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Hitchcock and the Censors$
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John Billheimer

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780813177427

Published to Kentucky Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.5810/kentucky/9780813177427.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM KENTUCKY SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.kentucky.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The University Press of Kentucky, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in KSO for personal use.date: 26 February 2021

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

Alfred Hitchcock Presents

(p.281) 37 Alfred Hitchcock Presents
Hitchcock and the Censors

John Billheimer

University Press of Kentucky

This chapter reviews the creation and content of the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and describes the methods used by the director to sidestep censorship issues on and off camera. The show premiered on CBS in October 1955 and ran successfully in various forms for a decade, making Hitchcock the most recognized and richest director in the world. Hitchcock personally delivered introductions to each show and returned at the close to wrap up the proceedings and introduce a final ‘intrusive’ message from the sponsor. The director’s appearances brought continuity to the anthology series, and the dry, macabre humor of his introductions and wrap-ups, written by one man, James Allardice, kept the audience returning week after week. Hitchcock himself directed 18 of the 359 episodes in the series, and his wrap-up appearances helped to navigate the series around the shoals of the NAB Code. More than one-third of the series’ episodes focused on a protagonist who was a murderer and, given the series’ penchant for twist endings, the murderer appears to get off scot-free in many of these episodes, contrary to the NAB Code. To appease Code watchdogs, Hitchcock used his post-show wrap-up to assure viewers that, no matter what seems to have happened in the episode they just witnessed, the guilty parties were eventually punished for their crimes.

Keywords:   Alfred Hitchcock, James Allardice, twist endings, introductions, wrap-ups, NAB Code, anthology show, punishment of evildoers, Alfred Hitchcock Presents

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