Joe Bob Briggs, and tonight is a very special "Joe Bob's Hollywood Saturday Night." We've got one of the greatest horror flicks ever made. Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds."
A movie so good that no matter how many times you watch it, and how many people watch it together, and how many conversations you have about it, nobody can agree on EXACTLY what it's about.
Professors at universities write scholarly papers about this movie. Film-buff magazines are full of theories about it. But we have an inside source with us tonight to help us get to the bottom of all these theories. It's none other than the star of "The Birds," Tippi Hedren. She'll be joining us at the first break to tell us all about the making of the flick. Anyway, I'm not gonna say anything that gives away the plot -- we always have kids watching who are seeing the films for the first time -- but I will give you those drive-in totals and then we'll get on with it. Three dead bodies. Two dead birds. Multiple seagull divebomb attacks. Sparrow chimney invasion. Playground crow attack. Bird migration. Bird flocking. Exploding gas station. Two car crashes. Kamikaze seagull. Four stars. A classic. Check it out, and we'll be here at the first break with Tippi Hedren.
[fading] Sometimes those professors send me their papers. "The birds represent the overwhelming forces of nature taking back the world from a humanity that has grown twisted and out of touch with the earth." And you just wanna go, "Yep, and maybe it just looks really cool to see somebody pecked to death by rabid crows."
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #1
[Camille Paglia book]
Suzanne Pleshette and Tippi Hedren, in one of the many great dysfunctional-love scenes found in "The Birds." And just joined us is one of those two great actresses, and the star of "The Birds," Tippi Hedren. Tippi, welcome to "Joe Bob's Hollywood Saturday Night." TIPPI: Hello Joe Bob. How are you?
Glad to have you here.
TIPPI: Well, thank you.
Take a seat here in our living room.
Joe Bob's Hollywood Saturday night is proud to have you.
TIPPI: Well thank you.
And you know in that one little scene without ever saying anything directly, Annie Hayworth the schoolteacher finds out why Melanie is there in the town...
And Melanie finds out why Annie is there, and it's not exactly the kind of story that audiences would have expected in in 1963, after several months of all the ads promising Hitchcock's most disturbing film, was it?
TIPPI: Ah, no. You know, the whole relationship with Annie and Melanie and Mitch and the mother and all of it was really fascinating. The whole story was very, very different from the original Daphne Du Maurier story. Totally, totally different. Because . . .
I think they expected to see dive-bombing birds and instead they're seeing this really intriguing human interest story.Did you know this movie was something special when you were making it?
TIPPI: Well, you know, I think everyone making a film thinks it's going to be special. But you know nobody goes out to make a bad movie.
Oh I know. And it was a Hitchcock movie so it's already a little bit special but . . .
TIPPI: Oh you bet it is.
But I just wondered if you had any idea that all these years later you would like it and it would still be on TV all the time. It would be at film festivals all the time.
TIPPI: You know something? I was so busy having this enormous responsibility, because it was my first movie and I was so busy trying to act and, you know, carry on this whole thing, that I really didn't kind of get into'is this going to be a classic?' I didn't really think of it. I was just busy. (LAUGHS)
I want to ask you about Camille Paglia. Do you know her?
TIPPI: Oh have you met her?
Well I sort of exchanged letters with her.
TIPPI: You are in for a great treat.
Okay we'll . . .
TIPPI: This is going to be so much fun.
Now, Camille Paglia, who's one of those professors I was talking about, and who's also a well-known author, wrote this book on "The Birds." Camille calls you "the ultimate Hitchcock heroine." I wanna read a quote from the book--it's about the first scene. [p.20] "The symbolic transition from the titles is subtle but clear: woman is the crow, her stiletto high-heels the claws of rapacious nature. Melanie's black leather clutch-bag--evocative term!--is unusually long and lean, like a phallic rifle case." Your comments, Tippi?
TIPPI: Well, I must say that I think Camille is an incredibly fabulous writer.
TIPPI: I mean, to get all of that, you know, I mean it's amazing.
Is that what Hitchcock was going for? Did he ever mention any of these things?
TIPPI: I don't recall that. But I think it's really fun for people to look at films and pull out all of these analogies and similarities of another film to this film, and it's fascinating. . .
But there was no phallic rifle case in your head? (LAUGHS).
TIPPI: Well not in mine no. No no no no . . .
Okay we'll be back with Tippi Hedren after the ads and I should also mention the man in front of the pet shop was Hitchcock and those were his very own Sealy-hair terriers.
TIPPI: Sealyham. Sealyham.
I though it was Sealy hair. Okay.
TIPPI: No. Sealyham.
[fading] Here's a quote about the scene in the bird shop: [p.24] "The pencil is the Victory trident with which she spears men, as well as the trophy phallus that she knows very well how to grind down." So in other words: Do NOT mess with Tippi Hedren.
TIPPI: Then or now.
Right and . . .
And I want to ask you about that. In '90s terms, aren't you stalking this man?
TIPPI: Oh yeah. (LAUGHS) Absolutely. Without a doubt. (LAUGHS) Yeah, but in a fun way, in a good way. It's an okay thing.
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #2
Tippi, you are QUITE A LIAR in this flick. (LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: Well only in the beginning.
TIPPI: Just the beginning. It's called sophisticated comedy She has a great sense of humor. She's a practical joker.
And everybody lies in sophisticated comedy.
TIPPI: Ah, well.
By the way, I guess Tippi is not your given name is it? How did you get such a cute name?
TIPPI: Thank you.
It's one of the cutest names in the history of movies.
TIPPI: Wow. Thanks very much. My father gave that to me.
So that is you given name.
TIPPI: My baptismal name is Nathalie.
TIPPI: Nathalie Kay Hedren. And I guess it was just too much for my father to handle, so he started calling me Tupso, which is sort of, from what I understand, a Swedish term of endearment like honey, sweetheart, you know, that kind of cute little thing you might call a little baby. And then it went from...
Yeah I had a friend with a poodle name Tippi, but I think the poodle was named after you.
TIPPI: Thank you. (LAUGHTER) That's all right. I love poodles. They're very smart.
Anyway, this was your first film as you said. And how did Alfred Hitchcock discover you, as they say?
TIPPI: I had been doing a lot of commercials in New York. I was with Eileen Ford and I'd been modeling for a long time and it was during that time when television was really becoming popular, so television commercials were divine. And one time I had ten of them running at the same time.
And he saw one particular . . .
TIPPI: One of them was a Pet milk product called Sego. It was a diet drink. And it was a story line; it wasn't just holding up a product and talking about it. It was a story and apparently he saw it.
But what exactly did you do in the commercial to make such an impression?
TIPPI: Apparently, the action that attracted him was I'm walking down the street and a little boy whistles at me and I turn to react to him and smile, and that's what apparently caught his eye.
If you look at all his leading ladies, like Grace Kelly and Kim Novak and Eva Marie Saint and Janet Leigh, he had a thing for blondes didn't he?
TIPPI: Oh didn't he?
He loved blondes.
TIPPI: Yes he did. Well a lot of you guys do. I mean (LAUGHTER)
Oh listen, no, I'm not . . .knocking it. I'm just saying. Okay. We'll do some commercials then we'll get back to the flick in a minute. Oh and do you mind if I read one more Camille Paglia quote from her book? (LAUGHS).
TIPPI: Oh I hope you do. No, I love it. I love it.
"Pulling up to the dock, she throws the looped hawser over the stanchion, which in a Hitchcock film . . . ends up looking like a hangman's noose lassoing a penis." Tippi, tell me that WASN'T your motivation.
TIPPI: Okay, it wasn't.(LAUGHS) Oh Camille. Oh that's just good, yeah.(LAUGHS)
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #3
That's, of course, Veronica Cartwright as the little girl. We've had Veronica on the show many times. We saw her in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers." We saw her in "Alien." She was a child star, a teenage star AND an adult star. But tonight we have the star of "The Birds" in person, Tippi Hedren. Okay, I'm not gonna read anything else from the Camille Paglia book, but it has little picture of the original poster on the cover. It says, "Please do not see the end first!!!" What was that about?
TIPPI: (LAUGHS) Probably because Hitch didn't want you to see the end before, you know, like sometimes people come into a movie late and they don't see it right away.
So in 1963 people would just watch the movie in any order? They were just, like, going in the middle and then watching the first part later?
TIPPI: Well don't you ever do that?
TIPPI: Well you know in "Psycho" they didn't even let anybody in after it started.
Oh, I remember that too.
TIPPI: Remember that?
Yeah. Now this isn't really you is it? In this . . .
TIPPI: No that's actually Jessica Tandy. But they . . .
Why is it Jessica Tandy?
TIPPI: Well, you got me. But I don't know. They decided that would be the perfect picture, so they (tinted on) the green jacket which I wore.
TIPPI: I think in that shot she was wearing a gray jacket.
So this is Jessica Tandy's face but it's supposed to be you.
That's like, whoa, we won't take a picture of TippiWe'll just use the other girl in the movie (LAUGHS)
TIPPI: Oh there were a lot of me, you know, screaming and all that sort of thing. But that really worked; I don't know . . .
TIPPI: You know it.
That's a weird thing.
TIPPI: Jessica and I had the same kind of features. We were very, very similar.
Well this was a rare film appearance for Jessica Tandy at the time 'cause she didn't work in movies very much because, she was the queen of Broadway. She had been the original Blanche du Bois in "A Streetcar Named Desire."
Okay, we'll be back in a few with "The Birds," the seventh highest grossing Hitchcock film -- and when they showed it for the first time on TV in January 1968, it was the highest rated movie in television history up to that time, beating out both "The Wizard of Oz" and "Ben Hur." And we're getting pretty close to the part where you're gonna find out why.
[fading] Were there any sparks with Rod Taylor? Rod Taylor's a pretty good looking guy.
TIPPI: Oh he's very handsome guy. Yes.
Little chemistry there with Rod?
TIPPI: I've had good luck with, you know, Sean Connery and "Marnie"
I know, but Rod. In 1963 was there chemistry?
TIPPI: He was really. He was very attractive, yes.
And were you attracted to Rod?
You're not going to tell are you? (LAUGHTER)
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #4
Somebody asked Alfred Hitchcock, "How did you get the birds to do all that stuff?" And he said, "We paid them well." We're here with the star of "The Birds," the beautiful and talented Tippi Hedren. So, Tippi, Hitch sees you in a diet soda commercial, invites you to the studio, and signs you to a seven-year contract. And he actually told people he was grooming you as the next Grace Kelly. How did you feel about that?
TIPPI: I was so excited because I thought, "Where's my prince?"
TIPPI: Yeah. I thought, "Oh boy. This is gonna be really good."
You thought you were moving to Monaco huh?
TIPPI: Right. (LAUGHS)
I know. I know that he gave you the full star treatment while you were making this movie in Bodega Bay. You had your own car and driver.
And I'm not going to let you go on the Rod Taylor question. I happen to know that Rod Taylor was not allowed to ride in the car with you. Hi- Hitch wouldn't allow that what was that about?
TIPPI: You know something? This is very interesting, because basically all the leads in the film, they all had their own cars.
TIPPI: I mean it's that simple.
But it wasn't horribly scandalous in 1963 to be in the same car as your co-star?
TIPPI: Oh yes.
He didn't want you photographed together. Was that part of it?
It was very scandalous. (LAUGHTER)
Well he apparently cared about it. You know I can't imagine that there were that many people, that many paparazzi in Bodega Bay to begin with -- a little crab and salmon-fishing town of about 250 in Northern California. But how involved in your personal life did Hitch get? Didn't he tell you where to go and how to dress?
TIPPI: Oh he wanted to control everything. Oh yeah. What to eat what to drink. Who to see who not to see.
Who to give interviews to and all that.
TIPPI: Yeah absolutely. Total control.
And were you totally controllable?
TIPPI: No. (LAUGHTER)
I know things were different then. They didn't have like sexual harassment suits and everything. Did he ever put any pressure on you
TIPPI: Pressure for what?
That kind of pressure.
No? Okay. You're not saying much, Tippi. This stuff is in the book.
TIPPI: It's like pulling teeth isn't it?
Okay. Let's get back to "The Birds" after the ads. You don't have to talk about that. Okay. The other Hitchcock movie was "Marnie."
Which one do you like better, "The Birds" or "Marnie"?
TIPPI: Well, you know, it's very difficult to compare the two because they are so different. "The Birds" was sort of a chase film, but "Marnie" was highly dramatic. And it was a subject that was really not talked about all those years ago. You know
'Cause you were a horse obsessed frigid kleptomaniac.
TIPPI: No no no. Not a kleptomaniac. And that was wrong in the publicity. She was a compulsive thief. A kleptomaniac steals things. You know, they just take things. But a compulsive theif plans. She was planning all of these intentions of literally stealing good amounts of money from the people that she worked for. And she took great glee in it. And it was fun for her to do this.
Well it was a great flick. Way ahead of it's time.
TIPPI: Absolutely. But it really just shows what happens to you as a child. How it later affects you as as an adult. And people weren't looking at that so much in the '60s. And I think it was a difficult subject for people to broach.
Yeah. Okay, be back in a minute.
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #5
That was, of course, Jessica Tandy in her big emotional scenes. And your little smooch with Rod Taylor. I always love when he kisses you on back of the neck before the more traditional kiss on the lips. That was an interesting choice, don't you think?
TIPPI: Ah, good direction.
Yeah (LAUGHTER) that's the way he wanted the kiss done.
Tippi Hedren is here with us. All right, for the scene where the birds pour out of the chimney, they DID force 2,000 bulfinches down through a chimney--because Hitchcock wanted realism. He didn't want to use a bunch of matte shots and camera tricks. Tippi, you're an animal lover. I thought the ASPCA jumped all over your case if you went around throwing birds down chimneys, flingin em at people, tying their little thrashing bodies to child actors?
TIPPI: Yeah they would.
TIPPI: In fact, the Humane Society was there all the time. In fact, they were more concerned about the birds being tired than -- nobody cared about me.
TIPPI: I have to tell you about that scene when they just gently just let the birds down through the fireplace and the chimney. And we thought they'd go flying around the room and they sat on the hearth and they (LAUGHS) would sit on the coffee table and on the arms of the chair and none of them flew. So we were thinking, what are we going to do? Fans, that would be good. But then our hair would fly around. So that wasn't going to work. And eventually, once the scene was editedwe fought birds that weren't there.
TIPPI: We ended up doing that. You know, just pretending the birds were there and doing a lot of this (shoos away imaginary birds).
So he did use some mat shots.
TIPPI: Oh, absolutely.
And camera tricks.
TIPPI: Oh yeah.
Oh that just was for the press that he said, 'I have to have the 2000 real birds.'
TIPPI: Oh sure . . .And anytime the children were used, they were all mechanical birds.
I see. Wasn't there a trained raven that you guys had on the set who hated Rod Taylor?
TIPPI: Yeah. Corvus was his name.
And he would attack Rod Taylor
Every time he saw him?
TIPPI: Yeah. (LAUGHS) It was great And then there was another one -- his name was Buddy -- and he was so sweet that he couldn't even be in the movie. He was so, so nice. (LAUGHTER)
He wouldn't have attacked anybody.
TIPPI: But the bird trainer, Ray Berwick, was so wonderful. I wanna give you just a quick explanation of how good he really was and how much he cared. When we were doing the party scene with the children, he had trained three sea gulls to take off from his arm, circle, dive bomb the kids and come back to him. First one, fine. Took off, circled, dived bomb the kids, came right back. Second one, same thing. The third one took off and didn't come back. Now that wouldn't be a problem except that working with the children, Ray very, very loosely wired the beak of the birds so that they wouldn't hurt the children. 'Cause a sea gull can be a little nasty. And so Ray Berwick said, "Hitch, we have to just shut down. I have to find that bird." And he went out into Bodega Bay and did not come back until he found that bird, undid the . . .
'Cause he was afraid it would starve?
TIPPI: And it would have been a very brutal death for that bird. But that was the kind of man Ray Berwick was. He was fabulous.
Yeah, you actually live on an animal preserve right?
TIPPI: I do.
How did that happen?
TIPPI: It's called Shambala, and it means a meeting place of peace and harmony for beings, animals and human. But I did two films in Africa and became concerned about the animals in the wild and the diminishing numbers of them just because of encroaching civilization in sport hunting and, of course, worst of all, poaching.
So most of 'em are exotic animals?
TIPPI: Big cats and two fabulous African elephants.
[fading] Of course, that was the great thing about Alfred Hitchcock. Somebody asked him, "What if bird lovers boycott the movie?" And he said, "Oh yes, I hope so."
TIPPI: Yeah, he would.
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #6
The old lady bird expert in the diner is Ethel Griffies, who was 85 years old when she made this film, and she'd been retired for years. She was a leading lady of the English stage when Hitchcock was very young, and he remembered her from those days, found out she was still available, and hired her for this part. We're here with the star of "The Birds," Tippi Hedren. Tippi, what was Hitchcock's process of filmmaking, as far as the actors were concerned? Did you rehearse much?
TIPPI: Oh, I was a novice, you know, so...
Right. You were brand spanking new to movies.
TIPPI: Oh yeah. But how lucky was I to have not only Hitch as my director, but he was my drama coach.
Oh, he was giving you lessons?
TIPPI: Oh, how lucky.
And you were with this world famous guy. Were you were you nervous around him?
TIPPI: No. Not at all.
TIPPI: No. In fact, I think had he not given me the assurance and the security that I would be able to do this, I don't think I could have done it. Because almost everybody in Hollywood was really saying, "Why did you give this part to an unknown? Not only an unknown, but she'd never done a film or any acting, other than the commercials," you know.
TIPPI: So I was under pressure but, if he hadn't given me that assurance, I could never have done it. I never could have done it.
Okay. Now, Tippi, I hope you don't hate this story, too, 'cause I'm trying to get you to talk about some things you don't want to talk about.
TIPPI: Oh you can try.
Straighten out the record on this for us. What was the deal with Hitch giving your daughter a Tippi Hedren doll and in a little coffin? Did he really do that?
TIPPI: I would love to straighten out that story.
TIPPI: Hitch went to a great deal of effort to have this beautiful doll made and, in order to do this, I was called into the makeup room to have a mask done. Now this was not usual. In the makeup room there were masks of everybody. Elizabeth Taylor, Charlton Heston -- I mean everybody was up there. Marlon Brando. And so they did the plaster cast and they put the straws up your nose so you can breath, and it's really awful. And I thought this was the normal thing. But what he did was he had Bob Dunn, who was my makeup man, make this doll that was absolutely perfect. I mean, it wasn't like a caricature of me -- you know, like most of the time when you see a doll of somebody, it looks like them but it isn't exact -- this was absolutely perfect. It was my face, only in miniature, and it had the green dress on and, unfortunately, it was in a wooden box.
So in other words . . .
TIPPI: I mean it was beautifully done . . .
He wanted to present you with a beautiful doll, but his idea of the way to present it was to put it in a coffin.
TIPPI: It wasn't a coffin. It was just a beautiful wooden box. It was really lovely.
It wasn't a coffin.
Oh, okay. How do these stories get started, Tippi?
TIPPI: Hey, don't ask me.
I'm just reporting these stories.
TIPPI: I think Hollywood is one of the most wonderful places you can -- I hear more things about myself that I never said, that I never did. (LAUGHTER) Oh you know, it happens to everybody.
Oh, see, so you can come here and you can deny these things.
TIPPI: Thank you. But it wasn't. It was a gift to my daughter that was supposed to be lovely and it just, you know, she just took one look at it and freaked out. (LAUGHTER)
Oh, she thought it was a coffin.
Yeah, she just thought it was.
Okay, that explains it . . .
TIPPI: I just took it away from her and never, you know, we just kind of yeah.
Okay, things are gonna get REALLY out of control, as we continue with "The Birds."
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #7
Alfred Hitchcock was famous for working nine to five and then forgetting about his films when he went home at night -- but he admitted that, when he was filming "The Birds," he was tense and upset all the time. Something about the story really bothered him, and critics still call it his most pessimistic film. Did you suffer any of the same effects, Tippi?
TIPPI: Uh huh.
Because of him or just because of the whole experience?
TIPPI: No. You know what? The only time I was really, really tense was that scene where I go up the stairs and go into that room and all the birds. . .
Yeah don't give it away though. We haven't quite seen it yet.
TIPPI: Oh. So we should talk about that later?
Well no. You can tell them that you were tense when, and then when it happens, it'll be better.
TIPPI: Yes. You know why? Because they told me all through the time that we were filming that they were going to use mechanical birds.
Oh, and they didn't?
TIPPI: And which made me very comfortable. Because I had seen all the trainers with their thick leather gauntlets up to their shoulders and the scratches, and I had been scratched and, you know, that sort of thing. So, knowing that it was going to be mechanical birds was very, very consoling.
TIPPI: And the morning that we were just starting that (filming) the assistant director, Jim Brown, came into my dressing room on the set, and we've been long time friends and he couldn't look at me. He looked at the floor. He looked at the walls, at the ceiling. I said, "What's the matter with you?" He said, "The mechanical birds don't work." And out the door he went. Well (LAUGHTER) I just blanched whiteI went out onto the set and they had no intentions of using mechanical birds. There was a cage built around the door that I go and there were boxes of birds that the three prop men were going to start hurling at me...
They snuckered you.
TIPPI: You know they did.
They kept you calm . . . until they needed the scene.
TIPPI: They snuckered me. That's a good word.
Well you know . . .
TIPPI: I think it was kind, though. It was a kind thing to do, actually.
It was a kind thing not to tell you in advance that he was gonna completely beat you up.
Okay. Well Hitchcock could have been nervous just because this was also the most complicated film he ever made. He used 1,400 shots in this film, which is twice as many as his average film and about a fourth of those were trick shots of some kind. One of which was not the exploding car, by the way. You were injured just watching the exploding car, weren't you?
TIPPI: I was. Yes. My eyes got burned.
Yeah, and then the scene in the phone booth with all the birds attacking you there -- didn't you get hurt shootin' that?
TIPPI: I did.
There's just so many.(LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: This shatterproof glass -- that was a key word there
It was not shatterproof?
We haven't even seen the worst of it, and I don't want to give anything away, so let's get back to the flick in just a sec. And also, I'm sure that in those days you had an excellent worker's comp plan didn't you? (LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: Yeah. I should have done more with that. Yeah. (LAUGHTER)
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Break #8
["Clue" game, Sharpie pen]
We're here with the star of tonight's flick, Tippi Hedren. Tippi, in that scene we just saw where you guys are all boarded up inside the house during the bird attack, Hitchcock did a very strange thing, for him. He threw out the script. He decided that he had to get the emotional tone of that room exactly right, and it would all depend on what the actors were feeling precisely at that moment. So he had you improvise some of those moments. What was improvising for Hitchcock like?
TIPPI: Ah well he rarely did that. You know . . .
TIPPI: Everything is very, very controlled all the time. So actually, in one scene that we were supposed to be so tensed and and the birds are all building up out there, he had a drummer come in with a set of drums and he started out with a very, very low kind of (beat), and then he built up so that we would be able to get the tension.
Feel that rhythm?
TIPPI: Yeah. It was
TIPPI: Yeah, it was interesting. He was a brilliant director, actually.
TIPPI: But he very rarely had anybody improvise.
A brilliant director and this is his anniversary year.
TIPPI: Oh and we've been celebrating for a year. Honest to God.
All kinds of celebrations?
And we just got this Alfred Hitchcock edition of Clue celebrating his one hundredth birthday.
TIPPI: I love it.
It's pretty cool -- instead of Miss Peacock in the library with the candlestick, it has, like, Melanie Daniels at the Bates Motel with a seagull. In fact, you have TWO characters in the game -- Melanie Daniels and Marnie Edgar.
TIPPI: I'm honored . . . Okay where can I get these?
Would you would you do the honor of signing for us.
TIPPI: I will. Oh I'd be happy to.
We'll get you one. I'm sure Clue will send you as many as you...as Parker Brothers . . . You've got no money for this right?
TIPPI: No. I'm going to call them.
That's you that's you and that's you. (Points at the box) (LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: I'm going to call them. This doesn't look like me. This okay this one sort of does.
Well, yeah, and the bird on the hand gives it away.
TIPPI: And the bird of it does give it away doesn't it. (LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: See where I put the birds in there all the time.
That's a great signature with the little birds flying around your name. Do you always do that?
TIPPI: Well I do and it started out with when you go to premieres and that sort of thing there's always the fans out there and they're always the same ones and they always ask for your autograph. So at one time I just drew a little bird, just one of those things. And I didn't think any more about it. The next premier that I went to had the same fans and they always want the autographs and I signed my name and they said where are the birds?
Oh. So they can get plenty extra dollars for it later when
TIPPI: You bet. (LAUGHTER) Yeah.
Okay. I'd love for you to stay until the movie's over 'cause we're going to watch this last segment here because what people are about to see now is probably the most controversial thing that Hitchcock ever filmed, and we can't talk about it 'til afterwards. So can you stick around just a little bit longer?
TIPPI: No, I have to. I can't wait. (LAUGHTER)
TIPPI: Yeah. What's he going to ask now?
[fading] If he did this today, it would be Lawsuit City. That's all I'm gonna say. (Laughter)
TIPPI: You bet.
"THE BIRDS" Commercial Outro
And so Mitch, Melanie, Cathy and Lydia drive into the distance, abandoning their house to the control of The Birds. Okay, Tippi, tell us about that scene in the attic. First of all, WHY do you go up there by yourself?
