When people speak of Hitchcock, they usually refer to the Master of Suspense’s movies. No one sings the praises of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, the TV show he hosted from 1955-1962. If Hitch’s cinematic work cemented his legendary director status, his portly silhouette beamed into millions of households every week made him a celebrity. Before Rod Serling submitted Twilight Zones “for your approval,” and the Crypt Keeper bloodied up HBO, Hitch presented the types of twisted tales you’d expect from him. Like Serling’s masterpiece, Alfred Hitchcock Presents had a famous opening sequence. As Charles Gounod’s “Funeral March for a Marionette” played, Hitch would step, in silhouette, into his outline drawn on the screen. It was simple, yet mysterious, and more than a little creepy.
At the movie theater, Hitch let his camera do the talking for him, revealing his macabre sense of humor and morbidly perfect comic timing. On TV, with far less screen time and budget, Hitch did the talking himself. “Good eeeeve-ning,” he would always begin before buttering us up for the night’s deviltry. He would tell us about tales of suspense and “murrrr-der” written and directed by people like Arthur Hiller, Charles Beaumont, Ida Lupino, Ray Bradbury and Robert Bloch; and seemed genuinely pissed off that he had to stop for commercials. “And now…a word from our…SPON-surrrrr,” he would say disapprovingly. His mock disdain (or was it real?) made for some funny comments at the expense of his benefactors.