The Bright Colored Fur Balls Known As The Popples!

Welcome back to Rotten Ink, my place on the World Wide Web that brings my past and present together and allows me to chat about things I enjoy from comic books, movies, video games, music and Horror Hosts. It’s crazy to think that it’s already 2019 and 2018 is in the history books. Before we start our look at Popples, I am going to answer a few questions that I get asked by readers and friends about what are some of the most popular posts on this blog! I will break them down and share the top two posts for some of the most popular update themes, “Horror Host Icon” and “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic,” the ones you readers seem to love the most and the ones I get the most requests to cover. The “Horror Host Icon” updates are hands down one of my most popular themes as they hit home for many of you readers who grew up watching Hosts on TV and even modern viewers who catch their favorite’s on the internet. The top three most read Horror Hosts I have covered as of this posting are: Morgus The Magnificent being the most read Icon update followed very closely by both Commander USA and USA Saturday Nightmares! As for the From Horror Movie To Horror Comic update that has been the most read, that honor goes to Phantasm and is followed by I, Frankenstein and The Willies! So there you have it and with more updates in both of those themes, who knows what updates will be the top in 2020! So with that out of the way, I think it’s time we once more visit that magical world of Star Comics and chat about their mini series based on the popular 80’s plush dolls The Popples. So get your cool 80’s gear on and let’s travel back to when plush dolls were cool and no one had a smart phone glued to their face.

Popples were stuffed dolls that were weird looking animal creatures who could roll up into a ball and were a craze for a short time in he 80’s. So let’s take a look at Popples: the doll, cartoon and comics! American Greetings company Those Characters From Cleveland (TCFC) was the company behind the creation of Popples as their employee Susan Trentel was the designer who invented the roll up action of the dolls as she drew inspiration from rolling up socks! Susan was also the designer who brought to life Care Bears and Strawberry Shortcake showing that she was a pioneer of 80’s toys and characters. She along with Thomas Schneider created the first Popples prototype. They went to toy company Mattel, and in 1986, these stuffed dolls were unleashed in toy aisles as well in the world of cartoons thanks to DIC Entertainment and comic books thanks to Star Comics. The dolls would last until 1988 and would have many waves and styles released during this short run including Pocket Popples, a line that was almost like action figures. The cartoon would run for 44 episodes and would go off the air in 1987 with three episodes never airing. The comic series would last for 4 issues and would come to an end in 1987. This sadly is much like many of Star Comics releases based on toys and cartoons. But while the Popples did not make their way into the 90’s and the toy industry moved on, they had two short lived comebacks with the first being in 2007 when Playmates released new Popples figures that only lasted four releases and in 2015 Netflix did a new cartoon series for their streaming service and toy company Spin Master ended up doing a toy line based on this new show. What does the future have in store for the Popples? In 2018 they were sold to Hasbro leaving them open to be made into more toys, cartoons, comics and even video games!

Growing up a kid of the 80’s and 90’s was glorious. As you have heard me say before, we had so many amazing movies, video games, comics and toys and it really was a great time growing up! In these times before the internet was all the rage, many of the big deals that were the talk on the playgrounds was stuff like video games, wrestling, comic books and the newest toys that were on everyone’s must own list…and I can safely say that while I heard them mentioned from time to time and even saw some of the girls have them, the Popples were never a major deal at my school. I remember my neighbor Joanna had some and that’s how I got to first interact with one, and while it was cool that they could turn into a ball, I never did want one as by the time they were released so many other toys, games, comics, horror movies and one special girl were on my radar. Now I need to stress I had nothing against the Popples, they were just clearly more geared toward girls and they were just not something many boys were flocking to. In fact I can remember many toy ads for these plush dolls showing up in comic books I was reading at the time, showing that the toymakers were really trying to make youngsters pay attention to them and help create the demand for them to be on every child’s Christmas and Birthday list. So while Popples were around and a part of my youth, I never really had a major connection to them and by all accounts they just were viewed by my friends and I as girl toys.

So like all good 80’s toys at the time Popples were just not dolls and action figures as these little puffballs have graced all types of other merchandise! The Popples also had the cartoons released on VHS. They had their own vinyl records, books, coloring books, lunch box, board game, shirts, cake pan, bowls, TV tray, stickers, valentine cards and much more. In other words the Popples were everywhere, and they were being pushed to really be a powerhouse in the kids market. While they had a good run, they never did capture the market like Care Bears, Smurfs and Strawberry Shortcake did before them.

