- (No host; voiceover=?)
- Strange Tales of Science Fiction
- Either Friday or Saturday evening, starting around 6:30-7:30
- KHJ-TV (now KCAL), Channel 9 (Los Angeles, California)
- c. 1961- 1977
- West coast host fan Mike Shawn initiated this entry:
Another show on Channel 9 was 'Strange Tales of Science Fiction.'
There was no on camera host, only a voiceover.
Some poor tech would make smartass remarks as it went late into
- Nick Campbell originally composed this more detailed
notice for a discussion forum, and was kind enough to share it
In the early 60s on either Friday or Saturday evening....
and between the hours of 6:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.,
there was once a hostless Science Fiction venue called
"Strange Tales of Science Fiction" which I first remember
watching in 1962 when I lived in Sunland and attended Sunland
schools, before moving to Burbank. This show was hosted by an
unseen host: we didn't see the horror host but rather heard him,
an echo of a voice that, after this eerie music started to play,
would say something like, "Hello Dere!" and with some humor would
then introduce the film to be seen, you know, films like
"Invasion of the Body Snatchers," or "Creature from the Black
Lagoon," or "The H-Man, " or "Caltiki, the Immortal Monster."
That eerie music, which was performed by Kenyon Hopkins and the
Creed Taylor Orchestra and was by title the great Harold Arlen
tune "Out of This World," came to mind for ages afterward but I
only had a title, "Out of This World," and only because I called
channel nine and asked when I was very young....
This theme was part of series of commisioned LPs.
The editor of "Famous Monsters of Filmland,"
[the great Forrest J Ackerman -- ed.]
was talking with Kenyon Hopkins, probably after he recorded the
album, "Lonelyville," which was an album of standard jazz tunes
that had sound effects, etc., and were a lot of fun: hip, but
made into novelty songs.
He thought it would be fun to take a song like "Out of This
World" and other jazz standards, and add sound effects, etc., to
them, creating a horror extension of the novelty genre. I don't
know how this really came about but the albums were made and
there were three:
Kenyon Hopkins was in the
tradition of great musicians who were not snobs and knew how to
have fun and gave us some great novelty recordings (the world's
too sophisticated now and takes itself too seriously). Hopkins
wrote a lot of his own music for the three albums commissioned by
Forrest Ackerman and "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine. And
what a treasure they are! And available, if you are dying to hear
this eerie music again, at
Jack Diamond has a
lot of other cool stuff at that site, which takes a little time
to download but is worth the wait (not much really).
These albums used to
be listed under the title, Monster Music, but can now be found
easily enough by entering "Shock, Music in Hi-Fi," in the search
engine at Jack Diamond's site.
- Shock, Music in Hi-Fi;
- Panic, Son of Shock, which included "Out of This World," which
became the theme of "Strange Tales of Science Fiction," and which
I believe was selected by a woman and not a man (I talked to her
back in the early 70s); and
I am writing about this because just recently I visited "E-Gor's"
site where he discusses "Horror Show Hosts" and at this site
someone who no doubt remembers only the 70s replacement of the
original 60s unseen host, who was not so obnoxious and only a
little bit of a joker, wrote that the show's host throughout the
night would make bad jokes about the films on the show.
My memory of watching "Strange Tales of Science Fiction" are of a
disembodied voice that says with a heck of a lot of echo, "Hello
Dere!" all of a sudden but only after that great eerie musical
theme, "Out of This World," would begin and those great clarinets
and alto and tenor saxes would begin their wavey interpretation
of this great old love song.
It made me watch the show! The music is why I watched that show
as much as the science fiction films!
The host talking about that night's film, and he was mostly
serious about it, while in the background and foreground, you saw
a misty castle (background) and the title of the Show,
"Strange Tales of Science Fiction," floating, dancing, waving,
and all at the same time dragged so that the title was like smoke
or ghostly more than anything, and that great "original" host's
voice as he malevolently, but with "some" humor, introduced that
night's Sci-Fi classic. Now he did make some fun of this or that,
but never would he break into the movie when it was running and
say anything; it was always when the station broke away for
sponsorship, way back before Mr. Reagan deregulated Television
standards and now instead of three commercials per half hour we
get seven minutes of them at each commercial break! Thanks Ronny!
"Strange Tales of Science Fiction"
aired from about 1961-1977, I think was the year it went off tv
forever, though it came and went as a Sci-Fi venue, disappearing
sometimes for a while, as it is now listed among shows airing on
channel 9 in Los Angeles in 1967: "Groovy" and "F Troop" replaced
it in that Friday night time slot, unless it was on Saturday