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Series / Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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"Good evening..."

A Genre Anthology television series produced and hosted by the famed English thriller director Alfred Hitchcock. It originally aired from 1955 to 1962 (half-hour episodes) and 1962 to 1965 (hour-long episodes, as The Alfred Hitchcock Hour), bouncing between CBS and NBC for a total of ten seasons comprising 268 half-hour episodes and 93 hour-long episodes (of which 17 were directed by Hitchcock himself).

Each episode was a self-contained mystery or thriller story, with Hitchcock appearing before and after to make opening and closing remarks. Writers who scripted episodes of (or had stories adapted for) the series include Ambrose Bierce, Robert Bloch, Ray Bradbury, Fredric Brown, 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.


The following stories used as episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and The Alfred Hitchcock Hour have their own trope pages:

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

  • Absurdly High-Stakes Game: In "Man From the South" (1950s and 1980s versions), a young gambler accepts a bet that he can't light his cigarette lighter ten times in a row; if he loses the bet, he'll lose a finger.
  • Accidental Murder: In "O Youth and Beauty!", an obsessed husband who wants to do a hurdling routine gives his wife a gun to use as the starting gun. Unfamiliar with guns, she accidentally shoots him dead.
  • Adaptational Karma: Adaptations of short stories featuring a Karma Houdini are usually given this treatment in Hitchcock's closing monologue.
  • Affectionate Parody: Hitchcock parodies his own Rear Window with "Mr Blanchard's Secret".
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: In "Design for Loving," Charles Braling purchases a robot replica of himself or "marionette" so he can take off for Rio without his neglected wife Lydia being any the wiser. However, the marionette (who tells him that marionettes are "far more sensitive" than anyone realizes) falls in love with Lydia and murders Charles.
  • Amoral Attorney: "Your Witness" features one, who gets his comeuppance in the end.
  • 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.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: "Father and Son" features one - a lazy, dishonest son with a Never My Fault attitude.
  • Arson, Murder, and 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.
  • Aw, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: The point of "Guest for Breakfast" was to demonstrate this when a husband and wife, initially hating each other's guts, act on instinct to save each other from a murderous intruder.
  • Ax-Crazy: Ironically, in "The Older Sister", the episode about Lizzie Borden, it is not Lizzie who fits this trope but her sister Emma.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Some stories ended this way, but in such cases Hitchcock would usually spare the finer feelings of the Moral Guardians and the show's sponsors by telling the audience in his closing remarks that of course the bad guy was brought to justice later on.
  • 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"
  • Bee People: In "Consider Her Ways", the human race develops into a hive society following a gendercide that kills off all the males.
  • Biting-the-Hand Humor: 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.
  • Blackmail Backfire: The blackmailing plumber from "The Deadly" gets his comeuppance when the housewives he has targeted team up to turn the tables on him and force him to work for them for free.
  • Black Widow: "The End of Indian Summer" involves a woman who collected life insurance money after the suspicious deaths of her two previous husbands.
  • The Bluebeard: At the end of "The End of Indian Summer" it is revealed that the Black Widow's new fiancé made insurance claims after the suspicious deaths of his four previous wives.
  • Bodybag Trick: In "Final Escape" (1950s and 1980s versions), a prisoner plans to escape by hiding in the coffin of the next inmate to die, with an accomplice on the prison staff to come and dig it up later. The prisoner succeeds in hiding and being buried, and only then discovers that the other occupant of the coffin is the accomplice...
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: In "Arthur", the title character talks to the audience.
  • Bubble Pipe: Hitchcock introduces "The Perfect Crime" wearing a deerstalker and blowing a bubble pipe.
  • Buried Alive:
    • "Breakdown" has Joseph Cotton paralyzed in a car accident and taken for dead. He is saved at the last minute when an alert coroner notices a tear glimmering in his eye.
    • In "Final Escape" (1950s and 1980s versions), a prisoner plans to escape by hiding in the coffin of the next inmate to die, with an accomplice on the prison staff to come and dig it up later. The prisoner succeeds in hiding and being buried, but then discovers that the other occupant of the coffin is the accomplice...
