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Even though it lasted three seasons,a lot of classic Hollywood greats
and some new and established actors from the past and present came
together for this anthology which was television's last attempt to
revive great drama stories. And this is what The Alfred Hitchcock Hour
did for an astounding 93 episodes,all in classic black and white.
Hitchcock actually expanded his half-hour format into a hour long
segment with gave it more time for character and story development as
well as unexpected twists and surprises within the story lines. "The
Alfred Hitchcock Hour" originally ran for three seasons on two major
television networks. First it aired on CBS-TV for 48 episodes that ran
from September 20,1962 until July 3,1964. CBS canceled the series after
two seasons,and from there NBC-TV picked up the series for its final
season and the remaining 45 episodes that aired from October 5,1964
until May 10,1965. "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" still had the brief
introduction from Hitchcock about tonight's story along with the
sadistic wit and humor that you came to expect not to mention our
narrator telling us the ending-which was wrap up by Hitchcock himself.
The thing about this show is that it expanded its format to a full hour in which the storyline,situations and unexpected plots and twists progress right along,but in the end it was great entertainment. Some of the finest directors were on board for this series for some of its finest episodes ranging from Alf Kjellin, to Joesph H. Newman, Bernard Girard, John Brahm, Joesph Pevney, Jack Smight, Leo Penn, David Friedkin, Leonard Horn, William Witney, Phillip Leacock, to Laslo Benedek, and Jerry Hopper to future Oscar winning directors ranging from Richard Donner, William Friedkin, and Sydney Pollack. Even Alfred Hitchcock directed one episode from this anthology series.
Some of the finest writers team up for astounding episodes ranging from future Oscar winning producer James Bridges to Richard Levinson, William D. Gordon, Richard Matheson, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Henry Slesar, David Friedkin, Morton S. Fine, Lukas Heller, to Stanley Kallis, Mann Rubin, Alvin Sargent, William Bast and H.G. Wells.
The actors ranged from newcomers like Bruce Dern, Robert Redford, to Bradford Dillman, Richard Dawson, Claude Akins, Sally Kellerman, William Shatner, Angie Dickinson, Robert Culp, Richard Basehart to Alejandro Rey, Tony Randall, Robert Duvall, James MacArthur to Barbara Eden, Roddy McDowell, Dick York, Fess Parker, Gena Rowlands, Leif Erickson, Jeremy Slate, Elizabeth Montgomery, Hari Rhodes, George C. Scott, Steve McQueen, Cliff Robertson and Ed Nelson to old-timers like Lillian Gish, Gloria Swanson, John Forsythe and Peter Lorre just to name a few that appear in various episodes.
One episode in particular was in Season 1 of the series that featured Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield in which Tony Randall delivers a perfect performance as the frustrated ad executive who drinks too much and loses everything he has including his wife in "Hangover"(Season 1:Episode 12 that aired on December 6,1962)which dealt with the subject of alcoholism.
Others favorites episodes were Peter Fonda in "The Return of Verge Likens"(Season 3:Episode 1 that aired October 5,1964),and John Forsythe in "I Saw The Whole Thing"(Season 1:Episode 4-aired October 11,1962),to June Lockhart as a vengeful wife in "The Second Wife"(Season 3:Episode 27-aired April 26,1965). Other favorites included Christopher Lee in "The Sign of Satan"(Season 2:Episode 27-aired May 8,1964),Lillian Gish in "The Body In The Barn"(Season 2:Episode 32-aired July 3,1964),to the hilarious Bob Newhart in "How To Get Rid Of Your Wife"(Season 2:Episode 11-aired December 20,1963);Roddy McDowell and Efrem Zimbalist Jr. in "See The Monkey Dance"(Season 3:Episode 5-aired November 9,1964);to Frank Gorshin and Martin Landau in "The Second Verdict"(Season 2:Episode 30-aired May 29,1964),and Arthur Kennedy in "Change of Address"(Season 3:Episode 21-aired October 12,1964).
Two unknown actors Bruce Dern and Robert Redford appear in various episodes of the series and both of these actors would go on to bigger and better things in their careers. One of them would go on to becoming a big time Oscar-winning Hollywood producer and director(namely Robert Redford). Robert Redford appeared in two episodes "A Piece of the Action"(Season 1:Episode 1-aired September 20,1962),and "A Tangled Web" (Season 2:Episode 18-aired January 25,1963). Bruce Dern also appeared in two episodes of the series "A Lonely Place"(Season 3:Episode 6-aired November 16,1964),and "The Night Caller"(Season 2:Episode 15-aired January 31,1964).
The other classic episode of the series featured two well-established actors who were but known for their "rural" comedies.....Pat Buttram,who was a known for starring in Westerns in the 1930's and 1940's as later on as the oily salesman/con artist Mr. Haney on the television series "Green Acres",and George Lindsey,who was known as "Goober" from "The Andy Griffith Show" television series appeared together in a episode title "The Jar"(Season 2:Episode 17-aired February 14,1964). Veteran Hollywood legend Gloria Swanson appeared as a old woman in a haunted house title "Behind The Locked Door"(Season 2:Episode 22-aired March 27,1964),that also starred James MacArthur.
"The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" was next to the last of the great anthology series of the 1960's and it was the last attempt to established this in the age of television. When it was canceled by NBC on May 10,1965 the magic that was this was gone,and in its place came the onslaught of police dramas and espionage shows.
