10/1/12

The Boob Tube #32: Horror on the Tube


I attribute my fondness for the horror genre to the prevalence of it on the tube back in the seventies and early eighties.  Some of my fondest memories are sitting in front of the TV at night, fine tuning the UHF knob, grabbing a bowl of Frankenberry and enjoying a back to back horror movie marathon. Before Netflix, before VHS, it was up to the local 3-4 networks to provide your horror fix - and provide they did.   I recall watching Blood Beach and Hell Night one night down in Miami, and just experiencing pure bliss.




Your obvious fist choice was the local horror host.  Every city of reasonable size had one to call its own.  I lived in Ohio for much of my childhood, and it seems like there were several.  Later, of course, there was the syndicated horror host, Elvira (schwing!) and then there was the once glorious USA network in the eighties.

I wasn't the right age or geographically fortunate enough to enjoy horror host icons Zacherley or Vampira, but I enjoyed my local guys nonetheless.



Of course, they tended to play the cheapest titles out there. Thus, they often dished up some rather pitiful examples the genre had to offer.  But, this was part of the charm and perhaps the origins of our generation's appreciation for cinematic cheese.


This was a time very different than our own - when the Boomers Ruled the Earth.  Porn and horror were damn near respectable with the adult population... with the population that had all the disposable cash to lay down on a movie ticket.  It was short-lived, but a truly unique moment in the sun for the genre of horror.





The downside was that these films were often censored and edited beyond recognition; but we kids weren't as desensitized back then.  The impact wasn't necessarily lessened by the removal of a graphic decapitation.... and the loss of T&A was probably for the best. 


 I don't know how my eleven year old brain would have computed Brooke Adam's nude scene in Invasion of the Body Snatchers.


The plethora of horror around Halloween was an embarrassment of riches.  Perhaps this is still true today, so I'm not trying to strike a contrast, just point out that October was a great time for the young lads who enjoyed a good television spookfest..... or even just a Halloween special.



See previous posts on The C.H.i.P.s Halloween special as well as the infamous Paul Lynde special.

And on a final note, I'll mention this just because it was so ubiquitous in my younger years - the soap opera.  My mother and grandmother watched them, and I have so many memories of horror themes on these soaps!


It wasn't just Dark Shadows that filled the afternoon airwaves with horror.  For instance, I distinctly remember a werewolf plaguing the streets of one soap (I want to say it was either Edge of Night or Guiding Light).


I also remember a daytime soap featuring demonic possession as a story-line; although, I can't remember which soap that was.

And last but not least was Sunday afternoon.  If luck would find you indoors due to rain or illness, you were guaranteed a good ol' fashioned Japanese monster movie.  Those were the days!


The End


20 comments:

  1. Just an amazing post, as usual.

    Something was special about watching the same thing as most/all of your family and friends. Must be why, to this day, I get excited when I see something airing on TV even if I own the DVD. Just has a nostalgic draw for me.

    Love the ads you posted, some vintage awesomeness there. As for the soap with the demonic possession, that was Days of Our Lives. Marlena Evans was possessed by Satan for a bit. :)

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  2. WoW!....Shock Theater.....Channel 7 in Chicago!

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  3. Does anyone remember a Canadian horror soap similar to "Dark Shadows" called "Strange Paradise"? We used to get it on ABC in Syracuse (NY) right after (surprise!) Dark Shadows, in the early 1970's.

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    1. There are several episodes of Strange Paradise on You Tube. So is The Horror Show retrospective with Anthony Perkins from CBS (In the ad above).

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  4. Thanks for the You Tube information. I came down to the comments with the intent of saying how I wish I could see The Horror Show with Anthony Perkins. I remember watching Godzilla in the movie theatre as my first or second movie going experience and seeing that oversized reptile emerging up that hill is a scare I still haven't forgotten.

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  5. Godzilla looks like he is puking.

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    1. Well, eating cars and buildings always makes my tummy a bit queasy...

