Thursday, June 07, 2007

Old Time Radio: Alfred Hitchcock


Just about everyone is familiar with director Alfred Hitchcock, if not from his many classic motion pictures, then from his long running television anthology program. The man’s name is synonymous with mystery and suspense. While he was working just about every major motion picture actor either appeared in or wanted to appear in a Hitchcock production.
Considering how influential Hitchcock was it shouldn't’t be a surprise that he sometimes made his presence felt on radio, which until the early 1960s was still a major source of entertainment other than just music & news. While he never had his own regular program he did allow some of his films to be adapted for radio, sometimes taking part in their production or simply introducing them. Even when he had no direct hand in their production, some radio programs did adaptations of the same novels & short-stories that the director used as inspiration.

The Smithsonian Institution and Radio Spirits (the later producing the GUNSMOKE & HOPALONG CASSIDY CD-sets I reviewed before) has compiled a six-CD set of classic radio broadcasts. Among these are Lifeboat (with Tallulah Bankhead), Rebecca (with Loretta Young), 39 Steps (with Glenn Ford) and Strangers on a Train (with Ray Milland). Joseph Cotton reprises his role as the mysterious uncle in Shadow of a Doubt.

The set also includes Hitchcock’s attempt at his own radio program, called Suspense (years before a successful show with that title began without Hitchcock connected). Here the director tries an adaptation of “The Lodger”, which was one of his early silent films made while in his native England.

You can’t really go wrong with six-hours of Hitchcock, no matter what the medium as far as I’m concerned. Thow in the talents of dozens of the era’s best known radio and film actors it just makes for some great entertainment and pretty smooth commuting.

If you think you might be interested in any of the OTR stuff I’ve been talking about you might want to head over to http://www.radiospirits.com/ and see what else they have. You can not only check their catalog, but also listen to some of the OTR absolutely free. (No! I’m not making a cent from any of this, before you ask.)
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