 July.[12]

In October 1966, WBAI's Three Great Moviemakers included Hitchcock speaking about his career, along with Orson Welles and Jean Renoir.[13]


He was interviewed by music critic Robert Sherman on 26 April 1974 as part of The Listening Room, broadcast by WQXR in New York.

New York's WNYC radio station broadcast an interview with Hitchcock as part of their International Literary Report series on 4 January 1979.[14]

Other Appearances

30 years after his death in 1980, actor Michael Roberts voiced the director in the BBC Radio series The Late Alfred Hitchcock Presents.

See Also...

Alphabetical List of Radio Programmes

Radio programmes which featured director Alfred Hitchcock, either live or in recorded conversation, or someone impersonating Hitchcock.


Notes & References

  1. Source: Radio Daily (27/Aug/1937)
  2. The Radio Daily stated that Hitchcock was unable to attend the broadcast, hence his being replaced by an actor.
  3. New York Times (10/Mar/1942)
  4. New York Times (17/Feb/1946)
  5. New York Times (24/Oct/1946)
  6. See, for example, Radio Daily (18/Dec/1946) which reported "From 9:30 to 10 p.m., network will air Ben Hecht's play 'Miracle of a Bum' which will feature the author and be narrated by Alfred Hitchcock."
  7. See Variety (1945) - Radio Review: "Miracle of a Bum"
  8. Quoted from the San Antonio Light (13/Dec/1946).
  9. Other guest in 1948 included Madeleine Carroll and Barbara Bel Geddes.
  10. Radio listing from the New York Times (10/Sep/1950).
  11. Radio listing from the New York Times (15/Jul/1951).
  12. Radio listings in the New York Times (06/Jul/1966) & (16/Jul/1966).
  13. Radio listing in the New York Times (09/Oct/1966).
  14. Radio listing in the New York Times (04/Jan/1979).