Series: Alfred Hitchcock Presents

"Good evening..."

Genre Anthology television series presented by famed thriller director Alfred Hitchcock. The original run was from 1955 to 1962 (half-hour episodes) and 1962 to 1965 (hour-long episodes, as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), bouncing between CBS and NBC and totalling over 200 episodes (of which fewer than two dozen were directed by Hitchcock himself).

Each episode was a self-contained mystery/thriller story, with Hitchcock appearing before and after to make introductory and closing remarks. Writers who either wrote episodes or had stories adapted for the series include Ambrose Bierce, Ray Bradbury, Robert Bloch, Roald Dahl, Avram Davidson, Harlan Ellison, Evan Hunter, Don Marquis, Richard Matheson, A. A. Milne, Ellis Peters, Dorothy L Sayers, and Cornell Woolrich.

Notably for the time, Hitchcock would openly mock the concept of commercials (as opposed to the actual products themselves) in his remarks with statements such as "Join us next week as we present another fine selection of exciting and informative commercials. Oh, and if there's time, we'll also try to squeeze in a story between them."

A Revival, The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, ran from 1985 to 1989; it featured new stories (and some newly-filmed remakes of old episodes) introduced by recycled (and colorized) footage of Hitchcock.

Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour provide examples of:

  • And I Must Scream:
    • In "The Long Silence" a woman is paralyzed, unable to speak.
    • A similar situation occurs in the Hitchcock-directed episode "Breakdown", where a man suffers a car accident and is rendered almost completely paralyzed.
  • Affectionate Parody: Hitchcock parodies his own Rear Window with "Mr Blanchard's Secret".
  • Arson Murderand Jaywalking: In the episode "Incident in a Small Jail," Leon Gorwald is arrested for jaywalking when it turns out he actually is responsible and not caught for several murders.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment: In the introduction of the episode "A Little Sleep", Hitchcock remarks of a St. Bernard with a keg: "Man's best friend! And a dog!"
  • Ballistic Discount: "Enough Rope for Two"
  • Bodybag Trick: "Final Escape" 1950s and 1980s.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Arthur", the title character talks to the audience.
  • Captain Ersatz: "Diamonds Aren't Forever", an episode of the '80s revival, featured one of James Bond, played by George Lazenby, no less.
  • Carpet-Rolled Corpse: "The Cadaver". Unusual in that the body inside wasn't actually murdered, although the guy who rolled it up inside thought it was.
  • Catch Phrase: "Good evening."
  • Cold Ham: Hitchcock was always this, but he was best at it here, in the opening and closing narrations.
  • Dead Man's Chest
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Master of Suspense is a master of this, too.
  • Death by Sex
  • Demonic Dummy
  • Doppelgänger: "The Case of Mr Pelham"
  • Eat the Evidence: "Lamb to the Slaughter"
  • Episode Title Card
  • Evil Versus Evil: Played With in the Black Comedy farce "A Matter of Murder". Car thief Philadelphia Harry and his gang steal Upper-Class Twit Sheridan Westcott's Rolls-Royce, only to discover that Westcott had strangled his nagging wife and was hiding her corpse in the trunk until he could get rid of it. Westcott and his equally amoral mistress respond by trying to frame Harry's gang for the murder, but the police aren't fooled; they know that Harry is an "ethical car thief" who would never hurt anyone.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Subverted. In the episode "Bull in a China Shop", Hitchcock apologizes for the fact that the story features neither a bull nor a china shop.
  • Game Show Appearance:
    • In the host segment teaser for "The Crooked Road", Hitch is placed in The $64,000 Question's sound proof booth and told to identify "What the following person just ate, drank, smoked, used or drove." Hitch pauses, then says, "Ah yes...the answer is..." and the shot fades out to the commercial.
    • In the host segment teaser for "The Case of Mr Pelham", Hitch says, "...Following now the Sponsor will tell you the secret word. It's an everyday item you can find around the house. And if you don't have one, I recommend you get get one as soon as possible."
  • Genie in a Bottle: In his intro to "The Canary Sedan", Hitchcock dusts the inside of the tv screen and releases The Genie of the Picture Tube.
  • Horror Host: Hitch's love for droll, macabre humor and props like gallows and guillotines place him square in this trope, despite a higher budget, original material, and a slot on nationwide networks.
  • Horse Racing: "On the Nose", "The Horseplayer".
  • Improvised Weapon
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: "Road Hog"
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: "Funeral March of a Marionette" (1872) by Charles Gounod.
  • Lovely Assistant: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" revolves around a woman who is a stage magician's wife and also his Lovely Assistant.
  • Magic 8 Ball: Possibly not magic, but a giant 8 Ball is Hitch's prop of choice in the intro to "The Money". At the end he walks behind it.
  • The Magic Poker Equation: In "Crack Of Doom" the hero, betting with borrowed money wins the big pot...but was only able to bluff sucessfully because he misread his Jack hold card as a Queen and really thought he had the winning hand.
