The surreal moment James Brown met Alfred Hitchcock
There are few things as delightful as seeing two icons from completely different fields join forces in conversation. That said, seeing the ‘Godfather of Soul’ James Brown and the ‘Master of Suspense’ Alfred Hitchcock immersed in a deep talk is a sight to behold. The meeting of legends came in 1969, the two locking horns in a discussion on The Mike Douglas Show.
Joining Douglas on the sofa with Joan Rivers, you could tell there was intrinsic respect between the two acts who had conquered everything they could both conquer in their own respective fields. An example of Hitchcock’s admiration for the Godfather of Soul came when Brown asked the acclaimed film director a question but, rather than reference any of his films, he instead asks about William Castle’s Homicidal which he had mistaken for one of the Hitchcock’s films.
However, because of the respect that Hitchcock had for Brown, he didn’t embarrass the musician by informing it that Castle’s film was a rip-off of Psycho—a project which had obviously achieved the desired effect by tricking viewers into thinking it was a Hitchcock flick. Brown ruins the ending of Psycho for anyone watching at home who still hadn’t seen the classic, although he did so after calling it Homicidal. Thankfully, Douglas was on hand to correct him, however, but Hitchcock playfully refused to give away any of his behind the scenes secrets to the Soul man.
“I don’t dare tell you,” Hitchcock said to roars of laughter from the studio audience. “It’s a professional secret, that’s worth money, do you wanna ruin me? What about my starving wife and child?” Hitchcock said jovially before telling Brown, “I’ll tell you afterwards when we’re done.”
Hitchcock and Brown were at different ends of the career spectrum during their meeting, the soul singer’s star was firmly on the rise with his career about to take off into the stratosphere the following year when he would become to be known as the Godfather of Soul. When he released ‘Get On Up (I Feel Like Being a) Sex Machine’ in 1970, he became the defining face of the funk movement.
Whereas Hitchcock, on the other hand, had achieved everything there was to do in the world of film and he was a truly legendary director. That said, his latest film Topaz had been a box office failure which meant that Alfred had to do the rounds on television programmes such as the Mike Douglas Show in a desperate bid to boost sales.