Home Television Drama Alfred Hitchcock Presents (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)

Alfred Hitchcock Presents (The Alfred Hitchcock Hour)

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Although only 20 of the 300+ episodes of this anthology of murder mysteries were directed by the Master of Suspense, he presented every episode – usually from some macabre setting, such as an electric chair or impaled on a pole like a scarecrow – signing off with a sardonic, deadpan explanation of the small but fatal slip that had proved to be the criminal’s undoing.

One of the first anthologies to have a personality of its own, Alfred Hitchcock Presents (aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour) raided the shelves of the suspense classics for its narratives, those translated for the screen by such renowned ink-slingers as Ray Bradbury, Nicholas Monsarrat and Sterling Silliphant.

The stories were cleverly crafted, centring on crimes such as murder and blackmail, but each had a surprising twist in the tail.

The series originally consisted of 30-minute dramas, but over 900 stories were made in a 60-minute format and went out as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour.

The show was produced by Norman Lloyd, later to appear in front of the camera as Dr Daniel Auschlander in St Elsewhere.

In 1957 and 1958 many of the shows were directed by Robert Altman, who later became famous as the original director of the film M*A*S*Hwhich became a hit TV series.

The memorable theme music to the show was Gounod’s Funeral March of A Marionette.

In 1985, Alfred Hitchcock Presents was revived with a mix of new scripts and remakes (directed by – amongst others – Tim Burton), with Hitchcock’s original to-camera introductions receiving the dubious benefit of computer colour enhancement. He became the first person in history to return from the dead to host a new series.