[Podcast] The Birds (1963) – Episode 32 – Decades of Horror: The Classic Era

“I have never known birds of different species to flock together. The very concept is unimaginable. Why, if that happened, we wouldn’t stand a chance! How could we possibly hope to fight them?”  Yikes! The ornithologist has a darn good point! Join Chad Hunt, Joseph Perry (He’s ba-a-a-ck!), and Jeff Mohr, along with guest host Dan Sellers, as we take a bird’s eye view of Alfred Hitchcock’s The Birds (1963).

Decades of Horror: The Classic Era
Episode 32 — The Birds (1963)

Based on Daphne du Maurier’s short story of the same title and adapted to the screen by Evan Hunter, The Birds tells the story of Bodega Bay, a California coastal town terrorized by inexplicably aggressive and belligerent birds.The film stars Tippi Hedren (Melanie), Suzanne Pleshette (Annie), Jessica Tandy (Lydia), Veronica Cartwright (Cathy), and Rod Taylor (Mitch) under the direction of Alfred Hitchcock.

The stars are surrounded by a cast populated with some of the best character actors in the business, including Ethel Griffies as the ornithologist, Charles McGraw as the fishing boat captain, Lonny Chapman as the innkeeper, Doreen Lang as the hysterical mother, Karl Swenson as the drunken prophet, Joe Mantell as the cynical businessman, Ruth McDevitt as the owner of bird shop, Malcolm Atterbury as the deputy, Richard Deacon as Mitch’s neighbor in San Francisco, Doodles Weaver as a fisherman helping with a rental boat, and William Quinn as a man in the diner. You might not recognize all of their names, but if you watched many movies or television shows from the 1950s through the 1970s, you will most assuredly recognize their faces.

Jeff points out The Birds has been called Hitchcock’s monster movie. Chad proclaims his love of Albert Whitlock’s matte paintings and explains the method used by longtime Disney employee Ub Iwerks in providing the special effects for The Birds. Joseph marvels at Hitchcock’s ability to build and hold tension and suspense, and they all agree the credit should be shared with editor George Tomasini. Dan discusses the prototypical “Hitchcock blonde” and confides to the Grue Crew that he’s just glad to be doing a podcast without Sammie Cassell.

We plan to release a new episode every other week. The next episode in our very flexible schedule is John Frankenheimer’s Seconds (1963), selected by Jeff Mohr.

Please let us know what you think of Decades of Horror: The Classic Era and what films you’d like to hear us cover! We want to hear from you! After all, without you, we’re just four nutjobs talking about the films we love. Send us an email or leave us a message, a review, or a comment at GruesomeMagazine.com, iTunes, Stitcher, the Horror News Radio App, or the Horror News Radio Facebook group.

To each of you from each of us, “Thank you for listening!

Jeff Mohr
Jeff lives smack dab in the middle of the cornfields of Iowa and is a long-time horror fan. His first remembered encounters with the genre were The Wizard of Oz, Tarzan gorilla chases, and watching the first broadcast of The Twilight Zone episode, "An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge." While he now qualifies as an old fart, he strives to be an Old Boy. Paraphrasing Robert Bloch, he has the heart of a small boy. He keeps it in a jar on his desk.

Jeff has written for Horrornews.net and SQ Horror Magazine. He currently writes for Gruesome Magazine and is a co-host of the Decades of Horror podcasts - The Classic Era, 1970s, and 1980s - and the Gruesome Magazine Podcast.