Alfred Hitchcock "Music To Be Murdered By" (Imperial, LP-9052, 1958), "Ghost Stories For Young People" (Golden, LP-89, 1960)
Two cool albums riding the crest of the late '50's/ early '60's Hitchcock wave, these records have both been reissued several times over the years. I know I've had the "Ghost Stories for Young People" album from age 5 on, and haven't grown tired of hearing it to this day. John Allen did an excellent job of both writing & narrating the stories, and I can't tell you how many of these lines I still quote without always consciously realizing it (so the next time I'm at your house yawning as I say "maybe I'll just spend the night here" you'll know where it comes from) -- directed at kids it manages to be playfully scary without dipping into overt cuteness. Now "Music to Be Murdered By" is a completely different animal altogether; it's aimed at adults & adeptly uses the Jeff Alexander Orchestra to interpret a variety of standards with "spooky" themes ("I Don't Stand a Ghost of a Chance with You", "Body and Soul", etc), with Alexander penned originals like the "Alfred Hitchcock Television Theme" thrown in for good measure. Today I'm sure it'd get called "Lounge Music", but I guess that still leaves the "To Be Murdered By" option open, so I won't kick.
While his name and likeness sold them, Hitchcock's involvement on both albums mostly consist of spoken cameos before each track (which I suppose is more than the simple branding he lent to his "Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine" and "Presents" style anthology books), and these intros find the droll character he had perfected by this point in full flower. As a kid it was my introduction to his persona, and I was fully smitten. And I really wanted to take Vanishing Lessons.
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