Alfred Hitchcock Presents

(1955-65, CBS, NBC)

ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS (and later, THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR, when the format changed to 60 minutes) was a very popular American television anthology series that was hosted and produced by Alfred Hitchcock; which bounced back and forth between CBS and NBC during its amazing ten year run. It featured dramas, thrillers, and mysteries, often featuring a "Gotcha!" twist at the end, and boasted a stellar list of talent, both behind and in front of the cameras.

Although he did direct several episodes, Hitchcock, by then a well known film director, had relatively little to do with the show's production, save for his appearances as the show's host at the beginning and end of every episode, but his droll, tongue in cheek intros tied the shows --which could vary widely thematically -- nicely together.

The show was so popular it inspired a string of printed collections with the running title Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Again, much like the show (and the children's mystery series of books, Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, for that matter), Hitchcock himself had very little to do with it -- it was mostly a licensing deal.

But I digress...

The point is, Alfred Hitchcock Presents was a very, very good show, and it even featured a few pretty good private eye stories, as well as several episodes that involved various writers and/or source material that ought to be familiar to P.I. fans.

I've tried to list them below, but this is just a preliminary list. If you come across one I've missed, please let me know.

TELEVISION

  • ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS
    (1955-62, CBS/NBC)
    Half-hour drama anthology
    Writers: Henry Slesar, Bill S. Ballinger, Evan Hunter, Halsted Welles
    Directors:  Robert Stevens, Paul Henreid, Herschel Daughert, Norman Lloyd, Alfred Hitchcock, Arthur Hiller, James Neilson, Jus Addiss, John Brahm, Robert Altman, Ida Lupino, Stuart Rosenberg, Robert Stevenson, David Swift, Sydney Pollack, William Friedkin
    Guest stars included James Franciscus, Dick York, Robert Horton, James Gleason, John Williams, Robert H. Harris, Russell Collins, Barbara Baxley, Ray Teal, Percy Helton, Phyllis Thaxter, Carmen Mathews, Mildred Dunnock, Alan Napier, Robert Vaughn, Robert Redford, Sir Cedric Hardwicke, Robert Newton, Steve McQueen, Bruce Dern, Walter Matthau, Laurence Harvey, Claude Rains, Dennis Morgan, Joseph Cotten, Vera Miles, Tom Ewell, Peter Lorre, Dean Stockwell, Barbara Bel Geddes

  • "THE BETTER BARGAIN" (December 9, 1956)
    Story by Richard Deming
    Teleplay by Bernard C. Schoenfeld
    Directed by Herschel Daugherty
    Starring Robert Middleton, Henry Silva, Kathleen Hughes
    and Dan Hamner as Cutter

A semi-retired mobster suspects his young wife of cheating on him and hires first Cutter, a private eye, and then a hitman to deal with the problem.

  • "THE DIPLOMATIC CORPSE" (December 8, 1957)
    Story by Alec Coppel
    Teleplay by Robert C. Dennis
    Directed by Paul Henreid
    Starring George Peppard, Mary Scott, Isobel Elsom
    and Peter Lorre as Tomas Salgado

The highlight is Lorre's portrayal of a scheming Tijuana P.I. hired by a young American couple to find the body of elderly relation which has disappeared.

  • "INVITATION TO AN ACCIDENT" (June 21, 1959)
    Based on the story by Wade Miller
    Teleplay by Robert C. Dennis
    Directed by Don Taylor
    Starring Gary Merril, Joanna Moore

  • "THE DAY OF THE BULLET" (1960)
    Based on the short story by Stanley Ellin
    Adapted by Bill S. Ballinger

Ballinger won an Edgar Award for his adaptation.

  • "40 DETECTIVES LATER" (April 24, 1960)
    Based on the short story by Henry Slesar
    Starring James Franciscus as William Tyre
    Also starring Jack Weston, George Mitchell, Arlene McQuade

An obseessed man who has hired forty detectives to track down his wife's killer turns to Chicago P.I. Mike Tyre, hoping forty-one's the charm.

  • "A CRIME FOR MOTHERS" (January 24, 1961)
    Story and teleplay by Henry Slesar
    Directed by Ida Lupino
    Starring Claire Trevor, Patricia Smith, Howard McNear, Robert Sampson
    and Biff Elliot as Phil Ames

An unscrupulous private eye, Phil Ames, gets involved in a nasty child custody battle between the adfoptive parents and the girl's alcoholic birth mother.

  • "DEATHMATE" (April 18, 1961)
    Written by Bill S. Ballinger
    Directed by Alan Crosland
    Starring Lee Phillips, Les Tremayne, Ann Staunton, Gia Scala
    and Russell Collins as Moss

A con artist and a woman hatch a plot to murder her rich husband, but Moss, a private eye, seems to have discovered their scheme.

  • "A SECRET LIFE" (May 31, 1961)
    Story by Nicholas Monsarrat
    Teleplay by
    Jerry Sohl
    Directed by Don Weis
    Starring Ronald Howard, Mary Murphy, Patricia Donahue, Arte Johnson, Florence MacMichael

A man wants a divorce but his wife won't grant him one, so he hires a private detective (Arte Johnson)to get the goods on her, convinced she's cheating on him with a movie star..

  • "I SPY" (December 5, 1961)
    Based on the play by John Mortimer
    Adapted by John Collier
    Directed by Norman Lloyd
    Starring Eric Barker as Henry Frute
    Also starring Kay Walsh, William Kendall, Cecil Parker

In Brighton, England, Frute, an rather incompetent private investigator, is hired to tail a wife suspected of cheating on her jealous husband, Captain Morgan, witrh unintended consequences. Filmed on location. the original play was written by John Mortimer, the creator of Rumpole of the Bailey.

  • THE ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR
    (1962-65, NBC)
    60-minute drama anthology
    Same credits as above

  • "Completely Foolproof" (March 29, 1965)
    Story by Andrew Benedict
    Teleplay by Anthony Terpiloff
    Directed by Alf Kijellin
    Starring J. D. Cannon, Patricia Barry, Geoffrey Horne, Joyce Meadows
    and Myron Healy as George Foyle

Foyle, a private eye hired to follow a crooked real estate agent by his wife, inadvertently witnessing a payoff.

  • "The Black Curtain" (November 15, 1962)
    Based on the novel by Cornell Woolrich
    Teleplay by Joel Murcott
    Directed by Sydney Pollack
    Starring Richard Basehart, Harold J. Stone, Gail Kobe, Lola Albright, James Farentino
    And Lee Philips as Carlin

    With the help of a cabbie, a recently recovered amnesiac tracks down his wife, only to discover she's married Carlin, the private detective she'd hired to find her missing husband three years ago.

    Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Promotional photograph for Alfred Hitchcock Presents from 1956, taken by Gene Trindl.


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