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An Important Horror Hostorical Resource:
John Stanley's I Was a TV Horror Host!

"Everybody should read this book. EVERYBODY!" Ray Bradbury

"John Stanley has definitely shaped a well-rounded study of American horror hosts,
but I seriously doubt he will ever be able to keep abreast of me."
Elvira, Mistress of the Dark

 

Legendary San Francisco Bay-area TV horror host and "Creature Features" movie reviewer JOHN STANLEY was kind enough to send old poor E-gor a review copy of I Was a TV Horror Host, the latest in a long shelf-full of very entertaining and informative books Stanley has written over the last 40 years. This one is part autobiography, part horror host history, part insightful overview of the major fantasy fandom movements in Stanley's lifetime, part personal scrapbook of rare photos and career memorabilia — and completely fascinating! The 210-page book, richly illustrated with 556 photos (many in print for the first time), provides an excellent introduction to the world of horror hosting and many other related subjects of interest to Monster Kids, centered on an in-depth examination of the television careers of both John Stanley and his Creature Features-hosting predecessor and mentor at KTVU in Oakland, cigar-chompin', rockin' Bob Wilkins.

I Was a TV Horror Host is the definitive book for any Creature Features fan, with the whole story of how Wilkins' and Stanley's long-running (1971-1984) Saturday night horror series got started, and how they differed in their handling of the straightforward, monster-less role as its host.

Since the San Francisco Bay area is a major venue for the entertainment world, one of the most unique features of the Creature Features shows hosted by both Wilkins and Stanley was an incredible series of on-the-set celebrity guest interviews. The book spotlights John Stanley's exclusive interviews, conducted both for the TV show and for his San Francisco Chronicle feature articles, with established and up-and-coming talents like:

  • ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER pumped up about body building (and putting the make on a beautiful cocktail waitress) in a 1977 interview, before he became a major contender at the box office and the polling booth!

  • LEONARD NIMOY and GENE RODDENBERRY John Stanley was one of the first to interview them, BEFORE Star Trek premiered!

  • WILLIAM SHATNER, DEFOREST KELLEY, JAMES DOOHAN, GEORGE TAKEI and other Enterprising principals in the Star Trek saga expressing the triumphs and tribulations of Life beyond the Final Frontier!

  • LUCILLE BALL telling how she saved Star Trek from cancellation when she ran Desilu Studio (while entertaining John and other journalists at a promotional party at her house with surprise guests Jackie Gleason and Art Carney!)

  • The "Faceless" Star Wars characters: DAVID PROWSE (Darth Vader), ANTHONY DANIELS (C3PO) and PETER MAYHEW (Chewbacca) discussing the pros and cons of their Lucasfilms adventure!

  • VINCENT PRICE denying and embracing his reputation as a horror icon in two interviews conducted a few years apart!

  • CHRISTOPHER LEE talking about his favorite and least favorite roles on the Creature Features set!

  • RAY BRADBURY thoughts about life and art from the great writer John Stanley regards as his mentor and inspiration!

  • RAY HARRYHAUSEN and CHARLES H. SCHNEER production notes from the creative partners who produced many of the greatest fantasy films ever made with stop-motion animation, from It Came from Beneath the Sea (1954) to Clash of the Titans (1981)!

  • ROBERT BLOCH wit and wisdom from the author of Psycho and many other haunting stories... including the pun-filled sci-fi pulp series collected in "Lost in Space and Time with Lefty Feep," published by John Stanley!

  • ANTHONY PERKINS a 1983 interview with the star of Psycho, on the occasion of Norman Bates' return to the big screen!

  • ROGER CORMAN the King of the Bs promotes his latest sure-fire moneymaker and shows how he does it!

  • GEORGE ROMERO in a late-70s interview, the groundbreaking creator of the Living Dead genre discusses success and survival outside the Hollywood mainstream!

  • WILLIAM CASTLE Hollywood's undisputed master of movie gimmicks and ballyhoo looks back on a long career of scaring the pants off movie audiences!

  • SARA KARLOFF the daughter of the Frankenstein Monster talks about preserving, protecting and sharing her father's memories!

  • ELVIRA, GHOULARDI, ZACHERLEY and JOE BOB BRIGGS hosting horror movies together with John Stanley when Joe Bob asked four of his favorite horror hosts to join him on his Movie Channel Drive-In Theater show!

  • And numerous other HORROR / SCI-FI ICONS of the past century. Many of the photos illustrating these chapters are exclusives taken on the Creature Features set.

Of very special interest to this reviewer is Stanley's long chapter on the pre-TV horror hosts from movies and radio shows like Inner Sanctum, The Witch's Tale, and Lights Out loaded with information and photos, the raw data from this section of the book would make a great addition to this website!

The book has received lots of publicity in the San Francisco-Bay Area, (where John Stanley has been making personal appearances for signings at bookstores), as well as excellent reviews and favorable coverage on national radio, from George Noury's Coast to Coast AM to other shows in various markets stretching from Washington State to the East Coast.

Anyone interested in TV horror hosts or the fifties-to-the-present Monster Boom in general will LOVE this book, now available through your favorite book store, or directly from the author himself! See ordering details on the sidebar.

Tell him E-gor sent you.

     

John Stanley's book I Was a TV Horror Host

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John Stanley's I Was a TV Horror Host is now available in stores and at his website.

Order I Was a TV Horror Host from Amazon.com!

You can order a personally inscribed and autographed copy of this book directly from John Stanley at his website, www.stanleybooks.net, or by writing to:

Creatures at Large Press
1082 Grand Teton Drive
Pacifica CA 94044

The cost from John Stanley is $25 per copy (tax & shipping included), via check or money order (or PayPal; see details at www.stanleybooks.net).

When you order the book, be sure to mention to whom it should be inscribed and autographed so John Stanley can sign it as requested!

Fans can send e-mail to John Stanley at creature@netwiz.net.

A great selection of DVDs, CDs and other collectibles from Bob Wilkins' and John Stanley's shows is available from the Creature Features Store on the official Bob Wilkins website!

 

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