  • The Butler Did It: Hitchcock himself says this at the beginning of "And So Died Riabouchinska," for the benefit of people who can't stay for the whole episode. (It's just a gag, though; there's not even a butler in the story.)
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin': Stories would frequently end with someone seemingly getting away with a crime, but content restrictions at the time wouldn't allow this, which is why Hitchcock would come out afterwards and say something to the effect of "But they later went to jail."
  • 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.
  • Catchphrase: "Good evening."
  • Character in the Logo: The show would begin with the series' title superimposed over an outline of Hitchcock's profile. Hitchcock (in shadow) would then walk up to the outline and line his face up directly with it.
  • Cold Ham: Hitchcock was always this, but he was best at it here, in the opening and closing narrations.
  • Corrupt Hick: The Crooked Road features three: a Dirty Cop, a swindling mechanic, and a Hanging Judge all in cahoots to milk out-of-towners for every cent they can get.
  • Crying Wolf: The eponymous "Jokester" pretends to be a corpse and then comes alive to scare and confuse an elderly morgue attendant. When the jokester is brought to the morgue, presumed dead but merely paralysed, the same attendant hears him moaning faintly but believes he's just imagining it, and puts him in the freezer.
  • Deadly Prank:
    • "Beta Delta Gamma" has a group of frat brothers heavily sedate one of their brothers and make another passed-out-drunk brother think he killed him in an alcoholic blackout. Too bad he decided to bury the "dead guy" on the beach and the high tide washed away footprints and other traces...
    • "The Night the World Ended" has a guy use a fake newspaper to trick a homeless man into think the world will end that night. The homeless guy finds out and kills the prankster at the exact time the world was supposed to end.
    • In the Alfred Hitchcock Hour episode "The Cadaver" a college student arranges for another student to go on a date with a woman and wake up with a similar-looking cadaver, to scare him from drinking so much. And, of course, the prank victim finds out and kills him, putting his body in with the other cadavers.
  • Dead Man's Chest: "Bad Actor"(1950's) re-made in the 80's as "Method Actor", has an actor who kills a rival and uses the bathtub and some strong acid to get rid of the body, after dismembering it. He's almost done, with just the head to go, when company comes calling, and he has to hide the head in an ice bucket.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The Master of Suspense is a master of this, too.
  • Death by Adaptation: "Human Interest Story" is based on a short story by Fredric Brown. In the original, the reporter manages to maintain the cover through non-violent means.
  • Death by Irony: In "Your Witness", an Amoral Attorney gets a hit-and-run driver acquitted by introducing misleading medical reports indicating that the sole eyewitness is legally blind and therefore incompetent as a witness. When the attorney is later run down in the courthouse parking lot by his long-suffering wife, the only witness is the same man he had earlier discredited, who gleefully tells the cops, "It's a legal fact that I am incompetent as a witness!"
  • Death by Sex
  • Death by Woman Scorned: The adulterous man in "One for the Road" is killed this way; when his wife attempts to Murder the Hypotenuse with poisoned sugar, her husband's mistress gets wind of the plan and gives the sugar to him for his coffee.
  • Demonic Dummy:
    • In "The Glass Eye", a woman who has fallen for a charming ventriloquist discovers that he is just a life-size dummy, and his "dummy", played by Billy Barty, is the real ventriloquist.
    • "And So Died Riabouchinska", based on a short story written by Ray Bradbury, features a ventriloquist who acts as if his dummy Riabouchinska is a separate person (and seems more in love with her than with his wife, to the latter's distress). In the end, Riabouchinska rats him out for the murder of a blackmailer, but it remains ambiguous whether she acted on her own volition or was just the conduit for a confession he couldn't face making straight out.
  • Depraved Dwarf: In "Maria", the titular character becomes infatuated with the carnival worker Leo Thorby who purchased her believing her to be a monkey. She manipulates Leo into throwing out his wife by framing her for adultery. Later, when Leo realizes what she has done and tries to win his wife back, she frames him for adultery and gets him killed.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In "Out There - Darkness", the rich lady ends up being killed in her home by her dog-walker in revenge for misidentifying him as the man who attacked her in a dark alleyway, which resulted in him spending a year in prison, and his ill girlfriend dying largely because he could no longer support her from prison.
