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Alfred Hitchcock Presents

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Title card
Also known asThe Alfred Hitchcock Hour (1962–1965)
GenreAnthology, mystery, horror[1][2]
Created byAlfred Hitchcock
Presented byAlfred Hitchcock
Theme music composerCharles Gounod
Opening theme"Funeral March of a Marionette" by Charles Gounod
ComposerStanley Wilson (music supervisor)
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of seasons10
No. of episodes
  • 268 (Alfred Hitchcock Presents)
  • 93 (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)
  • 361 (total)
(list of episodes)
Executive producerAlfred Hitchcock
EditorEdward W. Williams
Camera setupSingle-camera
Running time
  • 25–26 minutes (Seasons 1–7)
  • 50 minutes (Seasons 8–10)
Production companies
Original release
  • CBS
  • (1955–60; 1962–64)
  • NBC
  • (1960–62; 1964–65)
ReleaseOctober 2, 1955 (1955-10-02) –
May 10, 1965 (1965-05-10)
Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1985)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents is an American television anthology series created, hosted and produced by Alfred Hitchcock, airing on CBS and NBC, alternately, between 1955 and 1965. It features dramas, thrillers, and mysteries. Between 1962 and 1965, it was renamed The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. Hitchcock himself directed only 18 episodes during its run.

By the time the show premiered on October 2, 1955, Hitchcock had been directing films for over three decades. In the 21st century, Time magazine named Alfred Hitchcock Presents as one of "The 100 Best TV Shows of All Time".[3] 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.[4] In 2021, Rolling Stone ranked it 18th on its list of 30 Best Horror TV Shows of All Time.[2]

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 would not 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 therein were adapted.

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Alfred Hitchcock Presents is well known for its title sequence.[5] The camera fades in on a simple line-drawing caricature of Hitchcock's rotund profile (which Hitchcock drew), to the theme music of Charles Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" (suggested by Hitchcock's long-time musical collaborator Bernard Herrmann).[6] Hitchcock appears in silhouette from the right edge of the screen, and then walks to center screen to eclipse the caricature. The caricature drawing and Gounod's "Funeral March of a Marionette" have become indelibly associated with Hitchcock in popular culture.[7][8][9]

Alfred Hitchcock introduces each episode

After the title sequence, Hitchcock almost always greets his audience with, "Good evening," before drolly introducing the story from an empty studio or from the set of the current episode; his usually comical monologues were written by James B. Allardice. [10][11] 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.[12][13]

Hitchcock closed the show in much the same way as it opened, but mainly to tie up loose ends rather than joke.[14] Frequently, a leading character in the story would have seemingly gotten away with a criminal activity. In the postscript, Hitchcock would briefly detail, usually unconvincingly, 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."[15]

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.[16] 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.[17][18][19] The last new episode aired on June 26, 1965, but the series has continued to be popular in television syndication for decades.[20][21][9][22]

Guest stars and other actors

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 Clint Eastwood,[23] Robert Redford, Inger Stevens, Cedric Hardwicke, Robert Newton, Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, Robert Duvall, Walter Matthau, Robert Loggia, George Segal, Laurence Harvey, Claude Rains, Joan Fontaine, Thelma Ritter, Dennis Morgan, Joseph Cotten, Burt Reynolds, Vera Miles, Tom Ewell, Peter Lorre, Bette Davis, Dean Stockwell, Jessica Tandy, John Gavin, Charles Bronson, Michael Rennie, Phyllis Thaxter, Roger Moore, John Cassavetes, Peter Falk, Teresa Wright, Míriam Colón, Leslie Nielsen, Murray Hamilton, Ricardo Montalbán, Harry Dean Stanton, and Barbara Bel Geddes, among others, also appeared on the series.


The directors who directed the most episodes included Robert Stevens (44 episodes),[24] Paul Henreid (28 episodes),[25] Herschel Daugherty (24 episodes),[26] Norman Lloyd (19 episodes),[27] Alfred Hitchcock (17 episodes),[28] Arthur Hiller (17 episodes),[29] James Neilson (12 episodes),[30] Justice Addiss (10 episodes),[31] and John Brahm (10 episodes).[32] Other notable directors included Robert Altman,[33] Ida Lupino,[34] Stuart Rosenberg,[35] Robert Stevenson,[36] David Swift[37] and William Friedkin,[38] who directed the last episode of the show.

