- (Gary Newton; deceased)
- Simon's Sanctorum
- WCVB-TV, Channel 5 (Boston, Massachusetts)
- Saturday night (8:30 - 10:00 pm.?; later at some point?)
- 1970 - 1972-73?
- KPLR, Channel 11 (St. Louis, Missouri)
- Sunday afternoon around 2:00
- 1970 - 1972-73?
- Magazine references:
- Discussed in a letter from Anthony Menna III
in issue #10 of
(March 1994), p. 6.
- A picture of Simon accompanies a letter about Simon
(and LA host
Jeepers) from Mark Natola in issue #11 (June 1994) of
Scary Monsters (p. 13).
- Boston fan Dave White remembers:
Simon, to my recollection, always started and ended his shows .... by looking through a large,
basketball-sized brandy snifter at the camera.
Of course, my size reference may be off, since I
was only about 8 at the time.
- According to various discussion group postings,
Simon climbed out of a coffin to introduce movies.
- Anthony Menna's letter in
Scary Monsters (cited above) notes that
Simon dressed in black, wore greyish-white face makeup,
black makeup under his eyes, and had a mustache and
some blacked-out teeth.
Once he pulled out a handful of worms and pretended to eat them.
- Mark Natola's letter in
Scary Monsters (cited above)
says the show ran:
....during the early 1970's.
Each Saturday night at 9 PM, Simon would present a horrific
B+W thriller from the golden age of horror....
Simon and his show now exist only in the dusty memories of a
few faithful fans.
According to Steve Rainer, the current
production manager at Boston Channel 56, Simon was played by his station's
art director, Gary Newton.
Sadly, Gary left the station following the show's cancellation,
and has not been heard from again.
- Boston fan Paula O'Keefe writes:
Have info to add on Boston's Simon, of whom I was (and am!) a huge fan....
The Simon's Sanctorum that I remember ran on Ch. 5, WCVB,
for a lamentably few years in the early 1970s.
When WCVB went to a 24-hour format it purchased a package of
Universal films called "Classic Horror" and "Classic Horror II,"
the "Classic Horror" films being the great Universal "name"
features and the "Horror II" films being B-pictures,
mysteries, and movies like
Curse of the Undead
and The Leech Woman.
Originally WCVB showed films from these two packages as a Saturday night
double feature (at 11:30 PM and 1:30 AM, I think) under the "CH / CH2"
titles, with an opening title montage of scenes from the films set to
Wagner's "Ride of the Valkyries."
When Simon's Sanctorum arrived -- I *believe* it was in 1972,
but I'm not certain -- it took over the "Classic Horror" time slot
and film library, while "Classic Horror II" continued under that
title in the slot after Simon's show.
The show opened with creepy music and Simon's face gradually
materializing while he recited a sort of invocation about how we were
all drawn back again to this place and time...
then the title would appear.
I remember an opening scene of a trap door opening in the floor
of a dark room, out of which Simon would climb in a cloud of
light and smoke.
This trap door supposedly led down to a room housing a repulsive
monster which Simon occasionally "fed" by tossing it handfuls of
rubber worms and bugs, though the creature was never seen....
The description you have of him agrees with my memories --
a sort of decayed, Victorian elegance.
His most often seen set was a large ornate chair flanked by
He always addressed his viewers as "Devoted" and often spoke
sardonically of the bond between us and himself
("you are the moth, Devoted, and Simon is your flame...").
Simon was a cultured sort of ghoul and most shows included a
segment in which he would sit in his "throne" with a goblet of
"the elixir" and give a dramatic reading of poetry or a
segment from some classic,
though always capped off with a sarcastic remark.
(He attributed his longevity to this elixir, which was a bubbling
dry-ice potion he would drink with great relish.)
However, he was never above "going for the gross-out,"
and might close a poetic sequence by jamming his armpit against
the lens or licking it!
The show closed with Simon's disembodied face bidding us farewell
and saying that we would all return to this space again..."to
-- then fading out with creepy laughter as the credits rolled.
