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Start of C Listings — BIG page (all those "COUNT"s), so please be patient while it loads!

Cadaver, Dr.

Cadaver, Ivonna

Cadaver, Madam

Cadaverino, Dr. *

Cadaverious, Floyd

Captain Harold

Captain M. T. Space
(see M. T. Space)

(Dave DeWitt)

Visit Fiery-Foods.com, "the Fiery Foods and Barbecue Supersite" — Dave DeWitt's Web hot spot these days!

Name of show?
Saturday at midnight (pre-taped)
KOAT-TV, Channel 7 (Albuquerque, New Mexico)

  • E-gorespodent "rnigma" remembers this host:
    The Captain was supposedly an alien who arrived on earth in an egg-shaped craft (3 years before "Mork & Mindy"). The insignia on the chest of his spacesuit was a cracked egg with a lightning bolt coming out of it. I still recall his theme song after 22 years:
    Born on a planet far away,
    Captain Space landed here one day;
    Captain Space really must seem
    The strangest cat that you've ever seen.
    Captain Space don't cost six million dollars,
    He's the man with the strangest powers;
    Oh, Captain, stay here on earth,
    We all know what you're really worth.
    Captain Space, you're the guy for me,
    Floating around in my TV;
    I wanna see what you can't see,
    A space cadet's what I'm bound to be...
    The Captain had sketches between movie segments and commercials, such as a sketch called "Aliens Among Us," and fan mail, along with his soliloquies on his favorite beverage, Yucca Beer.
  • Once in a while I, E-gor, receive very special e-mail like the following! —
    Hello E-Gor:

    Dave DeWitt here. I played Captain Space on KOAT-TV in Albuquerque 1975-76. I was astounded to find us listed in your database! Wayne Scheiner played Rusty the Robot. The show was indeed at midnight on Saturday, but was pre-taped. We were up against "Star Trek" and "Saturday Night Live" and beat them both in the ratings (I still have the Arbitron ratings in a file). We had to buy the time from the station and sell our own commercials, but we still made some money. I would start off the show by reading all the hate mail and I think that endeared me to the audience. Yucca Beer was indeed one of our fake sponsors, and your correspondent got our theme song mostly correct—hell, I can't even remember all the lyrics. Wayne sang the theme song which we co-wrote. The movies were mostly old sci-fi flicks like Revolt of the Triffids [aka Day of the Triffids — E-gor]. We would advise viewers to switch to another station because the movies we were showing were so bad—but they didn't!

    Thirty years later I'm now known as "The Pope of Peppers" because I'm an expert on chile peppers and spicy foods, with more than 30 published books of the subject—see www.fiery-foods.com. Wayne runs his own advertising agency and we're still best friends. All we have left of Captain Space are some still photos and fond memories.

    Best regards,
    Dave DeWitt

Dave DeWitt as Captain Space

Dave DeWitt as Captain Space, on KOAT-TV, Albuquerque NM.
Click to see a signed photo of the Captain, courtesy of Dave DeWitt!


Card, Count Alu

(Bob Beideman, Andrew Ely, Virginia Ely, Mia Rotondo, P.D. Cacek)
Visit the Patient Creatures Ltd. Website.
Horror Host Underground Network
Circulating videotape guest appearances
200? - Present
Live appearances at monstrous film festivals and other shows and events throughout the year (see Calendar of Events on the Patient Creatures Website for a schedule of forthcoming appearances).
  • The cast of the live-performance / storytelling troupe called the Patient Creatures has evolved over the years, but currently includes: Bob Beideman as white-cloaked, skull-faced storyteller Carpathian; Andrew Ely as towering, black-cloaked Mr. Reaper (Carpathian's Cousin Grim); Virginia Ely as scarlet-coated, ram-horned, devilish Miss Kuzibah; Mia Rotondo as delightfully daffy vampiress Miss Scarlett; and P.D. Cacek as the Celtic Banshee Moira.

  • The travelling troupe has a distinguished history going back to the late 1980's and the now-defunct Haunted Theatre, which was the premiere haunted house in Pennsylvania at that time. See "A Pictorial History of the Patient Creatures" on their Website for more information.

  • Current TV host and Horror Host Underground co-founder A. Ghastlee Ghoul wrote a note to E-gor about them:
    Carpathian and The Patient Creatures are storytellers and short filmmakers, not technically TV horror hosts. The only segments they have done for TV were the ones you saw on the comp tape and some bits they did for The Nightshadow's "Attack of the B-Movie Horror Hosts" special. We hope to change that though, with an HDTV project that is in the works.
    Note from E-gor: the "comp tape" Ghastlee mentions is TV Horror Hosts from Coast to Coast, available on videotape and DVD-R from the HHU Website store. It includes segments of a wide variety of contemporary hosts, including clips of the Patient Creatures hosting a real turkey, I Eat Your Skin, as guests of Virginia horror host Dr. Sarcofiguy on his show's "Spooky Movie Thanksgiving Leftover Special".

Carradine, John


(Real name=?)
Creature Feature (first film of double feature; see NOTE)
Saturday afternoon
Independent Channel 56 (now WLVI) (Boston, Massachusetts)
Early 70s
  • Boston fan Paula O'Keefe, in a long e-mail on SIMON, briefly introduced us to this new host: "I wonder if someone may have confused (Simon) with Ch. 56's similar-looking Cecil, who hosted their "Creature Feature" Saturday afternoon horror movie (a double feature with "Tales From The Unknown," which showed science-fiction films and was hosted by a robotic voice known only as Bruce). It would be an easy mistake as they did look rather alike and were both appearing in the Boston area in roughly the same time period."

Cerberus, Professor *

Cecil Creape, Sir *

Cherry Payne

Chester (Burnett)

Chester the Werewolf

(Bill Cardille)

See Pittsburgh Horror Hosts, a subset of pages on the "E-gor's Chamber" web site that's dedicated to collecting information about horror hosting activities in Iron City! If you can contribute new data, PLEASE DO — E-mail E-gor!

Check out the Chiller Theater Memories Yahoo Group! The group owner and moderator, John Buriak, is a long-time fan of the show and he says "Everyone is welcomed! Come in to the Castle and Laboratory and share your Chiller Theater Memories!" Check out the fast-growing collection of great pictures and multimedia goodies!

Visit John Buriak's Chiller Theater Memories website, with another rapidly-proliferating bunch of show-related stuff dug up by John's research (including a complete list of the movies shown -- see next item!) and/or contributed by hardcore Chilly Billy fans.

See Chiller Theater Movies, a complete, year-by-year list of all the movies Chilly Billy hosted during the entire run of the show, painstakingly researched by John Buriak for his Chiller Theater Memories group.

Read a great historical view of Chilly Billy's TV career, Monster Chiller Horror Theater: Growing Up MonsterMad with Pittsburgh's 'Chilly Billy' Cardille and Chiller Theater by Paul Riggie in issue #1 (July 1997) of MonsterMad, E-gor's one-shot monsterzine!

Read a terrific Chilly Billy interview conducted by Robert (Bobb) Cotter and Paul Riggie, reprinted with permission from the magnifico "MexicanMonsterMovieMag" Santo Scene # 11 (Vol. 2, # 3, October 2001).

Read How I Spent One Chilly Halloween, or "My Visit to Chilly Billy's Castle" by Susan Donley Johnston — a fan's memories of appearing on the Halloween 1980 Chiller Theater show... in a hunchback costume!

See Chilly MemoraBillya — a treasure trove of Chiller Theater autographed photos, records, posters, fan merchandise and other cool stuff! Got something cool and different? — share it with other fans!

Read Goodbye, Chilly Billy by Pittsburgh Press reporter Mike Hasch on The NEW Authorized Rege Cordic, Cordic & Co. and Olde Frothingslosh web site. (Originally published in The Pittsburgh Press, Saturday, December 31, 1983.)

See bio and images of Chilly Billy — and hundreds of images of a host of other horrors — at the incredible Horror Host Gallery website, courtesy of video shockaeologist Thomas Rudé!

See Bill "Chilly Billy" Cardille's Internet Movie Database info.

Check out Bill Cardille's current Pittsburgh radio show on the WJAS-AM 1320 website.

Chiller Theater
Saturday night, Sunday night, Saturday afternoon (?), Saturday late-night (see NOTES)
WIIC-TV (later WPXI-TV), Channel 11 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
September 14, 1963 - New Year's Eve/Day, 1983/1984
Chiller Theater Reunion Special (60-minute one-shot; no movie)
Saturday, 10:00 p.m.
WPXI-TV, Channel 11 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
December 14, 1991 (also aired several times since)
Chiller Theater: One More Time (one-shot special)
Sunday, 12:30 p.m.
WPXI-TV, Channel 11 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
Halloween season 1998 (part of "The WPXI Halloween Special")
(See Chiller Theater TV Log for a growing list of movies shown — E-gor.)

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
whole chapter and picture (of Chilly Billy's LP jacket) in Ch. 8, "Chilly Billy: or Night of the Living Horror Host," pp. 65-69.

Other book reference:
  • Two-page article with 6 photos, "'Chilly Billy' Cardille: Pittsburgh's own nighttime 'chiller' host," in The Collectors Guide to Monster Magazines (2nd printing, March 1978) by Bob Michelucci.

Magazine references:

  • Four-page feature article, "The Emcee that Ate Pittsburgh" by R. Berrian in issue #53 (May, 1986) of Fangoria.

  • Wonderful five-page feature with 10 pictures, Monster Chiller Horror Theater: Growing Up MonsterMad with Pittsburgh's 'Chilly Billy' Cardille and Chiller Theater by longtime show fan Paul Riggie in issue #1 (July 1997) of MonsterMad, pp. 12-16. (MonsterMad was E-gor's first (and so far only) attempt at monsterzine editing and publishing, kiddies!)

  • Chillerific seven-page interview with Bill Cardille with 2 pictures, It's... Saturday Night... time for CHILLER THEATER... with your host, CHILLY BILLY!!! originally published in Bobb Cotter's great "MexicanMonsterMovieMag" Santo Scene # 11 (Vol. 2, # 3, October 2001), pp. 31-37 (unnumbered). The interview was conducted by "Dr. Riggie Jr." (Paul Riggie) and "Roberto C" (Bobb Cotter) at the Monster Bash 2001 convention near Pittsburgh, and is reprinted with permission on this website at the link above.

  • Great seven-page feature with fascinating interview and nine pictures, "At Long Last...Chiller Theater and a CHILLY BILLY CARDILLE Interview" by John Skerchock in Scary Monsters Presents Monster Memories #6, 1998 Yearbook (January 1998), pp. 24-30.


  • Chiller Theater first aired on at 11:30 pm on Saturday, September 14, 1963, The show aired for several months at different times on Saturday and Sunday, but soon settled into a regular slot on Saturday night at 11:30, normally with double-features.

    Chilly Billy sometimes referred to the show as Channel 11's "Saturday Late Show" during Chiller Theater's final, single-feature late-night run following Saturday Night Live. For a while (dates being researched, but c. 1985), Channel 11 continued to run late-night horror movies under the title The Saturday Late Show in an unhosted show; Bill Cardille provided voice-over narration for this show.

  • Bill Cardille is still on the radio airwaves with "music, memories, and observations" (and some of his old TV skits) on Pittsburgh station WJAS-AM 1320, weekdays from 10 am - 3 pm.

  • The "Chiller Theater family" included: "Chilly Billy" (Bill Cardille), "Terminal Stare" (icy, sexy, stony-silent Donna Rae), beautiful "Sister Susie" (Joyce Sterling), "Norman, the Castle Keeper (Norman Elder; died September 18, 2000, see note with obituary below), "Stefan, the Castle Prankster" (Steve Luncinski; died January 9, 2009: see obituary), and "Georgette the Fudgemaker" (Bonnie Sue Barney), with occasional appearances by other characters like "Skeets Skeltino the Pizza Man," "Sister Suzie" and "Beauregard C. Beauregard" (Ted James).

  • Marilyn Eastman, well-known to horror fans as "Helen Cooper" in George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead, had a regular recurring role in the 60s as "Commoneltha," the vampire lady, in commercials for Commonwealth Plumbing and Heating written by her NotLD husband (and longtime creative partner), Karl Hardman.

  • Guest stars on the show included the late-great horror icon Vincent Price, comedienne Phyllis Diller, actress Barbara (Get Smart) Feldon, Lorne Greene (Bonanza and Battlestar Galactica), and legendary pro wrestler Bruno Sammartino.

  • Bill Cardille appeared as himself (as Channel 11 news reporter) in both the 1968 and 1990 versions of Night of the Living Dead. Bill's daughter, actress Lori Cardille, starred as "Sarah" in the 1985 NotLD sequel Day of the Dead.

  • Chilly Billy released an album, "Chilly Billy Goes on Record," on the Gateway label, and a 45 single, "Chilly Billy's Vamp," on the Vampire label.

  • The Chiller Theater theme music was Henry Mancini's "Experiment in Terror," composed for the film with that name. The arrangement used on the show was not one of the variations on the original soundtrack; it was a raunchy, rockin' arrangement performed by guitarist Al Caiola. Both the soundtrack and Caiola versions are available on CD -- see details and ordering info here!

  • The show came to an end during the Halloween season in 1998 with a special called Chiller Theater: One More Time, featuring a showing of the original 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which Chilly Billy and Channel 11 helped young director George Romero to promote and produce in Pittsburgh thirty years earlier. Romero appeared as Chilly's guest and discussed the film during the hosted segments. At the end of the show Chilly Billy announced his impending retirement and said a very moving goodbye to his fans and supporters.

  • Chilly Billy fan Pete Ferraro writes:
    I grew up in Pittsburgh and used to watch Chiller Theater late nights on Saturdays. In grade school, I once met Bill at a little league dinner banquet -- he was the guest of honor. Many years later, I eventually went on to work in television, and as corny as it may sound, I later realized I had "finally made it" when I began working next to "Chilly Billy" in the newsroom as a Promotion Writer/Producer for WPXI-TV (I was the envy of all...my family). TV can be a cutthroat business. But Bill really helped me get through some tough days at WPXI as a young producer. As far out as he seemed on Chiller Theater, in reality he was the most down-to-earth person at the station. He is a true gentleman and has earned his place in local TV horror history.
  • Dedicated Chiller fan Bill Yester remembered a landmark date in this note:
    As a long time fan, I really like your web site. The memory of the first showing of Chiller Theater is still vivid in my mind. I was ten years old, and my parents allowed me to stay up and watch. The first showing was Saturday, September 14, 1963 at 11:30 pm. I can still picture the ad in the Pittsburgh Press .... I don't think I missed more than one or two shows over the life of the series.
  • Erik Von Gorr kindly permitted us to reprint his e-mail on Bill Cardille, originally posted to the Yahoo Horrorhosts group, with the comment "i'd be honored! i'm glad you enjoyed my anecdotes! Bill Cardille is a class act!" Here goes:
    i am a fan of his radio show, which is on 1320 AM, WJAS between 10:00 am & 3:00 pm.
    he plays GREAT old popular tunes you won't hear anywhere else AND does his "strange but true" and other features that he originally did on Chiller Theater, and frequently has old cast members on!
    a Chilly Billy story i have; one hot summer i was painting my house and i was in a terrible mood due to the humidity, and i turned on wjas and listened to his show.
    he usually played Roy Orbison's "Crying" and i really wanted to hear it, so i called in to request it.
    Billy answered and apologized that he could not play my request, because the play list was all pre-programmed, so we talked for awhile about music we liked and i hung up, impressed with how friendly and down to earth he was.
    then years later, maybe 5 years, i saw him at the monster bash and started chatting with him about his show and music again, and i mentioned that i had called his show once, and he told me he remembered when i called in to request "crying"!!!!!!
    pretty cool guy!

