Sunday, June 17, 2018

Alfred Hitchcock Anthologies

                                                      The Alfred Hitchcock anthologies


     There were celebrity film directors before Alfred Hitchcock, but none quite captured the popular imagination-- especially in America-- as much as this portly, droll Brit. After a successful career in his native England, Hitchcock made the transition to the States, where his reputation sky-rocketed, and his name came to be closely linked to tales of suspense, murder, and intrigue.

     Little wonder then that book publishers would seek his input-- or at least seek to appropriate his name and image-- for anthologies of suspense stories.

     Hitchcock was happy to accommodate them, apparently, because during a short period in the late '40's and another, much longer period beginning in the late '50's and lasting decades, the Hitchcock anthologies became a virtual cottage industry.

     The first anthology Hitchcock was reputedly involved in was a collection of novels by Eric Ambler called Intrigue (as an Ambler fan, I actually own this volume, from long before I developed an interest in the Hitchcock anthologies). The introduction is credited to him, and if he indeed wrote it, it's very likely the only time he ever did so. The first general anthology release was The Pocketbook of Great Detectives, in 1941, from Pocket Books. I’m not sure how much Hitchcock was actually involved in it (probably not much). I'm not counting it for our purposes here regardless, as it was a much more specialized volume and not in keeping with the format established after that, although the stories included in it are by some very well-regarded detective story writers and it's probably worth reading.
   
     In truth, Hitchcock himself had little or nothing to do with the any of the volumes over the years. He didn't select the stories, he didn't edit them, he didn't even write the introductions attributed to him. Most of that work, at least in the early period, was done by writer Robert Arthur. Hitchcock merely lent his name and image. And that was plenty to sell books.

     Arthur did an amazing job. His taste in stories was diverse, and his ability to select just the right tales to compliment each other in each volume was quite expert. He also did a pitch-perfect impression of Hitchcock in the wry, self-effacing introductions he wrote. Arthur’s stories would even pop up in the anthologies from time to time, and he would eventually create the "Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators" series of books for younger readers.

     Many of the later volumes here were edited by Eleanor Sullivan or Cathleen Jordan, long-time editors at Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine—they also had very good eyes for solid stories, although somewhat more oriented toward mystery as opposed to suspense in general as they moved into the 80’s.

     The publishing format changed dramatically around 1980, eventually losing the remarkable cover designs, the artifice of being selected and introduced by Hitchcock himself, and yes, even the (admittedly often cringe-worthy) titles. You may notice on this list that even by the late ‘70’s, the presentation and image of the books had begun to change, gradually going exclusively to hardcover.

     All of the hardcover releases (save the first two) were published by Random House until 1979, and the paperbacks by Dell. For me, the Dell paperbacks with the goofy titles and stylish, sometimes garish covers hold a great deal of appeal as a collector. Don't misunderstand, however. The covers and titles would mean nothing if the short stories collected in them weren't consistently entertaining. And they are entertaining indeed. The earliest volumes feature stories from a very wide range of sources, and often contain classic short stories by the likes of Brett Harte, Ambrose Bierce, and even H.G. Wells. As they went on, more and more stories from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine were used until eventually AHMM became more or less the sole source. Some of the greatest suspense writers of their times were featured fairly regularly: Robert Bloch, Henry Slesar, Donald Honig, Jack Ritchie, C.B. Gilford, Hal Ellson, Fredric Brown, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, and the great Fletcher Flora, to name just a few.

     I researched this list primarily to help myself as a collector sort it all out, as the publication history was pretty convoluted, but if it winds up being useful to anyone else, well, it will have been worth the time. There was a bit of online detective work involved, but I had a solid starting point: I owe a great debt to my friend Todd Mason for his knowledge and insight on the subject, the Hitchcock Zone, and especially the website Casual Debris in putting this together. My goal was to make it as simple and easy to understand as possible, but if you’re looking for more details about these anthologies, I recommend those sites.

     Comments, criticisms, and corrections are more than welcome.



The Dell Paperback anthologies

Dell was the sole paperback publisher of Hitchcock anthologies in the US from the beginning to the end. Several of the titles were reprinted over the years with new covers; I’m not going to go into all the reprint history, unless a book was reprinted with a different title or there is some otherwise notable detail.


