August 14, 2014 3:03 PM EDT

The celebrated thriller director lent his name, wit and rotund silhouette to this anthology of suspense, mystery and horror tales. The stories, some original, some adaptations of writers like H. G. Wells, always had knotty twists and often came to macabre endings, as in “The Case of Mr. Pelham,” in which a businessman is stalked by a perfect double who usurps his life and drives him insane. Hitchcock directed only 20 episodes; however, he not only inspired the series’ perverse sensibility but gave each episode a personal introduction and epilogue that showed that—long before HBO made it respectable—not all movie types felt that they were above television. Hitch’s arch sensibility and feel for popcorn entertainment made, in the words of his droll introductions, for a go-o-o-o-d e-e-e-e-vening indeed.

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