  • Doppelgänger: "The Case of Mr Pelham"
  • Episode Title Card
  • Evil-Detecting Baby: Subverted in "Silent Witness". The baby cries whenever the man who killed her babysitter comes nearby. His guilty feelings make him suspect that the baby will actually get him caught, and it seems like he's deciding whether to do away with the child too. (He doesn't.) At the end we learn that the baby cries whenever any unknown man comes nearby.
  • Evil Versus Evil: Played With in the Black Comedy farce "A Matter of Murder". Car thief Philadelphia Harry and his Mooks 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 physically 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.
  • Exact Words: In "The Cure", while exploring the Amazon, a man whose wife attacks him with a knife assumes that she's suffering from a tropical brain-affecting fever. He directs his friend and his native servant Luiz to take her to a shrink. Along the way, at her urging, the friend tries to murder Luiz, but is killed in self-defence. Luiz then faithfully carries out his master's orders - by taking her to a native "head doctor" who shrinks her head.
  • Fingore: The protagonist of "Man From the South" is at risk of having one of his fingers chopped off.
  • Fluffy Cloud Heaven: In "Whodunit," a dead mystery writer arrives here — complete with cloud, harp, and little fake wings — before getting the chance to go back in time and solve his own murder.
  • Frame-Up: In "The Throwback", a woman's elder lover frames her younger lover for beating him up in a duel.
  • 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. Interestingly, that episode aired on October 26, 1958, exactly two weeks before the game show, which was under scandal for rigging, was cancelled on November 9.
    • 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.
  • Great Detective: Charles Courtney (played by Vincent Price) from the episode "The Perfect Crime".
  • Heat Wave: "Shopping for Death" is set during a heatwave, and features a great dealing of crankiness ending in a murder.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • In "Death Sentence", a man pulls one to save his wife both from his past and from the threats of his blackmailer, who will be arrested for his murder.
    • An implied example in "Very Moral Theft": a crook's girlfriend embezzles $8000 from her office to help him in dire straits; when he finds out where she got the money, he returns it by borrowing from his "friends", who end up killing him when he cannot pay it back.
  • Historical Villain Upgrade: "The Older Sister" claims that Emma Borden killed her father and stepmother, and Lizzie was trying to protect her. In reality, it's very unlikely that Emma was the culprit, since she was out of town at the time.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: This is the nature of many of the ironic twist endings; people who commit crimes or otherwise immoral acts end up losing the very thing that they had hoped to achieve.
  • 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.
  • I Have This Friend: Played for Drama in "The Return of the Hero". The soldier returning from war phones his aristocratic family to ask if they will accommodate his friend, who lost a leg saving his life. When they say they cannot welcome a cripple, he decides never to return home, because it is he who lost his leg.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: Alfred Hitchcock presents, but he doesn't actually direct nearly as many episodes as you might assume.
  • Inn of No Return: Spirro's Club in "Specialty of the House" has a famous meat dish that's only served when a life member retires. Funny thing, the retiring member is never around when the dish is served...
  • Instrumental Theme Tune: "Funeral March of a Marionette" (1872) by Charles Gounod.
  • Insurance Fraud: The female protagonist is plied with drink and convinced by her shady "friend" to do this in "Total Loss". It backfires horribly when she finds out that the cause of her store's destruction was a genuine accident, but the insurance representative doesn't believe her.
  • Ironic Echo: In "Help Wanted", the main character is told by his mysterious boss that he will be terminated, but will be sent an enormous cheque if he kills a man that day, adding that there's no point telling anyone because "as far as you're concerned, I don't exist". The protagonist echoes the same line back to the intended victim at the end of the story.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The parents in "Don't Interrupt" don't receive any retribution for silencing their son when he was trying to tell them that a man outside the train was dying.
    • Nor does the female shop-owner's criminal acquaintance in "Total Loss", even though he got her drunk enough to "agree" to pulling off a insurance scam that ended up ruining her.
    • Spirro in "Specialty of the House" is one of the few successful villains not to be given Adaptational Karma in Hitchcock's closing narration - all he says is that he does not endorse her.
