Whilst still very active making films, Alfred Hitchcock became very involved in television , lending not only his name but presenting every episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS and THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR. The series was so successful, it ran for ten years from 1955 to 1965.
And each season had between 33 and 39 episodes!
Recently I have been watching the last three seasons of the series when each episode ran 50 minutes ( only 10 mins of ads back then). ( The first 7 seasons had 25 minute episodes).
Hitchcock’s Shamley Productions and Universal Television produced some great television. Long time Hitchcock associate, Joan Harrison and Norman Lloyd produced many of the episodes.
Writers included Leigh Brackett, Ray Bradbury,Richard Matheson and Robert Bloch. Stories from the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and the Ellery Queen Magazine were also used.
And the casts often had well known faces.
In fact these 50 minute stories were mini-films. With the Hitchcock name, production values were high and it made for an excellent television series.
Hitchcock only directed one of these 50 minute episodes. Actors Harry Morgan, Robert Douglas and Paul Henreid each directed some episodes.
The opening theme of the entire series became forever associated with Hitchcock -Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March of a Marionette”.
I read that , for some seasons, the opening remarks had Hitchcock speaking in French and German for international audiences.
One of my favorite episodes features Ray Milland in a story where the patient inmates take over an asylum!
Another favorite has Teresa Wright as the wife of travelling salesman, Dan Duryea who is a bigamist. Teresa starts killing off her competition!
Richard Basehart as an amnesiac who can’t remember the last three years of his life.
Barry Sullivan murders his wife but when his conscience gets the better of him,nobody will believe him. The cast of this episode includes Hugh Marlowe, Louis Hayward and K.T.Stevens.
Good episode with Gig Young as a gambler who gets into too deep with gangsters.
John Forsythe mounts his own defence after a car accident.
Peter Falk as a fire and brimstone preacher who commits murder.
Great performance by Dean Stockwell as a character insanely in love with a married woman.
Joan Fontaine as a ‘Harriet Craig’ style wife . Gary Merrill is the long suffering husband who realises she will never change. He decides to get rid of her.
Gloria Swanson is in a ‘ haunted house’ episode . ( wonder why she didn’t do more in the 50s and 60s).
Poison is often the murder method of choice. Dan Dailey poisons his wife Jan Sterling.
Michael Rennie is slowly poisoning his rich wife, Phyllis Thaxter.
Tony Randall has a good episode ,playing an alcoholic, the kind of character he would never play on the big screen.
Another good episode has Robert Sterling blackmailing MacDonald Carey .
Other stars include. Michael Wilding, Anna Lee, Laraine Day, Gilbert Roland,Ruth Roman,Gladys Cooper, Victor Jory.
Bess Flowers even gets a line in one episode !