Broadcast history

The broadcast history was as follows:[39]

  • Sunday at 9:30–10 p.m. on CBS: October 2, 1955 – September 1960
  • Tuesday at 8:30–9 p.m. on NBC: September 1960 – September 1962
  • Thursday at 10–11 p.m. on CBS: September 1962 — December 1962
  • Friday at 9:30–10:30 p.m.on CBS: January 1963 — September 1963
  • Friday at 10–11 p.m. on CBS: September 1963 – September 1964
  • Monday at 10–11 p.m. on NBC: October 1964 – September 1965


Actors and actresses in episodes of the series
James Congdon and Bette Davis in "Out There – Darkness" (1959)
Steve McQueen and wife Neile Adams in "Man from the South" (1960)
Pina Pellicer and Larry Domasin in "The Life Work of Juan Diaz" (1964)

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.[40] 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.[18]

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.[41] 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)[42] starring Steve McQueen and Peter Lorre, in which a man bets his finger that he can start his lighter 10 times in a row. This episode was ranked #41 on TV Guide's 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time.[43] 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.[44] The plot has a magician's helper performing a "sawing a woman in half" trick. Not knowing that the performance is meant to be an illusion, the helper actually cuts an unconscious woman in half. The episode was included in the syndication package for the series and is now considered to be in the public domain.[45]

Home media

Universal Studios released the first five seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents on DVD in Region 1. Season 6 was released on November 12, 2013 via's CreateSpace program. This is a Manufacture-on-Demand (MOD) release on DVD-R, available exclusively through[46]

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.[47][48]

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
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete First Season 32 January 11, 2016 May 22, 2013
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Second Season 32 January 11, 2016 May 22, 2013
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: The Complete Third Season 29 January 11, 2016 May 22, 2013

1985 revival

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 the USA Network.

In other media

Cover of Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories for Young People (Golden Records 1962)

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."[49]

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[49] and two of which are adaptations:

  1. "The Haunted and the Haunters (The Pirate's Curse)"
  2. "The Magician ('Til Death Do Us Part)"
  3. "Johnny Takes a Dare (The More the Merrier)"
  4. Saki's "The Open Window" (special adaptation)
  5. "The Helpful Hitchhiker"
  6. Walter R. Brooks' "Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons"


American rapper Eminem used the theme song in his song "Alfred's Theme" from his album Music to Be Murdered By – Side B (2020), which itself is one of two albums inspired by Hitchcock's 1958 spoken-word record of the same name.[50]