  • Moral Guardians: If an episode ended with the killer still at large, Hitchcock was obliged to claim in his closing remarks that of course they were brought to justice soon afterward. For instance, in the episode "Lamb to the Slaughter", the woman tries to kill her second husband using the same method, but is caught when she fails to note the freezer had been unplugged and the meat is as soft as jelly.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: Happens in "Annabel," though arguably begins as Death of the Hypotenuse.
  • Mummies at the Dinner Table: "Annabel" again.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • One of the '80s revival episodes was called "South By Southwest", featuring an actor who gets into trouble while auditioning for a remake of Hitch's classic North By Northwest.
    • In "Cheap Is Cheap", Dennis Day plays an extremely cheap man looking for an inexpensive way to kill his spendthrift wife. At one point, after blanching at a hitman's price of $500 to do the job, the hitman suggests Day do the job himself. When Day says he couldn't, the hitman mentions having seen "a story the other night about a woman who offed her husband with a leg of lamb".
  • Nosy Neighbor: "Mr Blanchard's Secret" featuring a female version of Rear Window's Jimmy Stewart character, whose husband just wants her to Come Back to Bed, Honey.
  • Not Now, Kiddo
  • Our Mermaids Are Different: While fishing during the intro of "The Last Escape", Hitch catches a Mermaid. Unfortunately by the third break she is gone.
    Hitchcock: I suppose you're wondering what happenend to my catch. The Game Warden insisted I through her back in, because her measurements didn't meet requirements. In order to keep them, they must measure at least 36-22-15, and of course it is quite difficult to know where to take the last measurement.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The twist ending of "Momentum."
  • Product Placement: At the end of "None Are So Blind" as the Theme Music starts up and the camera starts to turn away from him, Hitchcock says "Just a moment....if you would prefer your stories without my comments, might I suggest this new magazine", as he holds up a copy of his Alfred Hitchcock Magazine.
  • Puppet Permutation: Hitch's wrapup to the episode "And So Died Riabouchinska"
    Hitchcock: Tonight's story reminds me of my days in Vaudeville. I did an act called "Dr Speewack and His Puppets". I never did care for Dr Speewack... he always thought he was so much better than the rest of us.
  • Rape and Revenge: "Revenge"
  • Rearrange the Song: The show featured several versions of "Funeral March of a Marionette" throughout its run.
  • Saint-Bernard Rescue: Alfred Hitchcock is rescued by a St. Bernard with a keg in the introduction of the episode "A Little Sleep".
  • Saw a Woman in Half: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice"
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Used very effectively at the end of "Never Again".
  • Secret Test of Character: "Dry Run."
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: If you believe the closing monologue of "Triggers in Leash." The protagonist stops two characters from throwing their lives away over a pointless duel, but according to Hitchcock afterward, they die hours later from food poisoning from a meal she improperly cooked.
  • Shout-Out: Dennis Day, best known for being in the cast of The Jack Benny Program, stars in an episode named "Cheap is Cheap".
  • Take That: Hitchcock's remarks towards the sponsors.
    Hitchcock: And now, a word from the people who make this show possible. That is, when they aren't making it impossible.
  • Thicker Than Water: "Wet Saturday"
  • Twenty Minutes into the Future: Literally in the host segment for the episode "Party Line" as Hitch uses a time machine to go from 1960 to 1975.
  • Twist Ending: Practically Once an Episode. Hitchcock refered to them as 'Snapper' endings.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: "Annabel"
  • Very Special Episode:
    • The Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "Number 22", which was about juvenile delinquency. While the introduction shows Hitchcock in a lineup (his earlier films being listed as prior offenses), in his closing remarks, he says that the subject is too serious to be treated with his usual wry remarks, and leaves it at that.
    • A couple of these were done for The Alfred Hitchcock Hour, addressing social concerns within the series' format. They were "Hangover" (dealing with alcoholism) and "Memo from Purgatory" (dealing with teen gang violence). In both cases, Hitchcock refrained from his usual humorous comments.
  • Waking Up at the Morgue: "Breakdown"
  • William Telling: Hitchcock uses the trope to introduce the story "Father and Son".
    Hitchcock (after shooting an arrow off stage): Oh, dear me, my eyes aren't what they used to be. I even missed the boy, that time.
  • Your Cheating Heart: The series frequently used adultery, and the crimes stemming from it, as a plot device.
  • Zeerust: For the most part averted. Unlike competing shows The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits (1963), Alfred Hitchcock did not want science fiction or fantasy episodes. However one episode - "The Blessington Method" - takes place on July 13th 1980, and looks about like what someone from the 50s/60s would imagine that far-off date to be like, including an average lifespan that's increased to 125, Grace being started "Our Father, who art in Space....", and just a faint hint of Raygun Gothic. At least they didn't have the characters wear Space Clothes.

Alternative Title(s):

The Alfred Hitchcock Hour