Hitchcock by Hitchcock

The Master of Branding

Although he liked to describe himself as "rather reserved and shy," Hitchcock displayed an uncanny knack for self-promotion. By the mid-1940s, having directed a slew of well-received thrillers in his native England , and with an Oscar-winning Hollywood debut, Rebecca (1940), under his belt, Hitchcock was fast on his way to making his name and face synonymous with suspense.


A 1945 collection of suspenseful tales edited by Hitchcock. A great aficionado of the form, Hitchcock had tried, unsuccessfully, to launch an anthology series for radio drawn from his favorite short stories—an idea that would have to wait until television came along.


 A promotional poster for Rope (1948).  It was Hitchcock’s first color film, and his first, but not last, attempt to apply the technical considerations of television to film.


 Joining the ranks of Jack Webb, Lucille Ball, Ed Sullivan and other bona-fide TV stars, Hitchcock graced the cover of TV Guide multiple times, but he was often found inside the magazine as well: in print ads for Bufferin and other products made by his “noble benefactor,” Bristol-Myers. Unsurprisingly, it was the irreverent attitude he displayed towards the sponsor that widened his appeal as a host—and, consequently, as a spokesman for the very corporation he ridiculed so mercilessly. “At first there was some little objection to my exhorting the viewers not to listen to the next few minutes when a commercial was due,” he explained, “but I managed to persuade them a knock is as good as a boost. And I must say it has worked out very well.”


 Alfred Hitchcock presents... Psycho. A promotional pamphlet, scripted by Allardice with the same lubricious wit Hitchcock displayed each week on Alfred Hitchcock Presents. The host segments made Hitchcock universally famous and planted his cherubic image securely in the vernacular. The ghoulish title music (Gonoud’s “Funeral March of a Marionette”), the portly silhouette, the characteristically sardonic black humor—all became inseparable from the public's perception of Alfred Hitchcock, and he exploited it to the hilt in selling Psycho to the masses.


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Photo credits—The images used in "Hitchcock by Hitchcock" are copyright the following entities: Universal Studios, Warner Bros., Dell Publications, Bristol-Myers Squibb, and The Alfred Hitchcock Estate.