Alfred Hitchcock Presents: A Deal Me In Challenge Status Report
One of my favorite reading challenges this year has been the Deal Me In Short Story Challenge. Every Sunday I look forward to drawing a random card from the deck to see what story I’ll be reading this week. At this point in the year I only have nine cards left, which means I’ve read 43 stories. I’ve enjoyed this challenge so much that I’m already looking at anthologies to use for next year’s challenge.
If you’ve been following along, you might remember that my theme is year “The Macabre,” with most of the stories coming from collections of stories gathered from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. The magazine was founded in 1955, the same year that Alfred Hitchcock Presents began airing on TV. If you’ve seen any episodes from that series then you have a pretty good idea of the kinds of stories published in the magazine: eerie tales with a bit of dark humor thrown in. Every so often the publisher would gather the best stories into a collection and ask Hitchcock to write an introduction.
Most of them are out of print, but if you ever see any of these collections at a used book store or garage sale, be sure to pick them up. You can usually buy them for next to nothing, and they feature some fantastic writers: Ray Bradbury, Donald Westlake, Robert Bloch, Jack Ritchie, Edward D. Hoch, and more. I have the following anthologies in my library, and I paid from fifty cents to a dollar for each one:
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 12 Stories for Late at Night
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories Not for the Nervous
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to Be Read with the Lights On
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Stories to Be Read with Door Locked
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents: 12 Stories They Wouldn’t Let Me Do on TV
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Happiness Is a Warm Corpse
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Happy Deathday!
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Hard Day at the Scaffold
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Let It All Bleed Out
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Murder Racquet
My favorite collection is Stories Not for the Nervous because it contains one of the greatest short stories I’ve ever read, “Don’t Look Behind You” by Fredric Brown. When I taught literature to 8th graders I used to read this story to them every year around Halloween. The collection also features other great stories like “The Boy Who Predicted Earthquakes” and “Levitation.”
During this spooky time of year, a dose of Hitchcock always goes down well. Have you ever read any of his collections before? Do you have any favorites?