Simon became fairly popular and briefly hosted an afternoon radio
segment on a small Boston station
("Simon would like to have you for lunch")
in which he would recite one of his monologues and introduce a
few songs. The station was exasperatingly low-watt and I was only
able to hear the feature two or three times, to my great
exasperation, so have no idea how long it ran.
The only mention of Simon I remember appearing in print at the
time was an item in the Boston Globe TV column,
which included a photo and some information about how the
character had been created.
I did clip this item at the time, but
to my eternal regret it is long lost.
I would be unbelievably grateful if anyone could provide me with
a photocopy of this irreplaceable treasure!
Thanks for the chance to remember this delightful program,
which was the brightest spot in my teenage years.
- St. Louis show fan Alan T. remembers:
Simon's Sanctorum also played in St. Louis on KPLR (Channel 11)
around 2 p.m. on Sunday afternoons, approximately the same years you have already noted.
The thing I recall about Simon was that his appearance was similar to Alice Cooper.
He would occasionally wear a bowler hat, and was generally draped in dry-ice fog.
I remember his show commenced with Simon saying something like
"Simon recalls his moth; here is your flame!
All this accompanied by weird bubbling electronic sound effects.
Come, devoted, and I will show you many wonders!
Simon says -- WATCH!"
The movies the Sanctorum showcased in the St. Louis area were
fairly sleazy horror fare, such as
The Crimson Cult &
The Creature with the Blue Hand.
One aspect of Simon that I thought was really funny was the utter
lack of respect he had for his viewers.
In one bit, he stared into the camera, intoning,
"Devoted, your eyes are heavy-lidded and myopic,
but they begin to perceive this face,
the face of the one who commands!
But what are these tiny vessels at the corners of your eyes,
Like an infinitesimal road map!
How does it go -- the red ones are major highways and the blue
ones proposed roads?
Allow me... to add... a few SIDE-STREETS!"
At which point, Simon jammed his thumb into the camera and began
Whew! Thanks for letting me share a bit of nostalgia with you.
- Simon fan "spridel100" comments:
Just a note about the Simon's Sanctorum show, that ran on Saturday night's in the early 70s on WCVB TV-5 in Boston....
Simon's show had the classic Boris, Bela type 30s films...
but the show that followed also ran more classic type things,
not B horror as one person noted, in fact, the name of the show was "Classic Horror,"
but they did run the lesser known of the Universal stuff like The Invisible Ray and Man-Made Monster.
Simon referred to the monster under the floor as "Trapdoor."
WCVB also ran "Chiller" theater on Saturday afternoon (more Universal).
- Boston fan Ned Grant has some fascinating specifics, and remembers one detail differently:
I was in Boston attending Berklee College of Music in 1973 and Simon was our favorite TV star.
His “pet” in the pit was named “Dregma,”
who once grabbed his arm and pulled it into the pit and began “humping” it as a dog would hump a leg (off-camera, of course).
Recovering his dignity, Simon said, “Never again, Dregma!,” and slammed the trap-door shut.
My favorite little skit was one in which he pretended to break the fingers of the viewer’s (“Devoted’s”) hand.
Leering into the camera, we heard each finger snap, to the count of SIX!
Looking horrified, Simon looked down, recounted, and backed away from the camera saying,
“Devoted! Uuuugghh!” (as if we had six fingers).
He once read a particularly silly Tennyson poem and began crying.
Looking at the camera disdainfully, he said “Have you no feelings?
Are you made of steel, of iron? Perhaps, PIG-iron?” and laughed hysterically.
He had the greatest evil laugh I’ve ever heard – a deep, “Moo-hoo-hoo-hoo-ahh-ha-ha-ha!”
I spoke to Gary Newton on the phone once, but the only details I can remember are his plugging
“Simon Would Like to Have You for Lunch” on a local AM radio station (rehashed clips from the TV show),
and saying that parents were complaining to Channel 5 about the show’s content.
His clothing was mid-19th century Edgar Allan Poe style, his teeth were dirty, he had dark circles under his eyes and a bushy moustache,
and boy do I miss him!
- After the movie, chapters from Flash Gordon serials were
Gary Newton as
70's horror host
Simon on WCVB
in Boston and
KPLR in St. Louis
(click for larger,
Rare portrait courtesy
of Simon's fan Anthony.