Monday, May 14, 2012

Dial HOllywood 9-2411 for Hitchcock -- May 14, 2012

This post is part of For the Love of Hitchcock, The Film Preservation Blogathon, hosted again this year by Ferdy on Films ( -- Sunday, Monday) and The Self-Styled Siren ( -- Tuesday, Wednesday), along with Rod of This Island Rod ( Thursday, Friday). 

I hope to contribute these articles this week:
Monday -- Dial HOllywood 9-2411 for Hitchcock
Tuesday -- Hitchcock -- Berdarold, Piccy, London
Wednesday -- Alfred Hitchcock, SRO, RKO, UA, Univ
Thursday -- Hitchcock -- Club: Royal Auto
Friday -- Hitchcock -- He Has Had a Non-Stop Career

Click on images to see larger versions. 

Alfred Hitchcock was a rare creative artist in the movie business, but he had to function within the studio system for most of his career.  I wanted to document the way he fit in.   To do this, I read through The 1963 Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures

Many industries publish annual books which describe the people who work in them and what they have accomplished.  In the film industry, this was a useful way to determine whether someone who said he had worked for DW Griffth or CB DeMille really had.  The Film Daily, "The Daily Newspaper of Motion Pictures,"  a major source of news for the film industry, also published a yearbook starting around 1918.  Some of these yearbooks and many other valuable resources are available in the Media History Digital Library (

The image at the top of the page is a full-page ad from The 1963 Film Daily Year Book of Motion Pictures.  It features one of Hitchcock's famous self-caricatures.  Most of the full- or multi- page ads were taken by corporations (Technicolor, the William Morris Agency, studios) or big shots (King Vidor, Blake Edwards, Kirk Douglas, Bob Hope, Frank Capra, Joseph L Mankiewicz, John Wayne).  Hitchcock was a big shot in 1962.  His full-page appeared towards the front of the book, a prime location. 

The "1962 in Review" section includes items on "Censorship and Classification" and "Toll TV" ("Over Air System Starts").  "Minimum Wage Laws" gave the results of a survey  by state.  Minimum wages varied from 55 cents an hour for service employees in Ohio to $1.75 per hour in Alaska.  "Industry Necrology" marked the passing of Ernie Kovacs, Snub Pollard, Michael Curtiz, Louise Fazenda, Frank Borzage, Marilyn Monroe and Tod Browning.  I was surprised to see that "Film Festivals" covered six pages.  "Industry Statistics" reported that 185,000 people were employed in the US theatrical film industry and that US pictures took up 55% of motion picture showing time throughout the world. 

Film Daily's Ten Best Pictures of 1962 included In Search of the Castaways, Shoot the Piano Player and Mutiny on the Bounty.   I think they made better choices other years. 

The list for 1959 included Hitchcock's North by Northwest (150 votes) and Billy Wilder's Some Like it Hot (129 votes).

 The list for 1954 included Rear Window (259 votes) and On the Waterfront (275 votes).

The list for 1944 included Lifeboat (154 votes) and Going My Way (428 votes).

The list for 1942 included Suspicion (197 votes) and The Pride of the Yankees (241 votes). 

The list for 1940 included two Hitchcock films, Rebecca (number 1 with 391 votes) and Foreign Correspondent (247 votes), along with The Grapes of Wrath (367 votes) and Ninotchka (269 votes). 

The Film Daily's Ten Best Pictures lists go back to 1922, which included Orphans of the Storm (number 1 with 81 votes) and Grandma's Boy (29 votes).

Of course the "Academy 'Oscar' Awards Since 1927-1928 does not include Hitchcock's name.  Rebecca won best picture in 1940, but David O Selznick picked up the statue.  

The New York Film Critics Circle has given awards since 1935.

In 1938, Hitchcock won the Best Direction award for The Lady Vanishes.

The "1962 Film Roster" section gave releases and credits for movies released or imported in 1962.  Hitchcock did not release a movie between Psycho (1960) and The Birds (1963). 

The "Credits" section listed credits for producers, directors, short subject directors, authors, screenplay writers, film editors, art directors, music, cinematographers and players. 

The "Producers' Credits" section listed The Birds, which Hitchcock was doing at Universal.  Only people who bought ads had the dark lines above and below their entries.  Other directors with that distinction included Samuel Bronston, Frank Capra, Blake Edwards, Samuel Fuller and Sam Spiegel.  

The "Director's Credits" section also listed The Birds.  I thought it was interesting to include Hitchcock's neighbors like George Roy Hill and Inoshiro Hondo.  Hitchcock bought an ad, so he has the lines to set off his entry.  Other directors with that distinction included Frank Capra, Blake Edwards, Samuel Fuller, Henry Hathaway, Jerry Lewis and Norman Taurog.

The "Personnel" section listed motion picture companies, equipment companies, television film producers-distributors, exhibitor associations, labor organizations and associations. 

Shamley Productions, named after the British village of Shamley Green, produced Psycho.  Revue Studios, founded by MCA, later became Universal Television.  Joan Harrison had written the screenplays for several of Hitchcock's films including Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and produced Alfred Hitchcock Presents.  Norman Lloyd had acted in Saboteur.  He produced and directed episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents

5451 Marathon Street is on the grounds of Hollywood's Paramount Studio.

In 1962, the "Newsreels" section still contained five entries.  The "Television" section  has a list of stations that were on the air in 1962.  The Motion Picture Production Code was still listed in 1962. 

The "Books on the Motion Picture" section had some interesting items.  Peter Bogdanovich had started to publish his series of books on major film figures.  I read his books about Hitchcock and Welles, but do not remember seeing his book about Gene Kelly.  My local library had Daniel Blum's A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen and A Pictorial History of the Talkies

The "Original Titles" section gives the names of books, plays and short stories which were made into movies under other names.  "Features Released Since 1915" took up 152 pages plus a 6 page list of distributor codes.  It says there are 30,887 titles listed.  I didn't count them.

"Theatres" lists drive ins, art theatres and circuits.

The book concludes with lists of telephone numbers in Los Angeles and New York.

Thank you to Ferdy on Films (, The Self-Styled Siren ( and This Island Rod ( for organizing this blogathon. I'm having fun and learning. 

Please consider donating to the National Film Preservation Foundation. For the Love of Film III is raising money to place The White Shadow, a 1923 Graham Cutts movie on which Alfred Hitchcock served as assistant director, on the internet for free viewing.


Mindless Meanderings Theory of the Day said...

Hey Joe- Great Post- lots f interesting info as always.

Grand Old Movies said...

Interesting look at the industry side of Hitchcock - you get a sense of how important he was just by how his ads appear, with the black lines setting them off. And fascinating that Hitchcock had by the early 60s had 'branded' himself so well that he could run a full-page ad with just his famous silhouette line drawing from his tv show. Great idea for a post!

Joe Thompson said...

Buckey and Grand Old Movies: Thank you for stopping by and thank you for the kind words. I'm having a great time reading all the posts.

Kirk said...

Interesting stuff. I wonder if such books are still published, or if the Internet's put them all out of business.

Norman Lloyd eventually returned to acting. He played Dr. Auschlander on St Elsewhere. Closing in on 100, he's still with us.

Tinky said...

Great use of sources we don't all think of, Joe. I have a feeling I'll be dialing Hitch's number in my dreams tonight....

Joe Thompson said...

Kirk: Thanks for visiting. I know books like this are still published in some industries, but I'll bet the internet has mostly killed them off. The Film Daily Yearbook died with the original Film Daily in 1970.

Tinky: It's great to see you, thanks for visiting. Don't forget the area code. Probably 323 now. 310 back then.