Guideposts' Inspiring Cameo in an Alfred Hitchcock Classic

A Guideposts staffer is thrilled to spot our publication costarring with Cary Grant in the beloved Hollywood classic, North by Northwest.

Posted in , Mar 20, 2015

Cary Grant takes a call in a room at NYC's Plaza Hotel

Alfred Hitchcock on the cover of the October 1959 edition of Guideposts

What's the first name you that comes to mind when you think of Guideposts? Our founder Norman Vincent Peale? Our editor-in-chief, Edward Grinnan?

Legendary film director Alfred Hitchcock?

Ok, that last is a bit of a stretch, though Hitch did write a cover story for Guideposts back in October 1959.

Guideposts has seen many people of prominence from the fields of movies, music and television write for our publication over the years, but the Master of Suspense might well strike many as among the more unlikely contributors we've ever featured.


Hitchcock is famous, of course, for the cameo appearances he made in his own pictures. It's always fun to try to spot him, whether he's riding a bus in To Catch a Thief, winding a apartment tenant's clock in Rear Window, or exiting a pet shop in The Birds.

The cover of the August 1958 edition of Guideposts, featuring author AJ Cronin​But did you know that Guideposts once made a cameo in a Hitchcock picture? It's true, and I have the evidence to prove it. Recently I took in a screening of the classic thriller North by Northwest at NYC's Museum of the Moving Image. In that picture, as you may recall, adman Roger O. Thornhill, played ably by Cary Grant, is mistaken for a fellow named George Kaplan by some very bad men who intend to do away with Mr. Kaplan.

In a desperate attempt to extricate himself from this mess, Thornhill and his mother use trickery to enter Kaplan's room at the Plaza Hotel, looking for whatever helpful info they can find about the mystery man. As they are snooping about through Kaplan's effects, the telephone rings, and Thornhill is faced with a dilemma: Should he risk answering the telephone in hopes that he might learn something that way?

The telephone table from North by Northwest with a copy of Guideposts on it​He does answer the phone, and that's where we come in: As Thornhill/Grant reaches for the receiver, there on the bedside table sits a copy of Guideposts (the August 1958 edition, to be more precise, with author A.J. Cronin on the cover). You have to watch carefully to spot it; blink and you'll miss it. Just like one of Hitch's own cameos.

In those days, Guideposts had an agreement with many hotel and motel chains to place copies of our monthly publication in hotel rooms, much as Gideons International does with its Bibles, so we simply don't know whether that copy of Guideposts just happened to be in that room at the Plaza or if it was placed there by a set decorator. Either way, I'll admit to having gotten quite a kick out of spotting it while watching the movie, which is a favorite of mine, and I like to think that Hitch had the magazine placed there intentionally.

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