I am a Tombstone Tourist: someone who loves to wander cemeteries. I find it akin to visiting a museum: an opportunity to enjoy rarely seen sculpture, intricate carvings, and amazing architecture, all in a tranquil outdoor setting. This blog is about cemetery culture, art, history, issues of death, and genealogy - subjects of current relevance. I usually find something that intrigues me and makes me want to dig deeper. Care to join me? Read on...
Friday, July 25, 2014
A Simply Spook-tacular Idea, Horror Fans
summer, I wrote two blog posts about horror show hosts. Many readers wrote
back about their favorite memories of local horror hosts and it became apparent that
these “emcees” of the darkness were well loved.
Favorite Horror Hosts
horror hosts became American icons dressed in costumes, trading
barbed comments with other cast members, the television crew, or inanimate objects
before introducing the B-grade horror movie of the night. These “thrillers”
were the mainstay in the late 1950’s, 60’s and 70’s, and every TV station
seemed to have a happenin' “Horror Host” during these years.
role of horror host was usually filled by someone who worked at the TV station; the weatherman
was a favorite, a booth announcer, film editor, or someone from the late night
news cast. This was low-budget television at its best.
Host Sir Graves Ghastly
you needed was some grease paint, a costume, low lighting, and spooky music to
set the mood.The fact that the host
wasn’t afraid of vamping it up was a definite plus.
1957, Screen Gems released some old Universal horror movies syndicated to
television, and the “Horror Host” was born.The name given to the syndicated show was “Shock” and local television stations were encouraged to use hosts
dressed in the horror theme. It was a death-defying hit!
in the 1960s and 70s, Creature Feature packages were released and included, not
only horror films but science-fiction from the 50’s, British horror films of
the 1960s, and those great Japanese monster movies with English-dubbed sound
Host Sammy Terry
the early 70’s these true “shock” jocks had learned how to deliver a
high-energy show on a low, low budget simply by providing a dry wit and cool
patter. By the end of the 1970’s, over 200 horror hosts roamed the late night
television airwaves: A tradition that continued into the 1980s before dying a
slow death at the feet of the cable and satellite channels.
some fans won’t let their old favorites … die.
example is Madd Frank, a popular monster movie host from 1985 to 1995 in Fargo,
North Dakota. “Madd Frank Presents” showed
B-grade horror movies every Friday and Saturday night. The show lasted for ten
year before eventually going into syndication across the country; but a few
years later lost its impact when infomercials took to the air. Del Dvoracek
was Madd Frank, and over the years he developed a cult following around the
the show died a final death, fans decided that they were not content to just let
it rest in peace.
Cast in 1993-94
Madd Frank and Frizzy
Frank has been resurrected and is now becoming the subject of a documentary being produced by fans in
Bemidji, Minnesota. Madd Frank was a favorite of producer Mike Bredon, and
he decided that a 2-hour program about the original show and cast was in order.
why there is a Kickstarter project that has been developed to collect $12,000
for the making of the Madd
Frank documentary. The entire cast
including Madd Frank (Del Dvoracek), Programmer (James Erickson), Ichy Bodd
(Martin Jonason), Billy Jabber (Dave Prentice), Dr. Phil O’dendron (Bill
Flint), and Vanilla White (Judy Rae) have all agreed to take part. The
documentary will consist of modern interviews with the cast, interspersed with
archival footage of the show.
the documentary is completed, the team hopes it will be aired at the 15th
annual Fargo Film Festival next
far, the project has over 50 backers and has raised one-quarter of the needed
funds. But there’s still time to get involved: the project doesn’t close until
Monday, August 4th.