  • Karmic Twist Ending: A good portion of the twist endings are of this nature, resulting in poetic justice for those who have attempted to get away with a crime, such as the unmasking of a murderer.
  • The Killer in Me: The resolution to "The Hands of Mr Ottermole" revolves around this.
  • The Little Shop That Wasn't There Yesterday: In "The Magic Shop", based on the H. G. Wells story, the shop appears, the owner gets a boy interested, and later the shop and boy disappear, and the boy is returned, different, years later.
  • Lovely Assistant: "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" revolves around a woman who is a stage magician's wife and also his Lovely Assistant.
  • Lying to Protect Your Feelings: In "The Legacy", a woman's marriage has much improved after her admirer supposedly committed suicide out of love for her. Her friend finds out that the "admirer" was actually after her money and died accidentally, but decides not to shatter her newfound marital harmony with this information.
  • 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.
  • Make It Look Like an Accident: In "The Orderly World of Mr Appleby", Laurence Appleby murders his wife and makes it look like she tripped on a rug and fell. This comes back to bite him when his second wife dies in a genuine accident exactly like the one he faked.
  • May–December Romance: In "Backward, Turn Backward", a 59-year-old man has a 19-year-old girlfriend.
  • Miscarriage of Justice: Sometimes the Karmic Twist Ending is legally (but not morally) a miscarriage of justice.
    • In "The Big Switch", a gangster who has got away with multiple murders in the past ends up being arrested for one he didn't do.
    • In "The Kiss-Off", a man has been wrongfully imprisoned for six years for a hold-up someone else committed. In revenge, he robs a tax office, deliberately leaving signs of his guilt for the detectives, but not enough to allow them to make a case against him.
  • Momma's Boy: The male protagonist of "Mother, May I Go Out for a Swim?". His new girlfriend obliquely suggests pushing her off a cliff, but he ends up pushing the girlfriend off instead.
  • 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 epilogue to 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".
  • Never Mess with Granny: Ms Cheney in "The Cheney Vase" may be an invalid old lady who's physically outmatched by the antagonist, but she has the brains to make up for it.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: A husband and wife who hate each other reconcile after instinctively helping to save each other from a murderous intruder in "Guest for Breakfast".
  • 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: In "Don't Interrupt", a boy who's being disruptive on a train trip is offered a silver dollar if he can just keep quiet for ten minutes. Then the boy is the only person to notice that there's someone outside the window begging for help...
  • Offscreen Karma: Hitchcock would dish some out in his closing remarks, for the sake of the Moral Guardians' sensibilities, after any story in which The Bad Guy Wins.
  • Once for Yes, Twice for No: In "The Long Silence," Nora discovers that her husband Ralph killed her son, but falls down a flight of stairs before she can tell anyone. She becomes comatose, but as she slowly recovers she tries desperately to conceal her recovery from Ralph so he won't try to kill her. But her nurse, Jean, begins to suspect that Nora is alert and that she can control her grip, and tells her to flap her fingers in the trope code as Jean asks her questions (while Ralph is out of the room).
  • 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 throw 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.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: In "You Got to Have Luck", an escaped convict holds a woman hostage in her house when the telephone rings. He makes her answer it, and, listening into the conversation, tells her exactly how to answer each question from her mother on the other end. Later, after the guy let his guard down, the cops come busting in and arrest him. It turns out the woman was deaf but could speak without an accent and read lips as well. She was able to repeat what the guy said, but the mere fact that she was able to hold up one end of a telephone conversation tipped off her mother that something was going on.
  • Patricide: Committed by the eponymous "Sylvia" when her father tries to keep her suspicious boyfriend away.
  • Pet Heir: In "Craig's Will", old Mr Craig leaves his fortune to his dog instead of his nephew. The nephew is satisfied to wait until the dog dies and the fortune passes to him, but his girlfriend, who'd been looking forward to a share, decides to take matters into her own hands.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The twist ending of "Momentum."
  • Pragmatic Villainy: In "Final Vow" a thief steals a statue from a nun. The nun tracks him down and the thief and his accomplice capture her and plan to kill her. She is saved by the shady art appraiser who is brought in to examine the statue. The appraiser invokes the trope by revealing the statue is a worthless replica and it would thus be lunacy to murder someone over it. He has no problem with murder for profit but he is not going risk the death penalty for a piece of junk worth a couple bucks. He then personally walks the nun to safety just in case the other criminals get any stupid ideas. The subversion is that the statue is worth a fortune and the appraiser knows it because he is the one who donated it to the convent.
