The Alfred Hitchcock Hour: Season 10 (1964)

Run Time - 60 min.  |  
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Synopsis by Hal Erickson

Season ten of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour marked the suspense anthology's move from CBS to NBC, where as Alfred Hitchcock Presents it had previously run in a half-hour format from 1960 through 1962. At the same time, the series forsook its sparsely attended Friday-night time slot to a slightly more advantageous berth on Monday evenings, opposite the long-running but now lagging Ben Casey and the born-loser Slattery's People. As was the case during season nine, season ten contained no episodes directed by Alfred Hitchcock himself. The season began with the Arnold Laven-directed "The Return of Verge Likens," starring Dennis Hopper as a hillbilly who uses psychological torture to avenge the death of his father. It is fairly grim stuff, but nowhere near as gruesome as some of the other tenth-season offerings. "Water's Edge," adapted from a Robert Bloch story, concludes with the spectacle of Ann Sothern preparing John Cassavetes to be devoured by a horde of rats, and "The Final Performance" features Franchot Tone as a washed-up vaudeville performers who employs his peculiar talents to nastily divest himself of his faithless young wife. A handful of episodes this season represent rare Alfred Hitchcock Hour forays into fantasy and the supernatural, notably the offbeat fable "Where the Woodbine Twineth" and the futuristic murder yarn "Consider Her Ways." Also, the series occasionally plundered the classics, adapting Andre Maurois' mordant "Thanatos Palace Hotel" as a vehicle for Steven Hill and Angie Dickinson, and W.W. Jacobs' Grand Guignol masterpiece "The Monkey's Paw" as a showcase for prolific series director Robert Stevens. In the tradition of such past efforts as "Bang, You're Dead" and "Hangover," this season features one of the few episodes in which Alfred Hitchcock foregoes his characteristic humorous epilogue in favorite of a deadly serious message addressing an acute social problem. "Memo from Purgatory," adapted by Harlan Ellison from his own experiences while posing as a juvenile delinquent in order to gather information for a book, stars James Caan as the Ellison counterpart, and a pre-Star Trek Walter Koenig in a searing performance as a vicious street-gang leader. Canceled at the end of its tenth season, The Alfred Hitchcock Hour wrapped things up with its 361st episode "Off Season," written by Robert Bloch and directed by a young William Friedkin (The French Connection, The Exorcist).