recess radio program

10/30/03
Alfred Hitchcock's Ghost Stories
    by John Cech

Brief sound clip

Unless you're of a certain (young) age, you probably don't remember that the great English film director, Alfred Hitchcock had, for a time, something of a corner on the market for mystery. Along with his movies, Hitchcock presided over a weekly television show that specialized in Edgar Allen Poe-like twists and turns of the macabre and the uncanny -- long before teen movies took the genre round the bend. Hitchcock also lent his name and famous profile to a very popular pulp mystery magazine that appeared each month, right next to Reader's Digest. Given all of these enterprises, it isn't surprising that Hitchcock would also be busily cultivating his next generation of fans through recordings like this one -- Alfred Hitchcock's Ghost Stories for Young People. Here he's the avuncular, and to our ears a little campy, host for a string of tales, like the one about a boy who spends the night, on a dare, in a supposedly haunted house and discovers that it is inhabited by large, talking animals with pronounced teeth. And then there's an adaptation of the notoriously ambiguous short story by Saki, "The Open Window."

None of these tales can really rival Freddy, Jason, or the others for raising the fear factor. But Hitchcock's stories all have an old-fashioned charm -- if I can use that word -- that returns us to a time when mysteries, and the told ghost story -- the one without digital special effects -- were thriving cottage industries with a little something for everyone.

 

Copyright 2003 John Cech

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