TIPPI: I asked that same question to Hitch. I said, "Hitch, knowing what has happened to all the people, the kids and all these horrible things that's been going on with the birds, why would she go up there?" I mean, I'm not necessarily, you know -- what do you call those actors . . .
TIPPI: Yeah. And he said, "Because I tell you to." (LAUGHTER) I said, "Fine."
So . . .
TIPPI: It's sort of the same thing your paycheck.
TIPPI: That kind of answer.
Well you do have to admit it's a little far-fetched for her to go up there alone.
TIPPI: I think so.
Even if everyone else is sleeping. I mean that's part of it -- it's like the middle of the night and . . .
Weird things happen in the middle of the night. On the other hand, I have to say that as you performed it, I believed it. I bought it. The scene itself, though, took a whole week to shoot I know . . .
TIPPI: Yes it did.
And you practically had a nervous breakdown. So what the heck happened?
TIPPI: Actually, it wasn't a nervous breakdown. It was just total exhaustion.
TIPPI: Absolutely total exhaustion.
Well, I call that a nervous breakdown. But . . .
So what happened? What was so what was so terrible?
TIPPI: Well they just kept hurling birds at me for three (LAUGHTER), you know, for five days and I just had to fight them off as best I could.
And I assume they didn't have the little piece of wire around their beaks.
TIPPI: No they did not. In fact, Cary Grant came onto the set on Wednesday and he said, "I think you're bravest lady I've ever met." I said, "Well, I don't know if that's the word for it." But by Friday I had fallen down on the floor and they had put bands around my body with little elastics and then when I put the dress on they pulled the elastics through the holes in my dress, when they then tied the birds to me . . .
TIPPI: Yeah, that's a wow isn't it? They tie the birds to me loosely around their leg and with the elastic they could move -- it wasn't mean to the birds you know . . .
No, it was just mean to you.
TIPPI: Just to me. Yeah, where was my humane society? (LAUGHTER) And one of the birds was tied up here and he jumped up and kind of scratched me right so close to the eye. I said, "Really, this is enough." I had had it. And I got them all off of me and I just started to cry. Just big tears and...
And was that the end or did you do more?
TIPPI: No we didn't do anymore. That was the end of it. And everybody left. They just left me sitting there. (LAUGHS)
They left you? They couldn't stand to watch anymore?
And so Hitchcock was criticized for going a little too far to get a realistic scene. But you've never criticized him and you never criticized him tonight. So, I mean, either he was a perfect man or you're very classy lady.
TIPPI: I'm a very classy lady. (LAUGHTER)
Okay. So, and one more fact. That was not the ending that Hitch originally wanted. Do you remember the ending that he had in mind?
TIPPI: He had several in mind. In fact, there was one evening he called all of us together. We all sat together and he talked about different endings of the movie.
So he didn't even know . . .
TIPPI: And this is the first time ever that he really didn't have a plan as to how he wanted to end it.
And it's really a non-ending anyway. It's an ending, but really not an ending.
TIPPI: Well. Joe Bob. They went off and everybody lived happily ever after.
Oh. Okay. All right, I get it.
TIPPI: Of course.
So don't be depressed at the end of this movie. Tippi Hedren, thanks so much for being here. That's it for me, Joe Bob Briggs. In the words of Confucius passionate kiss like spiders web -- soon lead to undoing a fly. (LAUGHTER) You like that one. Okay I have a couple of bird jokes actually.
TIPPI: Oh tell me please...
You'll appreciate these, Tippi. Did you hear about the time Hillary Clinton goes into a pet shop and sees this incredibly beautiful parrot? She asks the manager, "Does this parrot talk?" Manager says yes. Hillary says, "Why is this one only fifty dollars, and all the rest of em are 500?" Manager says, "Well, ma'am, not everyone would want this parrot. He spent many years in a whorehouse and his language is terrible." Hillary says she wants him anyway. She gets the parrot back to the White House and takes the cover off the cage. Parrot tilts his head to one side and says, "New house, new madam." Hillary laughs. Chelsea and a friend of hers come in and look at the bird. Bird says, "New house, new whores." Hillary explains the bird's history, and they laugh. The President comes in and looks at the bird. Bird says, "Hi Bill."
TIPPI: Oh you're bad.
[fading] Have you guys heard about the new disease that's decimating pet birds across America? It's called chirpees. It's one of those tragic canarial diseases. The worst part is that it's untweetable.
Joe Bob says check it out