Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series that was hosted and produced by Alfred Hitchcock; the program aired on CBS and NBC between 1955 and 1965. It featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. By the time it premiered on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades. Time magazine named it one of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All Time". The Writers Guild of America ranked it #79 on their list of the 101 Best-Written TV Series tying it with Monty Python's Flying Circus, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Upstairs, Downstairs.
A series of literary anthologies with the running title Alfred Hitchcock Presents were issued to capitalize on the success of the television series. One volume, devoted to stories that censors wouldn't allow to be adapted for broadcast, was entitled Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV—though eventually several of the stories collected were adapted.
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents|
|Also known as||The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–65)|
|Created by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Presented by||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Theme music composer||Charles Gounod|
|Opening theme||"Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod|
|Composer(s)||Stanley Wilson (music supervisor)|
|Country of origin||United States|
|No. of seasons||10|
|No. of episodes||268 (Alfred Hitchcock Presents) |
93 (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)
(list of episodes)
|Executive producer(s)||Alfred Hitchcock|
|Editor(s)||Edward W. Williams|
|Running time||25–26 minutes (Seasons 1–7)|
49–50 minutes (Seasons 8–10)
|Production company(s)||Revue Studios|
NBCUniversal Television Distribution (2004–present)
|Picture format||Black-and-white 4:3|
|Audio format||Monaural sound|
|Original release||October 2, 1955 –|
June 26, 1965
|Related shows||Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985)|
Alfred Hitchcock Presents is well known for its title sequence. The camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile (which Hitchcock drew) as the program's theme music plays Charles Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette. Hitchcock appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen, and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. He then almost always says, "Good evening." (The theme music was suggested by Hitchcock's long-time musical collaborator Bernard Herrmann.) The caricature drawing and Gounod's Funeral March of a Marionette have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.
Hitchcock appears again after the title sequence and drolly introduces the story from an empty studio or from the set of the current episode; his monologues were written by James B. Allardice. At least two versions of the opening were shot for every episode. A version intended for the American audience would often spoof a recent popular commercial or poke fun at the sponsor, leading into the commercial. An alternative version for European audiences would include jokes at the expense of Americans in general. For later seasons, opening remarks were also filmed with Hitchcock speaking in French and German for the show's international presentations.
Hitchcock closed the show in much the same way as it opened, but mainly to tie up loose ends rather than joke. Frequently, a leading character in the story would have seemingly gotten away with a criminal activity; in the postscript, Hitchcock would briefly detail how fate (or the authorities) eventually brought the character to justice. Hitchcock told TV Guide that his reassurances that the criminal had been apprehended were "a necessary gesture to morality."
Alfred Hitchcock Presents finished at number 6 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1956–57 season, number 12 in 1957–58, number 24 in 1958–59, and number 25 in 1959–60. The series was originally 25 minutes per episode, but it was expanded to 50 minutes in 1962 and retitled The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Hitchcock directed 17 of the 267 filmed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents—four during the first season and one or two per season thereafter. He directed only the fourth of the 93 50-minute episodes, entitled "I Saw the Whole Thing" with John Forsythe. The last new episode aired on June 26, 1965, but the series has continued to be popular in television syndication for decades.
Actors appearing in the most episodes include Patricia Hitchcock (Alfred Hitchcock's daughter), Dick York, Robert Horton, James Gleason, John Williams, Robert H. Harris, Russell Collins, Barbara Baxley, Ray Teal, Percy Helton, Phyllis Thaxter, Carmen Mathews, Mildred Dunnock, Alan Napier, Robert Vaughn, and Vincent Price.
Many notable film actors, such as Robert Redford, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Robert Newton, Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, Walter Matthau, Laurence Harvey, Claude Rains, Dennis Morgan, Joseph Cotten, Vera Miles, Tom Ewell, Peter Lorre, Dean Stockwell, and Barbara Bel Geddes, among others, also appeared on the series.