  • Pretty in Mink: "Mrs. Bixby and the Colonel's Coat" is about an adulterous woman trying to keep the mink coat she got from her lover without raising her husband's suspicions.
  • 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 wrap-up 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.
  • Psychopathic Manchild: The main character of "None are So Blind", who kills his wealthy aunt and frames his alter-ego, which he acts out with make-up and a wig. His self-image of perfection and wilful blindness to his own faults - specifically a distinctive birthmark on his face - are his undoing.
  • Rape and Revenge: In "Revenge", a man sets out to get revenge on the man who raped his wife.
  • Rape Leads to Insanity: "Revenge" played on this idea without using the R word. A woman already recovering from a nervous breakdown is "assaulted" in her trailer. Her husband looks to avenge her by killing her assailant. One day, she points the man out to her husband, and he does the deed. Then she points to another man, and another, and another.
  • Rearrange the Song: The show featured several versions of "Funeral March of a Marionette" throughout its run.
  • Revealing Cover Up: In "The Last Remains", mortician Amos Duff burns a body at the request of the deceased's business partner and discovers a fireproof bullet among the ashes. This is after he comes to the realization that the death may have been foul play. Though normally any metal objects found among the remains are completely separated from them via a magnet upon removal from the retort and before said remains are pulverized, he makes a point of putting the bullet in the urn along with the ashes so he can show it to said business partner at the police station at the end.
  • Revenge Reveal Story:
    • In "The Right Kind of House", a woman selling her house figures out that her prospective buyer murdered her son; she poisons him and then tells him what she knows.
    • In "Road Hog", a man's son suffers an accident that proves fatal solely because they were delayed on the road by the epynomous character while rushing him to get treatment. This trope is given a twist, as the father invites the offender to tea and bluffs that he has poisoned him, resulting in him panicking, speeding to go to hospital, and crashing and dying on the road in the process.
    • "Man with a Problem" features an apparently suicidal man preparing to jump off a building. A policeman has come up to try to talk him down, but it turns out that the man's suicide attempt was a ploy, as the policeman had seduced the man's wife and driven her to suicide. The suicidal man tells the policeman what he knows, then pushes him off the edge.
    • Subverted in "Invitation To An Accident", as a vengeful husband goes camping with the man he wrongly suspects of being his wife's paramour, and poisons him. With his dying breath, the man reveals the error, to the husband's horror.
  • Reverse Relationship Reveal: A number of episodes set up the audience to expect that one character is attempting to kill or otherwise harm another, with the twist ending being that it is actually the other way around. "Malice Domestic" is an example.
  • Saint-Bernard Rescue: Alfred Hitchcock is rescued by a St. Bernard with a keg in the introduction of the episode "A Little Sleep".
  • Saved by the Coffin: The episode "Final Escape", remade under the same title in The New Alfred Hitchcock Presents, subverts this when a male prisoner (female in the remake) plans an escape using this method. The prisoner is supposed to hide in the next coffin being used, then the prison undertaker is supposed to come and dig the coffin up once the coast is clear. When the prisoner feels that they've been waiting too long, they light a match to see that they're buried with ... the undertaker.
  • Saw a Woman in Half:
    • "The Sorcerer's Apprentice" features a magic act in which the showstopper is a version of this trick with a power saw.
    • Also done in Hitchcock's host segments surrounding "The Safe Place".
  • "Scooby-Doo" Hoax: In "The Little Man Who Was There" a sinister man with a pitchfork tiepin enters a saloon, paralyzes the two town strongmen who are also the town's moral paragons, and leaves with the night's take and the cash of everyone in the saloon. Which he later splits with the strongmen, who were in on the act.
  • Scream Discretion Shot: Used very effectively at the very end of "Never Again", when the protagonist realizes she killed her boyfriend during an alcoholic blackout.
  • The Scrooge: The main character of "Cheap is Cheap" is a penny-pinching miser who read other people's newspapers. In reality, he had quite a bit of money saved up.
