Thursday, February 14

Ingredients of a Horror Host

When I was just a wee ghoul the only horror host I saw was Nashville's host on WSM, CH4, Sir Cecil Creape (pronounced CREEP). His show, Creature Feature, came on past my bedtime, and although I only saw it a couple of times I was still plenty intrigued; even more so when I saw his promos and commercials (he did a line of product endorsement commercials for Purity's Creature Coolers) on television during the daytime. I actually met Sir Cecil Creape once at a boy scout event. We were given patches that day that read "Sir Cecil's Ghoul Patrol." I still have mine and sewed it onto the lab coat I wear on the show as a tribute to Sir Cecil Creape.

Besides Sir Cecil the only television horror hosts I remember seeing were non-costumed hosts of a weekday afternoon movie program that ran in Nashville called THE BIG SHOW. It came on after school on CH 5, and I am pretty sure that weatherman Bob Lobertini was the host of this show (but it could have been Huell Howser, or even Chris Clark, both local news people at that time). The host of the Big Show would introduce the movie and come on screen during special events like Dialing for Dollars, a charity fundraiser. Now, these memories are clouded from over 30 years of time, so if anyone remembers more details, please write and let me know.

It was on the Big Show that I saw all the Universal classics for the first time. I especially remember their theme weeks where they would run similar movies each afternoon, like a Creature from the Black Lagoon week, or a Frankenstein week with all the Frankenstein films. Good memories! These were a huge influence on me as a kid, and a big part of why those Universal films still hold a special place in my heart.

One more influence that comes immediately to mind is Alice Cooper. Once I stumbled across his music and stage show I was hooked. I must have listened to my Welcome to my Nightmare cassette hundreds of times. I later bought all of his albums on vinyl, and in fact still have the Billion Dollar Baby album, which is a giant replica of a snakeskin wallet, complete with giant fold up Alice Cooper dollar bill inside.

I like to think that someday there will be some person sitting down and listing his or her own influences, and that Dr. Gangrene will be at the top of his list. That is what makes this whole crazy endeavor worthwhile. That and having a legitimate excuse to dress in a Halloween costume all year log!

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