The directors who directed the most episodes included Robert Stevens (44 episodes), Paul Henreid (28 episodes), Herschel Daugherty (24 episodes), Norman Lloyd (19 episodes), Alfred Hitchcock (17 episodes), Arthur Hiller (17 episodes), James Neilson (12 episodes), Justice Addiss (10 episodes), and John Brahm (10 episodes). Other notable directors included Robert Altman, Ida Lupino, Stuart Rosenberg, Robert Stevenson, David Swift and William Friedkin, who ended up directing what would be the last episode.
The broadcast history was as follows:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 25 minutes long, aired weekly at 9:30 on CBS on Sunday nights from 1955 to 1960, and then at 8:30 on NBC on Tuesday nights from 1960 to 1962.It was followed by The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, which lasted for three seasons, September 1962 to June 1965, adding another 93 episodes to the 268 already produced for Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Two episodes that were directed by Hitchcock were nominated for Emmy Awards. The first episode was "The Case of Mr. Pelham" in 1955 that starred Tom Ewell while the second was "Lamb to the Slaughter" in 1958 that starred Barbara Bel Geddes and Harold J. Stone. In 2009 TV Guide's list of "100 Greatest Episodes of All Time" ranked "Lamb to the Slaughter" at #59. The third season opener "The Glass Eye" (1957) won an Emmy Award for director Robert Stevens. An episode of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour titled "An Unlocked Window" (1965) earned an Edgar Award for writer James Bridges in 1966.
Among the most famous episodes remains writer Roald Dahl's "Man from the South" (1960) starring Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre, in which a man bets his finger that he can start his lighter ten times in a row. This episode was ranked #41 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time. The episode was later referenced and remade in the film Four Rooms, with Quentin Tarantino directing a segment called "The Man from Hollywood."
The 1962 episode "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" was not aired by NBC because the sponsor felt that the ending was too gruesome. The plot has a magician's helper performing a "sawing a woman in half" trick. Not knowing it is a gimmick, the helper cuts the unconscious woman in half. The episode has since been shown in syndication. It has been parodied by Penn and Teller on their cable show Penn and Teller: Bullshit!
Universal Studios Home Entertainment has released the first five seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on DVD in Region 1. Season 6 was released on November 12, 2013 via Amazon.com's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release on DVD-R, available exclusively through Amazon.com. Season 6 DVD-R discs are expected to play back in DVD Video "play only" devices, and may not play in other DVD devices, including recorders and PC drives.
In Region 2, Universal Pictures UK has released the first three seasons on DVD, and Fabulous Films has released all seven seasons on DVD, including all three seasons of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
In Region 4, Madman Entertainment has released all seven seasons on DVD in Australia. They have also released all three seasons of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.
|DVD Title||Episodes||Release Dates|
|Region 1||Region 2||Region 4|
|Season One||39||October 4, 2005
March 13, 2018 (re-release)
|February 20, 2006||July 15, 2009|
|Season Two||39||October 17, 2006||March 26, 2007||November 17, 2009|
|Season Three||39||October 9, 2007||April 14, 2008||May 17, 2010|
|Season Four||36||November 24, 2009||October 26, 2015||September 29, 2010|
|Season Five||38||January 3, 2012||October 26, 2015||May 18, 2011|
|Season Six||38||November 12, 2013 (DVD-R)||October 26, 2015||November 16, 2011|
|Season Seven||38||N/A||October 26, 2015||February 20, 2013|
|DVD Title||Episodes||Region 2||Region 4|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete First Season||32||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Second Season||32||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
|Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Third Season||29||January 11, 2016||May 22, 2013|
In 1985, NBC aired a new TV movie pilot based upon the series, combining four newly filmed stories with colorized footage of Hitchcock from the original series to introduce each segment. The movie was a huge ratings success. The Alfred Hitchcock Presents revival series debuted in the fall of 1985 and retained the same format as the pilot: newly filmed stories (a mixture of original works and updated remakes of original series episodes) with colorized introductions by Hitchcock. The new series lasted only one season before NBC cancelled it, but it was then produced for three more years by USA Network.
