When Hitchcock felt that the collaborators in his anthology series deserved more time to flesh out their stories, “The Alfred Hitchcock Hour” was born in 1962. This new, hour-long format was better suited to long-form storytelling, and the director was more than pleased to bluntly explain what this new format entailed in a newspaper interview in the same year (via MeTv): “It is decidedly true that ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’, as the title rather plainly implies, will endure for 60 minutes each week, instead of 30.”
Hitchcock also proceeded to criticize the show’s sponsors for limiting precious runtime by clogging the broadcast with commercials, candidly stating that “despite the sponsors’ infringement upon time, the one-hour period will allow [him and his collaborators] to tell full dramatic stories in natural narrative style, whereas the half-hour show permitted only short tales that led to a ‘twist’ ending.” While twist endings have value, forcing such narrative pivots to accommodate a story within a time frame is hardly ever effective, let alone satisfying from a creator’s perspective.
The new format also allowed creators to focus on character depth, yielding more vibrant, believable stories that could still elicit a range of shifting tones. Hitchcock ended the interview by stating that suspense would “remain an active ingredient” in the rebranded series, and he delivered on this promise without compromise until the delightful, gripping anthology ran its course.