Stuffed Dolls in the 80’s and early 90’s were very popular among the youth as besides Popples ones like Pound Puppies, Care Bears, My Pet Monster, Rainbow Brite, My Buddy and Teddy Ruxpin were all on kids must have lists and many of my friends as well as myself had many of these plush. So let’s now dive into the world of Star Comics who made a very short lived comic series based on the cartoon version of the Popples and see how well they were as kid comic stars. I want to think both Lone Star Comics and Bell Book And Comic for having these issues in stock and making this review possible. I must also say that I am very shocked and yet really not that Star Comics decided to do a comic series based on Popples in 1986 as they ignored some vey popular toys from the time like Teddy Ruxpin, Jem And The Holograms, My Pet Monster, Nerfuls and so many others. Plus I still really wished that they would have done a comic series based on one of my childhood heroes and icons Commander USA, who was a Horror Host that would have made an amazing kids comic book hero. But let’s not talk about would could have been and instead, let’s focus on what was, as we take some fun adventures with the Popples. Oh and what would an update be without me reminding you all that I grade these issues on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story.

Popples # 1   *1/2
Released in 1986      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 1 of 4

Youngsters Billy and Bonnie have gone into New York to go shopping, and after some time passes, the Popples decide to follow them and wind up wandering the city. While walking the streets they come across a dog who has stolen an orange from a stand and follow it back to a limo where they find Alice the young daughter of the ambassador, who has decided to run away from home and hide in her father’s car. Some of the Popples follow the dog into the mansion and find out the young girl’s babysitter is really Madam Spy who is looking for top-secret information! When Alice decides to go back home, the Popples warn her of Madam Spy and they all escape in the limo as a Popple uses magic to drive and Madam Spy puts on jogging shoes and gives chase! Madam Spy wants to get to the Ambassador first so she can take him hostage and find out the big secret, and Alice with the Popples want to get to him to warn of the spying! In the end the Popples and Alice warn her father of the danger and Madam Spy and her helper are arrested with Alice learning the big secret is she is going to be a big sister! In the end the Popples find Bonnie and Billy who hide them in their shopping bags and set out for home.

This Star Comic first issue based on an 80’s toyline is not very good and is so far the weakest I have read from Star to date as I found this kids comic very boring and the characters of the Popples really annoying! The plot of this issue has the Popples going to New York and helping a sad young girl to warn her father of the evil Madam Spy who wants to steal all the secrets he has. The Popples who are the heroes of this comic are riddle talking, bouncing around little fuzzy goofballs who just want to have fun and help capture a spy by accident by stumbling in on the crime. Plus I need to say the Popples also all have weird names like Potato Chip, Party and Puffball to name a few. Madam Spy is the main baddy in the issue and she is by no means dangerous, she just really wants to steal secrets and bring them to the league of spies. Alice, Billy and Bonnie are all just goofy kids who enjoy shopping, oranges and having fun. The thing about this kids comic is that it really is kind of dull and never once did I feel like Alice, her father or the Popples had any danger around them. The cover is pretty eye catching and has that true 80’s kid comic charm, and the interior art is good and done by John Costanza and has that Star Comics style. Over all I don’t have much to say about this issue besides it was a below average read, and it makes me hope the rest of this series is not this bland.

Popples # 2   **
Released in 1987      Cove Price .75       Star Comics      # 2 of 4

Bonnie and Billy come home from school super sad, and the Popples find out that they have both lost their positions on the sports teams and are down in the dumps over it. Some of the Popples stay home to try and cheer up the kids while the others go to the school to see who replaced their friends on the teams. And while there, they meet Tina Terrific a young lady who never jokes and laughs and is good at everything and have replaced Bonnie as head cheerleader and Billy as quarterback. All the other kids fear and dislike her as she shows them all that she is the best and likes to rub it in their faces. After practice a Popple tries to make Tina laugh and find himself being kidnapped by her, and as the others find out the all give chase to get their friend back and that includes Billy and Bonnie. Finally the Popples are able to get their friend back and try to make Tina laugh, and even inform her that people dislike her over her behavior and attitude. This upsets the young girl who runs away and into Billy and Bonnie who end up inviting her to a party at their house and find a new friend in her as she also changes her way of thinking and becomes a fun person.