    also, i was with my friend, a girl with cherry red-dyed hair.
    he kept calling her "red".
    the last time i saw him a couple years later, upon seeing me, right away he says, "hey, where's 'red'?" !!
    that was before i even said anything to him!
    pretty sharp!
    Aside from E-gor: Erik is well-known in sinister circles as an accomplished artist and collector of "all things monster" who creates awesomely grotesque monster dolls (including a growing set of TV horror host action figures!), paintings, T-shirts and other monster stuff, which he displays and sells at shows and on his Pittsburgh-based Haunt Kraft website. Here's more comments from Eric's e-gorrespondence:
    Reading your Chilly Billy feature brought to mind that he would often have Steve Luncinski ("Stephen, the Castle Prankster" from the TV show — E-gor) on his radio show, calling him, "and now heres Steve Luncinski, our man about town!" and then Steve would do some veiled plug about some restauraunt or something, but it usually turned into them just shooting the bull.
    i haven't heard Steve on there since around '99.
    once i was listening at work and Bruno Sammartino stopped by -- it was one of the funniest moments and one of the best and most memorable shows i have ever heard!
    basically, what happened is, at noon, Bruno suddenly appears, -- it really didn't seem planned, ( but one never knows with Mr. Cardille!) and those two just started shooting the breeze.
    well, by and by, it dissolved into this hilarious jam-session about women and all kinds of stuff! they were laughing really hard & Bruno started telling stories about his mother and other personel experiences.
    this went on for a really long time, and i got the impression that they had forgotten entirely about the audience.
    it was like eaves-dropping on a conversation at a bar!
    that's what i think is special about Bill Cardille, he makes his audience feel firmiliar and like he is speaking directly to you.
  • Charlie Harris, one of E-gor's former co-workers, used to see Norman "The Castle Keeper" Elder hitchhiking and frequently gave him lifts. Sadly, Charlie also brought the sad news that Norman had passed away, and contributed this obituary from the Steubenville (Ohio) Herald Star:
    Norman Elder, former 'Chiller Theater' regular
    STEUBENVILLE -- Norman Elder, 50, of Steubenville, who played the Castle Keeper on WPXI-TV's "Chiller Theater", died Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2000 at Trinity Medical Center West.
    He was born Oct. 2, 1949, in Jefferson county, a son of the late Melvin and Rose Walker Elder. In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by a brother, Archie; and a sister, Betty Jane Elder.
    He was Protestant by faith. He was a member for many years of Bil Cardille's ensemble cast on the weekly horror film double-feature that was a mainstay of Tri-State Area television.
    Surviving are two brothers, Randy of Steubenville and John of Brunswick; and two sisters, Patricia Merino of Steubenville and Ella Mosser of Weirton.
  • Todd Warren sent the following comments:
    Just visited your fantastic Horror Hosts site. I am particularly impressed with your coverage of Chilly Billy -- great info!
    I grew up in the Pittsburgh area during the early to mid 70's and looked forward to watching Chiller Theater every Saturday night. I remember watching my first Chiller (double feature: Missile Monsters and The Frozen Ghost) in 1973 when I was a young nine-year-old lad. This was a very big deal and sealed my interest in horror films for life. My younger brother and I enjoyed many memorable Chiller features until moving to Colorado in 1976.
    In recent years I have become a collector of rare horror films and Chilly Billy memorabilia. My prized possession is a video of the 1991 Chiller Theater Reunion Special along with vintage Chiller clips (1974 interview with Lorne Green, classic intro with Barbara Feldon, and other rare bits). I have also kept an old scrapbook with undated Chiller feature clippings from TV Guide and The Pittsburgh Press from 1974-1976.
    You may be interested to know that Chiller ran some Triple Features for a short while during 1975!
    I am looking to correspond with other Chilly Billy fans and always looking for collector Chiller memorabilia.
    Thanks, Todd Warren
  • Jim in Pittsburgh remembers:
    It's Saturday. And time for Chiller Theater with your host Chilly Billy Cardille!
    I remember his jokes during the breaks were called "Chilly Billy Sillies." I can also remember him peddling new glow-in-the-dark monster models from the Aurora manufacturer.
    I can remember the crew either being partied out or drunk and howling during his monologue.
    It was my favorite show. At 12 years old I loved it.
  • From Richard Santus:
    Saw your Chiller Theater site and thought I'd write. I too was, and am, a BIG Chiller Theater fan. I started watching it in the late 60s and continued through its '84 finale. I attended some of Bill's appearances at malls, "haunted" houses and even a couple of show tapings in the mid-to late 70s.
    Bill, as you probably know, regularly attends the summer Monster Bash convention in PA, where he signs autographs and mugs for fans' photos.
    I miss Chiller Theater, but am grateful sites such as yours help keep the memory alive.
  • Another old fan of the show, Malcolm Gittins, shared his memories of visiting the Chiller Theater set (and working with Chilly Billy) with the Monster Bash Convention Yahoo Group, and sent me additional details by e-mail. Here's a conglomerated adaptation of his comments:
    Growing up in Pittsburgh the place to be every Saturday was Chiller Theater. Chilly Billy was and is the coolest host ever, and on several occasions he scared the heck out of me!!

    I'm very lucky that during the 1970's I began sending my art work to him and he would show it at the end of the show. And I was even luckier to attend a Chiller taping on October 9th, 1976! It was the second week of the new Castle set (which debuted on October 2nd, 1976), and I was the first guest to see it live. It looked so much better in person... I had a blast! (That October 2 show was also the first appearance of Norman, and the rest of the Chiller family would be added over the next few months.)

    From there we struck up a correspondence... I wrote a couple of "Strange but Trues" that he used on air, and to this day he has been a great friend and very supportive of me and my art work. I also have a lot of "inside" info on Chiller and Chilly Billy cause we corresponded all thru the 70's and we've stayed in touch since then.

    I've got some rare Chiller Theater and Chilly Billy fotos I took on the set, and lots of other Chiller collectibles including, as far as I know, the only existing script from the show!


    Beast, Malcolm
  • Bill Conger writes:
    For some unknown reason I did a Google search on "Chilly Billy horror movie" and came across your website. This is really cool. I was born in 1970 so I was young in the seventies but I remember staying up late when our family friends from Munhall came to stay. I was the youngest of a group of 6 kids. I only have some vague memories of the actual show but we all remember one episode with a movie villain that one of the older kids named "the ugly eye guy." It seems to me that some of the skits had an almost MST3k look to them.
    I read on another website that almost no recordings exist of the show. That is really unfortunate.
    Anyways thanks for the dedication.
    BTW do you know an email for Bill Cardille?
    Fans and friends can send Bill e-mail via a "mailto" link on his bio page for the Pittsburgh radio station where he works now, WJAS-AM 1320 — E-gor!

Chiller Theater cast photo

Chiller Theater cast
(left to right):
Terminal Stare, "Chilly Billy" Cardille, Norman the Castle Keeper, Sister Susie and Stephen the Castle Prankster.
Click for larger view.

Christ, Peaches

(Reed Pasternak, aka Reed Farrell)
Theater of Thrills
Friday night? Saturday night? at 11:30 pm
WJRT, Channel 12 (Flint, Michigan)
February 1963 - fall 1966? 1967?
  • There seems to be some disagreement about what night the show aired, Friday or Saturday, and when it ended, 1966 or 1967; until we get the final word on these subjects, the following comments will run unquestioned.

  • E-gorespondent Robert Maisch supplied initial info about this "missing horror host" in April 2004:
    Dear Egor,
    I ran across your site and wanted to contribute the name of Christopher Coffin to your expanding list of television horror hosts from the fifties, sixties and seventies. He hosted "Theatre of Thrills" on WJRT-TV, Channel 12, the ABC affiliate out of Flint Michigan from roughly 1962 through 1966 on Saturday nights at 11:30.
    He wore a black fedora, sunglasses and a cape and spoke in an echo-chambered voice to try and scare the kiddies watching. The spoken opening was something like
    GHOSTS! GHOULS! Tales of HORROR...and maybe, even MURDER!!!! Worldwide Home Furnishings presents THEATRE OF THRILLS!!! I am Christopher Coffin and tonights feature is...
    My recollection is that the guy playing Christopher Coffin was named Reed Farrell, who did voiceovers for the station and was also Nu-Vision Optical Company's on-air TV pitch man at the time.
    I remember he ran really second-rate movies such as X the Man with the X-Ray Eyes with Ray Milland, Frankenstein 1970 and a lot of the Roger Corman crap of the time. We watched em all cuz, sitting in the middle of Michigan (Midland) on a Saturday night, what the hell else was there to watch at that hour? Honestly, I think the two other network affiliate stations in that area signed-off at around midnight during weekend nights.
    At any rate, I hope this will help you in your research into this fascinating subject.
    Best regards,
    Rob Maisch
    Lytle Hoover, whose informative e-mail follows, says that the show sponsor, Wordlwide Home Furnishings, was a local furniture store chain in the Flint / Saginaw / Bay City TV area — E-gor

  • Another TV horror host, the inimitable DOKTOR GOULFINGER, posted more details about this host on Keith Milford's Vintage Detroit TV and Movie Board:
    Christopher Coffin was played by Reed Pasternak (aka Reed Farrell), a former DJ (of course! with that deep and smooth voice). He debuted on WJRT Ch 12 out of Flint, MI between February 1963 (same month and year as Ghoulardi!) and ran through 1967. I've only seen a few clips of Christopher Coffin, courtesy of a WJRT anniversary show, but he was clearly "the goods". In some ways, he reminded me of Ghoulardi, with the resonant voice and hip attitude. But, unlike Ghoulardi, he seemed to inject a real undercurrent of menace into his show — kind of a darker Addams Family / Ed Gorey / Gahan Wilson quality. Even with the mere 5 or so minutes I've come across, he's made his way to the top end of my fave list.
  • Lytle Hoover followed up in July 2005 with GREAT inside information about this host and his show in several e-mails (combined and slightly adapted here):
    I was one on the directors on WJRT's Theater of Thrills, starring Christopher Coffin. I can fill in some missing info on your Bio of him and the show itself..
     The show was each Friday night at 11:30 pm (the night school students could stay up late). Reed Pasternak (aka Reed Farrell) was Christopher Coffin. After radio, Reed started a TV advertising agency in Flint placing many of his clients on WJRT and performed their commercials at the station using the name Reed Farrell. WJRT had the only Video Tape recorder in the state of Michigan for one year when they went on-air in October 1958. Reed could pre-record our commercials and do his others live at other stations. When others stations got VTRs we produced his tapes for those other stations. Since WJRT was an ABC-TV affiliate we had local programming after 11pm. Movies were shown each night with the Friday Night one being the old classic horror movies. These did poorly, revenue wise, and in ratings against The Tonight Show.
     In 1963 WJRT now owned two Ampex VTRs. Reed wanted to place clients in the late movie, but couldn't place many because of the low ratings. Reed conceived the idea of having a live host on the movie to try to boost the ratings; then he could place his clients' ads in it.
     He developed the Christopher Coffin character in the following manner so people would not recognized him as one of the commercial performers during the movie. He sat in a wheelchair, with a lap robe, to disguise his height and body shape. He wore a black hat to cover his hairline, sunglasses to cover his eyes, and a mustache/goatee beard over his mouth. This all made him look very sinister and he spoke in a very deeptone loud scary voice to change his regular voice. He did this to keep the audience from recognizing that he was actually "Reed Farrell" who also appeared in the World Wide Home Furniture Stores commercials within the same TOT movie, who totally sponsored the first half of the movie. "Reed Farrell" also did some commercials in the second half of movie for other sponsors, such as NU-VISION Optical Company, etc. He would come on live at each break in the movie and then again after the commercials before returning back to the film.
      The segments included scary little skits that carried a plot that went on throughout the movie. Most times these themes tied into the movie's plot. We would sometimes insert quick takes of Chris within the movie itself. This made the audience watch for him all through the movie as well as in the commercial breaks.

    The title Theater of Thrills was superimposed over the out-of-focus live shot of the coffin. It oscillated back and forth. This was done by shooting the white title on a black card on the other live camera which had an audio oscillator clipped on its video wire that caused its video to vibrate. This wire was removed after the opening so the camera could be used as a 2nd camera on the set..
     Christopher Coffin lived in a very large endless old, Dracula-type, haunted castle. He would be located in various parts of it at each movie break describing what it was and doing some sort of running story that tied into the movie that was showing. This was accomplished by a very inventive production department at the station. At first the backgrounds were large rear screen projections of old castles photographed from books at the Flint Public Library, along with scenery & stage props that production crew members searched for around the city and borrowed for the show. Different slides were used in each segment. Later we created a large castle crypt set in our station garage by using paper mache stones to cover the wall, columns, and overhead archways..
     One of best props, I found for use in the skits. It was an old horse drawn hearse. I borrowed it and towed it to the station and kept it for a couple of weeks. A grave yard was built outdoors in the back of the TV station and the hearse was parked in it. Chris sat up on the drivers seat pretending there were horses. In the segments he dropped off a corpse or picked one up then drove off. Crew members pulled the hearse out of the TV picture at the end of each segment.
     While there we videotaped 20-30 segments on a reel of videotape after using hearse for the first show. Segments included Chris on the hearse with mummies and zombies walking around in the background of the cemetery during segment: played by camera crew members. One segment included a (buried crewman) corpse breaking through the ground rising up out of the grave. We could save these and add them to other shows when needed. This was also true for Frankenstein. A local man came over to show us his costume and makeup. These segments were put on another "keeper tape" so Chris could periodically visit with "Frankie." Several reels were developed like this to include randomly in the regular taping sessions.
     The ultimate special effect was making Christopher Coffin appear and disappear. We created this special effect before Videotape synchronization to live video was possible. We created this illusion by doing it in reverse. We synchronized the station's live video to the video tape machine. It was extremely hard to do, but possible. First you lock a live camera in on a static camera shot and record 30-40 minutes of that picture. This can only be done while you are in network video. When done you start playing back that recorded picture and try locking all the live camera picture to the VTRs signal. This breaks up all the 20-30 video monitors in the entire control room. This electrically may take up to 10-20 seconds. If it is longer you had to stop and start over so you don't damage the electronics in to other video equipment.
     Once this is accomplished it is possible to match dissolve from the live cameras to the vtr recorder. Then anyone in the live static camera will disappear when you dissolve to recorded camera that has an empty picture. Using the effect we bought an actual coffin so Chris could lay in it for the show. Each show we pretaped a static shot of the tilted up coffin with the lid closed for the show opening and opened the lid with a thin wire. Once the lid was open we would very slowly dissolve to Chris lying in the coffin on the live camera. The picture was always perfect and Chris would then sit up to do the segment. When done he laid back and we dissolved back to the empty casket. I used this technique in several different ways over the years such as Chris accidentally disintegrating a corpse on his laboratory table when he tried to duplicate Dr. Frankenstein's experiment of bringing it to life.
     Fortunately I still have many of those TOT segments on VHS tape which I had provided to the WJRT Anniversary show.
     As the years went by the show became so popular we received tons of fan mail with scary poems, stories & pictures which Chris used on the air. In the last year of the show we cut out that feature, because we were so convincing we realized some viewers thought we were for real. We actually received real mail from some satanic groups and witches. We had to cut back on content of the skits and only use brief wrap-arounds to the commercials. Thus this led to dropping Theater of Thrills when we switched over to live color in the fall of 1967.
    Lytle Hoover - Cherry Hill, NJ
    PS - one other movie role Reed was infamous for was in an old low-budget "Rock & Roll Movie" for about 15 seconds. He is a protesting DJ at a radio station who takes a 78 rpm record and smashes it on the turntable because it is "Rock & Roll" and says the line "NO MORE ROCK & ROLL." Funny thing I saw it again years later on a PBS documentary on the history of R&R music. The narrator says "In the early days many DJ refused to play R&R music... " They showed this clip of Reed as if it had been an actual occurance - HA!
  • The forthcoming documentary on horror hosts, American Scary, will feature clips of Christopher Coffin and interview footage with Reed Farrell. Here's the background information (slightly adapted) they provide about him from the bio page on their website:
    (Reed Farrell)
    Reed Farrell's long and colorful career has spanned decades and media. As a top-rated deejay, Farrell provided the intro at an Elvis concert and shook hands with John F. Kennedy. But to horror hungry fans in Flint, MI, he will always be remembered as Christopher Coffin, the "Guardian of the Ghouls" on WJRT's Theater of Thrills. The show ran between early 1963 and late 1966 on the local channel 12. At the height of the program's popularity, Christopher Coffin was presenting two double bills a week; one horror, the other sci-fi themed.
    As citizen of a world between the living and the dead, Coffin would fade into his namesake storage unit to share letters and art work from the viewers. At other times, he would use a wheelchair .... to tour his crypt and conduct various strange experiments — his deep, commanding voice adding genuine weight and menace to the darkly humorous proceedings.
    In later years, Farrell served as president of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. He continues to do commercial voice work, while indulging in his passion for golf.

