Monday, March 5, 2012

Alfred Hitchcock Presents Article

What can you say about Alfred Hitchcock that hasn't already been said? Probably not much, but that didn't stop me from trying, in a recent article that appeared at the Criminal Element site. It's actually about the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show and more specifically about some of the more notable crime and mystery writers who contributed to the show, including Robert Bloch, Roald Dahl and Ed McBain.

I’ve watched a number of episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents over the years and given that it recently began airing on the Encore Suspense cable channel not long ago, I’m sure I’ll watch quite a few more. What I didn’t realize was what a formidable presence it was in its day. The show kicked off in 1955 and aired for a total of ten years and 363 episodes before it was all said and done, later garnering a vote as Time’s 18th best TV show of all time.


1 comment:

  1. Great article. I had been thinking about doing a tribute to the TV show myself. But you've outdone anything I could come up with.

    I was under Hitchcock's spell during all of January and February this year when I religiously watched the show on MeTV out here in Chicago. (It's an independent network that shows only old TV shows. I think there are affiliated stations throughout the US.) It airs two episodes of "AH Presents" back to back, Monday through Friday from 9 - 10 PM. That's all lot of Hitchcock to watch every week. For me it wasn't enough! Through sheer luck I also managed to catch five of the 17 episodes AH directed for the series. The one with Joseph Cotten paralyzed in a car wreck was one of the best and pretty experimental for 50s TV. I enjoyed waiting until th efinal credits to find out who wrote the episode and if it was based on a short story by a writer I knew. Sometimes the title was so well known to me ("The Hand of Mr Ottermole" by Thomas Burke, for example) that I didn't have to wait. In addition to the very well known writers you mention in your piece there were also these gifted crime writers whose work was adapted on the show: Ethel Lina White, Avram Davidson, H. H. Munro (Saki), John Keir Cross, Lillian de la Torre, A. A. Milne, Stanley Ellin, and probably dozens of others I can't recall off the top of my head. One well known writer you overlooked is Charlotte Armstrong who, although her own work was not used, was a teleplay writer for several episodes. Her adaptation of a story by John Cheever called "The Five Forty-Eight" is excellent. Phyllis Thaxter plays a gun-toting, revenge crazed secretary who holds her former boss hostage on a commuter train. Talk about tense!