Do you remember Alfred Hitchcock's album of ghost stories?
Tales of ghostly pirates, spooky magicians and creepy hitchhikers scared and delighted kids in the Sixties.
Alfred Hitchcock not only mastered the art of moviemaking but also lent his stature to successful shows Alfred Hitchcock Presents then The Alfred Hitchcock Hour. His dry introductions to thrilling stories were a hilarious counterpart to Rod Serling's straightforward demeanor on The Twilight Zone.
But Hitchcock ventured into a third medium in the 1960s: vinyl. Specifically, the master of suspense produced a spoken word album of spooky stories for younger audiences. He recorded an intro and outro for the album as well as small bits between each story. The tales themselves were written and recorded by actor John Allen.
Most are original. The first entry “The Haunted and the Haunters” shares a title with a ghost story written by Victorian author Edward Bulwer-Lytton but the plots are different. In fact, the alternate title for Bulwer-Lytton's story is "Or, the House and the Brain" while on Alfred Hitchcock Presents Ghost Stories for Young People it's officially called "The Haunted and the Haunters (The Pirate's Curse)."
The track "The Open Window" is an adaptation of a short story by macabre author Hector Hugh Munro, who wrote under the name Saki. The rest of the album features tracks about a spooky magician, a creepy hitchhiker, a dastardly dare gone wrong and a mysterious fable called "Jimmy Takes Vanishing Lessons."
While the record was made for kids, the addition of sound effects and music make for a fun and sometimes genuinely unnerving listen for ghost story fans of all ages. Plus, the introductions from Hitchcock himself — which start off with a joke about the unsettling sound of dripping water and turn into Hitch having to contend with a full-blown flood — are funny comic relief.
Do you remember listening to this album as a kid? You can play Hitchcock's introduction below or hear the whole LP here.