Wednesday, May 9

Humphrey the Hunchback, 1990s Nashville Horror Host

Humphrey the Hunchback
"TheWNAB Saturday Night Horror Movie," 
later called "Frightmare Theater".
Saturday nights at 10 p.m., 
opposite Saturday Night Live.

Humphrey the Hunchback was played by actor Barry McAlister on Nashville's WNAB, Ch58.  Barry's show ran for close to two years, from 1994 - 1996, until the station eventually made the decision to pull all their local programming. I got the chance to talk to Barry and he described the show to me a bit:

"I did my show for about two years before they decided to stop doing
any local production at all. The station put the word out that they were
looking for someone to be host. At the time I had a manager for my acting
endeavors and she knew right away the opportunity was for me! I had created
the character of Humphry for a KT Oslin video a few years earlier and I am
an Improvisational comedian. So I shot a tape at Two Rivers Mansion and got
the gig!

I was all comedy based and mostly improvised. I had facts and info.
about the actors, the director and the film, plus other works the players
had done. But I improvised and did physical bits all around the
information. I never, ever got to see the films ahead of time.
I had a puppet of a small "creature" that I used off and on. He
spoke in a garbled gibberish only I could understand (I did ventriloquism
with him). Then toward the end I had a puppeteer friend who brought in with
his rat puppet. There was also a giant rubber spider named Renfield that
"dropped" in now and then.

The budget was almost nothing, and we shot everything in weird
places. We couldn't use the studio (because they would have to rent it from
Speer Communications) so we shot in their mechanical room a lot. We did
cheat and get in a corner of a studio some. But the best stuff we shot in
Fort Nashborough downtown. There was a giant trap door and everything!"

Humphrey the Hunchback quick facts:
Humphrey the Hunchback - "TheWNAB Saturday Night Horror Movie," 
later called "Frightmare Theater"
WNAB-TV Channel 30 (Nashville, TN)

Movies hosted: "C.H.U.D.", 
"Jason Goes to Hell", 
"Piranha", "Halloween II"

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