In 1962, Golden Records released a record album of six ghost stories for children titled Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Ghost Stories for Young People. The album, which opens with the Charles Gounod Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme music, is hosted by Hitchcock himself, who begins, "How do you do, boys and girls. I’m delighted to find that you believe in ghosts, too. After all, they believe in you, so it is only common courtesy to return the favor." Hitchcock introduces each of the stories, all the while recounting a droll story of his own failed attempts to deal with a leaky faucet (which at the conclusion of the album leads to Hitchcock "drowning" in his flooded home). The ghost stories themselves, accompanied by minimal sound effects and music, are told by actor John Allen, four of which he wrote himself, and two of which are adaptations:
Alfred Hitchcock Presents, sometimes called The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, is an American anthology series that aired on NBC from 1985 to 1986, and on the USA Network from 1987 to 1989. The series is an updated re-imagining of the 1955 series of the same name.Bill Corcoran
William J. Corcoran is a Canadian film and television director.As a television director his credits include Friday the 13th, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, 21 Jump Street, Wiseguy, MacGyver, Hope Island, New York Undercover, Mutant X, Stargate SG-1, Pensacola: Wings of Gold and among other series. He has also directed a number of television films. Billy also appeared on episode 5 season 2 of the Brady Bunch as Harvey Klinger.Billy Wells (American football)
William Prescott Wells (December 7, 1931 – December 25, 2001) was an American football halfback who played in the National Football League (NFL) for the Washington Redskins, Pittsburgh Steelers, and the Philadelphia Eagles. He also played in the American Football League (AFL) for the Boston Patriots. Wells played college football at Michigan State University and was drafted in the fifth round of the 1954 NFL Draft.
Wells later moved to Southern California. He formed a Dixieland band called Billy and his Bachelors. He also acted in a few television shows including Manhunt and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Wells died on Christmas Day, December 25, 2001, just 3½ weeks after his 70th birthday.Bob DeLaurentis
Robert DeLaurentis (born De Laurentiis) is an American television producer and television writer.
DeLaurentis wrote the 1982 film A Little Sex, and has also written a proposed script for a Doctor Who film. He has both written and produced for television shows including The O.C., Providence , Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Fargo. In addition to this he has written for South Beach, and produced The Big Easy.Henry Slesar
Henry Slesar (June 12, 1927 – April 2, 2002) was an American author, playwright, and copywriter. He is famous for his use of irony and twist endings. After reading Slesar's "M Is for the Many" in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, Alfred Hitchcock bought it for adaptation and they began many successful collaborations. Slesar wrote hundreds of scripts for television series and soap operas, leading TV Guide to call him "the writer with the largest audience in America."I Killed the Count
I Killed the Count is a 1937 play by Alec Coppel. Its success launched Coppel's career.James B. Allardice
James B. Allardice (March 20, 1919, Canton, Ohio — February 15, 1966) was an American television comedy writer of the 1950s and 1960s.
During World War II he served in the US Army where he wrote the play At War with the Army. Following the war, Allardice attended Yale University where his play was later on Broadway in 1949 and filmed in the same year with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis.
Allardice is best known for his collaborations with writing partner Tom Adair on a number of American 1960s TV sitcoms including The Munsters, F Troop, My Three Sons, Gomer Pyle, USMC and Hogan's Heroes. Allardice won an Emmy in 1955 for best comedy writing for his work on "The George Gobel Show". He contributed to Alfred Hitchcock Presents, and wrote Hitchcock's "lead-ins" for all of the 359 episodes of the series, as well as many speeches for Hitchcock's public engagements.Jo Van Fleet
Catherine Josephine Van Fleet (December 29, 1915 – June 10, 1996) was a theatre, film, and television actress from the United States. Known primarily for playing roles older than she was, her career spanned over three decades, and she won an Academy Award as well as a Tony Award.Lamb to the Slaughter
"Lamb to the Slaughter" (1953) is a short story by Roald Dahl. It was initially rejected, along with four other stories, by The New Yorker, but was ultimately published in Harper's Magazine in September 1953. It was adapted for an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents that starred Barbara Bel Geddes and Harold J. Stone. Originally broadcast on April 13, 1958, this was one of only 17 AHP episodes directed by Hitchcock himself. The episode was ranked #59 of the Top 100 Episodes by TV Guide in 2009. The story was subsequently adapted for Dahl's British TV series Tales of the Unexpected. Dahl included it in his short story compilation Someone like You. The narrative element of the housewife killing her husband and letting the policemen partake in eating the evidence was also used by Pedro Almodóvar in his 1984 movie What Have I Done to Deserve This?, with a leg of mutton.