*Suspense Stories: Collected by Alfred Hitchcock (1945)
     (reprinted with one story replacement in 1964 as 14 Suspense Stories to Play Russian Roulette By)
*Bar the Doors! (1946)
     (Reprinted in 1962 under the same title, except without the “!”)
*Hold Your Breath (1947)
*Fear and Trembling (1948)
*Suspense Stories Selected by Alfred Hitchcock: Thirteen Tales of Tension (1949)
     (Reprinted in 1963 as A Baker’s Dozen of Suspense Stories. Not to be confused with
      Suspense Stories: Collected by Alfred Hitchcock, from 1945, despite the nearly identical title.)


There were no more Hitchcock anthologies after that for ten years until the "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" television show began in 1955. It was a hit show, and a couple years later they began marketing anthologies again to capitalize on the program's success.

Note: In 1961, A Bouquet of Clean Crimes and Neat Murders was released. I mention it because it’s sort of the odd man out here. First, it was the only single author collection released under the Hitchcock banner, devoted exclusively to the stories of frequent AHMM contributor Henry Slesar. Second, it wasn’t published by Dell, but by Avon Books. Despite the fact that it doesn’t quite fit into this list for those reasons, I highly recommend it. Slesar was a terrific writer.


*12 Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV (1958)
     (Reprints part of Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV hardcover)
*13 More They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV (1959)
     (Reprints rest of Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV hardcover)
*14 of My Favorites in Suspense (1960)
     (Reprints first part of My Favorites in Suspense hardcover)
*More of My Favorites in Suspense (1961)
     (Reprints remainder of My Favorites in Suspense hardcover)
*12 Stories for Late at Night (1962)
     (Reprints first part of Stories for Late at Night hardcover)
*More Stories for Late at Night (1962)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories for Late at Night hardcover. Reprinted in 1977 as Skeleton Crew)
*Bar the Doors (1962)
     (Reprint of 1946 title of same name, only dropping the “!”)
*A Hangman's Dozen (1962)
*16 Skeletons from My Closet (1963)
*A Baker’s Dozen of Suspense Stories (1963)
     (Reprints Suspense Stories Selected by Alfred Hitchcock, from 1949)
*14 Suspense Stories to Play Russian Roulette By (1964)
     (Reprints Suspense Stories: Collected by Alfred Hitchcock, 1945, except the replacement of
      “Leiningen Versus the Ants” by Carl Stephenson with “Never Kill for Love” by C.B.Gilford)
*Once Upon a Dreadful Time (1964)
*Stories My Mother Never Told Me (1965)
     (Reprints first part of Stories My Mother Never Told Me hardcover)
*Witches' Brew (1965)
     (Not to be confused with Witch’s Brew, 1977 hardcover release*note the different spelling of
      “Witches'”)
*Anti-Social Register (1965)
*More Stories My Mother Never Told Me (1965)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories My Mother Never Told Me hardcover)
*Stories Not for the Nervous (1966)
     (Reprints first part of Stories Not for the Nervous hardcover)
*Noose Report (1966)
*More Stories Not for the Nervous (1967)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories Not for the Nervous hardcover)
*A Hard Day at the Scaffold (1967)
*Coffin Corner (1968)
*Games Killers Play (1968)
*Skull Session (1968)
*Death Bag (1969)
*Happiness is a Warm Corpse (1969)
*Murders I Fell in Love With (1969)
*Murders on the Half-Skull (1970)
*Get Me to the Wake on Time (1970)
*Scream Along with Me (1970
*This One Will Kill You (1971)
*Slay Ride (1971)
*I Am Curious (Bloody) (1971)
*Down by the Old Bloodstream (1971)
*Rolling Gravestones (1971)
*Dates with Death (1972)
     (Reprints A Month of Mystery hardcover)
*Terror Time (1972)
*Death Can Be Beautiful (1972)
*Happy Deathday! (1972)
*A Hearse of a Different Color (1972)
*The Best of Fiends (1972)
*Death-Mate (1973)
*Let It All Bleed Out (1973)
*Stories to Stay Awake By (1973)
     (Reprints first part of Stories to Stay Awake By hardcover)
*More Stories to Stay Awake By (1973)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories to Stay Awake By hardcover)
*Boys and Ghouls Together (1974)
*Coffin Break (1974)
*Bleeding Hearts (1974)
*Behind the Death Ball (1974)
*Grave Business (1975)
*Murderer's Row (1975)
*Murder Racquet (1975)
*Speak of the Devil (1975)
*Stories to Be Read with the Lights On, Volume One (1976)
     (Reprints first part of hardcover of Stories to Be Read with the Lights On hardcover)
*Stories to Be Read with the Lights On, Volume Two (1976)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories to Be Read with the Lights On hardcover)
*Don't Look a Gift Shark in the Mouth (1976)
     (Reprints 14 of My Favorites in Suspense from 1960)
*I Want My Mummy (1977)
*Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked, Volume 1 (1977)
     (Reprints first part of Stories to be Read with the Door Locked hardcover)
*Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked, Volume 2 (1977)
     (Reprints remainder of Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked hardcover)
*Skeleton Crew (1977)
     (Reprint of More Stories for Late at Night, from 1961)
*Having a Wonderful Crime (1977)
*Murder-Go-Round (1978)
*Killers at Large (1978)
*Breaking the Scream Barrier (1979)
     (Reprint of paperback Stories to Be Read with the Lights On, Vol 2, from 1976, inexplicably)
*Death on Arrival (1979)
*Alive and Screaming (1980)
     (Final Dell paperback)