(Chuck Acri and Ken Gibson)
Visit the Acri Company business website, which has GREAT show references including lots of pictures!
Check out the great show info on this Acri Creature Features subsite of the House of Jitters website.
Acri Creature Feature
Friday at midnight
WQAD, Channel 8 (Moline, Illinois)
WEEK-TV, Channel 25 (Peoria, Illinois)
Friday at midnight
KLJB-TV / KLJB-DT, Fox Channel 18 (Davenport, Iowa)
Saturdays at midnight
May 28, 2005 - present

Magazine reference:
  • Discussed in feature article, "Monster Memories of the aluminum siding horror host" by Johnny Gilbert, in issue #19 of Scary Monsters (June 1996), pp. 104-109. Brief fan memories and 14 images, mostly from a 4-page "Creature Feature Family Album" flyer.
  • Illinois horror hostorian Mark Angelcyk provides details on the show's Moline incarnation, and on Vincent Hedges:
    In the late sixties, certainly throughout 1970 and 1971, WQAD featured the original CHUCK ACRI CREATURE FEATURE. You have the show referenced as being on WEEK-TV Channel 25 out of Peoria, Illinois, which it was — but that was much later. The original was on WQAD-TV Moline. Acri owned a large home improvement business in the Midwest and sponsored the Creature Feature on Saturday night, but that was a single feature and didn't come on until midnight. His featured horror host was a character called Vincent Hedges, and he was a ghoul of the Zacherley type, complete with cape and tuxedo and waxed-down hair. Hedges and his continually changing supporting cast performed rather elaborate skits during the movie breaks: In particular, I remember one where they supposedly kidnapped a young girl either in a mall parking lot or off a downtown street, wrapped her in a sheet, stuffed her into their traveling hearse and brought her back to the basement laboratory where they started operating. The highlight of the operation was when the ghoul pulled an old-fashioned string of link hot dogs out from under the sheet to signify that the operation was successful! I wonder how that would go over today? I'm sure people who lived in the Midwest in the Quad-City area of the Mississippi River will remember this show well, and add things to it that I just can't remember. Vincent Hedges was played by one of Acri's siding applicators and carpenters named Ken Gibson. After a couple of years, he quit working for Acri, in large part because Acri was paying him next to nothing extra to perform on the shows! Gibson was one of those master carpenters who went where the work and the money was and didn't stay in one place very long. I can assert all of this because for a year or two, when he was plying his trade in my area, he was on the same bowling team (he was an oustanding bowler) with me, and now and then would tell stories about his time on the Creature Feature. I haven't seen him for over twenty years and don't have a clue as to where he is now. But Ken Gibson was his real name.
  • Peoria fan John Whisler remembers:
    There is a horror host I used to watch with my Dad in the early '70s out of Peoria, Illinois.... His name is Chuck Acri and he hosted the Acri Creature Feature from 1968-76. There were a few other cast members. Chuck would most often be dressed in a replica jacket that the Michael Landon Teenage Werewolf wore, and some times would come back as the werewolf. There was a Dracula character and a regular wolfman character named Beauregard (?); sometimes a caveman would appear. Chuck would show kids drawings they sent in and fill in between commercials. I remember one time the whole group came to our local highschool and played some mock basketball. I have the greatest memories of the show and watching it with my Dad. Chuck has a business (then and now) the Acri Company which sells storm doors, windows, gutters, etc. They have a website and he mentions the show and there is a picture in the companies bio section (see Acri Company web site.)
  • Another Peoria fan, Tom Boyd notes:
    Chuck would go down the stairs into his dungeon every Friday night at midnight to host the movie with his sidekick, Bernie the Skull, who lived in a black box on the set. There were weekly segments on film of several characters (Dracula, Frankenstein, Werewolf & Creature from the Black Lagoon) running around Peoria locales doing slapstick. I also remember him having a bulletin board where he hung drawings sent in by fans.
  • According to the Acri Creature Features pages on the House of Jitters website, the show's cast of characters over the years included: Chuck Acri as himself; Ken Gibson as Vincent Hedges, the vampire; Don Molander as Emmett, the hunchback; ? as Beauregard, the werewolf; ? as The Missing Link, the caveman; ? as Bertie, the maid; Bernie, the skull as himself; and Fang, the wonderdog. It's also noted that the earliest incarnation of the show featured Bill Flannery and Don Raymond, who hosted the show and introduced Chuck Acri.

  • E-gorespondent DeAnn writes that her dad Don Molander was a regular cast member, and she remembers:
    Hi my name is DeAnn.
    My dad was the original Emmett on Acri Creature feature. It says in your pages that his limp was real. That is not so.
    (Note from E-gor: this information isn't on my site, but a fan memories page linked from the Acri Creature Features fan site noted above.)
    He was not and is not disabled and still works for WQAD TV-8. Actually he is retiring after 35 years there on 7/15/2005. Also it did not start until after July 15 1970, because we lived in Texas till then. He was not paid anything for doing it and evenyually stopped because he had 5 kids and was spending too much time away from us. I was only 5 or 6 and only watched the show a couple of times because I just couldn't stay awake. I know he had a good time doing the show and I am very proud of my dad.
    Thanks, DeAnn

(Charles DeWayne Zink)
Name of show?
Late night
WTVJ, Channel 4 (now Channel 6) (Miami, Florida)
195? - 19??
Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 3, "Invasion of the Ghost Hosts," pp. 22-23.
Magazine reference:
  • Mentioned in feature "The Horror of Them All!" in issue #13 (December 1988) of Filmfax, pp. 28-32.
  • Second host of this show, replacing ALEC GIBSON.
  • Also hosted Popeye Playhouse as "Skipper" Chuck Zink

Claude the hunchback

Cleaver, Butch R.

Clower, Randy

(Real name=?)
Supernatural Movie (?) or Scream-In (?)
Sunday evening? Saturday afternoon? Saturday evening?
WPGH-TV, UHFChannel 53 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
February 2 (?) - ?, 1969
  • E-gorespondent Joe Bacon provided great initial info about Pittsburgh station WPGH's horror shows, including this new entry and another for COUNT VON THIRSTENBURG:
    Scream-In was on channel 53 from 1969-1971. You have the last host of Scream-In, Tarantula, mentioned in your list.
    The first host of Scream-In was "COAGULUS" -- a vampire, who repeatedly lampooned the films a la Seymour in LA. He was fired after four weeks because he requested a raise.
    He was replaced by "COUNT VON THIRSTENBURG," who was really a lame host. I remember that his name was Harry (something) and he hosted Channel 53's OPEN HOUSE show, which was nothing but 30 minutes of house pictures shown on the TV. This is the guy Joe Flaherty (Pittsburgh native) supposedly based COUNT FLOYD on, because his routines were just as bad.
    "TARANTULA" replaced COUNT VON THIRSTENBURG" thankfully by painting a cross on the top of the Count's Coffin. He was much more into the role, and he remained the host of Scream-In until the station went bankrupt and was forced to shut down in mid-1971.
  • E-gorespondent FRANK-N_STEIN started writing to me in 2005, and has provided lots of great info about many of the Pittsburgh-area horror hosts and their shows, since he lived there for 42 years! Among his useful comments about this show, he noted that:
    WPGH channel 53 in Pittsburgh first went on air February 1st, 1969 and went off the air on August 16, 1971 (before coming back on in 1974). Scream-In would have to fit somewhere in that time frame.
    I have been listing Scream-In as the title of Coagulus's show, but when I acquired a nice run of Pittsburgh TV Guides from this period, I discovere that WPGH had a Sunday evening horror show called Supernatural Movie that first aired on the station's second day of broadcasting, February 2, 1969! Given the succession of three different horror movie hosts that Joe Bacon remembers during the station's short initial lifespan, I'm inclined to think that Coagulus may have been the host of Supernatural Movie, and that the station's horror showcase had a title change when it began to run on Saturdays instead of Sundays. But all this is unconfirmed speculation; if you can help to clear up the mystery, please e-mail E-gor!

Help E-gor picture this host!

If you have any sort
of information about
this horror host
(particularly a photo),
PLEASE E-mail E-gor!

Coffin, Christopher

Colossus, David the

(Rick Ammon)

Visit Gorevision, the show's official Website.

Check out the Gorevision and Commandant Gore pages at MySpace.com.

Watch Commandant Gore videos on the Veoh Video Network!

See Commandant Gore's profile page at HORRORHOSTS.com, the official site for the Horror Host Underground.

Wednesday late night at 12:30 a.m.; has also aired after midnight on other nights
Miami Valley Cable Council, Channel 23 (Centerville, Ohio)
?? 200? - present

Horror Host Underground Network
Live and circulating pre-recorded guest appearances
2003 - present
Live appearances at monstrous film festivals and other shows and events throughout the year.


  • From the GOREVISION Website:


(Jim Hendricks and his own right hand)

Visit The Video Vault, a groovie Commander USA fansite with groovie pictures, groovie quotes, groovie links, a guestbook and an invitation to join the Club (see next link)!

Check out Commander USA Groovie Movies, a Yahoo Group with lively e-mail discussions, great pictures, and an episode guide!

See Commander USA video clips on YouTube and on the Scourge Films website!

See the Commander USA's Groovie Movies entry in the Internet Movie Database, with comprehensive production credits.

See Jim Hendricks Internet Movie Database credits.

Go to Tony n' Tina's Wedding, the website for the long-running comedy play Jim Hendricks performed ceremonies in for years!

Commander USA's Groovie Movies
Saturday afternoon or Sunday afternoon at different times during run
USA Cable Network ("from a Video Vault in suburban New Jersey")
January 5th, 1985 - 1989

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
whole chapter and picture in Ch. 29, "Holy Cats, It's Commander USA's Groovie Movies!," pp. 206-212.

Another book reference:
Encyclopedia of Super Heroes by Jeff Rovin includes Commander USA!
Megan S., a major fan of the show (see her NOTE below), provided details:
I have a copy of the encyclopedia entry. It's not too long, and devoid of pics. (Just a couple very minor things were head-scratchers to me — I seem to remember the spelling of 'Groovie' with an 'ie' not a 'y,' and I don't remember the agent at all. I'd bet he was more a "pop-in" character than a costar?) Here goes:
Alter Ego: None.
First Appearance: February, 1984, Commander USA's Groovy Movies, USA Cable Network. (Sic! Both the premiere date and the spelling of "Groovie" are incorrect! — E-gor)
Occupation: None.
Costume: Red, white, and blue bodysuit with star-spangled suspenders and 'USA' on chest; domino mask. Tools and Weapons: Tele-psychotronic screen to view movies.
Biography: A retired superhero with bad knees, Commander USA lives in the basement of a shopping mall; his secret entrance leads to a doughnut store. Smoking fat cigars he hosts old science fiction movies and entertains oddball guests which have ranged from a swami to a female bodybuilder. His companion is Lefty -- a face drawn on the palm of his right hand; the Commander's agent also make occasional appearances. The hero has no known powers.
Quote: The Commander is played by former disc jockey Jim Hendricks; Barry Kluger costars as his agent.
So, that's it. How fun. I also picked up Television Horror Movie Hosts, by Elena Watson. The chapter on the Commander is such fun, but I guess I expected more behind-the-scenes or factual info. Oh well - I'm thrilled to find any info at all! I plan on rummaging through storage to find my Commander videos. Can't wait. Groovie!

  • Darren Gross, who ran a Commander USA Fan Club when the show was on the air, and who provided E-gor with the treasured autographed photo and fan club card proudly displayed with this entry, also provided great additional information:
    It's nice to know someone else is just as enthusiastic as I am about the Commander!
    I have compiled a full episode and movie guide for the Commander. It was done in the early 90's before I had a computer.
    (As he transcribes them, Darren is posting his episode guide for the show in the Files of the Commander USA's Groovie Movies Yahoo Group. See the link above for information about joining this e-mail group and accessing these files — E-gor)
    Brief clips from the show are visible in COLOR OF MONEY and in SCROOGED.
    Jim Hendricks is still acting. He's been playing the minister for the theatre/play "Tony n' Tina's Wedding" (See link above — E-gor) in NYC.
    I ran a Commander fan club back in the day and was rewarded with a thank you call from the Commander and a phone interview later which ran in the newsletter/fanzine I put out.
    ("The Groovie Gazette"! The cover of one issue is currently displayed in the Photos of the Commander USA Yahoo group; see link above — E-gor.)
    In fact, during one show, the end credits rolled over a shot of a wall that had a large note on it. On the note was written. "Reminder — Call Darren Gross!" Quite a thrill for 16 year old me! Years later when at NYU I bumped into Jim, dressed as a priest on his way to the theater for Tony n' Tina. A real nice guy and he remembered after all these years.
  • When I, E-gor, joined the Yahoo Groovie Movies group, I asked if anyone knew anything about the Commander USA's World of Horror fanzine I discovered in an eBay auction (see image in sidebar). Darren Gross came to the rescue again!:
    Funny you should ask about COMMANDER USA'S WORLD OF HORROR...
    After I put together about 9 or 10 issues of the 8-12 pg GROOVIE GAZETTE fanclub newsletter, I thought of pushing it to a more substantial 32 pg fanzine which would have the COMMANDER USA theme, but the focus would be less on the show, but more on horror, sci-fi, horror hosts and psychotronic cinema...
    I think there were only 100 to 150 printed, and technically it's the last issue of the GROOVIE GAZETTE... but by the time we went to press, the only thing COMMANDER USA about it was the cover pic and some references in the masthead/byline... It was essentially a huge interview with ANGUS SCRIMM (Phantasm) and MICHAEL T. GILBERT of the Commander-ish comic MR. MONSTER... Probably extremely rare... I only have one or two copies myself... I premiered it at the 1988 FANTACO convention in Albany and gave out Commander USA membership cards to anyone who subscribed...
    It became a real magazine for two issues in 1988/1989, a couple of thousand copies each and internationally, one a reprint of this issue with the COMMANDER USA theme dropped, and called just WORLDS OF HORROR and with a color ANGUS SCRIMM cover... and the second issue had a I, MADMAN cover feature interview with Randy Cook and content on WAXWORKS with a Anthony Hickox interview... It was a fun magazine and I thought pretty nice work for a 16/17 year old kid...
  • Megan S., who provided the Commander USA encyclopedia entry above, also remembers:
    Someday perhaps I'll tell you about my Commander Club Room and Board Game... But right now, I am sitting here kicking myself for losing my own Commander USA Fan Club Membership Card! I'd completely forgotten until now that in a fit of fanatical hysteria, I sent the Commander a letter and a drawing I'd done of him (I was.. 12? :). As a thank you, he sent me a signed membership card! What a dear! I clearly remember coming home from school and seeing the envelope on the table, addressed to me.
    What a thrill! Getting this memory back is almost as cool as getting the card in the first place. How delightful!
    "Keep your nose in the wind and your tail to yourself!"
  • The show premiered on the USA cable network from Noon to 5 pm on Saturday, January 5th, 1985, with an hour of classic Republic serials chapters (the first episodes of Zorro's Black Whip and Undersea Kingdom), followed by two psychotronic Mexican horror films, Doctor of Doom and Samson and the Vampire Women. It aired in different Saturday/Sunday day and time slots during its run, sometimes pre-empted by football broadcasts, and finally came to an end in 1989 after more than 200 episodes. For an episode guide (currently in the works from Darren Gross), join the Commander USA Yahoo group linked above!

  • Horrorhost fan "Eerie Evan" writes:
    Ahhh, Commander USA, how I remember him well. One episode that sticks out in my mind was when he showed the broadcast premiere of The Incredible Melting Man. Boy did he have fun with that one. And yes he looked and sounded very much like John Ratzenberger who played "Cliff Clavin" on Cheers.
  • Timothy Liebe worked on the show! He remembers:
    Unfortunately, I only wrote briefly for the show (bumpers for two episodes--BLOOD BEAST TERROR and SUPERBEAST, both in the last or next-to-last season, I believe).
    The people I dealt with mostly were the show's Producer, Pam Bagot, and Associate Producer, Peter Pileski, who used to be with USA Networks but aren't any longer to the best of my knowledge....
    As for Mr. Hendricks, I only met him once for about a minute. I gathered from Peter that he wasn't happy at having outside writers poaching on "his turf" (in earlier seasons, he'd apparently written most of the bumpers himself). You may already know this, but following the end of the series, Mr. Hendricks did a few commercials for the now-defunct NYC electronics superstore Crazy Eddie's (when they attempted a more low-key advertising campaign than the infamous "Their prices are--INSANE!!!!"), playing a singing loading dock foreman. (Sorry, but I don't have copies of the commercials.) I was one of several outside writers hired near the end of the show's run (at the time, I was working as an office temporary, and wrote the bumpers during lunch breaks). Two others I know of are Arn McConnell (co-director of the cult classic SHOCK! SHOCK! SHOCK!), who did one episode, and Jack Wrangler, the 70s adult film star. Mr. Wrangler .... wrote and directed several episodes. I believe he may still writing and directing under his professional name (it was a bit of a jolt to me when I showed up in USA Networks' offices and met him!).
    I hope this is of some help to you, and I apologize for not knowing more,
  • Rescued from a fleeting eBay auction, the following item description from a seller whose identity is unknown:
    Back in the 80's USA Network tried to create a cult movie host for its horror and sci-fi movies, they came up with Commander USA. I actually enjoyed watching this guy and thought he was funny....
    In 1988 Eclectic Publishing Inc. in association with USA Network came up with "Commander USA's World of Horror" magazine of which this is the very first issue, Vol. 1 Number 1. This mag consisted of 32 B + W pages and the intention was to publish in Jan., April, July and October but I don't know if there was ever another issue. This first issue has an interview with Angus Scrimm of Phantasm.
    See picture on sidebar, and full details on this fanzine in NOTES above by its editor, Darren Gross.
Autographed Commander USA photo

Commander USA, host of Groovie Movies on the USA cable network.
Click for a larger view of the autographed photo this portrait was cropped from.

Commander USA Fan Club card

Front and back of
Commander USA
Fan Club card.
Click for larger view.

