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The Truth About the Phone Booth Attack


The Emmy nominated “The Girl” implies that Hitchcock deliberately tried to harm his leading lady with broken glass after she rejected an alleged kiss in the car on the way back from Bodega Bay to the Santa Rosa Motel in March 1962. Filming of the phone booth attack took place in mid June 1962, almost three months later, with much studio filming taking place in between at Universal. Now three of the Crew Members and On-set witnesses, Los Thurman the script supervisor, Rita Riggs the wardrobe mistress and Virginia Darcy the hairdresser, all deny that the smashing of the phone booth was a deliberate attempt by Hitchcock to harm Tippi. Moreover, the call sheets at the Margaret Herrick Library show that the filming of the pet shop scene (pictured) took place the day after the phone booth, with no visible signs of physical harm to the leading lady.

Lois Thurman was interviewed on 17th April 2013, Rita Riggs (left in picture) was interviewed on 5th September 2012 and Virginia Darcy (right in picture) was interviewed on 26th August 2013.  Photo courtesy of Dave DeCaro

“I don’t think he (Hitch) told them (the prop men) to make the glass break (in the phone booth),” says Lois Thurman. “How could he have done that? I was there all the time during filming of The Birds.”

“I really don’t buy that and I’m sorry that the BBC has taken that line,” agrees Rita Riggs. “I was on set all the time and have nothing but kind words to say about Mr. Hitchcock.”

Virginia Darcy says, “That was the prop man’s fault because he didn’t have unbreakable glass. Mr. Hitchcock didn’t have anything to do with it. Why would he endanger his lead actress on a $3million film so that she’s deformed for the rest of the movie? Use your brains people!. . . I was right there! I was never further than this (indicates six feet away) If the camera was here, I was here. I had to watch what those birds did, and I had to get it to match Tippi’s hair with every take. I couldn’t leave the set. I couldn’t have my eyes off my actor. Stick with the money you know. I was just behind the camera. Besides, those guys (the prop men) can not do that on purpose, they’d be fired. We were all looking out for her.”

“At the end of The Birds, we were sitting outside his office,” Virginia remembers. Hitch asked have you ever tried English cider? Tippi said don’t tell him no because you know we’ll get cases of it! So we said yes. He said, with alcohol in it? And she was sitting on the steps next to him. If he was so awful and such a pervert, why would she even get near him? If I was frightened of a man I’d stay as far away as possible.”


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