English film director Alfred Hitchcock made cameo appearances in 39 of his 52 surviving major films. For the films in which he appeared, he would be seen for a brief moment.
This playful gesture became one of Hitchcock's signatures; and fans would make sport of trying to spot his cameos. As a recurring theme, he would carry a musical instrument. In his earliest appearances, he filled in as obscure extras in crowds or walking through scenes in long camera shots while his later appearances became more prominent.
His appearances became so popular that he began to make them earlier in his films so as not to distract the audience from the plot. Hitchcock confirms this in extended interviews with François Truffaut, and indeed the majority of his appearances occur within the first half-hour of his films.