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  6. I remember "The Sixth Sense" being used to kill off 3rd season "Night Gallery" Whenever the NG opening credits announced Gary Collins you knew you were screwed.

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    1. Universal ended up putting SIXTH SENSE episodes into the NIGHT GALLERY syndication package. Check them out every morning at 1:30 am ET on MeTV.

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  7. On Friday nights in eastern Iowa we had Creature Feature on KCRG in Cedar Rapids. No goofy hosts, just a wicked intro with a wavering typeface and a "spooky" voiceover. If the TV guide in the Des Moines register showed that a good monster movie was on that week, plans would be made as early as Monday for sleepover arrangements between my best friend and I. Nothing like pulling out the hide-a-bed and staying up late to watch Godzilla while gorging on junk food and pop. Even so, my friend always fell asleep before midnight. Lightweight!

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  8. Great stuff as always! I just posted about Zacherley at my own blog this morning: http://meandyouandablognamedboo.blogspot.com/2012/10/tuesdays-forgotten-tv-horror-host.html

    Loved seeing that ad for The Midnight Hour. The movie will be making an appearance at my blog later this month. I found it back in August, but it took me awhile to find the title.

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  9. Now the only thing left is "Svenghoulie" on the METV channel.

    Thanks for the trip down horror memory lane.
    I miss "Independent" television.

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  10. Back in the day when Channel 11 in Fort Worth was an independent station, Bill Camfield hosted "Midnight" and it had the creepiest ntro I have ever seen. A long slow move down a dark hallway to a door at the far end while Bill gave a creepy dialog that ended with his maniacal laugh and a woman's scream. All this from the same guy who did the daytime kiddie show "Slam Bang Theater" as host "Icky Twerp"!

    KellyFromMesquite

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  11. TransamdaveOctober 02, 2012

    Great post. Detroit had Sir Graves Ghastly in the middle of the day, and Svengali and The Ghoul at night on weekends.

    I'm with Lacey - the old "independent" channels could do things fun like that. Now it's all the same. No more "B" movies on late night.

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  12. I don't remember the episode of Hotel featuring Connie Sellecca in the shower in a Phycho like scene. Now that would be something you'd think I'd remember because I had a big time crush on Connie from Hotel and her other show Greatest American Hero. John Tesh you lucky son of a gun.

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  13. In Tulsa we had "The Plenty Scary Movie" Friday nights. I'm amazed now that my parents let me stay up cause I was only about 11 at the time. It was mostly old Universal horror movies, 1950s B movies with giant insects, The original King Kong and Mighty Joe Young, stuff like that, so the content wasn't bad, it was the time. I don't think it started till 11:30 or something. There's even a web site for it: http://tulsatvmemories.com/plenty.html There's an old promo for it one the page! How cool is that? That whole website is cool for those of who grew up in Tulsa.

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  14. I grew up watching Creature Feature with Count Gore De Vol out of DC 20 and Ghost Host on channel 45 from Baltimore. They introduced me the old Universals, Hammer films, Ray Harryhausen and more. I agree with Lacey. I now look forward to seeing Svengoolie showing Universal horror films on ME-TV every Saturday night.

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  15. Mind it was short run (four total episodes)and very neglected by the general public but CBS's Time Express (1979) gave us Vincent Price and real-life wife Coral Browne at his-her satirical best !

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  16. "I don't know how my eleven year old brain would have computed Brooke Adam's nude scene in Invasion of the Body Snatchers."

    I know how mine would've. Not so very much older when I first saw the film, with that as a highlight.

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  17. Back in 1958 my friend and I snuck into Channel 7, NY and were able to meet Zacherley and watch his show LIVE in the studio on a regular basis. I have known him all these years and consider Zack not only a 'true original' but also one of
    the nicest people I have ever met.

    Check out: Zacherley on You Tube under That's Brooklyn Nostalgia - Halloween Edition

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