The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 1, Episode 5

Captive Audience (18 Oct. 1962)

TV Episode  |  TV-PG  |   |  Crime, Drama, Mystery
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A mystery novelist sends a series of weird audiotapes to his publisher. On the first tape, the author boasts that the publisher won't be able to discern if the story he narrates is the ... See full summary »



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Episode cast overview:
Himself - Host
Warren Barrow
Janet West
Arnold Moss ...
Victor Hartman
Tom Keller
Roland Winters ...
Ivar West
Helen Barrow (as Sarah Shane)
Bart Burns ...
Geraldine Wall ...
Mrs. Hurley
Renee Godfrey ...
Hartman's Secretary
Don Matheson ...
Jack Pierson
Cosmo Sardo ...
The Croupier
Barbara Dane ...
The Folk Singer


A mystery novelist sends a series of weird audiotapes to his publisher. On the first tape, the author boasts that the publisher won't be able to discern if the story he narrates is the history of an imminent murder - or a mere fantasy. The author tells of his brief marriage ending when his wife was killed after he lost control of their car. They were kissing, making up after an argument over his wife's staying out all night with a rich old man, the same evening the author was briefly with the man's alluring, young wife Janet. Janet made a pass at the author, who immediately cut the evening short. The author says he fell into a severe depression, declined a needed brain operation, moved from France to San Francisco where he changed his name, then became a mystery writer. The tapes relate how the author eventually ran into Janet , and though she's still married, dived into an affair. When she and the author begin to plan her husband's murder, the publisher calls in another of his ... Written by David Stevens

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Release Date:

18 October 1962 (USA)  »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Don Matheson's first ever appearance in television or films. See more »


When Barrow's Band-Aid is noticed, he says of the supposedly fictional would-be killer, "He cut it on the safety catch of his revolver." But we saw in previous scenes that the weapon was an automatic pistol, not a revolver. See more »


Goodbye, Daddy, Goodbye
Performed by Barbara Dane
See more »

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User Reviews

Colorful Cast in an Awkward Storyline
16 January 2015 | by (Claremont,USA) – See all my reviews

A publisher gets recordings from an author about what sounds like a real life crime being planned. But is it.

The cast is the real draw here. James Mason gets to emote more than his usual courtly self, while Angie Dickinson is at the peak of her compelling allure. Together, they're kind of an odd couple, but then that fits the storyline. Also good to see ex-Charlie Chan Roland Winters, e.g. The Sky Dragon (1949), in a villainous role no less, along with the great Arnold Moss who could be really sinister, e.g. Border Incident (1949). Too bad he and Mason didn't have a face-off, since each embodies a lot of dramatic gravitas. The story generates some suspense as we wonder what Mason's recordings are up to. However, to me, the various twists and turns are too frequent and awkwardly blended to gel well. Also, it sounds like the last lines, repeated over and over, are really screenwriter Levinson's private difficulties with the story. That would certainly be different. Anyhow, for Mason fans, it's a chance to see the slickly debonair actor with his hair really mussed and looking seedy.

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