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Yorkshire Post (02/Nov/1939) - Playful 'Hitch'



Playful "Hitch"

Ian Coster has written an entertaining volume of Fleet Street reminiscences "Friends in Aspic," which will be published tomorrow. His subjects range from Bernard Shaw to Hannen Swaffer, from G. K. Chesterton to Frank Buchman.

As a film critic, Mr. Coster knows the great of Denham and Elstree. He describes the passion of that famous director. Alfred Hitchcock, for practical jokes. The best of these, in "Hitch's" estimation, is that which he played on the late Gerald du Maurier — because the victim entered fully into the spirit of the jest. After the first act of "Behold We Live," at the St. James's Theatre, Sir Gerald found his dressing-room occupied by a grocers nag—placed there by Mr. Hitchcock.

The imperturbable Sir Gerald gave the horse a slap on the neck said "Hello, old fellow," and sat down at his dressing table.

Revenge by Aviary

But some have had their revenge on Mr. Hitchcock.

Mr. Peter Lorre suffered and smiled through his director's playfulness during the making of two films. "The Man Who Knew Too Much" and "Secret Agent." Just before he sailed for New York, Mr. Lorre ordered forty cages of canaries to be delivered to Mr. Hitchcock's flat. That evening "Hitch" found his home an aviary.

For weeks after he would take people aside and ask. "Would you like a canary, old man?"