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.
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.
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.
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.
He appeared alongside Jack Haley, Eve Arden and James Dunn on the WEAF New York Variety show, broadcast on Thursday 24 October 1946.
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. The play had also been broadcast the year before, although seemingly without any involvement from Hitchcock.
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."
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).
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.
Hitchcock was one of several interviewees who appeared in an episode of Focus on Hollywood broadcast on BBC Radio in October 1951.
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.
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.
In October 1966, WBAI's Three Great Moviemakers included Hitchcock speaking about his career, along with Orson Welles and Jean Renoir.
He was interviewed by music critic Robert Sherman on 26 April 1974 as part of The Listening Room, broadcast by WQXR in New York.
Alphabetical List of Radio Programmes
Radio programmes which featured director Alfred Hitchcock, either live or in recorded conversation, or someone impersonating Hitchcock.
- The Author in Search of Collaborators (BBC Radio, 26/Feb/1964)
- Bob Burns Variety Hour
- Close-Up of Alfred Hitchcock (BBC Radio, 03/Apr/1955)
- Continuous Performance: The Silent Film (BBC Radio, 06/Dec/1946)
- Focus on Hollywood (BBC Radio, 29/Oct/1951)
- Framed (BBC Radio, 14/Oct/1962)
- Information Please (NBC Radio)
- The Late Alfred Hitchcock Presents (BBC Radio, 2010)
- Lifeboat (Screen Directors' Playhouse, 16/Nov/1950)
- Miracle of a Bum
- Monitor (NBC Radio)
- Movie Club (WHN, 27/Aug/1937)
- Movie-Go-Round (BBC Radio, 07/Aug/1963)
- Movie-Go-Round (BBC Radio, 11/Oct/1959)
- Movie-Go-Round (BBC Radio, 19/Jul/1964)
- Movie-Go-Round (BBC Radio, 25/Aug/1963)
- Movie-Go-Round (BBC Radio, 31/Jul/1960)
- Mr. and Mrs. Smith (Screen Directors' Playhouse, 30/Jan/1949)
- Once Upon a Midnight
- Picture Parade (BBC Radio, 07/May/1948)
- Picture Parade (BBC Radio, 14/Jan/1949)
- The Royal Gelatin Hour
- Shakespeare: Broadcasting and the Cinema (BBC Radio, 04/Mar/1937)
- Spellbound (Screen Directors' Playhouse, 25/Jan/1951)
- Talking of Films (BBC Radio, 14/Oct/1955)
- Texaco Star Theatre
- Today (BBC Radio, 25/May/1972)
- Woman's Hour (BBC Radio, 29/Apr/1963)
- Old Time Radio Researchers — GOOD EVENING: Alfred Hitchcock on Radio
- Old Time Radio Researchers — Murder and Suspense: Hitchcock's Established Reputation
Notes & References
- Source: Radio Daily (27/Aug/1937)
- The Radio Daily stated that Hitchcock was unable to attend the broadcast, hence his being replaced by an actor.
- New York Times (10/Mar/1942)
- New York Times (17/Feb/1946)
- New York Times (24/Oct/1946)
- 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."
- See Variety (1945) - Radio Review: "Miracle of a Bum"
- Quoted from the San Antonio Light (13/Dec/1946).
- Other guest in 1948 included Madeleine Carroll and Barbara Bel Geddes.
- Radio listing from the New York Times (10/Sep/1950).
- Radio listing from the New York Times (15/Jul/1951).
- Radio listings in the New York Times (06/Jul/1966) & (16/Jul/1966).
- Radio listing in the New York Times (09/Oct/1966).
- Radio listing in the New York Times (04/Jan/1979).