Hitchcock #3: The Birds mystery solved
Daphne du Maurier wrote "The Birds" in 1952, and it was adapted for the Lux Radio Theatre
on July 20, 1953. Listen to it here
. (This is recorded from the Armed Forces Radio Network which changed the name of the Lux
series to Hollywood Radio Theatre.
What happened at 3am on August 18, 1961, inspired Alfred Hitchcock to film The Birds
. Tens of thousands of crazed seabirds invaded Monterey Bay's northern shore, crashing wildly into doors, windows and people who ran from their houses. In Capitola and Rio Del Mar the streets were littered with carcasses of the dark, gull-like sooty shearwaters. Eight people were bitten.
The birds became disoriented by domoic acid after eating plankton bloom, a large school of anchovies. "There were birds hanging off of lampposts, running into police cars, being chased by cats," said biologist David Garrison. The air was filled with the stench of disgorged anchovies. One newspaper story said the sooty shearwaters were "wailing and crying like babies," biting people, crashing into streetlights and vomiting up anchovies.
Hitchcock lived in the area and read the Santa Cruz Sentinel
account. He began collecting all newspaper stories of the incident, checked on the film rights to Daphne du Maurier's story "The Birds" (which he had previously optioned) and soon brought in Evan Hunter to write the screenplay for The Birds
. But surely he had heard the 1953 Lux Radio Theater
adaptation with Herbert Marshall. It was followed by another radio adaptation on Escape on July 10, 1954.
Tippi Hedren at home with her cheetah Pharaoh (1974)
Leon Worden interviews Tippi Hedren (March 1, 2005)
The Shambala website says it is no longer threatened by the fires
. In the interview above, she discusses The Birds, Marnie, Roar
and the Shambala Preserve. Curiously, in interviews she always calls The Birds
her "first film," even though her own filmography lists The Petty Girl
(1950) as her first film. In the labels below, click "hitchcock" to read my two articles (one fairly lengthy) about Hitchcock.
Labels: birds, cheetah, hitchcock, marnie, pharaoh, santa clarita, scvtv, tippi