Friday, August 8, 2014

Friday's "Forgotten" Book: Robert Arthur, editor: ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS: STORIES MY MOTHER NEVER TOLD ME (Random House, 1963)

From the handsomely-done Alfred Hitchcock Wiki (which in turn all but credits ISFDB and Zybahn's Casual Debris for information):
Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories My Mother Never Told Me


  1. Introduction by Alfred Hitchcock (ghost written)
  2. The Child Who Believed by Grace Amundson
  3. Just a Dreamer by Robert Arthur
  4. The Wall-to-Wall Grave by Andrew Benedict
  5. The Wind by Ray Bradbury
  6. Congo by Stuart Cloete
  7. Witch's Money by John Collier
  8. Dip in the Pool by Roald Dahl
  9. The Secret of the Bottle novelette by Gerald Kersh
  10. I Do Not Hear You, Sir by Avram Davidson
  11. The Arbutus Collar by Jeremiah Digges
  12. A Short Trip Home novelette by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  13. An Invitation to the Hunt by George Hitchcock
  14. The Man Who Was Everywhere by Edward D. Hoch
  15. The Summer People by Shirley Jackson
  16. Adjustments by George Mandel
  17. The Children of Noah by Richard Matheson
  18. The Idol of the Flies by Jane Rice
  19. Courtesy of the Road by Mack Morriss
  20. Remains to Be Seen by Jack Ritchie (as Steve O'Connell)
  21. The Man Who Sold Rope to the Gnoles by Margaret St. Clair (as Idris Seabright)
    One of Dell's half-the-hc-content reprints
  22. Lost Dog by Henry Slesar
  23. Hostage by Don Stanford
  24. Natural Selection by Gilbert Thomas
  25. Simone by Joan Vatsek
  26. Smart Sucker by Richard Wormser
  27. Some of Your Blood by Theodore Sturgeon

UK edition
It's a very close call (due to their consistent excellence), but this might be my favorite of the AHP: volumes that Robert Arthur edited (Harold Q. Masur took up the task after Arthur's death in 1969, till Hitchcock's death in 1980).  Quite a large number of these stories have stuck with me over the years since I first read them, at age nine, in one of the first of the adult "Hitchcock" anthologies I took up, and it is a pretty striking slice through a range of many of the best writers of the time (we'd lost Fitzgerald, but not too many of the others yet) who'd done some sort of work in suspense fiction and related fields...the Jackson, the St. Clair, the Bradbury and the Davidson are (unsurprisingly) memorable horror stories (St. Clair's is her most famous story by some distance, and almost deservedly so);  the Matheson is Just this side of Reality, and not less unsettling (at least to the young reader) for it, even as one key aspect of Theodore Sturgeon's novel about a non-supernatural vampire did inspire some investigation on my part as to what the novel's resolution involved (hint: it isn't altogether unrelated to the previous post on this blog). Even if I mostly remember "The Arbutus Collar" for how puzzled I was as to how pronounce "arbutus"(I recall that the dictionary was not helpful), the balance of the volume, from writers as splashy as Kersh and Collier and Rice and Dahl (to say nothing of the South African Cloete--I wouldn't learn how to pronounce "Clew-tee" for years)  or as simply as assiduous as Hoch and Ritchie (though I didn't know it was Ritchie story till today) or as interesting  though overlooked as Thomas, collectively sticks with me as simply so much enjoyment and revelation, about the nature and range of storytelling one could find in these eclectic volumes.  It's too easy for me to cite a given volume of the various Arthur/AH series for FFB purposes, perhaps, but these books really should be remembered clearly, as an achievement on their own ticket, and as an example of how the task can be done...

Please see Patti Abbott's blog for today's prompter citations.


Jack Seabrook said...

I enjoyed these books when I was young and now find them a useful resource for stories that can sometimes be hard to find elsewhere!

George said...

I read these faux-Hitchcock volumes when I was a teenager. Great stuff!

Todd Mason said...

Yes, Jack, Robert Arthur rescued quite a few stories from pretty obscure first-publication...Harold Masur didn't do quite as much of that...

George, they hold up rather well, upon rereading as an adult. Even the YAs, particularly in the original hardcovers with the interesting artwork (the pointlessly abridged paperbacks of the YAs less so).

Kelly Robinson said...

I'll be yet another person to chime in and say I read these when I was young. They were my first introduction to some great names.

Todd Mason said...

It's a pity almost no one is doing anything so eclectic yet reasonably focused today...the Gaiman/Sarrantonio STORIES and a few of Michael Chabon's come pretty close.

Tim Mayer said...

Funny. I'm working my way through one of the young adult collections: "Spies and More Spies."

Todd Mason said...

Which, in fact, might've been the subject of this post if I hadn't been particularly reminded of reading "The Summer People" for the first time, when I hadn't finished the week's book I'd originally meant to do...

Sergio (Tipping My Fedora) said...

I hadn't realised this included the Sturgeon - this is full length? I know it's a short novel but thayt is impressive! Some fabulous stuff there Todd, thanks mate.

Todd Mason said...

Yes, the AHP volumes usually ended with a short novel or a novella.