Commander USA World of Horror fanzine

First and only issue
of Darren Gross' rare
Commander USA's
World of Horror
fanzine. Click for larger view;
see details in NOTES.

("Conrad Andrews," a fictional ex-horror host played by Conrad Brooks)
Read about Conrad's appearance in the critically acclaimed B-movie spoof Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots!
See Conrad Brooks' Internet Movie Database filmography as actor, director, producer, writer, and as himself.
Conrad's Crypt
Saturdays at 11:30 pm on Channel 9
STATION?, Channel ? (city?, state?)
c 196? - 197?
"Conrad Andrews," played by Ed Wood stock company veteran Conrad Brooks, is one of the main character in Paul Scrabo's hilarious (and pointedly NOT X-plicit) all-star send-up of contemporary low budget filmmaking, Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots (2003). Conrad, once a beloved TV horror host, now helps an old show-biz friend (MIchael R. Thomas as movie writer "Frank Mannering") to scam patients at a sex therapy clinic and pay off a gambling debt — but the con artists manage to cure everybody's problems along the way!

Magazine reference:
  • Feature article by Tim Troutman, "Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots," in Monster Memories #13: Scary Monsters 2005 Yearbook, (March 2005), pp. 81-83. Film review and 7 images, including a photo of Conrad Brooks as retired TV horror host Conrad Andrews.
    • Dr. Horror's Erotic House of Idiots was directed by Paul Scrabo and written by Scrabo and actress Brinke Stevens, who has a cameo in the film. In addition to Conrad Brooks' role as an ex-horror host, the film features boffo performances from three other horror hosts discussed on this site: Michael R. Thomas (Ygor), and the legendary John Zacherle (Roland and Zacherley) in major roles, and Bob Burns in a funny cameo. Co-stars Debbie Rochon, Trent Haaga and Nathan Sears are also terrific, and the talented supporting cast includes Roxanne Michaels, Marina Morgan, Rodney Gray, Barbara Joyce, Rachael Robbins, Robert Collins, Don McGregor, Tina Krause and Ruby Larocca.

    • The air time for the fictional Conrad's Crypt show comes from two prop promotional flyers shown in the film: Both show a smiling "floating head" photo of Conrad, looking years younger than he currently appears and sporting a wooly head of dark black hair.
      The first flyer shown reads:
      SATURDAY at 11:30 pm on CHANNEL 9
      This week Conrad hosts
      the 1945 Universal classic
      starring    LON CHANEY    GLENN STRANGE
      and concludes with two small photos from this fictional film, one of the Mummy and one of Frankenstein — but neither photo shows the actor mentioned; I bet they're from one of Paul Scrabo's own amateur monster films!

      The second flyer shown reads:
      SATURDAY at 11:30 pm on CHANNEL 9
    • Another great imaginary prop collectible featured in the film is a fan club pinky ring with an extreme closeup of Conrad's face!

    • One brilliant final touch drives home the credibility of the imaginary program: a substantial segment from the show itself, introduced by the voice of co-writer Brinke Stevens while a garage kit of the actress is onscreen:
      Hello, all you little devils — Welcome to Conrad's Crypt! Join us for our special anniversary show with Conrad as The Wolf Man, Frank Mannering as Dracula, and the Cool Ghoul himself, Zacherley!
      The clips shown are actually from a November 4, 1967 Disc-O-Teen anniversary show hosted by Zacherley, featuring Zach interviewing a guest in werewolf makeup and — teenager Michael Thomas in an elaborate Dracula costume, already doing a letter-perfect Bela Lugosi impression! Thomas' "Frank Mannering" character is a sly reference to Patric Knowles' mad doctor character in Frankenstein Meets the Wolf Man.

Cooke, Jim

(Real name = ?)
Name of show?
Day? Time?
STATION ?, Channel ? (City? State?)
'60's? '70's?
Magazine reference:
  • Mentioned in "Monster Memories" article by Tom Deschamps in Scary Monsters Presents Monster Memories #1, 1993 Yearbook (January 1993), p. 34.

The Cool Ghoul *
(see also ZACHERLEY and next two items)

THE COOL GHOUL (I) (see also following item and ZACHERLEY, the original "Cool Ghoul")
(Dick Von Hoene; died February 4, 2004, age 63)

Saturday night
WXIX, Channel 19 (Cincinnati, Ohio)


  • Dan Sweet notes:
    In the '70s WXIX Channel 19 had a host called the Cool Ghoul. He spoke with a Transylvanian/by way of Kentucky accent. He wore a funny hat & wore a cape. His makeup was ghoulish but funny. By the time he came to town Ch.19 was mixing the Universal classics with stuff like The Astro Zombies, Dracula vs. Frankenstein& Blood & Black Lace. Dick Von Hoene later worked as an announcer on a country music radio station.
  • Paul Clark provided information on the years of the show's run and on Dick Van Hoene's later TV career, paraphrased below since his demise:
    "Dick Von Hoene....(was) still on television, although he traded his dead-threads for a jacket and tie. He (was) host of a cable program called called Northern Kentucky Magazine (Intermedia Cable, Channel 6, Covington, Ky.)
  • The Cool Ghoul released an LP, "The Cool Ghoul's Phantasmagorical Funny Fonograf Record," on the Artists Records label.

  • Lynn Wilson (aka Maddalena) submitted this Cool Ghoulish Maddendum!:
    As a devoted fan of Dick Von Hoene's Cool Ghoul, I thought I'd add some things to your listing on Cincinnati's Cool Ghoul. It's true he wore a funny hat and a cape, but for me, his main feature was his flaming red wig of shoulder-length hair. His stature was also significant -- 6'2" and quite slender. He also had a trade-mark laugh (Von Hoene referred to it as his "cool drool"), sort of a "Blih, blih, blih, BLEEAAAHHHH-AH-AH-AHHH!" The Ghoul had an off-camera announcer -- never seen and only referred to by the Ghoul as "my friend." The announcer was a Boris Karloff impersonator who would always open the show with an "OH-ho-ho-ho" groan and an admonishment that the viewer might want to change the channel before it was too late. Then a woman's screams would be heard and the Ghoul's theme music would be playing and the Cool Ghoul would appear, coming out of un upright coffin. There would be friendly banter between the Ghoul and his friend, although I understand it became heated one night in 1971 or '72.
    (A bit of history: WXIX went on the air in the summer of 1969 and the Ghoul and Scream In were there from the beginning. My family and I moved from Cincy in Nov. 1970. About a year later, a friend from Cincy wrote me that the Ghoul had gotten a little perturbed with his off-camera friend on the air one night. As I recall, the friend was urging the Ghoul to move the show along -- to get to the weekly reading of the "fang-mail" or some such -- anyway, the Ghoul lashed out (still in character) with "Dammit, my friend, I'll do it when I'm ready!" or words to that effect. He apparently was off the air for awhile and was obliged to make an on-camera apology to the audience and his friend!)
    I'm not sure if (or when) the Ghoul and Scream In ended its run.... Oh yes, he sponsored a rock and roll group accompanied his appearances at local teen dances. They were called The Crypt Kickers. A regular spot on the show, besides the "fang-mail" was when the Ghoul would do his trade mark dance (called the Cool Ghoul, of course) to an instrumental (perhaps by Booker T and the MG's -- not sure of the title, but I could hum it for you!). The dance was done by bending your arms in fro you (palms together and fingers pointing toward the ceiling). From here you did sort of a windshield wiper motion -- two beats on each side. Occasionally, when the cymbals crashed on the record, the Ghoul would slap the top of his head with his right hand while momentarily squatting down, then pop back up and go back to the windshield washer motion.
    One more thing on the Cool Ghoul. His opening and closing theme song was an instrumental version of "Slippin' and a-Slidin'" with a killer sax solo. At the end of each show, the Ghoul would yawn and say "Time to get back in de box!" The theme song would start. Then from inside the upright coffin, the Ghoul would say, "I'll be draining you too, soon, I hope. But for now, pleasant dree-eams!" This would be followed by his laugh and the sounds of a woman screaming again (perhaps the Ghoul's "girl-fiend," Gladys Purplelips from good old Drain U?) as he closed the coffin lid until next Saturday night.
    Oh yes, another thing, the Ghoul would often give you bits of movie trivia during the commercial breaks from the movie -- for instance, pointing out Arlene Francis as Bela Lugosi's young victim in Murders of the Rue Morgue, or Walter Brennan in a bit part in another movie. Occasionally, he'd do a funny bit like running part of Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein backwards when there was leftover time. He encouraged viewers to write in requesting movies they wanted to see and often came through with them. And he would sometimes issue warnings to send "de little ones" out of the room if a particular flick had anything especially bloody or sexy.
    Somewhere I have a black and white poster of the Ghoul. He did a number of promotional spots with another WXIX celebrity -- a puppet named Hattie the Witch, but the Ghoul assured us there was nothing going on between himself and Batty Hattie from Cincinnati. I also have an article on Von Hoene from the Cincinnati Enquirer dated 2/12/70.

The late Dick Von Hoene, Cincinnati's Cool Ghoul

The late great Dick Von Hoene, The Cool Ghoul on WXIX in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Click image to see a scan of the Cincinnati Post TV Plus newspaper section it's cropped from.

THE COOL GHOUL (II) * (see also previous item and ZACHERLEY, the original "Cool Ghoul")
(George Cavender)

Visit Cyber Ghoul, George Cavender's "Cool Ghoul" website!

Name of show?
Day? Time?
WJAN-TV, Channel 17 (Canton, Ohio)

Thriller Theater
Friday night
WOAC-TV, Channel 67 (Canton-Akron, Ohio)

Name of show?
Halloween specials
WOIO-TV, Channel 19 (Cleveland, Ohio)

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 17, "Direct from Parma: The Ghoul," p. 117.

Magazine reference:


George Cavender, The Cool Ghoul in Canton, Akron and Cleveland, Ohio

George Cavender, The Cool Ghoul in Canton, Akron and Cleveland, Ohio.

(Lisa Clark?)
Science Fiction Theater
Saturday afternoon?
KOGO-TV, Channel 10 (San Diego, California)
A few weeks in 1963 (predating MOONA LISA as host)
  • E-gorespondent Jerry A. Bass, who added this hostess to the list, writes: "I recall a hostess on KOGO-TV's (San Diego) Science Fiction Theater. She was the FIRST hostess. Her name was Cosmosina. She lasted a few weeks and then was replaced by her cousin (or maybe sister) MOONA LISA (Lisa Clark). I don't know if they were both played by Lisa Clark or not. But she was definately first."
    (If you can help, see Jerry's ad in the HORROR HOST TRADING POST -- E-gor)

(Joe Towey)
Nightmare Theatre
Friday at 11:30 p.m. (double feature)
1968 - 1975
Saturday at 5:00 - 7:00 p.m. (single feature)
KIRO-TV, Channel 7 (Seattle, Washington)
Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 25, "Son of Invasion of the Ghost Hosts," p. 181.
  • E-gorespondent Chuck Anderson recalls: "The name of the show was 'Nightmare Theatre,' and the character was a vampire who suprisingly, was also a character on our local daily morning kids show (J.P.Patches). The host's real name was pronounced 'Too-ee.' I really miss the show."
  • Show fan "Bran" adds:
    Joe was also the director of the J.P. Patches show, and his best friend Chris Wedes (aka J.P.) was the director of Nightmare Theatre. Nightmare Theatre began with sound fx and music, and a panning shot of a inner castle wall to a coffin. Then an inside shot of the coffin to reveal a skeleton. A camera fade in transformed the skeleton into The Count... who then would try to be a scary character but he would do things like slam the coffin lid on his fingers to show the kids at home he was foilable... Nightmare Theatre also had a Saturday afternoon incarnation in the last year it was on the air running from 5-7pm with only one feature unlike the Friday night double features traditionally run on the show. Upon writing to Chris Wedes about there being a possibility of obtaining footage of the show I was told that the tapes were wiped and reused each week, ad he believes there is no surviving footage of the show.

(Robert Gobak [sp?], pronounced Go-bawk)
The Purple Grotto
Saturday night
WAJA-TV, Channel 23 (later relicensed as WLTV 23), (Miami, Florida)
Approximately 1970 thru 1974
  • Show fan Randy Warren initiated this entry with these memories:
    There was a show which came on Saturday nights in south Florida, when I was a kid. It was called The Purple Grotto. The host went by the name of "The Count." He was done up in a Dracula costume, and he'd host really bad horror films.... his real name was Robert Gollubuck, or Gollabuck, something like that. It was great, because it wasn't really scary, just light hearted comedy. He was in a dungeon, and there was a warden, which you never got to see.... (see following note — E-gor.) I used to hide under the couch cushions when he'd show really scary movies, with one eye peeking out of the cushions to catch a look at whatever monster was on the screen. Great memories, and great movies are never forgotten.
  • Another old fan, Bob Spiteri, found Randy's comments and E-goresponded with corrections and additional details:
    Hey there, used to know this guy. One of my first jobs as a kid was trimming the grass around the studio. Here are a few details I could fill in for you.
    I think it was Bob Gobak. Spelling may be wrong but it was pronounced Go-bawk. Count Borloff was taken from Boris Karloff I think. Approximately 1970 thru 1974.
    He also played a character named Snappy Pappy in a children's show (Bozo) at the same station.
    WAJA Channel 23 broadcast 50% Spanish broadcasting and was relicensed in 1975 as WLTV 23 when it was purchased by SIN (Spanish Information Network), which became Univision. The Station offices, studio and broadcast facility were (and I believe still are) in North Miami at 200th St & NW 5th Ave.
    I'm not looking for any credit. If you wish, you may use my name as the source for anything I gave you but I was just filling in some of the blanks on what Randy Warren wrote. Also, I think Randy's description of the show while it may be very correct, mentions some things I don't recall. There may be a possibility that Randy mixed some memories of the show, The Dungeon with host M.T. Graves, in with his memories of The Purple Grotto. Both programs were popular in Miami in the early 70's and I remember the never-seen but sometimes heard warden in The Dungeon but don't recall it in The Purple Grotto.
    As for the exact spelling of his name (Bob Gobak), I will try to see if I can come up with the actual spelling from some buddies.
    Just a little more trivia, the Count used a Transylvanian accent and frequently said, "bluh" as in "ohh, that was so scary, bluhhh!"

(Lawson J. Deming; died April 24, 2007: see obituary)
Visit SirGravesGhastly.com, a website devoted entirely to the memory of this beloved Detroit horror host.

Name of show?
Day? Time?
WUAB-TV, Channel 43 (Cleveland, Ohio)
197? - 197?

  • Keith Milford, Webmonster for two terrific horror-host resources, the magnificent SirGravesGhastly.com Website and the Vintage Detroit TV and Movie Board, posted information about Lawson Deming's OTHER horror host on his own bulletin board site:
    Alu Card (Sir Graves) ran on WUAB-TV in Cleveland for a very short time, in the early '70s. Only about a year or two (similar to the WTOP Washington version). I'm still trying to compile the exact details for my Graves website, and will definitely try to fully chronicle these rare out-of-state versions in the near future. Oh, and yes, the name change was mainly done because WJBK owned the "Sir Graves" name, but also because they thought it would help to differentiate the characters for the different markets. But yeah, legally they had to do it. Again, more on this on my website soon. It does need to be chronicled finally.
    Happy Haunting! Keith Milford Vintage Detroit TV & Movie Board

(Mike Curtis)
See two snapshots of Count Basil ( portrait | on set ) from the scrapbook of Mike Curtis.
Shock Theater
Friday night (live, two hours)
Cable Channel 6 (Jackson, Tennessee)
1974 ("for 12 weeks during the summer")
  • Count Basil himself(!) sent great personal memories (and pictures of fan club items!) of Memphis host SIVAD (see SIVAD entry and Mike Curtis' Sivad memories), and the following account of that legendary host's influence on his own career:
    Mike Curtis here, former theater manager and now comic book publisher and writer.... For some reason, Sivad played an important part in my life, both as the character and as Watson Davis.
    As a child, I was one of the MYSTERIOUS ISLAND winners. I also recall the 30 foot KING KONG Davis built for KING KONG VS. GODZILLA, and saw the large monster for DINOSAURUS (described here).
    During the heyday of the show, I saw Sivad in his one and only Jackson Tennessee appearance.... I still have my FANTASTIC FEATURES FAN CLUB card and Sivad mask.
    Years later I began working for Malco Theaters, as a "ballyhoo" man. A movie would come to town, and I would devise a costume and makeup to promote it. This was in Jackson Tennessee. By now Watson had retired from Malco and Sivad as well.
    In 1974, I hosted a horror show on a local cable show as COUNT BASIL for 12 weeks during the summer.... SHOCK THEATER aired live on Friday nights for two hours on Cable Channel 6 in Jackson, Tennessee.
    Originally the setup was for two hosts. COUNT BASIL, with a traditional cape, makeup, etc., and a co-host, CLOD TURNDIRT, played by Roger Hughes. Clod was the super salesman, with no ghoulish makeup. The format was set at the Basil and Turndirt Mortuary. We would intro the movie and do individual comedy sketches. My orange cat Booner also worked on the show.
    Roger and I had worked together before, playing WINNIE THE POOH and other characters for Sears, where he worked. Roger had to leave after about 3 weeks, so Booner became the cohost, having his own director chair beside mine. We had other characters also, such as ZACK, basically the cameraman with a green mask, and others such as GREAT UNCLE POLAR.
    We would do sketches like spoofs of TO TELL THE TRUTH, TRANSYLVANIAN CHEF, and others. Booner acted in a Lion Tamer sketch which went over well and was repeated. This consisted of Booner on a counter with Circus music playing. A small puppet on rods would come over, the lion tamer, cracking the whip. His chest was stuffed with catnip and Booner reached out, pulling him off the rods, and throwing him to the floor (about 30 feet, it looked like). Then he would jump down and rip him to shreds, while the announcer described the scene (oh the humanity!)
    Occasionally we would read fan mail and have young fans on the show.
    The Count only made one personal appearance, at a local fair. it was only 12 weeks long because the station manager only had 12 horror/fantasy films. VERY little station. You could only get it if you were on cable, and that was new there then.
    Since it was done live, there were occasional mishaps. One night, the station owner's son and his friend showed up, drunk and obnoxious. They wanted to be on the show. The only people doing the show were me, the technician and Booner. (In a budget cut, we had lost the cameraman.)
    I told the owner's son to put on the Zack mask and lay in the casket. When it was time, I would open the lid, he would raise up and we'd wing something.
    His friend went up front to watch on the lobby TV. I always brought several props since The 5 sketches were whatever I had thought of that week at work. I took an aluminum pie pan, filled it with shaving cream, and angled the camera to focus on the casket. The techie gave the signal, and I raised the lid. Zack sat up, I hit him full in the face with the pie, he fell back, I closed the lid and yelled "BACK TO THE MOVIE!" Very short sketch.
    We thought we'd be off the air the next week, but the owner sent out a memo. NO UNAUTHORIZED VISITORS DURING THE SHOW.
    I contacted Watson and Sir Cecil Creape regarding doing a show together followed by a joint appearance at a Malco theater, but nothing came of it.
    Years after that, the main office of Malco in Memphis gave me Watson's scrapbooks of theater promotions, now long lost in various moves, unfortunately. I had began working for Elton Holland doing the costume jobs all over the chain.
    And briefly, I was in discussions with Fox when they came to Memphis regarding reviving FANTASTIC FEATURES as the "Son of Sivad." Discussions with Watson stalled, and this never came to pass. I do a good imitation of the voice though.
  • Mike Curtis has kept in touch, for example sending long-lost photos with this note:
    Hi there
    Sorry to be so long getting back, I really thought all the photos made during my tenure of host of SHOCK THEATER were gone, but while moving some boxes, I located them!
    The first one is of myself, the second one shows the set, Roger Hughes as CLOD TURNDIRT, and my cat Booner, who became the co-host when Roger left.
    Take care
    Mike Curtis
    (Count Basil)

Count Chockula
(see your grocery store's cereal aisle)

(Danny Coker)

See video clips of "The Count" on his YouTube Channel!
Saturday Fright at the Movies
Saturday night at 10 p.m.
KFBT, Channel 33 (now merged with KVWB 21) (Las Vegas, Nevada)
November 10, 1990 - c. 2000

Magazine reference:
  • Feature with a photo of Count Cool Rider and another of his "Bat Girls," "Cool Encounters of the Elvis Kind" by Terence Sanford, in issue #10 (March 1994) of Scary Monsters, pp. 50-51.


  • Count Cool Rider is part Elvis, part Dracula, all Vegas. He wears sleek slicked-back hair and fangs, a cape, an open white shirt, black gloves, high boots, and chains. His name comes from Elvis Presley's version of "C.C. Rider," which is used in the show's opening and closing. His Bat Girls are black-clad vamps who accompany him on personal appearances in his customized Lincoln "Count Inental."

  • Show fan Dave White e-mails:
    KFBT has merged with KVWB 21, and the KFBT website has been temporarily (or permanently) eliminated while they add it to http://www.wb21.com. That's too bad, because KFBT had some great stuff on its website.
  • C.C. Rider's real name was provided by "Rick," who knows him.

Count Cool Rider, Las Vegas horror host

Count Cool Rider, host of Saturday Fright at the Movies, Las Vegas, Nevada.
Click image to see the autographed photo it was clipped from.

Count Down the Vampire
(see M. T. GRAVES (I))

(Jake Esau)
Visit Count Dracula's official Website.
See Count Dracula's profile page at HORRORHOSTS.com, the official site for the Horror Host Underground.
Visit the Official Homepage of Horror Incorporated, with information about Count Dracula, and the show's incarnations before and after him.
Horror Incorporated
Saturday at Midnight
KSTC.TV, Channel 45 (Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota)
September 2000 - September 2002
Name of show?
Day? Time?
KMWB, Channel 23 (Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota)
?? - ??, 1998
Name of show?
WCCO II (aka 'CCO Cable, later MSC, then Fox Sports Net) (Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota)
?? 1987 - ?? 1989
Count Dracula Presents
Day? Time? (weekly late-night show)
KITN, Channel 29 (before it was WFTC) (Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota)
?? 1984 - ?? 1986
  • Jake Esau has been performing as "TV's Count Dracula" for two decades, playing the character as a powerful, charming impression of Bela Lugosi's definitive Transylvanian Count. He has performed his live shows before thousands at events, schools, libraries, recreation centers, shopping malls, clubs and theatres, as well as on television and radio performances and film bits. In addition to TV's Count Dracula, Esau's character repertoire includes: Sherlock Holmes, Edgar Allan Poe, Charles Dickens, Hans Christian Andersen, Aesop, Henry David Thoreau, and Mark Twain.

  • The original (unhosted) "Horror Incorporated" show aired in the 1960s and 1970s on KSTP-TV, Channel 5 (Minneapolis / St. Paul, Minnesota).

  • From a note on the history of the show by Steve Hammergren, director at KSTP Studios, posted on the Horror Incorporated Official Homepage:
    Horror Incorporated probably started in 1969. The first incarnation didn't have a host, but it featured the great voice-over talent of Mr. Jim Wise, who worked at KSTP radio. The person exiting the coffin at the beginning and returning to the grave at the end, was my late friend Warner Smithers, who was then a floor director. Other crew members included Forrest Stanford, who ran the fog machine.
    The narrator would then read the following words:
    Lurking among the corpses are the body-snatchers, plotting their next venture into the graveyard.... the blood in your veins will run cold, your spine will tingle when you join us for an excursion through Horror Incorporated!
    This open and close ran for many a Saturday night in the early '70s.
    For a couple of seasons in the mid to late 70's, Tom Hamper hosted the show on tape as "Graves." He was supposed to be a "vampire butler" or some such creature. He and a couple of pals acted out little skits between the movie segments. When that format ran out of gas, the station resumed the old "no host" format, tuntil the series went off the air in the late 70's.
    Sadly, much of local TV history is lost to the ages as stuff gets tossed. People come and go and memories fade. There really are no such things as archival tapes, set graveyards or a library of facts. Even though there should be, there just isn't the space, time or personnel for these kinds of endeavors.

(Real name=?)
Tales from the Tomb?
Day? Time?
STATION?, Channel ? (Evansville, Indiana)
Mid- late-70s
  • E-gorespondent Terry Tapp contributed this query: "Have you ever gotten any info on a show called 'Tales from the Tomb'? It was produced in Evansville, Indiana in the mid- to late-70s and it starred a fine-looking young lady who called herself 'Countess Lutzika.'"

("Floyd Robertson," just two of the many characters played by Joe Flaherty on the SCTV series)
See Joe Flaherty's Internet Movie Database entry.
See complete details about all of Count Floyd's appearances, and other media performances, at the online SCTVGuide, "The complete reference to SCTV, the world's original comedy network."
See details about Count Floyd's mini-LP, including cover scans, on the SCTVGuide site.
See details about Count Floyd's "Making Real Funny Home Videos" vdeotape at SCTVGuide.

Horror Chiller Monster Theatre
Count Floyd's 3D Firing Line
Scary Previews
(Fictional shows hosted by fictional horror host Count Floyd played by fictional newsman Floyd Robertson on fictional SCTV network — in recurring skits on the real SCTV comedy series)
Joe Bob Briggs' Haunted Halloween Weekend
Count Floyd and USA Network's Up All Night hostess RHONDA SHEAR were special guests of regular TNT MonsterVision show host JOE BOB BRIGGS for a presentation of John Carpenter's Lovecraftian horror In the Mouth of Madness (1994).
Sunday, October 31, 1999 at 9:15 pm
TNT (cable)

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 25, "Son of Invasion of the Ghost Hosts," p. 175.

  • Count Floyd is a fictional horror host played by another fictional character, SCTV newsman Floyd Robertson, on the TV comedy showcase SCTV. Both characters are played brilliantly by Joe Flaherty. The fantasy premise reflects the reality of many other hosts in E-gor's Chamber: long-suffering TV station drone Floyd Robertson is embarrassed to play host for a long series of cheesy and unscary (and mostly fictional) "Monster Chiller Horror Theatre" movies like "Dr. Tongue's 3D House of Stewardesses," "Tip O'Neil's 3D House of Representatives," "Blood-Sucking Monkeys from West Mifflin Pennsylvania" and Ingmar Bergman's " Whispers of the Wolf"! OWOOOOOOOOO!

  • Count Floyd rose above his fictional origins to become a real TV horror host, fully entitled to his listing here, when he co-hosted a movie with JOE BOB BRIGGS and RHONDA SHEAR during Joe Bob Briggs' Haunted Halloween Weekend in 1999.

  • Count Floyd also appeared in person in the Saturday morning cartoon show The Completely Mental Adventures of Ed Grimley (NBC, 13 episodes, 1988), starring SCTV alumnus Martin Short.

  • Count Floyd sings and talks and howls his way through a COUNT FLOYD mini-LP (RCA MFL1-8501) with four tracks of stories and music: "The Gory Story of Duane and Debbie" (3:22); "Treat You Like a Lady" (3:15); "Reggae Christmas Eve in Transylvania" (2:55); and "Count Floyd Is Back" (3:49).

  • Count Floyd stars in a real funny "how-to" videotape called Making Real Funny Home Videos (Quality Video QV 3034).

  • Joe Flaherty allegedly based Count Floyd on his memories of watching TV horror hosts in Pittsburgh, notably the legendary CHILLY BILLY Cardille.

Joe Flaherty as Count Floyd

Played by Second City
Television stalwart
Joe Flaherty in many
hilarious SCTV skits.
Click for larger view.

COUNT FRIGHTENSTEIN (see also VINCENT PRICE, who helped to host this show!)
(Billy Van; died January 6, 2003)

See all Hilarious House of Frightenstein products for sale at Amazon.

Visit David Strutt's Hilarious House of Frightenstein Tribute Page -- frighteningly full of monstrous content including pictures, historical info, collectibles, audio clips and complete downloadable episodes!

Visit David Gullacher's Hilarious House of Frightenstein page.

See Billy Van's Internet Movie Database entry.

The Hilarious House of Frightenstein
Saturday at 10:00 am
CHCH TV, Channel 11 (Hamilton, Ontario)
(Production of the show lasted 9-12 months; but it ran in syndication in Canada and many parts of the US for about 25 years, last airing on the Canadian Showcase cable station in 1997.
In 2006, the show began running again on selected CHUM stations in Canada, and is currently airing regularly on Space and Drive-In Classics.


  • A Hilarious House of Frightenstein DVD containing four episodes of the show was released in 2005. Read about this DVD at Amazon.

  • Though no movies were shown, the monstrous spirit of this early '70's Canadian Saturday morning kids show is very much in the tradition of American TV horror hosted shows. They even got Vincent Price to provide many narrative poetry segues between segments in each show!

  • Billy Van played Count Frightenstein, master of the House of Frightenstein in the village of Frankenstone somewhere near Transylvania. He also played many of the other show characters in heavy makeup: Bwana Clyde Batty (host of Zany Zoo), the Gorilla (in a full ape suit), Grizelda the Ghastly Gourmet, the scary Librarian, the Maharishi (Indian guru), the Oracle (Eastern mystic), Dr. Pet Vet, the Singing Soldier, and the Wolf Man (a radio shock jock). Other castle residents included lovable Tor-Johnson-like Igor (Fishka Rais), Brucey the monster (a Frankenstein ringer), Vincent Price (playing himself in many short spoofy segments filmed over a 4-day period), Midget Count (Guy Big), the Professor (Dr. Julius Sumner Miller), and Super-Hippy (Mitch Markowitz). Other creatures inhabiting the Castle (mostly puppets or unseen sound-efffect characters) include the Mailman, Grammer Slammer, Grammer Slammer Bammer, Gronk, the Mosquito, Polly, Harvey Wallbanger, Zanzibar the Castle Ghost, and Mr. Sloth.

Billy Van as Count Frightenstein

The late great Billy Van as Count Frightenstein, one of the many characters he played on the brilliant Canadian kid's show The Hilarious House of Frightenstein.

(Dick Dyszel)

Visit Creature Feature: The Weekly Web Program, Count Gore De Vol's official Website (the first hosted horror show on the Internet!).

Visit Sounds Fabulous, Dick Dyszel's "Chicago Wedding and Party DJ" business site.

See Count Gore De Vol's profile page at HORRORHOSTS.com, the official site for the Horror Host Underground.

See information about joining Gore De Vol's Horror Host Mailing List.

Visit the Count Gore De Vol site designed by Gary Eckstein, which features a reprint of Elena Watson's entire chapter about the Count in her book on Television Horror Movie Hosts (see reference below).

See details and ordering info for Count Gore videos, DVDs, poster and other merchandise.

See bio and images of Count Gore De Vol -- and hundreds of images of a host of other horrors -- at the incredible Horror Host Gallery website, courtesy of video shockaeologist Thomas Rudé!

Read a great interview with Gore De Vol in the online Creaturescape magazine.

See Richard Dyszel's Internet Movie Database entry.

Night of Terror (as vampire host M.T. Graves)
Friday night about 10:30
WDXR-TV, Channel 29 (Paducah, Kentucky)
1971 - 1972

Creature Feature (as Count Gore De Vol)
Saturday at 11:00 p.m. (and other times?)
February 1973 - 1979, 1984 - 1987

Saturday Chiller
Saturday afternoon
WDCA-TV, UHF Channel 20 (Washington, D.C.)
March 1973 - May 1987

Countdown to the Millenium with The Count (one-time special)
From Friday 10:00 p.m. to Saturday 3:00 a.m.
December 31, 1999 - January 1, 2000
WDCA-TV, UHF Channel 20 (Washington, D.C.)

Creature Feature: The Weekly Web Program
Weekly Web program, usually changed on Saturday night
World Wide Web (http://www.countgore.com)
July 11, 1998 - Present

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
whole chapter and picture in Ch. 19, "Count Gore De Vol: A Vampire Goes to Washington," pp. 128-137.

Magazine references:

  • "T.V. Horror Host Gallery" portrait photo on inside back cover of issue #2 (Winter 1996) of Monsters from the Vault.

  • Feature with 7 pictures of Dyszel in and out of costume, "Interview with a Vampire: TV Horror Host Count Gore De Vol" by Paul M. Riordan, in It's a Castle of Monster Memories #5, 1997 Scary Monsters Yearbook (January 1997), pp. 20-26.


  • Information adapted from Count Gore's Horror Host Underground Website profile:
    "May all of you blood be warm...!"
    After hosting horror movies in the Washington / Baltimore markets from 1973 to 1987, Count Gore De Vol became the first horror host with a weekly show on the Internet in 1998! Gore is now seen Globally! Wherever there’s an Internet Connection! This weekly journey into Gore’s domain features streaming video of movies and shorts hosted by The Count, and interviews with celebrities. There’s also book reviews and recommendations by The Tomb Keeper, video reviews by former protegé Dr. Sarcofiguy and Butch and Joan Cleaver, media reviews by A. Ghastlee Ghoul, original fiction, regular contests, movie reviews and what ever strange and evil creations that come to mind.
    Dick Dyszel is featured in a number of films, including The Alien Factor, Nightbeast, The Galaxy Invader, Cremains, Stakes, Countess Dracula's Orgy of Blood, Joe Nosferatu: Homeless Vampire and American Scary (documentary on television horror hosts).
    Count Gore De Vol is a regular contributor to the Night Fright compilation shows on the Horror Host Underground Network.
  • According to Riordan's article, the show opened with a swaying wooden "Creature Feature" sign, howling winds, a cat screech, and a gravestone reading "Count Gore De Vol, 1800-1847". Cut to a dungeon set through opening double doors and swirling fog, where a coffin glided into the room. The lid popped open and a caped, white-faced man sat up and spoke in a Lugosi accent: "Good evening, and velcome to Creature Feature. I am Count Gore De Vol." Inside the coffin lid was a pinup of Vampirella. On the back wall an E.T. doll hung in chains.

  • E-gorespondent Dan Sweet notes:
    At a Fanex convention (Baltimore horror con) I had the pleasure of seeing a live re-enactment of his old show. He had his show set on the left front of the auditorium and in the middle was a large movie screen. They showed Bride of the Monster and would stop the film every so often and the Count would go into his act and then commercial parodies made by the people that put on Fanex were shown, then back to the movie. Seeing a Host do this live was like a dream come true.
  • E-gorespondent David Windhorst remembers:
    I was living in Paducah, KY, in the seventies, and caught Dick Dyszel on local independent station ch. 29 WDXR's Friday show, "Night of Terror"; the time slot was 10:30 or so. BTW, he appropriated the name "M. T. Graves" for his character, and also appeared on radio doing movie theater ads for horror flicks.
  • In addition to his horror host role, Dyszel was staff announcer and "Bozo the Clown" at both stations, and also played "Captain 20" at WDCA.

  • Here's a real novelty -- a horror host giving a rave review for another horror host! The following is a review of Count Gore De Vol's first video retrospective, Creature Feature: the Legacy Begins, which Dr. Gangrene posted to Count Gore's Horror Host discussion list (presumably without coercion!):
    Greetings everyone, Dr Gangrene here -
    Want to urge all of you who enjoy Horror Hosts to pick up a copy of Count Gore's video, "The Legacy Begins." (See link above to order -- E-gor)
    It chronicles the early years of Count Gore's career, even showing a clip of the Count as M.T. Graves from the stint he did in Padukah, KY. The bits on this tape are funny, and even my wife, who doesn't really like horror hosts that much, watched and enjoyed the whole thing, laughing at all the right places. It has it all — sex, blood and rock and roll!! all brought to you by our gracious host, Count Gore De Vol, proving why he's been in business for almost 30 years!!
    Fun tape - check it out!
    Dr Gangrene

Count Gore De Vol, Renaissance Monster Host!

Dick Dyszel as Count Gore De Vol, Renaissance Monster -- legendary TV horror host, pioneering Internet host, and driving force behind the current Horror Host Underground movement!
Click image to see the autographed photo it was cropped from.

COUNT GREGORE (see also GREGORE, a different host)
(John Ferguson)

Watch for the forthcoming Count Gregore website, featuring episodes, theme music, outtakes, photos and more about Count Gregore and John Ferguson!

Join the Friends of Count Gregore Yahoo Group, Ground Zero for the latest information about this remarkable host!

Shock Theater
Saturday night at 11:30 (live)
WKY-TV (later WKVY, now KFOR), Channel 4 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
May 10, 1958 - ? 1960

Thriller Theater (as local host for Boris Karloff's network series)
Day? Time?
January 1962 - ? 196?

Day? Time?
KOCO-TV, Channel 5 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
? 1966 - ? 196?

Sleepwalker's Matinee
Friday late night ?
?196? - ? 1973?

Count Gregore Presents
Late Saturday night
KOKH-TV, Channel 25 (Oklahoma City, Oklahoma)
197? - 19??

Creature Features
Day? Time?
? 1979 - ?

Horror Theatre
Day? Time?
KAUT-TV, Channel 43 (xx, Oklahoma)
? 1983 - ?

Scream Country Theatre
Day? Time?
Station? Channel? (City?)
?? - ??

The Mysterious Lab of Dr. Fear
Saturday at 9:00 - 11:00 pm
Pegasys Community Television, Channel 11 (Enid, Oklahoma)
August 25, 2005 - ?
(Count Gregore appears as a relative of Trinka, the Romanian vampire maid)

Magazine references:

  • Feature by John Wooley with two pictures, "The Host That Stalked Oklahoma," in issue #31 (December, 1983) of Fangoria, pp. 54-55.

  • Discussed in letter from Mark Barragar, and autographed photo reproduced, in "Scare Mail" column in issue #13 (December 1994), p. 7.

  • Unknown coverage (with at least one picture) in TV Picture Life (November 1973), page ??. (Spotted in eBay auction)


  • Great new for Count Gregore fans — and an urgent request for assistance — from Bradley Wynn, president of the Oklahoma Film Society:
    I've started work on a biography of actor John Ferguson (Count Gregore) and need some help.
    As most of you may already know -- at least those who know of Count Gregore -- our beloved Count is considered the longest running horror host in the world. But unfortunately, most of his time spent on the air was LIVE. For the most part all that is left in a LIVE show is the memories.

    That's what I need help with.

    I need your memories, photos, film, tapes, memorabilia, and everything you can muster that you would be willing to share with me about actor John Ferguson and his many performances and characters, including his best known, Count Gregore.

    I would also appreciate any pointers that could help me discover more -- so if you know the name of someone I should talk to, pass it along.

    A website is being developed for the Count that will help share memories and the life of John Ferguson soon. But we need content for that, as well.

    Please contact me using the following info:

    Bradley Wynn
    PO Box 711
    Oklahoma City, OK 73101
    E-mail: okfs@okfs.org

    Here's a little bit about John and his character Count Gregore:
    Actor John Ferguson first appeared as television's beloved horror host Count Gregore on May 10, 1958 as Shock Theatre premiered on WKY-TV in Oklahoma City. Considered the longest-running horror host in the world, John Ferguson continues to delight audiences on screen, stage, and public appearances as the Count or one of his diverse characters (see next note! — E-gor). John's love of children and acting has aided him in becoming an Oklahoma icon and cherished memory in the hearts and minds of millions of fans.
  • On Thursday evening, August 25, 2005, The Mysterious Lab of Dr. Fear celebrates its third anniversary episode with special guest John Ferguson recreating his legendary first-generation horror host COUNT GREGORE! Ferguson will join the cast as vampire Trinka's uncle, Count Gregore. The episode will include the presentation of an oversized coffin donated for use by the Oklahoma Film Society.

    John Ferguson, a veteran of over fifty years in film, television, and stage, is honored that next-generation horror hosts like Brian Young were corrupted enough by his performance of Count Gregore to boldly seek out their own ghastly ways of entertaining audiences everywhere. Count Gregore first appeared as WKY-TV's horror host for Shock Theatre on May 10, 1958. His familiar visage, public service announcements, and entertaining skits resulted in hosting additional horror shows Thriller, Nightmare, Sleepwalker's Matinee, Creature Features, Horror Theatre, and Scream Country Theatre — the longest running horror host in the world!

    Watch for the Count Gregore website featuring episodes, theme music, outtakes, photos and more about Count Gregore.

Count Gregore fan card portrait

Above and below: Count Gregore fan card portraits, courtesy of Bradley Wynn, founder of the Oklahoma Film Society.
Click for larger views.

Another Count Gregore fan card portrait

(Greg Peterson)

Visit Count Gregula's Crypt, the show's official website.

Join Count Gregula's Yahoo group.

Visit Count Gregula on Myspace.

See Count Gregula's Ghoulish Goodies Shoppe at cafepress.com.

See Count Gregula's profile page at HORRORHOSTS.com, the official site for the Horror Host Underground.

Count Gregula's Crypt
Debuted on a Tuesday at 11:00 pm
Comcast Cable Channels 99 and 10 (seen in Northwest Indiana, Chicago area of Illinois, and Michigan)
Debut on February 15 2005; fluctuating schedule since then. Currently on hiatus pending production of new shows.
Circulating videotape guest appearances on other Horror Host Underground shows to the present.
Live appearances at horror film festivals and conventions and other events throughout the year (see show website for information about scheduled appearances).


  • Count Gregula's Crypt is hosted by Count Gregula and Countess Gregula and the Crypt Crew, and features groovy ghoulish classics like The Hideous Sun Demon and Night of the Living Dead, revved up with a bit of inspired editing and added sound effects. Good clean fun, in E-gor's humble opinion, and just the thing for watching old favorites one more time.

  • The show debuted at 11:00 pm on Tuesday, February 15, 2005, in Northwest Indiana on Comcast Channel 99 (La Porte, Valparaiso, Michigan City, Merriville, Westville, Rolling Prairie, Kingsford Heights, New Carlisle, Kingsberry and a few other cities). Count and Countess Gregula presented the 1959 classic The Hideous Sun Demon starring Robert Clarke.

  • The show has also aired on Comcast Cable Channel 10 in the Fox Valley, Chicagoland area that includes the following cities and towns: Aurora, North Aurora, Bristol, Oswego, Montgomery, Plano, Yorkville and Sandwich.
Count Gregula image forthcoming

(It's not that easy to get photos of the Undead, but E-gor is working on it!)

Count Harold

(Ed Meloan)

Shock Theatre
First on Saturday night, then both Friday and Saturday night
WRDW, Channel 12 (Augusta, Georgia)
Late '60's to early '70's


  • Initial entry provided by discussion group poster John Collins, who later e-mailed these memories to me:
    He was a local host on WRDW Channel 12 here in Augusta, Ga .... He hosted a show called Shock Theatre. Not really sure of the exact dates, but it ran from the late '60's to the early '70's. At first it was on on Saturday nights, then eventually was on both Friday and Saturday nights. He dressed in black cloak with a hood and was seen from the waist up. He was in a coffin that was in a vertical position that faced the camera. He was a little on the chubby side and wore glasses, but had a deep voice and an evil laugh. Unfortunately, he didn't do any skits or interact with the movie. He just did a generic introduction of the show that included an invitation to "pull up a tombstone and enjoy tonight's offering from our dusty vault." Then there was the standard closing segment where we were wished "pleasant dreamssss....Ha, ha, ha, ha...." Boy, those were the days.
  • Adam W. Burton remembers more details about Count Justin Sane:
    I was just a little whipper-snapper when he was doing his thing, but I did see some of his bit on Shock Theatre.... he wasn't all that scary to look at, but DAMN the man had a creepy laugh!.... Count Justin Sane was played by a WRDW cameraman named Ed Malone (sic; see correction below -- E-gor). Sounds like he should've been a private eye, doesn't it?
  • E-gorespondent R. Brazell, recalls:
    I too have memories of Count Justin Sane from WRDW in Augusta. This was around 1970-71 (maybe a little longer) and we could get the station, usually with a little snow, courtesy of one of those big rotating antennas my dad bought at the time. Before appearing in the coffin, Count Justin used to just appear sitting at a large table in a smoky, darkly lit room, wearing (I believe) dark glasses. His standard opening was that he was lonely until the audience had dropped in: "I was even thinking of...digging up a few friends, heh, heh!" I saw many kaiju movies for the first time on Shock Theatre.
  • Show fan Charles Primm's comments include some interesting technical information:
    I remember watching Count Justin when I was an 11-year-old kid in Augusta, GA, in the mid 70s. As others have written, Count Justin was a little on the chubby side, and under his billowing black cape, you could see his short-sleeve button-down work shirt. His intro went something like "So, pull up a tombstone, sit back and relax...as much as you can, as we present another episode of - SHOCK THEATRE! Bwaaah ahh ahh ahh ahh!"

    During the last few years of his Shock Theatre hosting duties, someone got the bright idea to use the latest TV production technology, a Chyron character generator. This was one of the first machines to superimpose computer-generated letters and numbers on the screen in real time, without using a scrolling piece of paper or plastic. So someone in the WRDW control room could watch the film as it played during Shock Theatre, and superimpose a disturbing running commentary about the film on the bottom of the TV screens of frightened children all over eastern Georgia and southwestern South Carolina. Scary things like "...don't turn around!" crawling along the bottom of the screen made for a very spooky and fun experience. I always assumed it was Count Justin himself doing the commentary, but perhaps not.
  • Gregory Nicoll sent a scan of an original promotional photo of the Count (see sidebar!), along his memories of the show:
    I found your Hosts site about a year ago while I was looking for info on Count Justin Sane, who hosted on WRDW Channel 12 in Augusta, GA back during my early years.
    You have a nice listing for the Count, but no photo. I knew I had one someplace, but it had been missing for decades. Well, glory be, last week I finally found it -- and I've scanned it for the site. I've attached the image of the Count, along with my own memories of him.
    Gregory Nicoll remembers Count Justin Sane:
    Ahh, some my happiest childhood memories are of watching Shock Theatre on Channel 12 with my two childhood pals, Jay and Peter, back when we were all kids together in the late '60s and early '70s.
    The show moved around between Friday and Saturday (and it was briefly replaced by a science-fiction movie series for a while) but back in those ancient pre-cable and pre-VCR days, Shock Theatre was literally the only thing available on TV when you stayed up late during any weekend sleep-over. We never missed it!
    The Count was actually a Channel 12 staffer named Ed Meloan who was also sometimes recruited to appear in the station's cheesy home-made local commercials (where, because we always recognized him as the Count, he was laughed off the screen).
    Most of his Shock Theatre intros ("Pull up a tombstone!") were just the same pre-recorded shtick week after week, but every now and then he would do a live all-night monster movie marathon, complete with great little in-studio skits between movies. One night he even had an Igor-like sidekick named "Gregory." I had written him a long fan letter a few weeks before, and I always wondered if that one-shot co-host was named after me.
    Many years later, long after the Count retired, my friend Chip Creamer got a job at Channel 12 and actually found the Count's old coffin back in the storeroom. Chip conned the station into letting him resurrect it for one night only, during which he hosted a telecast as the Count's cousin, "Izzy Sane." I had a nice promo photo of Count Justin Sane (which he had sent to me after I wrote him that fan letter), but sadly it went missing for nearly 30 years. When the picture finally turned up again last week in some old junk that I was moving around, I nearly wept for joy ,,,,
    "Pleasant dreams...muhahahahaha!"
  • Allison May, Community Development Project Coordinator for the City of North Augusta wrote in early 2007:
    Some of us here at work were talking about Count Justin Sane and found your Chamber of Horror Hosts website. We just wanted to let you know that Count Justin Sane is alive in North Augusta where he served as chairman of the North Augusta Planning Commission for many, many years.
  • Shortly afterward, I received e-mail from Count Justin Sane himself:
    Some of the folks in North Augusta South Carolina's Planning Department were kind enough to pass along the information you have on WRDW-TV's horror host of the 1960's amd 70's, "Count Justin Sane." I was the Count and .... I was startled to see the interest in the old Count after all these years. I retired from WRDW-TV in 1981 and I know of only one person still working there that was there when I was. I enjoyed all the memories from the writers.

    ==Ed Meloan (Count Justin Sane)==
    When I responded to Ed Meloan, he wrote again with more information:
    The amount of loyalty and continuing interest in these old programs constantly surprises me! Even now, 30 to 40 years later, I still have people come up to me, in restaurants, and hesitatingly ask if I am the fella who did the late horror show on WRDW-TV. I can usually tell what they are going to ask by the embarrassed way they come up. They are not at all sure... but they just have to ask. Takes more nerve than I would have. These folks have to have been quite young and these shows obviously made an impression on them ....

    Your readers have good memories. I don't know that I can add a great deal to their descriptions. I went to work at WRDW-TV when the studios were still under construction in 1953. I was originally hired as a studio cameraman. It wasn't long until I was transferred to the film projection room. At that time, video tape did not exist. Everything was either live or on 16mm film and was, of course, black and white. This required someone full-time in the projection room to load film programs and slides. Color was not yet available either. Most local commercials were done in real time in the studio with the studio's two cameras and black and white slides and sometimes 16mm film. This is probably why it is so difficult to find any tape of these personalities and shows. They were all, by necessity, done live. When the station decided to extend Shock Theatre to an all night show, I had to stay at the station all night to do the intros and commercial breaks during the features. I would frequently sleep in the coffin while the feature was running and the crew would wake me up for the breaks.

    The coffin that is mentioned by one of your contributors was not a real one. It was made out of a couple of sheets of 3/4 plywood which was painted a dull grey. The handles did come from a "real" coffin. I don't recall where we actually got them. I believe they came from a local funeral home. The inside of the "coffin" was lined with a wine-colored very heavy cloth that had originally been one of the stage curtains of the old Imperial Theater. That curtain must have had 50 years of dust in it! Every time I'd climb in the coffin, a cloud of ancient dust would surround me ....

    One comment I will gently disagree with... Someone mentioned the "cheesy cape" I wore... Actually, I still have that cape and it was NOT cheesy! My wife made that cape from a high quality black velvet and it had a bright red lining made of real satin. It was a cape any vampire would have been proud of.

    With all due respect, the folks who work in television now have it easy. It's all recorded and if you make a mistake, just do it again and edit! Back then, it was all "live" and all those special effects were purely home-made. One night, the studio manager got the bright idea that some mist or smoke wafting around the coffin would enhance the spooky effect. He cut some green branches from a tree behind the station and proceeded to build a very smoky fire in the studio! He got the smoky effect he wanted -- but, unfortunately, he couldn't put the fire out and the smoke got thicker and thicker! The time for the commercial break arrived and you couldn't see the coffin! There was a huge roll-up door in the rear wall of the studio and they opened it all the way to try and clear the smoke out. You finally could see the coffin and Count Justin Sane but I know the viewers had to wonder why the Count's eyes were watering and he was coughing while he tried to do the break.

    On some nights we would put the coffin on two saw horses draped with more Imperial curtain and I was supposed to slowly rise up out of it. One night, the saw horses were not positioned correctly and as I started my slow and dignified rise, the foot end of the coffin began to tip up with the head end going down. There was not a thing I could do but ride it down till it hit the studio floor. The control room quickly ran the film commercial without my usual introduction.

    Regarding that promo photo you have on the web site... we printed 500 of them to give out at an open house the station was having. We thought 500 would be plenty and we'd have half of them left over. We gave all 500 out in the first hour! It's hard to understand the power of a local TV station back then. There were only two stations in the area and you basically had a captive audience. And, as one contributor remarked, Shock Theatre was about all there was after Midnight.

    ==Ed Meloan (Count Justin Sane)==

Count Justin Sane, Shock Theatre host in Augusta GA

Count Justin Sane, host of Shock Theatre, WRDW, Augusta GA.

Click image to see the original promo photo it came from, courtesy of Gregory Nicoll.

(Jay Marlborough, a magician / entertainer; died c. 2000)
Visit Clay Fourrier's Count Macabre fan site, with great details, photos, fan collectibles and a guest book!
Count Macabre
First aired on weekdays from around 3:30-5:30 p.m.; moved to Saturday at 11:00 p.m. in 1968
WBRZ-TV, Channel 2 (Baton Rouge, Louisiana)
Circa fall 1964 - 1969
Magazine reference:
  • Two large photos in issue #3 (August 1966) of Modern Monsters, p. 15.

  • E-gorespondent Clay Fourrier provided all of the details for this entry, including his real name, the name of the show, and all air dates. He notes "It was replaced by the Joe Pine Show — a TRUE horror - in 1969."

    Check Clay's web tribute to Count Macabre (see link above) for more details and some great images.

  • Another fan of the show, Ken King, sent this information about Jay Marlborough:
    Jay Marlborough died about 5 years ago in Phoenix AZ. He was married for the last years of his life to my mother and his family, two sons, still live in the Phoenix area.
    Ken King

("Jerry Bernstein" in credits; actually cameraman Jim Bernhardt)
The Count Murray Show
Friday at midnight; Saturday night around the same time (time slots changed frequently
WTSG TV (Now FOX 31), Channel 31 (Albany, Georgia)
1985 - 1988
  • E-gorespondent Tramm Wizgell (ksnll@cs.com) writes:
    Count Murray was played by Jerry Bernstein, although I believe this was a pseudonym. A lot of the cast members had obviously fake names in the credits a lot of the time. "The Count Murray Show" had a pretty strong cult following in Southwest Georgia during the mid-eighties. It went through several incarnations during its run, but there were always reasons for the set changes and the departure of old characters and arrival of new ones. In fact, one of the best things about the show was the continuity: there were continuing storylines, running gags, old characters making return appearances. The show had a real sense of history and character development, as well as the occasional parody of "Star Trek" or whatever. The writing was always top notch and it was very funny. One particularly funny running joke involved a film they once showed called "The Curse Of Bigfoot" which, if not for "Manos: The Hands Of Fate" might go down as the worst movie ever made. It was always a good fall back joke for someone to be tortured or scared away just at the mere mention of its name.
    Count Murray was your typical, green make-up Dracula type in a cape, except he was Jewish. He often referred to himself as the "Kosher Count" so there was always a lot of Jewish humor in the show. Count Murray once hosted a Hanukkah special in primetime, during which they showed the excellent 70's sci-fi/horror film "The Dark." The show involved Count Murray forgetting the true meaning of Hanukkah and being visited by spirits ala "A Christmas Carol." I know it seems strange to have a Jewish vampire host a Hanukkah special in Southwest Georgia, but that was why the show was so great. There were tons of supporting characters during the show's run. Murray's first sidekick was Morgor, an Igor type. Morgor's parents, Pawgor and Mawgor (who both had beards like Morgor) became running characters, even after Morgor "died" (although he made occasional appearances afterwards). The next co-host was Mr. Nobody, a disembodied head which sat on the desk, whose make-up always changed (sometimes he was all green, sometimes he was split down the middle black and white) and always wore sunglasses. Mr. Nobody "died," too, so quite naturally Murray's next co-host was Mr. Death, a grim-reaper type. Eventually, we met Countess Murray, the Count's shrew of a wife, Murray's parents, and a sarcastic French sock-puppet named Pierre who was really funny, but was only on the show a couple of times. There were also appearances from other "celebrities" on the station who had their own shows and they were usually made fun of or killed or something. There were also a lot of jokes made about rival local station WALB, and about the same late night and local commercials that would always be shown over and over again during the show.
    Every week, Count Murray would hold a contest involving the film being shown that week in some fashion. For example, it would be things like "Come Up With A Funny Phobia" or "What's The Worst Thing About Being A Werewolf." If he selected your entry, it would be read on the air and you'd win free pizza or a meal at a local restaurant. A lot of the same people won over and over again, and kind of became running jokes/characters on the show themselves (myself included). Count Murray once hosted a live Halloween special and invited all the fans to come down for a party, dress up in costumes and be on the show. I think the cast and crew were surprised at just how many people showed up. The show got canceled once, but was brought back by the fans. It was a great show and even though I live in Los Angeles now, I wish they'd bring it back.
    If any one has any info on the show, taped episodes or other stuff, e-mail me at trammw@mandalay.com.
  • Another Count Murray fan, "rnigma", remembers:
    Count Murray was billed as the world's only Jewish vampire. His catchphrase was "Boo! Did I scare you?" His sidekicks were Countess Murray, his wife; Pawgor, a big, stupid ogre; and Mr. Death. Between movie segments and commercials, he would do the usual shtick (patter, fanmail, giveaways), but he would throw in sketches such as a Star Trek parody. The opening of his show during his last season was a parody of the Addams Family theme:
    "He's creepy and he's Jewish
    His jokes are not the newest
    If you don't like them, sue us
    Count Murray's family..."
    Portraying the Count was Jim Bernhardt (billed onscreen as Jerry Bernstein), normally a cameraman at the station. When the station decided to pull the plug on the Count, the last show had Murray kicked off the set after receiving his pink slip, and pounding the street looking for another job.

(J. R. Esparza; died c. 1990)
Psycho Psynema
Saturday at 10:30 p.m.
KGNS, Channel 8 (Laredo, Texas)
1975-197? (unhosted show continued a few years in later time slot after Saturday Night Live)
  • All from E-gorespondent Sean Spillane, who also informed us about Tex-Mex shows hosted by DR. ZEKOW and EL SANTO!:
    Sometime in 1975, KGNS put on another horror movie show entitled "Psycho Psynema," with Count Natas (Satan backwards, get it?) on Saturday nights at 10:30. Count Natas was portrayed by J. R. Esparza, who was a weekend newscaster with KGNS, and later was elected as Tax Collector for Webb County while the show was still being broadcast (I don't know if this is the only case of a horror movie host holding political office concurrently with his TV stint, but it may be).... Count Natas was a flamboyant vampire type with a multi-colored face and a handlebar mustache. He spoke with a slight by way of Lugosi Mexican accent, and sometimes spoke Spanish while on the air, as the show was also broadcast into Mexico and quite popular there as well. He had a skeleton hand which he called "La Mano Pachona," which, translated from Spanish, means something like "the furry hand" or something like that. It could just be some weird Spanish borderland slang. The theme music used to be a cut from Walter (Wendy) Carlos' Switched-On Bach, which sounded pretty spooky. He showed mainly the Universal horror package as a double feature, showing one of the more well known features first (Frankenstein, Dracula, Mummy, Wolfman movies), and a lesser known feature second ("Now, sit back, relax, and enjoy The Pillow of Death!" he would intone without the slightest sense of irony). Natas became quite popular during his run, and the show became campier and more flamboyant as the show continued. On almost every show he would have to play that old Crew-Cuts standard "Sh-Boom" on the piano as the director would go nuts with the chroma key. After a while it got tiring, but maybe I was just outgrowing that kind of show. I just wanted to see the movies. I would be settled in and be trying to enjoy "The Man Who Reclaimed His Head" with Claude Raines, and all of sudden, without warning, Natas would pop on, play "Sh-Boom" for the nth time, and carry a conversation with La Mano Pachona for about 30 minutes. Call me an obsessive adolescent, but I was plenty pissed. Only in retrospect can I see this as the last gasp of truly original and creative locally produced television. Try finding something like this nowadays!

    Unfortunately, Esparza died about ten years ago, still relatively a young man. I did have an autographed photo of Count Natas that I got at a supermarket appearance he made. God knows where it is now, though. I do remember the supermarket packed with kids when he showed up. His local popularity was amazing. His show lasted until the late seventies, I'm sure. Then the station probably figured it would be more profitable to broadcast "Saturday Night Live." They still showed horror movies under the "Psycho Psynema" name after "SNL", but without Count Natas, usually sleazy Euro-horror with Paul Naschy and the like. Then they stopped showing horror movies altogether.

(Jim Kellet)
The Late Night Horror Show with Count Norlock
Day? Time?
KSPR-TV, ABC Channel 33 (Springfield, Missouri)
Friday, April 21, 1989 - ?? 1989
  • Initial information for this entry contributed by Roman Gheesling of Wichita, Kansas, who lived in Springfield, Missouri in 1989:
    I've just visited E-Gor's Chamber of TV Horror Hosts and noticed that Count Norlock was missing.

    Count Norlock (Jim Kellet) was the host of The Late Night Horror Show with Count Norlock on KSPR 33 (ABC) in Springfield, Missouri. LNHSCN began Friday, 21 April 1989 and ended (I believe) the same year.

    I had originally intended to e-mail you regarding Norlock a year ago but I was hesitant to even mention him — I could not remember the actor's name nor his TV station! Fortunately, one of the interns who worked with Jim / Norlock recently published his memories of the show in the 2004 Scary Monsters Yearbook (along with a picture of LNHSCN's initial schedule).

    So please add Count Norlock to your roster of horror hosts. It'd be a shame to see such a fun show relegated to the memories of only a select few.

(Bob McGeHee)
Check out the cool (frames) tribute page to The Count of Five -- along with pages for several other notable Music City hosts in the "Nashville Vault of Horror Hosts" on Dr. Gangrene's Chiller Cinema website!
Suspense Theater
Day? Time?
WTVF, Channel 5 (Nashville, Tennessee)
  • According to Doc Gangrene's Count of Five webpage, The Count was a vampire who haunted Channel 5 (get it?). With his monster sidekick Goro (Stan Hunter), he did bits between segments of the movies they showed, either horrors or thrillers such as Sherlock Holmes.

(Tom Ryan)
Click here to see a brief bio and a scary pack of images of Count Scary -- and hundreds of images of a host of other horrors -- at the incredible Horror Host Gallery website, courtesy of video archaeologist Thomas Rudé!
Nine "scary" specials; no regular series
WDIV-TV (Detroit, Michigan)
July 1982 - 19??
Shocktober Halloween Movie Marathon
October 1984 (as Count Scary), October 1987 (as The Count)
MasTERRORpiece Theatre (Halloween showing of Night of the Living Dead, co-hosting as Count Scary with Ron Sweed as The Ghoul)
Thursday, 8:00 p.m.
WKBD-TV, UPN Channel 50 (Detroit, Michigan)
October 31, 1996
Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
discussed in Ch. 26, "Son of Invasion of the Ghost Hosts, Part II: The Return," pp. 188-190.

(Dick Bennick; died February 18, 1995, age 66)

Read what the late great Dick Bennick said about his entire career, including Count Shockula, in The Lost Interview of Dr. Paul Bearer, conducted by Ed Tucker in 1991, and published online on the Crazed Fanboy website — a treasure trove of information about Dr. Paul Bearer and other TV horror hosts, and all sorts of other pop culture!

Shock Theatre
Friday or Saturday around 11:15 or 11:30 pm
WGHP, Channel 8 (Winston-Salem, North Carolina)
Late 60's - early 70's

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 12, "Dr. Paul Bearer: 'Welcome, fright fans!'," pp. 85.

Magazine references:

  • Full-page portrait of Count Shockula (cropped from the same photo that's linked to the sidebar photo at right) and two large photos from his live stage show were published in the 4-page feature article "'Mess America' Contest Winner" ("local ghoul girl makes bad!") in issue #45 (July 1967) of Famous Monsters of Filmland, pp. 42-45. For transcript of text, see NOTES below.

  • Ed Tucker's 1991 interview (published online at the link cited above) was also published as "Dr. Paul Bearer: The Lost Interview" in Monster Memories #10 (Scary Monsters 2002 Yearbook, February 2002), pp. 24-33. The feature was illustrated with 14 photos, but none of Count Shockula, though he was discussed as NOTEd below.

  • Four large photos of Count Shockula were published in the 4-page feature "Dr. Paul Bearer Picture Tribute Chapter 6 — Shocking Count Shockula Photos!" in Scary Monsters magazine #44 (September 2002), pp. 35-38. This issue also contains a 5-page interview with Dick Bennick conducted by Jim O'Rear, "Dr. Paul Bearer: The Final Interview with Horror's Longest Running Horror Movie Host" with five photos but no mention of Count Shockula. Count Shockula appears in a painting by Terry Beatty on the back cover,


  • Dick Bennick's much more famous host persona, DR. PAUL BEARER killed Count Shockula and took over as host of WGHP's Shock Theatre! Here's what he said about it in Ed Tucker's interview, cited above:
    I was hired by a television station [WGHP] to do interview shows.... We had a guy who was hosting horror movies on Saturday nights but he had no definite character. One week he would dress one way, the next week he wouldn’t dress up, and the next week he would dress a different way. He had no definite set either. One week he would be in front of cardboard boxes and the next week he would be out in the alley. There was really no format to what he was doing. When I learned he was leaving, having been a horror nut all my life, I said how about letting me develop a character. I felt if we had a definable character and a definable set there was a better chance of gaining an audience from this. They said OK, so I dreamed up this character. This was about 25 or 26 years ago now .... about the mid 60’s. I had no budget but I designed the only set I’ve ever designed and got this character on the air. Someone once said that you are the sum of all your yesteryears, that is what makes you what you are today. I brought together the fact that I have always had a hobby of magic, I have always loved puns, I always liked to dress up, I’ve always liked horror movies, and I enjoyed acting. You bring all this into play and this is what comes out in Dr. Paul Bearer.

    The first character I designed did not work. The program was called Shock Theatre and the TV station named the character "Count Shockula." I designed the character and it was a sort of living skeleton proposition. It had a full tie and tails, opera cape and white gloves. For the makeup I wore a white skullcap and had teeth made up at a dental supply house. The teeth stuck out of my mouth like a skeleton and I wore basic black and white makeup. I have been in the business long enough to know that you don’t have to wait for the ratings books to know if something is working. If something is working, if you have people watching you, they are going to call up and say something. When nobody calls and nobody is talking about you and nobody says anything, you know you’re in trouble. I had been on the air for a few weeks and no one was noticing my character and I knew I was in trouble. I figured I had to redesign the character. I got the television station to let me run a promotion called "How Do You Kill Count Shockula?" I already knew how I wanted to kill him because I knew where I could lay my hands on a magic trick where it looked like you were nailing a stake through someone’s heart. You would be amazed but it took about six weeks before someone finally wrote in and said nail a stake through his heart. That was great, though, because I was stalling for time anyway so I could design a new character.... The character worked and through the magic of television, Dr. Paul Bearer killed off Count Shockula and survived on the show. .... The show started to work in North Carolina. It came up with good ratings. I was on the air for about six and a half years in North Carolina. Even after I left the TV station I freelanced the show back to them. Then I moved to Florida and I brought my props with me.
  • Transcribed text of the Famous Monsters photo feature cited above:
    "Mess America" Contest Winner
    "local ghoul girl makes bad!"

    (Full page portrait caption: Count Shockula (Dick Bennick), Monster of Scarymonies for Terrorvision's "Mess America" Contest.)

    She's beautiful, as vampires go, and as vamires go, she went.
      She went and got enraged.
      Oops, engaged.
      Yes, Miss Gail Fraiser of North Carolina got engaged in the "Mess America Contest" sponsored by North Carolina Theaters Inc. and terrorvision station WGHP (it is rumored the initials stand for Weird Ghoulish Horror Pix).
      The Mess America Pageants were staged in the form of late theater shows hosted by Count Shockula (Dick Bennic) held in theaters in 7 cities in North Carolina.
      Monsters themselves were judges.
      Two weeks before the winner was picked, 100 noosepaper, radio and TV (Transylvania Vampire) reporters, along with theater managers of the area, turned up at the Barn Dinner Theater in Greensboro for, of all things, a Shocktail Party!
      Hosts of the affair included Frank N. Stein (he dished up the latest dirt from Horrorwood!) ...   The Brainiac (his head was just bursting with interesting ideas) ...
      The Hunchback of Notre Carolina (he arrived on a Quasi-modocycle) ...
      The Mummy (Iwho got so wrapped up in his work he forgot he hadn't eaten in 3700 years) ...
      The Mad Surgeon (he was always cutting in) ...
      And the Teenage Frankenstein who, credit must be given, acted like a groan-up.
      A genuine artificial coffin served as a buffet table and such goodies were available at the snake—correction: snack—bar as formaldehyde (son of jekyllandhyde) punch, cranium tidbits, monster marrow dip, shocklit bars, etc.
      The winner, Gail Fraizer, hopes to go on to bigger & badder things. Who knows, after being crowned "Mess America" she may become "Mess Transylvania" and eventually "Mess World."
      "There no denying," she says, "that the world's in a monstrous mess!"
      We get the message.