  • Secret Test of Character: "Dry Run."
  • Self-Deprecation: One episode begins with Alfred Hitchcock standing on a scale, and when he puts a coin in, the scale reads "Will one of you please get off?"
  • Self-Fulfilling Prophecy:
    • In "De Mortius", a man is assumed by two friends to have killed his cheating wife and buried her in the basement, and they confront him about it (also offering to cover for him, as apparently everyone but him knew she Really Gets Around). It turns out that he was unaware of her cheating, and now that they have let him know, he kills and buries her for real.
    • In "One for the Road", the wife of a cheating husband tries to poison his mistress with sugar. Later, her fears that her husband may have been poisoned by mistake lead her to give the game away to the mistress, who then proceeds to feed him the poisoned sugar.
    • When a father's son is indirectly killed by the eponymous "Road Hog", the father leads the man to believe that he has fatally poisoned him with a drink. The road hog then rushes to the doctor in his car, but in his panic, crashes and dies.
    • In "The Gloating Place", a schoolgirl pretends to have been attacked by a masked man to gain attention, and to keep the story going, she then strangles another girl in a manner that will be pinned on the same masked man. These actions inspire a copycat masked man, who attacks and strangles her for real.
  • Self-Poisoning Gambit: Seen in "Invitation to an Accident". Joseph Pond takes arsenic to build up a tolerance, then gets the man he thinks is his wife's lover to drink some with him on a camping trip. Sadly, he's got the wrong guy.
  • Setting Update: "The Monkey's Paw — A Retelling" has the same basic plot as the original 1902 short story, but is set in the present day (as of the time the episode was made), with many details altered accordingly. In particular, the death that occurs during the story is made a car crash, much more common in the 1960s than in the 1900s.
  • Shoot the Dangerous Minion: In "The Cream Of The Jest", a playwright being blackmailed by a down-and-out actor gives him the part of a blackmailer in his new play and tells him to learn a particular speech to deliver to one of the play's producers. The speech contains dangerous details of the producer's real crimes, leading him to shoot the actor dead.
  • 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".
  • Suicide by Cop: An interesting reversal in "Death of a Cop." A young police detective is murdered by a thug connected to organized crime, and his father, also a policeman, goes on the warpath trying to bring the killer in. Unfortunately, any potential witnesses are too scared to testify. Eventually, he leaves the force and stakes out a drop point until he can intercept a bunch of heroin. He tells the boss that he'll trade the drugs for whoever killed his son, and the boss agrees. Two men go to the cop's apartment, one of them the killer, and the cop simply shoots him dead as soon as he sees him. He tells the other one he already turned the drugs in to the police, so the boss won't be getting anything. The guy goes out to a car where the boss is waiting, and the boss is so enraged by the double-cross that he murders the cop as he leaves the building. But the cop had stationed someone he knew wouldn't be afraid to testify across the street to watch the whole thing, so the killer is dead and the boss will be going away for murder.
  • Take That!: Hitchcock's "cure" for fascism...
    Hitchcock: I've just come into possession of a cure for fascism. (displays several bullets on his desk) They come in capsule form. For best results, they must be taken internally. Here is the handy applicator. (brandishes a revolver)
  • Talking Down the Suicidal: In "Man with a Problem" a cop negotiates with a man who's threatening to jump because his wife left him for another man and killed herself when he abandoned her. He's really there to get revenge on his wife's lover, who happens to be the cop talking him down.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: Did this with the classic turn-halfway-and-shoot-the-other-guy-in-the-back shtick.
  • Terrifying Pet Store Rat: The boathouse in "Water's Edge" is full of sleek, calm, obviously domesticated rats, including a couple of small youngsters — who at one point are obviously being flung out of a hatch in the ceiling rather than jumping down of their own accord.
  • Thanatos Gambit:
    • The protagonist of "The Equalizer" turns out to have pulled one on the man who stole his wife, by pretending to carry a gun for a duel so that the other man will shoot him dead, claim self-defense, and be arrested as a murderer when no such gun is found.
    • A man pulls one in "Death Sentence" to free his wife from the effects of his past and to get a blackmailer arrested for his murder.
