Thursday, December 19, 2013

Alfred Hitchcock Anthologies

In the late '40's, when Alfred Hitchcock was fast becoming a household name in the U.S., he was contacted by Dell Publishing to collect some of his favorite suspense stories for a new anthology to be titled SUSPENSE: STORIES COLLECTED BY ALFRED HITCHCOCK. He did so, providing an introduction as well, and it did well enough that, over the next few years, Dell published five more of them.

For a few years after that, there was nothing, until the TV show "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" hit the airwaves. By that time, Hitch wasn't just a household name, he was a full-blown PRODUCT, a sure-fire commercial entity. Someone had the bright idea of reviving the Hitchcock anthologies, as a way to sort of tie in to the success of the TV show. Hitchcock himself, by that point, had nothing to do with the enterprise, but he gladly lent his name to it. A writer/editor named Robert Arthur did most of the story selection in those early days of the Hitchcock anthologies, even doing pitch-perfect Hitchcock impressions for the pithy introductions.

What followed, for the next 25 years or so, was about 70 anthologies, not counting the original six (some of which were eventually reprinted under different titles in the early and mid '60's) and not counting the ones that came out after Hitchcock's death in 1980 (the ones without cheesy titles but were annual or bi-annual numbered anthologies).

A very good publication history of the Hitchcock anthologies can be found at Casual Debris, which saves me the trouble of writing one myself. This history was one of my primary sources when reviewing the anthologies I own.

Oh yeah, that. That's the point I was getting to, in my unfocused way. I own about 20 of the Hitchcock anthologies, and have been reading my happy way through them for a couple of weeks now. I'm currently on my seventh one. Over the next few weeks (or however long it takes me to read them), I'll be posting reviews over at Goodreads. If you're interested, check in.


  1. Thank you for the link to my AHP anthology article on Casual Debris. The article and bibliography need updating, which I have been meaning to do for a year or so, but will eventually get around to it. Let me know if you've noticed any errors or omissions; I'm hoping to be as concise as possible. I'll certainly check out your Goodreads reviews. Best, Frank

    1. My pleasure, zybahn. I really enjoyed it, and got a great deal of useful information from it as well.