  1. ^ Erickson, Hal. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents (1955)". AllMovie. Retrieved December 22, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "30 Best Horror TV Shows of All Time". Rolling Stone. June 12, 2021.
  3. ^ Poniewozik, James (September 6, 2007). "All-Time 100 TV Shows". Time. Archived from the original on October 22, 2011. Retrieved December 23, 2012.
  4. ^ 101 Best Written TV Series List Archived January 10, 2014, at the Wayback Machine, Writers Guild of America, West website. Accessed February 16, 2015.
  5. ^ "Alfred Hitchcock Presents theme: Charles Gounod". Classic FM Digital Radio 100-102FM. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  6. ^ Norman Lloyd in a radio interview on KUSC's "The Evening Program with Jim Svejda", June 22, 2012.
  7. ^ Funeral March Of A Marionette (Alfred Hitchcock Theme). March 26, 2011. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  8. ^ Huizenga, Tom (March 5, 2013). "Marches Madness: Puppets And A Funeral". NPRMusic. NPR. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  9. ^ a b Muir, John Kenneth (2013). Terror Television: American Series, 1970–1999. McFarland. ISBN 9781476604169.
  10. ^ Humphrey, Hal (May 4, 1965). "As Hitch Goes, So Goes a Ghost", Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 8, 2020.
  11. ^ Moral, Tony Lee (2013). Hitchcock and the Making of Marnie. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press. p. 137; ISBN 9780810891074
  12. ^ Henderson, Odie (August 10, 2006). "And Now a Word from Our Sponsor: Alfred Hitchcock Presents". Slant Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  13. ^ "Alfred Hitchcock Presents". xfinitystream. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Schwartz, Shelly. "A Closer Look at the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock". ThoughtCo. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  15. ^ Allen, Richard; Ishii-Gonzales, Sam (2004). Hitchcock: Past and Future. London: Routledge. ISBN 9781134477234. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  16. ^ "TV Ratings: Top 30 Shows for each year, from 1950 to 2000!", Classic TV Hits. Accessed February 16, 2015.
  17. ^ Alfred Hitchcock Presents#Directors
  18. ^ a b "The Women of Alfred Hitchcock's Hour (1962–1965)". The Last Drive In. June 3, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  19. ^ "I Saw the Whole Thing". October 11, 1962. Retrieved March 15, 2018 – via
  20. ^ "8 reasons why 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' might be the greatest TV show ever". Me-TV Network. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  21. ^ Sickels, Robert C. (2013). 100 Entertainers Who Changed America: An Encyclopedia of Pop Culture Luminaries [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of Pop Culture Luminaries. ABC-CLIO. p. 264. ISBN 9781598848311. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  22. ^ Roysdon, Keith (March 24, 2021). "Hitchcock Presents: A Brief History of The Weird, Wild Hitchcock Shows that Once Dominated TV". Crime Reads.
  23. ^ 8 reasons why 'Alfred Hitchcock Presents' might be the greatest TV show ever Archived December 24, 2020, at the Wayback Machine Decades. May 2, 2017
  24. ^ "Robert Stevens". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  25. ^ "Paul Henreid". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  26. ^ "Herschel Daugherty". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  27. ^ "Norman Lloyd". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  28. ^ "Alfred Hitchcock". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  29. ^ "Arthur Hiller". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  30. ^ "James Neilson". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  31. ^ "Jus Addiss". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  32. ^ "John Brahm". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  33. ^ "Robert Altman". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  34. ^ "Ida Lupino". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  35. ^ "Stuart Rosenberg". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  36. ^ "Robert Stevenson". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  37. ^ "David Swift". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  38. ^ "William Friedkin". Alfred Hitchcock Wiki. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  39. ^ Brooks, Tim; Marsh, Earle (2007). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network and Cable TV Shows 1946–Present (9 ed.). New York: Ballantine Books. p. 29. ISBN 978-0-345-49773-4. Retrieved July 10, 2024.
  40. ^ "Alfred Hitchcock & Ed Harvey". The Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia. Retrieved April 2, 2018.
  41. ^ "TV Guide's Top 100 Episodes". IMDb. Archived from the original on May 20, 2012. Retrieved November 21, 2017.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: bot: original URL status unknown (link)
  42. ^ Jones, Josh. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents a Chilling Tale by Roald Dahl (1960)". Open Culture.
  43. ^ "Special Collectors' Issue: 100 Greatest Episodes of All Time". TV Guide (June 28 – July 4). 1997.
  44. ^ "The Sorcerer's Apprentice". August 16, 2013. Retrieved November 22, 2017.
  45. ^ Seabrook, Jack (February 2, 2012). "Robert Bloch on TV Part Eight-Alfred Hitchcock Presents: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"". are•bones e-zine. Retrieved August 21, 2023.
  46. ^ Lambert, David. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents – What's the Release Date for 'Season 6' DVDs? How About...TODAY!," Archived November 9, 2013, at the Wayback Machine (November 8, 2013).
  47. ^ "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (December 27, 2016).
  48. ^ "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" (December 27, 2016).
  49. ^ a b Maltin, Leonard. "Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories For Young People/Famous Monsters Speak," Archived February 16, 2015, at the Wayback Machine IndieWire (December 13, 2009).
  50. ^ "Alfred's Theme by Eminem". Songfacts. Retrieved June 30, 2022.

Further reading

  • Grams, Martin, Jr. and Patrik Wikstrom, The Alfred Hitchcock Presents Companion. OTR Pub. 2001 (paperback: ISBN 0-9703310-1-0)
  • McCarty, John and Brian Kelleher, Alfred Hitchcock Presents: An Illustrated Guide to the Ten-Year Television Career of the Master of Suspense. St Martin's Press 1985 (paperback: ISBN 0-3120171-1-1)

External links

This page was last edited on 11 July 2024, at 11:37
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