  • Thicker Than Water: "Wet Saturday" is about a man who helps cover up a murder committed by his daughter to protect the family name. Hitchcock uses the phrase itself in his closing remarks.
  • Til Murder Do Us Part: Occurs many times as a basis for the stories. "Malice Domestic" is an example in which this motive, already implied in the main story, is given a savage spin in the twist ending.
  • Tomato in the Mirror: In "Human Interest Story", a reporter interviews a man who has begun having delusions that he used to be a Martian. It turns out, he is a Martian, and is merely one of thousands of invaders. Fortunately, the reporter is also one, and he's able to silence him before he can blow their cover.
  • Tomato Surprise: At least two episodes use the twist "you thought the protagonist was being stalked by the thief/murderer in the news, but actually that's the protagonist and the person following them is the detective trying to bring them to justice".
  • Trauma-Induced Amnesia: The protagonist of "The Hidden Thing" suffers this when his fiancee perishes in a hit-and-run, but a mysterious man arrives and helps him to uncover his memories of that night - and specifically, the number-plate of the car that killed her.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future:
    • In the host segment for the episode "Party Line", Hitchcock uses a time machine to go from 1960 to 1975.
    • "The Blessington Method" takes place in July 1980.
  • Twist Ending: Practically Once an Episode. Hitchcock referred to them as 'Snapper' endings.
  • Two Aliases, One Character: "Annabel".
  • Un-person: In "Into Thin Air", based on an old urban legend, a woman runs an errand from the hotel room where she's staying with her mother, and when she returns her mother and even the room have vanished and the hotel staff deny that they were ever there.
  • 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. There's also an episode dealing with alcoholism, "Never Again", which is treated the same way.
    • 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" has Joseph Cotton paralyzed in a car accident and taken for dead.
  • Wham Line: Used during the exchange that ends "Madame Mystery". Jimmy Dolan, a PR man at Goliath Studios, is confronted by Betsey Blake, a bedraggled, middle-aged White-Dwarf Starlet who was thought to be dead but was alive all along. Jimmy has engineered a huge publicity campaign around a movie Betsey filmed just before she "died" and he doesn't want anything interfering with it, so he kills her, leading his scriptwriter friend Stevie to call him out.
    Stevie: You'd kill your own mother to be a big man at Goliath Studios, wouldn't you?
    Jimmy: My mother? That's right, Stevie. But how did you know that's who she was?
  • What Did I Do Last Night?:
    • Played for drama in "Hangover", where the binge-drinking protagonist gets an answer that isn't remotely funny.
    • Something similar also happens in "Never Again".
  • Whodunnit to Me?: In "Whodunit", a deceased mystery author talks a recording angel into letting him go back to his last day alive to find out who murdered him.
  • 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.
  • Xanatos Gambit: In "The Faith of Aaron Menefee", the title character's employer, a faith healer, refuses to let him marry his daughter Emily on the grounds that Aaron's faith in him is not strong enough. Encountering a paralyzed criminal who threatens to kill anyone who takes his money without successfully healing him, Aaron fetches the healer to work on him. Whether the healing works (demonstrating Aaron's faith) or not (resulting in the healer being killed), Aaron will be free to marry Emily.
  • Yandere: A number of episodes include one, such as the young man in "The Belfry" and the female novelist in "The Last Dark Step", both of whom go as far as killing their competition.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: The main character of "Graduating Class" is a woman who, after living through many years of hell in Nazi Germany, has returned to the US and won a post as a school European literature teacher. She seems to be doing well with her class, and gradually learns to open up on a personal level both to one of her enthusiastic female students and to a friendly neighbour. This neighbour then blackmails the girl and her mother (who falls into a coma), and when he is arrested, he falsely accuses the teacher of masterminding his blackmailing scheme. Her teaching career is ruined, and the police are coming for her.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: "Fog Horn" has a very tragic non-magic example. A woman lying in bed gradually recalls a boat trip accident in which her beloved fiance was killed; to her it seems only a few days ago, but since the accident she has been in a nightmarish half-sleep for fifty years.
  • Zeerust: For the most part averted. Unlike competing shows The Twilight Zone and The Outer Limits, 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