"Lamb to the Slaughter" demonstrates Dahl's fascination with horror (with elements of black comedy), which is seen in both his adult fiction and his stories for children. The story was supposedly suggested to Dahl by his friend Ian Fleming: "Why don't you have someone murder their husband with a frozen leg of mutton which she then serves to the detectives who come to investigate the murder?".List of Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985 TV series) episodes
The following is a list of episodes from the 1985–89 television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which was a revival of the original 1955–62 series of the same name. The new series lasted only one season on NBC. NBC cancelled it, but it was then produced for three more years by USA Network.List of Alfred Hitchcock Presents episodes
The following is a list of episodes from the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.List of programs broadcast by Chiller
This is a list of shows that have been broadcast on Chiller.Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat
"Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" is a short story by Roald Dahl that first appeared in the 1959 issue of Nugget. The story is Dahl's variation on a popular anecdote dating back at least to 1939: a married woman receives a glamorous mink coat from a man with whom she had an affair. She hopes to sneak the coat into her home without arousing her husband's suspicions, but soon discovers that her husband has his own plans.Norman Lloyd
Norman Lloyd (born Norman Perlmutter; November 8, 1914) is an American actor, producer and director with a career in entertainment spanning over nine decades. He has worked in every major facet of the industry including theatre, radio, television and film, with a career that started in 1932 and his last film to date Trainwreck in 2015.
In the 1930s, he apprenticed with Eva Le Gallienne's Civic Repertory Theatre and worked with such influential groups as the Federal Theatre Project's Living Newspaper unit, the Mercury Theatre and the Group Theatre. Lloyd's long professional association with Alfred Hitchcock began with his performance portraying a Nazi agent in the 1942 film Saboteur. He also appeared in Spellbound (1945), and went on to produce Hitchcock's long-running anthology television series, Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Lloyd directed and produced episodic television throughout the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. As an actor, he has appeared in over 60 films and television shows, with his roles including Bodalink in Limelight, Mr. Nolan in Dead Poets Society and Mr. Letterblair in The Age of Innocence. In the 1980s, Lloyd gained a new generation of fans for playing Dr. Daniel Auschlander, one of the starring roles on the medical drama St. Elsewhere.Pat Hitchcock
Patricia Alma O'Connell (née Hitchcock; born 7 July 1928), commonly known as Pat Hitchcock, is an English-born American actress and producer. She is the only child of English director Alfred Hitchcock and Alma Reville, and had small roles in several of his films, starting with Stage Fright (1950).Robert Arthur Jr.
Robert Jay Arthur Jr. (November 10, 1909 – May 2, 1969) was a writer of speculative fiction known for his work with The Mysterious Traveler radio series and for writing The Three Investigators, a series of young adult novels.Arthur was honoured twice by the Mystery Writers of America with an Edgar Award for Best Radio Drama. He also wrote scripts for television such as The Twilight Zone and Alfred Hitchcock's TV show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.The Sorcerer's Apprentice (Alfred Hitchcock Presents)
"The Sorcerer's Apprentice" is a seventh-season episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents made in the summer of 1961 that has never been broadcast on network television. The episode was scheduled to be episode #39 of the season. The story and teleplay were written by Robert Bloch, the author of Psycho, and the episode was directed by Josef Leytes.
The four main characters are played by Diana Dors (Irene Sadini), Brandon deWilde (Hugo), David J. Stewart (Vincent Sadini), and Larry Kert (George Morris).
Although once qualified as a lost episode, "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" has since been widely distributed in syndication and – due to its status in the public domain – in numerous Hitchcock home media releases and video on demand.USA Saturday Nightmares
USA Saturday Nightmares was an unhosted show on the USA Network in the 1980s and early 1990s. The show came on at 8:00 p.m. every Saturday night. They showed a lot of B Horror and Sci-Fi Films. Most of the movies shown also appeared on Commander USA's Groovie Movies and USA Sci-Fi Theater. They also showed episodes of The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Hitchhiker, and The Ray Bradbury Theater.