    (P. 44 photo caption: Count Shockula & his shocklit-coated friends: The Mummy (Slim Stokes), the Hunchback (John Stuckenschneider), the Martian Monster (Robt. STokes), Frankenstein (Jack Gant), Teenage Frankenstein (Joe PErryman) & the Mad Doctor (Harold Reed).)

    (P. 45 photo caption: And—"Mess America of 1967" (oops, 1967!) herself, Gail Frazier, receiving her Terror Trophy from the claws of Count Shockula.)

Count Shockula, Shock Theatre host in North Carolina

Count Shockula, Dick Bennick's first Shock Theatre host in North Carolina, soon to be bumped off by Dr. Paul Bearer, who took over the show!
Click image to see the complete photo it was clipped from.

(Robert M. Miles)
Visit Count Smokula's Website.
See Count Smokula's profile page at HORRORHOSTS.com, the official site for the Horror Host Underground.
The Count Smokula Show
Day? Time?
Public Access Channel ? (Los Angeles, California)
? 1996 - Present
  • Count Smokula, a 496-year-old accordian-playing “Rock’n’Roll Vampire," hosts and produces "The Count Smokula Show," a cult classic on cable access in L.A. He is also the host of "The Freak of the Week" show on Troma’s Edge TV on network TV in the United Kingdom.
  • Count Smokula is featured in, wrote and performed music for Troma’s "All the Love You Cannes," a documentary on the Cannes Film Festival. He has also appeared in other films including "Caress of the Vampire, Part 4," "Fetal Boy Goes to Hell," and "Tales from the Crapper."
  • Count Smokula's television appearances include Fox Network’s "Thirty Seconds to Fame," the Game Show Network’s "Extreme Gong Show," "Blind Date," E! Entertainment Network, ABC’s "20/20," CBS "Sunday Morning" and "Monster Garage."
  • The Count is host of the live performance troupe Vamphear Circus, and has emceed and performed with Portland Organic Wrestling, Fluffgirl Burlesque, The Fishnet Floozys and The Bonnie Delight Revue. He also hosts and performs at live events such as The Rock City Music News Awards, Los Angeles Music Awards, American Film Market, Screamfest, Tromadance, the Cult Movie Convention, and with many rock bands.
  • Count Smokula is proficient as a vocalist and plays the accordion, guitar and harmonica, The Count’s album "Authentic Sounds of Smokesylvania," is number one on the charts in his native homeland, Smokesylvania, and was voted Best Comedy Album of the Year at the 2003 Los Angeles Music Awards.

(Harry ?)
Saturday afternoon
WPGH, Channel 53 (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania)
? 1969 - ? 197?
  • E-gorespondent Joe Bacon cleared up a lot of confusion regarding this show's history with great information, including this new entry and another for COAGULUS:
    SCREAM-In was on channel 53 from 1969-1971. You have the last host of Scream-In, Tarantula, mentioned in your list.
    The first host of Scream-In was "COAGULUS" -- a vampire, who repeatedly lampooned the films a la Seymour in LA. He was fired after four weeks because he requested a raise.
    He was replaced by "COUNT VON THURSTENBURG," who was really a lame host. I remember that his name was Harry (something) and he hosted Channel 53's OPEN HOUSE show, which was nothing but 30 minutes of house pictures shown on the TV. This is the guy Joe Flaherty (Pittsburgh native) supposedly based Count Floyd on, because his routimes were just as bad. (See COUNT FLOYD -- E-gor.)
    "TARANTULA" replaced COUNT VON THIRSTENBURG" thankfully by painting a cross on the top of the Count's Coffin. He was much more into the role, and he remained the host of Scream-In until the station went bankrupt and was forced to shut down in mid-1971.

Help E-gor picture this host!

If you have any sort
of information about
this horror host
(particularly a photo),
PLEASE E-mail E-gor!

Count Von Wolfenstein or Von Wolfstein

(Bob Goldberg)
Name of show?
Day? Time?
WOFL, Channel 35 (Orlando, Florida)
196? - 197?
Magazine reference:
  • Mentioned in "Monster Memories" article "TV Horror Hosts & Me" by B-movie director Fred Olen Ray in issue #9 (December 1993) of Scary Monsters, p. 8.
  • According to Fred Olen Ray's memories of Florida horror hosts, Count Warlock originated on a Miami station.

Count Wolfenstein or Wolfstein

(Don Melvoin)
See bio and images of Count Zappula -- and hundreds of images of a host of other horrors -- at the incredible Horror Host Gallery website, courtesy of video archaeologist Thomas Rudé!
Count Zappula's Horror House
Saturday night at 11:30 (started as summer show)
WGTU-TV, Channel 29 (Traverse City, Michigan)
WGTQ-TV, Channel 8 (Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan)
STATION?, Channel 55 (Alpena, Michigan)
1976 - 1980
WPBN-TV, Channel 7 (Traverse City, Michigan)
Early '80's - 19??
Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
discussion and picture in Ch. 26, "Son of Invasion of the Ghost Hosts, Part II: The Return," pp. 186-188.
  • Rare insight from one of the show's directors, Eric Pearson!:
    I was the Director for about half of the "original" Count Zappula programs. I'm working from memory here, so some of the details may be off...
    The name of the program was "Count Zappula's Horror House", and it aired on Channel 29, WGTU-TV Traverse City, Michigan, and WGTU's "repeater" station, WGTQ-TV Channel 8, Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It was also on a low-power repeater, Channel 55 in Alpena, Michigan. Basically, the program was seen in northern lower Michigan and the eastern third of Michigan's upper peninsula.
    The program aired Saturday nights at 11:30 pm until whenever we got done. The station signed off after the Zappula program, so we had a flexible time period.
    I'm pretty sure the program started airing around 1977-78 and it was still on the air when I left the station in '80. Don Melvoin is still listed in the Traverse City, Michigan phone book, if you want to contact him....
    Don also played another character once in a while, when he felt that Count Zappula was getting stale. I think the character's name was Doctor Maniac. Maybe one show in ten or twenty. Doctor Maniac usually appeared standing behind a "laboratory desk" with colored liquids and dry ice in various breakers and test tubes. He wore a "fright wig" and a green lab coat.
    An out-take from Count Zappula's Horror House appeared on one of Dick Clark's very early Blooper shows....
    Count Zappula was usually seen reclining in a gold-colored metal coffin, which was covered with bumper stickers. Behind him was a dark curtain, similar to those used in funeral parlors. The Count wore a black cape, prosthetic fangs that Don's dentist made for him, and a LOT of makeup.
    The Count's dog "Igor" (Don's dog "Lover"), a very small terrier, also usually appeared with the Count, sometimes wearing a tiny cape.
    Several different well-known actors appeared as guests on the show, including Soupy Sales, Pat Paulsen, and Tommy Smothers. ....I've lost track of which "stars" appeared on "Don Melvoin's Hollywood Theater" on Sunday afternoons, and which ones appeared on the Zappula show. The list was pretty long... several dozen.
    Anecdote: When we finished the show at one in the morning or so, the Count was usually pretty tired and would drive home before changing out of his costume and makeup. Don drove a large Jeep Cherokee-type vehicle with dark, tinted windows, and one night he was pulled over by a police officer. He waited until the officer was next to the driver's window before he hit the button to roll the window down. When he became visible he flicked his tongue like a cobra and said "Good Evening" in his best vampire voice, and the officer "nearly crapped his pants," according to Don.

Cousin Trebor

Crandall (should be Krandel)

Crazy TV Lenny

Creature, The

(Drawing of Lon Chaney as vampire; voice of Carl Grayson? or Marty McNeely?)
Read The Creature's poems!
Click here to see The Creature's familiar image and brief info about the show, courtesy of The Video Veteran Web site on the history of Chicago television!
Creature Features
Saturday, 10:30 p.m.
WGN-TV, Channel 9 (Chicago, Illinois)
September 19, 1970 - 197?
Magazine reference:
  • Reproduction of promotional card featuring Creature drawing and poem, with brief description of show, in issue #3 of Scary Monsters, p. 9.
  • Reproduction of TV listing ad for show with Creature drawing in Scary Monsters Presents Monster Memories #1, 1993 Yearbook (January 1993), p. 49.
  • The show opened with the sound of a creaking coffin lid opening, then the theme music, Henry Mancini's "Experiment in Terror" (from the movie of that name), with visual accompaniment -- a drawing of Lon Chaney Sr.'s great vampire makeup from the "lost" silent film London after Midnight. Announcer Carl Grayson read a spooky poem (see link to poem above) in a scary falsetto voice.
  • E-gorespondent Dave King says:
    I seem to remember the first couple episodes with somebody (maybe Carl Grayson) actually dressing up like the Creature and then with the help of early video trickery, converted the image to a "negative" black and white shot, quite distorted and almost superimposed somehow, similar to how we see some home video cameras use their titling feature. Then he would recite that poem, and then introduce the feature for the evening. I remember seeing at least the first three episodes, one of which was of course Frankenstein and maybe Dracula. I would love to see and hear an actual tape of that intro."
  • Show fan Scott Mensching remembers:
    Growing up in chicago in the sixties we all waited for Creature Features on Saturday night. I was reading your review of the show on your horror host site and was a little confused. As I remember it was local newsman Marty McNeely who read the poem over the introduction. I do happen to have the audio of this as when I was young I liked to tape tv shows on my reel to reel. Finding these a couple of years ago I was going through them and there was Creature Features. The movie that night was the "The Wolf Man." There was also a short poem read about what ever movie they were showing that night that followed the standard poem that you have on your site. Hope this is helpful to somebody.

Creatures, The Patient
(see Carpathian)

Creep, Dr. *
(see DR. CREEP)

Creep, The *

(Lew Steele: died February 25, 2001)

Creature Feature (first film of triple-feature)
Son of Creature Feature (second film of triple-feature)
Revenge of Creature Feature (third film of triple-feature)
Saturday beginning at 8:30 p.m.; Sunday morning repeats during part of run.
WNEW-TV, Channel 5 (Metromedia 5) (New York City, New York)
1970-1975? 1980?-198?

Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
mentioned in Ch. 26, "Son of Invasion of the Ghost Hosts, Part II: The Return," pp. 185-186.

Magazine reference:
  • "Monster Memories of The Creep" feature by K J Morissey (with two photos of Lew Steele in costume) in Scary Monsters Presents Monster Memories #4, 1996 Yearbook (January 1996), pp. 20-21.
  • Frequently featured in The Monster Times (tabloid): #19 (January 30 1973), 1/3-page article, "Return of the Creep," page 9; #20?; #21, p. 26; #22 (May 1973), "The Creep Cuts Up!" by R. Allen Leider, page 23. Brief (one page) interview with The Creep, which includes several pictures (apparently photographed right off the TV screen) of The Creep holding up a copy of TMT. The article mentions that the show's producer is (was) Jim Shasky, and that The Creep, in real life, lived on Long Island with his wife and kids.
    (Details on last item provided by Saul Fischer -- E-gor)


  • Creep fan Saul Fischer e-mailed details:
    His only props were a dark jacket, sunglasses, and harsh studio lighting. Creature Features ran every Saturday night from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. For a while they ran the previous show the following Sunday morning. I remember having been torn between wanting to watch CF AND Mary Tyler Moore on CBS/Channel 2 at the same time, until CF started repeating on Sunday p.m. CF played movies like the Universal horror classics (Frankenstein, Dracula, and their Brides, Sons, Daughters, & Houses) as well as less-than-classic-but-no-less-enjoyable movies like House on Haunted Hill and Kronos. It was quite a mix, and as TV Guide didn't always (or accurately) list what movie they were going to play, you just tuned in that night and might see films like Island of Lost Souls or The Invisible Man or 50's sci-fi fare like The Deadly Mantis. The CF theme music (which is forever branded into my brain) was appropriated from some 50's shocker like Creature from the Black Lagoon. As far as I remember, the show was taken off circa '75. Overall, their films were better than WPIX/Channel 11's Chiller Theatre (which had no host). There was also a period of time when CF had a weekly contest. Words would flash across the bottom of the screen during the movie's broadcast, and if you correctly spotted them all, put them together to spell some horror film title, like "House of Frankenstein," and The Creep called you, you could win a trip to a resort lodge.
  • Show fan Jim Burns writes:
    An interesting sidelight to the Creep's career -- and one that most everyone seems to have forgotten about! -- is that out of NOWHERE, around 1980 or 1981, they brought The Creep BACK to host ANOTHER round of CREATURE FEATURE broadcasts.

    If you were the right age, the Lew Steele-hosted telecasts, in 1970, of FRANKENSTEIN, THE WOLFMAN, THE MUMMY... were your VERY FIRST exposure to the Universal fantasy classics... Sweet memories!
  • Horrorhost fan Eerie Evan recalls:
    In the 70's The Creep hosted Creature Feature on WNEW channel 5.... They showed all of the Universal classics and various other movies. The Creep was a lot of fun and ran a caption contest which my third grade elementary teacher won. You had to create a clever caption that had to do with the movie they ran. She won for her quote "Four Skulls and seven years ago..." Can you guess what movie that was in reference to?
  • Tireless hostorian Harris Lentz sent sad news:
    Was digging around the net for obituaries today and came across this one -- I thought it might be of interest to you so I'll attach it below.
    P.S. It seems the obit writer got it wrong -- calling his show Chiller Theater rather than Creature Features.
    Lou Steele
    By Variety Staff
    Lou Steele, the former actor whose voice later became familiar to New Yorkers as the announcer who first introduced Channel 5 News with, "It's 10 p.m., do you know where your children are?" died Feb. 25 of a heart attack at St. Joseph's Hospital in Paterson, N.J. He was 72.

    Steele started his radio career in his teens before heading to Hollywood at age 21. As a contract actor, he appeared in several films, including "The Furies" and "September Affair."

    He was called into the Army during the Korean War and was assigned to Armed Forces Radio in Japan. Steele's was the voice that announced to the U.S. Army in Korea the removal of their commander, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, by President Truman in November 1950.
    Steele went back into radio after the war and moonlighted as a soap opera star on both "Guiding Light" and "Secret Storm." He was also well known for his role at Channel 5 as "The Creep," the host of the station's regular horror movie series, "Chiller Theater." (sic: see preceding comment -- E-gor)

    Steele is survived by his wife, Laura Steele (whose radio and TV psychic career he helped develop), a son and a brother.


The Creep, Creature Feature host in NYC

The Creep, host on WNEW in New York City.
Click image to see the autographed photo it's clipped from.

Creeper, The *

(Jim Sullivan)
Jeepers Creepers Theater
Saturday night
KCOP-TV, Channel 13 (Los Angeles, California)
Mid 1965 - March 1966
  • Jim Fetters, Webmonster of the late-great and much-missed Jeepers Creepers website, interviewed Jim Sullivan and introduced him as follows: "Jim Sullivan wrote, produced and created Jeepers' Creepers Theater! He was there at the very beginning with Bob Guy and finished the show himself as The Creeper!"

Creepmeister Maximus


(Roberta Solomon)
Read what The Ghostess posted!
Visit Voicegal Inc., the professional website for Roberta Solomon, "the Voice for radio and TV," with a current photo and RealAudio clips demonstrating her amazing vocal talents!
See a bio and pictures of Crematia Mortem -- and hundreds of images of a host of other horrors -- at the incredible Horror Host Gallery website, courtesy of video archaeologist Thomas Rudé!
Creature Feature
Friday, 11:30 p.m.
KSHB-TV, Channel 41 (Kansas City, Missouri)
1981 - 1988
Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts reference:
whole chapter and picture -- Ch. 27, "Crematia Mortem, the Ghostess with the Mostess," pp. 192-197.

Magazine reference:
  • Feature "The Ghostest with the Mostest: An Interview with Crematia Mortem!" by Dick Nitelinger (Golembiewski) in issue #56 (September 2005) of Scary Monsters Magaine, pp. 115-118. The article is illustrated with a Crematia Mortem promotional card and a current picture of Roberta Solomon.
Crematia Mortem fan postcard

Front and back of
autographed postcard
of Roberta Solomon
as Crematia Mortem,
Kansas City KSHB-TV.
Click for larger view.

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