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Captive Audience 

A mystery novelist sends a series of weird audiotapes to his publisher. On the first tape, the author boasts that the publisher won't be able to discern if the story he narrates is the ... See full summary »


Alf Kjellin


John Bingham (novel), Richard Levinson (teleplay) | 1 more credit »


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Episode cast overview:
Alfred Hitchcock ... Himself - Host
James Mason ... Warren Barrow
Angie Dickinson ... Janet West
Arnold Moss ... Victor Hartman
Ed Nelson ... Tom Keller
Roland Winters ... Ivar West
Sara Shane ... Helen Barrow (as Sarah Shane)
Bart Burns ... Summers
Geraldine Wall Geraldine Wall ... Mrs. Hurley
Renee Godfrey ... Hartman's Secretary
Don Matheson ... Jack Pierson
Cosmo Sardo ... The Croupier
Barbara Dane Barbara Dane ... The Folk Singer


A mystery novelist sends a series of weird audiotapes to his publisher. On the first tape, the author boasts that the publisher won't be able to discern if the story he narrates is the history of an imminent murder - or a mere fantasy. The author tells of his brief marriage ending when his wife was killed after he lost control of their car. They were kissing, making up after an argument over his wife's staying out all night with a rich old man, the same evening the author was briefly with the man's alluring, young wife Janet. Janet made a pass at the author, who immediately cut the evening short. The author says he fell into a severe depression, declined a needed brain operation, moved from France to San Francisco where he changed his name, then became a mystery writer. The tapes relate how the author eventually ran into Janet , and though she's still married, dived into an affair. When she and the author begin to plan her husband's murder, the publisher calls in another of his ... Written by David Stevens

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Release Date:

18 October 1962 (USA) See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Shamley Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Don Matheson's first ever appearance in television or films. See more »


Barrow mentions he cut his finger on the safety catch of a revolver. Aside from the fact the gun shown was a semi-automatic, due to their design, very few revolvers ever came with an external safety mechanism such as the type that would cause an injury. See more »


I'm On My Way
Written by Diane Hildebrand and Dominic Frontiere
Performed by Barbara Dane
See more »

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User Reviews

A Crime Drama That Generates Little Heat
20 March 2017 | by atlasmbSee all my reviews

This episode of "The Alfred Hitchcock Hour" is a crime story. A publisher receives some tapes from one of his writers. They outline the story of a murder that has not yet been committed. The publisher wonders if the tapes might be about a real situation, not merely the stuff of a writer's imagination. He calls in a third party to listen to the tapes. Together, they wonder if they have a responsibility to act, in case the author intends to commit a real murder.

If this situation created real suspense in the viewer, it would be very effective. But this episode instead only creates suspense about when the clever twist in the story will occur. It never does.

James Mason is effective as the author, but his role is tame compared to his part in "Lolita", which had recently been released. Angie Dickinson plays the part of a manipulating woman, who may not exist in reality.

The story, adapted from a novel, feels watered down, lacking emotional impact. The publisher serves as a proxy for the viewer. The story does offer one idea that will be addressed many times by films to follow: the obligation or feasibility, if any, to attempt to prevent a crime which has not yet been committed. But this ethical conundrum is defused by the script itself.

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