I occasionally hear of people making lists of the all-time best tv series (TV Guide did it recently), and they never seem to mention either of Hitchcock's Television series, even though these are the same people that call Hitchcock among the greatest directors. I watched this show all the time when I was younger (or so I seem to remember), but it does not seem to be on very often any more. Hitchcock's shows are much better than his movies, in my opinion. The thing about the show is that it is limited to only an hour, so the story is forced to progress more quickly, and keeps me interested more easily. My favorite episodes are "The Return of Verge Likens" with Peter Fonda, "The Man from Rio" with Peter Lorre and Steve McQueen, and "One More Mile to Go."
and many now famous (and infamous) actors from the past and present.
This show is suspenseful and similar to the shorter version, albeit the
stories are better, more involved.
One story which is quirky and interesting is the episode where a drunken man loses everything. Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield, 1962. Tony Randall delivers a perfect performance as frustrated ad executive (he and Mansfield reprising this role and story from the hysterical comedy "Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?"). Since this is Hitchcock, however, there is a twist and pathos to the storyline.
Worth owning on DVD and also watching in the U.S. on Chiller channel. 9/10.
First of all, Alfred Hitchcock's introduction, station brake and wrap
up monologues are worth the price of watching those commercials alone
which regularly were humorously ridiculed by Hitchcock himself.
Watching these shows these many years later is therapy for the
lightening fast world of the 21st century. Lots of husbands killing
wives and wives killing husbands. And of course, then, nobody could get
away with anything if not in the story itself then in the ending wrap
up by Hitchcock.
AND, it was an era when REAL ACTORS were on TV not the pretty face empty nothing's on TV today. Living in impossible apartments and working in impossible work places and performing impossible plots.
I saw "Change of Address" several years ago and it stuck with me because of Arthur Kennedy's fabulous performance - up there with the best acting I've ever seen on television - don't miss it-he is superb, in a rare role in which he portrayed an unambiguously heinous individual (episode 321 - Oct. 64) Also, do not miss this great actor in the film "Too Late for Tears" - (1949) - with Lizabeth Scott as possibly the most repellent femme fatale in the history of the genre - this actor was superb at portraying the halfway decent man whose moral frailties could be uncovered with the scratch of a pin - he deserves to be more well remembered
For Alfred Hitchcock's centennial, Encore has been showing old reruns of the Alfred Hitchcock Hour tv show. I really have been enjoying them. Especially seeing Tony Randall and Jayne Mansfield, who co-starred together in Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?, to team up again! I have only seen 4 but I am begging for more.:-)
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Again the anthology series hosted by the Master of Suspense but it had
ninety-four episodes and three seasons. But that is enough. As it is
the same "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" but only expanded thirty minutes
As it shows whodunits as well as before they were stars like Robert Redford. Really a great show and a great way of humor by Hitchcock.
If you noticed that he dressed in a suit for Alfred Hitchcock Presents but in the Hour thing, he dressed up in a tuxedo. As he really looked sharp in it. Not that I would mind the suit thing. But still, you can't go wrong with Hitch in a tuxedo.
Still a lot of people did not like the hour that much. But still, it is great though not better than the half-hour shows. Which tidy up things. Hour is much more acting and a lot of character development it seems.
I am of course pleased to have the whole TV series to watch, after
seeing all the other episodes of the shorter series. These stories are
all, with no exception, worth the ride, with great acting, writing and
directing. Nothing to say about this. But I will only point out that,
unlike the thirty minutes épisodes where there always was a twist,
ironic ending, here it seems that the endings are, I would say, rather
classical, with no real surprises. But I also admit that I have not
seen them all yet. Maybe I'll get more surprises as I crave for so much
in such tales. I'll wait. But I won't comment those episodes so far
they have all been by other users.
I am sure that ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR is not as well known as AH PRESENTS. Such a shame. Even without a twist ending on every episode, it's very important to watch them, especially if you like this kind of stories.
Alfred Hitchock Presents ran half-hour shows, which stuck strictly to whodunits. The Alfred Hitchock hour tended more toward one-hour dramas with twist endings. As usual, each episode boasted a pageant of stars. Stories were not as tightly knit. Some episodes were laconic. This was television's last attempt at the Playhouse 90s, Alcoa/Goodyear TV Playhouses, the Loretta Young Shows and Kraft Mystery Theatres. It was the last of an age of television, which story lines lasted an entire hour, rather than being broken up into various story lines and woven subplots. Here were the the last of the great playwrights, in their eleventh hour, just before Fred Silverman turned television into tedium.
Yes, Kennedy was most adept as the, "nice," bad guy who could become homicidal very easily under the right circumstances. most memorably opposite James Stewart, in, "Bend Of the River," and Glenn Ford, in "Day Of The Evil Gun." Kennedy worked steadily throughout the 40's and especially the 50's; occasionally cast as the leading man, notably in the post WWII film, "Bright Victory," with James Edwards, about a blinded war veteran overcoming racism. He was also good in "Crawlspace," about an elderly couple who take in a vagrant hippie; with drastic consequences. He was always effective as a second lead, to Kirk Douglas in, "Champion," and, "The Glass Menagerie." He could, however, rise above his material and be a serviceable leading man. Also good as detectives, officers, and authoritative figures. One of the best of the Warner Brothers' players.
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