Wednesday, October 10, 2012

What's it all about, Alfie? Some Alfred Hitchcock paperback books

From 1959 until the mid-'60s I bought Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, and had a stack of dozens of them. In the early '70s I traded them to a used paperback store for store credit. Big mistake! The magazines are hard to find and when I find them they cost $$$$.

In retrospect AHMM was one of the finest magazines of its type anywhere, and stories from its issues have been reprinted and used in movies. The authors’ names hold magic and nostalgia for me: Arthur Porges, Talmage Powell, Edward D. Hoch...the list goes on, including names like Lawrence Block, Ed McBain, Donald Westlake. It was where I learned to recognize the names of writers that I still look for.

After trading away my original magazines, and suffering the remorse of a compulsive collector, at some point I turned to collecting the paperback collections. They skimmed the cream of the magazines. Every few years I take out a few of the books and re-read stories.

Sometime within the last few months I saw a man on television who had some of the original paintings for the covers. He said he worked for the publisher and they were going to throw them out, so he took them. I was immediately envious. But I'd ask why a publisher would throw out any paintings or illustrations in these days of auction houses looking for such cool stuff to sell? I guess the folks who had the paintings saw them as junk piling up in a back room or something. Their loss.

These are some of the books from my stacks:

One of the best covers I have is from a German paperback edition:

Enlarged to show details:

 Hard to see the subjects of the paintings until the cover is enlarged:

 Alfred Hitchcock's name was also used on books for young readers.* The two pictured below are reprints of deluxe hardbound books, sold in the 1960s and '70s. I have all of them and there will come a time to show them, also. The cover artists are listed for these 1982 editions: Hector Garrido did Monster Museum, and Joe Burleson painted Daring Detectives.

*Alfred Hitchcock and the Three Investigators was a very successful young detective series.


DEMiller said...

I love Hitch book covers. Great to see this collection.

Kirk said...

The illusrators obviously loved using Hitchcock's image in their artwork. Of course, they were just taking cues from the Master himself in that respect.

Postino said...

Kirk and Dave, considering how homely he was, Hitchcock used his singular appearance as a trademark. He was a great filmmaker, but I believe the greatest product he turned out was Alfred Hitchcock as a brand.