Hardcover anthologies

**Fireside Book of Suspense Stories (1947)
     (From Simon & Schuster. The introduction and some of the stories originally appeared in 1945’s
      paperback Suspense Stories: Collected by Alfred Hitchcock)
**Stories They Wouldn't Let Me Do on TV (1957)
     (Second and last release from Simon & Schuster)
**My Favorites in Suspense (1959)
     (first release from Random House, which would remain the hardcover publisher for the next 20 years)
**Stories for Late at Night (1961)
**Haunted Houseful (1961)
     (for “young readers”)
**Ghostly Gallery (1962)
     (for “young readers”)
**Stories My Mother Never Told Me (1963)
**Monster Museum (1965)
     (for “young readers”)
**Stories Not for the Nervous (1965)
**Sinister Spies (1966)
     (for “young readers”)
**Stories That Scared Even Me (1967)
**Spellbinders in Suspense (1967)
     (for “young readers”)
**A Month of Mystery (1969)
**Daring Detectives (1969)
     (for “young readers”)
**Stories to Stay Awake By (1971)
**Stories to Be Read with the Lights On (1973)
**Supernatural Tales of Terror and Suspense (1973)
**Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked (1975)
**Witch's Brew (1977)
     (not to be confused with Witches' Brew from 1965*note the different spelling of “Witch’s”)
**Stories That Go Bump in the Night (1977)
**The Master's Choice (1979)
     (Final hardcover release from Random House)
**The Best of Mystery (1980)
     (Hardcover release from Galahad Books, edited by Harold Q. Masur)


The 1980s saw the Hitchcock anthologies go exclusively to hardcover releases, published in the US by Davis Publications, which had acquired Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine in 1975. Beginning in ’76, with “Tales to Keep You Spellbound”, Davis published a total of 27 hardcovers collecting the best stories from that magazine. They overlapped with the final few Random House publications. The quality of the stories remained high, but it was the end of an era of remarkable packaging. In 1989, the Davis Publications hardcovers ceased; the final three anthologies listed here, in the early ‘90s, were all published by different houses.

Following are the Davis Publications hardcover releases, edited by Eleanor Sullivan or Cathleen Jordan (listed here separately for the sake of clarity):

**Tales to Keep You Spellbound (1976)
**Tales to Take Your Breath Away (1977)
**Tales to Make Your Blood Run Cold (1978)
**Tales to Scare You Stiff (1978)
**Tales to Send Chills Down Your Spine (1979)
**Tales to Be Read with Caution (1979)
**Tales to Fill You with Fear and Trembling (1980)
**Tales to Make Your Teeth Chatter (1980)
**Tales to Make Your Hair Stand on End (1981)
**Tales to Make You Weak in the Knees (1981)
**Tales to Make You Quake & Quiver (1982)
**Your Share of Fear (1982)
**Death-Reach (1982)
**Fatal Attractions (1983)
**Borrowers of the Night (1983)
**A Choice of Evils (1983)
**Mortal Errors (1984)
**Crime Watch (1984)
**Grave Suspicions (1984)
**No Harm Undone (1985)
**Words of Prey (1986)
**A Mystery by the Tail (1986)
**A Brief Darkness (1987)
**The Shadow of Silence (1987)
**Most Wanted: First Lineup (1988)
**Shrouds and Pockets (1988)
**Murder & Other Mishaps (1989)

At the end of the ‘80s, Davis Publications stopped releasing the Hitchcock anthologies. The final three hardcover anthologies, released in the early 1990s, were published by other publishing houses. They were:

**Home Sweet Homicide
     (1991, Walker & Co Publishers)
**Tales of the Supernatural and the Fantastic
     (1993, Smithmark Publishers)
**Fun and Games at the Whacks Museum and Other Horror Stories
     (1994, Simon & Schuster, a collection of stories from AHMM and its sister publication Ellery Queen
      Mystery Magazine)





Following are releases from UK publishers, paperbacks unless otherwise noted. Most of these are reprints of the American editions, but the few that are “original” are marked as such in bold font. Pan Books was the primary publisher in the UK, with Four Square in 1966, ’67, and ‘68 putting out seven originals. As far as I’ve been able to determine, these original titles were edited by Peter Haining:

**My Favourites in Suspense- Part One (1962)
     (Hardcover reprint of first part of American edition. It appears a Part Two was never published)
*My Favourites in Suspense- Part One (1963)
     (Paperback reprint of first part of American edition. It appears a Part Two was never published)
*Stories for Late at Night- Part 1 (1964)
     (Reprint of first part of American hardcover edition, in paperback)
*Stories for Late at Night- Part 2 (1965)
     (Reprint of second part of American hardcover edition, in paperback)
*Haunted Houseful (1965)
     (Hardcover reprint of American edition)
**Ghostly Gallery (1966)
     (Hardcover reprint of American edition)
*Guaranteed Rest In Peace (1966)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*Ghostly Gallery (1966)
     (Paperback reprint of hardcover published earlier that year)
*This Day’s Evil (1967)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*Behind the Locked Door (1967)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*Meet Death at Night (1967)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*Anyone for Murder? (1967)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*The Late Unlamented (1967)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
**Stories That Scared Even Me (1968)
     (Hardcover, reprint of American edition)
*Stories Not for the Nervous- Book One (1968)
     (Reprint of first part of American hardcover edition, in paperback)
*The Graveyard Man (1968)
     (Four Square Publishing, original paperback release)
*Stories Not for the Nervous- Book Two (1969)
     (Reprint of second part of American hardcover edition, in paperback
*This One Will Kill You (1972)
     (Reprint of American Dell edition)
*A Month of Mystery- Book One (1972)
     (Reprint of first part of American hardcover edition, in paperback. It appears a Book Two was never
      published)
*Get Me to the Wake on Time (1974)
     (Reprints American Dell edition)
*Stories to Stay Awake By- Part One (1974)
     (Reprint of first part of American hardcover edition, in paperback)
*Stories to Stay Awake By- Part Two (1975)
     (Reprint of second part of American hardcover edition, in paperback)
*Grave Business (1977)
     (Reprints American Dell edition)
*Witch’s Brew (1977)
     (Reprints American Dell edition)
**Witch’s Brew (1978)
     (Hardcover version of paperback from previous year)

4 comments:

  1. I know you posted this without notice and many months after you wrote about it on FB but at least I am thankful for you sharing this publicly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Pretty cool. Though what the Davis era anthologies were initially were issues of ALFRED HITCHCOCK'S ANTHOLOGY, a fat magazine that imitated the long-running ELLERY QUEEN'S ANTHOLOGY Davis had been publishing since shortly after buying EQMM from Mercury Press...Davis issues were almost simultaneously still published by Dell, as offers of their Dial Press hardcover line...

    Thanks for the namecheck! Frank Babics is the name of the guy doing the Casual Debris blog. I need to Go Look to remind myself of the name of the main spark plug at the Hitchcock Zone...

    We "know" that Don Ward, who would also edit Dell's ZANE GREY WESTERN MAGAZINE, and collaborate with Theodore Sturgeon on stories for ZGWM and EQMM and elsewhere--see the Sturgeon COMPLETE STORIES or the fine earlier collection STURGEON'S WEST, edited at least a few of the pre-ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: Dell anthologies...Patricia Hitchcock was the ghost editor of the first AHP volume for Random House...it's really quite a tangle whenever dug into, but this is fine start.

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  4. Oh, hey, and at the end of the UK list, these:
    *Witch’s Brew (1977)
    (Reprints American Dell edition)
    **Witch’s Brew (1978)
    (Hardcover version of paperback from previous year)
    ...are actually reprints of the US Random House YA hardcover, the second and last edited by Henry Veit...the potential for confusion between the 1965 Dell AHMM anthology AH'S WITCHES' BREW and AH'S WITCH's BREW, this 1977 last of the RH YA series of anthologies is enormous...Frank never has fixed his error in his biblio, and I just deleted the first draft of this comment since I put them in wrong order!...Alfred Hitchcock's Witches' Brew (Dell 1965) vs. Witch's Brew (Random House 1977)

    ReplyDelete