Alfred Hitchcock Had a Role in Shaping My Life…’Naturally,’ Some Would Say [VIDEO]
It looks like a headline best saved for Halloween. But Chad's awesome blog, last week, about some of the books he enjoyed when he was a kid reminded me of what used to line my book shelf.
Yes, The Hardy Boys were there, and Tom Sawyer. But my favorite collection of books when I was young had almost everything to do with Alfred Hitchcock.
Part of the Random House publishing empire, the teen series entitled Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators, which began in 1964, only really involved Hitchcock in that he allegedly dictated each story's introduction. The series' creator, Robert Arthur Jr., felt invoking that legendary name would gin up interest in his fledgling series.
I loved the books.
They had a much more supernatural bent than the The Hardy Boys and were much creepier. The investigators were Jupiter Jones, Pete Crenshaw, and Bob Andrews and these guys knew how to get embroiled in mysteries.
My top five favorites were The Secret of Terror Castle about the haunted home of a deceased horror-movie actor; The Secret of the Haunted Mirror about, well, that one's pretty self-explanatory; The Mystery of the Whispering Mummy, in which the guys try to learn why a 3000-year-old mummy has begun to speak; The Secret of Skeleton Island, which is set in South Africa and is more an adventure than anything spooky; and The Mystery of the Green Ghost, about a green ghoul that oozes through the walls of a dilapidated old mansion.
It's probably why Hitchcock has followed me through my life. Well, I guess it's more appropriate to say that I followed HIM; he WAS here first.
But, yeah, I own what I believe are his three best movies--Psycho, Rear Window, and North by Northwest--and I always watched the old TV series Alfred Hitchcock Presents when it aired in syndication on Saturdays.
In fact, the best of the those episodes, "Lamb to the Slaughter" (and, really, the ONLY good one--no other AHP episode holds up well anymore), came back around as a reading assignment when I was in high school. Until that time, I had no idea that episode was based on a short story by Roald Dahl, the author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and other classic children's stories.
And, speaking of short stories, the inordinate amount of Alfred Hitchock short story collections still wind up on my library to-do list to this day. Well, that is, except for the ones I actually own.
Hitchcock was pure genius. I enjoyed every facet of his career. I still do.
Oh, by the way, I found that "Lamb to the Slaughter" episode in its entirety. Wanna watch it? I think I will: