"The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot"

A Comparison of the Original Harry Kane
Sketches to His Finished Illustrations.
Pictured at left is a complete scan of one of the seven original preliminary sketches Harry Kane submitted for approval based on his reading of the manuscript for "Stuttering Parrot". Drawn in pen and ink on sheets of 14" X 16" vellum, the drawings themselves each measure about 5-1/2" X 8".  At the lower right Kane would sometimes write the title of the book (in this case "Alfred Hitchcock Presents") and the page number of the manuscript from which the scene is taken. Once submitted, the editor for the series would make notes in the margins suggesting ideas or any changes that might need to be made for the final illustration.  Below the sketch, the editor would also note the illustration and galley numbers. Harry Kane would then create the final polished illustrations to be used in the books.  In a few rare cases, an art editor might make a minor touch-up to the final illustration as in this example from "The Mystery of the Talking Skull" (LINK).
Below you will find a side-by-side comparison of each of the seven original sketches with the final illustration that appeared in the book.  Harry Kane most likely drew these sketches and finished illustrations, along with those from "The Secret of Terror Castle", in the earliest months of 1964.  This is also when he created two distinctly different designs for the endpapers used in the books.  The working title of the series at this early point was, as Kane refers to it on all fourteen sketches for the first two books in the series, The "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" Mystery Series.  Note that Kane was apparently struggling to physically define and develop the boys in the preliminary sketches.  That striped sweater caused some confusion - first for the editor and later for Kane.  In the end, despite the great care taken, there are a few mistakes, but the final illustrations are well-defined and beautifully executed.  Under each sketch I have typed out any notes that the editor, Walter Retan, wrote on the piece; and under the final image (taken from the book) I have made additional comments.
Illustration #1, Galley 2
H. Kane:  Fat man looks rather good-natured here. Be sure he is more sinister in finished drawing.  Could there be a little more distance between him and the boys?  Be sure Jupiter is stocky.  - WR
Illustration #2, Galley 10
Illustration #3, Galley 22
HK:  Be sure Mr. Claudius is clutching Carlos by shirt collar as in text. - WR
Illustration #4, Galley 28
HK:  Bob is the one reading the note.  Might be better not to have him in a striped sweater since Pete was wearing one in earlier pictures.  I think perhaps you have reversed Pete and Bob in this drawing, since the other boy has glasses.  Bob should not have glasses, however.  They have been cut from text, but he is shorter than Pete.  Also, Pete should be closer to bird, too, since he almost has his finger bitten. 
Illustration #5, Galley 35
HK:  Note description of dagger on page 109 - 110 of manuscript. - WR
Illustration #6, Galley 42
HK:  This drawing doesn't conform at all to the text. The right side of the truck is next to the cliff.  The sedan is on the left of the truck, so Mr. Claudius and Huganay are next to each other in their respective vehicles.  The driver has to be able to get out of the sedan - which he couldn't do in this picture.  Skinny Norris should be really skinny with a long nose, and he doesn't actually fall on the road.  Text says he regains balance before tumbling down.  - WR
Illustration #7, Galley 53
HK:  Pete should be in front of Jupiter, pulling him along into fog. - WR
Notes:  This illustration incorrectly includes Jupiter in the scene.  In the text, it is Pete and Bob who are being held captive.  It is possible that changes were made in the manuscript after the illustrations were finished.
Notes:  Kane simply inverted the illustration to correct the problems pointed out by Retan.  It should be Pete and Bob who are seen sitting in the van with Mr. Claudius instead of Jupiter and Pete.  Again, this could have been the result of a change to the manuscript after the illustrations were completed.
Notes:  Retan's notes on the sketch for this illustration apparently gave Kane an incentive to more closely watch the boys' wardrobes to better define each of them.  Bob is definitely the one who wears the striped sweater if we use the graveyard endpapers as a base.  Because of this, Kane didn't quite follow Retan's suggestions for this illustration but, instead, made changes to the other illustrations to more conform to the characters in this one.
Notes:  The scene in this illustration takes place shortly after the scene in the first illustration - Jupe and Pete must have had a change of clothes in the Rolls!  Also, note that Kane made a mirror image of the scene behind Jupe and Miss Waggoner from the sketch.  This properly positions Worthington in the right-side driver's seat of the British automobile.
Notes:  Outside of the endpapers,  this is the first
illustration in the series to show Jupiter wearing a Hawaiian shirt.
Original Harry Kane  preliminary sketches formerly in the collection (2003-2020) of Seth T. Smolinske, now residing in a private collection.
BACK to Harry Kane T3I artwork.