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Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires, Mad Scientists and Other Denizens of the Late-Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed

4.1 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0786409402
ISBN-10: 0786409401
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"factual information is provided...many black-and-white photographs will...delight fans. ...a must for public and school libraries"--ARBA
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: McFarland & Company (October 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786409401
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786409402
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.6 x 8.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,017,668 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
During the late 1950's, and early 1960's, television was still in it's infancy. (Some people still think that it still hasn't grown up!) Through the magic of television, the major movie studios particularly Universal Studios, found a new life for their old movies, and a way to recycle them to the new generations that never had the opportunity to see them. Universal Studios packaged a large percentage of their pre-1948 horror films, and distributed this bundle as Shock Theatre. Along with this package, they encouraged the local television stations to have a macabre host in hopes that they would expand viewership, and increase their ratings. Movie hosting, which was once popular on radio, initially crossed over to television, (Remember "The Twilight Zone", and "Alfred Hitchcock Presents?" You do? Then you're old!) Some of these movies were good, some were bad, some were just plain awful, but they were very inexpensive, and they made for great padding on those hard to fill time slots particularly, late Friday and Saturday nights. The mating of movie, and host proved to be a huge success, with the host achieving local star status. This was all long before video games, VCR's, and all of the things we have clamoring for our attention span today. As a kid growing up in Los Angeles, I lived for those Friday, and Saturday evenings when the likes of "Jeepers Creepers", "Seymour," and later "Elvira," creeped me out, as they cracked me up. This same thing was happening all over the country to the local television stations that had this horror movie package, and the ones that didn't, soon did, when they saw the popularity that their rivals were achieving.Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
Back in the days when there really was such a thing as local television, stations across the country used local personalities to host late night horror movies. Many times these assorted mad scientists, vampires and ghouls were much more entertaining than the movies they showed. The late Elena Watson's Television Horror Movie Hosts helps relive the days when local television had personality and wasn't just full of syndicated reruns. Even if you are too young to have experienced these days, you will enjoy this book. It chronicles the lives of the hosts and hostesses from the big names such as Elvira, Ghoulardi and Count Gore De Vol to the lesser known characters whose careers were short lived. All and all this throughly researched book is a fascinating read that shows the creativity behind some of the more interesting people and times in television.
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Format: Paperback
It's hard to fathom a time when this was the best medium for innocent fun and Friday night entertainment. I had long sought a book that covered the lives of horror movie hosts but always turned up empty handed or given perplexed looks from book buyers,book merchants and the industry as a collective whole. It all began with the coming of age and fascination of these films and the people behind them that my interest grew. Overall, Elena M. Watson does a nice job putting together the brief histories of some of the genre's most notable figures however, there isn't so much about her as writer nor how she herself feels about them. It would have been nice to read some of her input as a fan because one cannot deny her passion after reading this. I really wish that more people jump on the bandwagon and write more books about this genre. This is a dying art thanks to video games and other useless forms of entertainment. I do indeed recommed this tasty book of who's who to anyone out there interested in the unsung heroes of horror movie hosting. I also recommed to read about them on line starting with the one and only Miss Vampira (Maila Nurmi)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was delighted with the quality of the this book. I am a true fan of the hosted horror films, and this book has all of the history of how the whole genre came to be, as well as very interesting information on pretty much every significant horror film host from most markets in the USA. It is these detailed stories that make this book such a page-turner. Not a cheap book, but worth every penny!
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The information in the book is a bit dated at this point, which is understandable as it was published in 2000. However, it's an interesting little slice of TV history. For roughly 25 years, local broadcasters had men and women portray a variety of ghouls, vampires, mad scientists and crazy undertakers hosting old horror and science fiction movies. I grew up in Cleveland, OH, and well remember the antics of Houlihan and Big Chuck, and later Big Chuck and Little John, and my older brothers watched Ernie Anderson (a friend of Tim Conway, and announcer for ABC Television) portray "Ghoulardi".

These hosts demonstrated a terrific amount of creative energy, some building their own sets and writing songs and skits to parody the schlock films of the 1950's. With the availability of internet streaming services, I doubt that we'll see these hosts again.

I admit to watching "Svengoolie" from time to time (http://svengoolie.com/ ), and he has much of the old spark, but it's probably just nostalgia now.

A good read for baby boomers, and TV history buffs.
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