Issue two brings this kids comic in the right direction as it offers a lesson as well as a fun and goofy adventure for our heroes the Popples. This time around the Popples meet a young girl who pushes herself to be the best at everything and has an ego about herself that drives her peers away, and our fuzzy little friends must show her the error of her ways. This comic has a message and that’s make sure to have a little fun in your life and don’t treat all other around you as if you’re better than them, it also has a message of don’t judge people before you really get to know them. The Popples in this issue are the same fun loving, cheesy joke spewing fuzz balls who just seem to be wandering through life spreading joy and laughter. Tina Terrific is a lonely young girl who has no friends and is so good at everything she walks around school like she’s pro wrestling icon Ric Flair! The thing is she is just a sad youngster who would love to have friends but doesn’t know how to make them. I want to also point out that Puzzle Popple is a jerk as he with no thought tells a young kid that nobody likes her, I mean my gosh I was surprised he didn’t just tell her to kill herself! Puzzle Popple, you’re a terrible little creature with no respect. The pacing of this issue is better than the first issue and while better is still about and average kids comic based on toys. The cover on this issue is just okay and nothing special and this time around again John Costanza does the interior artwork. Over all not a terrible issue and was entreating for the most part, so let’s see what issue three has in store for us.

Popples # 3   **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics      # 3 of 4

The Popples are on a camping trip with Billy and Bonnie and have decided that they wanted to explore the wilderness for awhile and have fun by building a campfire and telling stories. Meanwhile at one of the nearby cabins, a young man named Seth who only watches TV that features aliens is forced to go outside by his mother and freaks out when he sees the Popples in the woods as he thinks they are aliens! As the youngster runs for his life he runs into real aliens Yuckle, Buckle and Clive of the Kelvin Empire who look like normal people and decide to investigate these fuzzy aliens the youth is telling them about. And once the aliens find them the Popples welcome their new friends to spend time around the campfire and play and this scares the aliens out of their minds! The aliens think that the Popples are bloodthirsty war machines and run for their lives as the Popples chase them thinking they are playing chase, the aliens make it to Seth and them have themselves beamed back up to their mother ship. With the aliens gone the Popples end up talking and playing with Seth who learns they are not aliens and has made new friends.

Issue three of the Popples this far is the best in the series as it really captures the true fun and silly nature of a kid’s comic and brings more personality to them. The plot has the Popples on a camping trip were they meet a new friend who is a fan of Sci-Fi films and as well unknowingly save the Earth from an alien invasion as their fun ways chase them off. The Popples in this issue are in nature and enjoying life by playing and telling stories by a fire, and thanks to their good nature attitudes they are able to scare off aliens who wished to do us all harm. The Aliens who look like little kids start off as war focused and fearsome on wanting to take down Earth and soon turn into cowards when they come face to face with the Popples magic. What makes this issue work for me is the fact it’s a camping issue as I feel that kids comic based around doing this activity always makes for a good atmosphere and brings back so many memories of being a kid running around the woods. The cover is pretty good and is eye catching with the use of the color yellow that always makes a cover stand out. The interior art once more is done by John Costanza who really does great work in the world of kids comics done by Star as it has a really cartoonish look. Over all this is a solid and fun read and mixes Kids comics with Sci-Fi comics and this far is the best issue in the series, I wonder if the next and final issue will be as good or better…so let’s not wait and find out.

Popples # 4  **1/2
Released in 1987     Cove Price .75      Star Comics     # 4 of 4

Bonnie and Billy are down in the dumps as they do not have enough money to buy their mother a gift for her birthday, and this even has the Popples a little down. But when Billy comes home with a flyer for a pet show that pays $50.00 to the winner the Popples are go out into the world and is going to find a pet for their friends they think could win. While across town at the mansion of the Van Ritz their pet French Poodle Prince who is sick and tired of being treated like a puppy by his owners and escapes the house via the fireplace that turns his fur black and while on the streets he is being chased by a dog catcher and is saved by the Popples who take him to Billy and Bonnie as their new pet they name Champion! But things look rough as Champion due to being babied his whole life does not know any tricks or the ones he does he completes them all wrong. But the Popples and the kids don’t give up and end up training Champion so well that he becomes the winner of the contest! But during his award ceremony Champion has an itch and by scratching he knocks off the black color and the Van Ritz come alive when they see their lost dog Prince is in fact Champion! So the Van Ritz’s get their dog back and Billy and Bonnie win the money and end up buying a puppy for their mom for her birthday.

The fourth and final issue in the Popples comic series from Star Comics is a pretty good read for fans of these fluffy plush dolls and those who love 80’s kids comics. This issue’s plot has the Popples and their human friends finding a stray runaway dog and training him to win a dog show so they can get the prize money and buy the mom a great birthday gift. This one is fun as it really felt like a cartoon episode that you would have seen on Saturday Morning Cartoons back in the 80’s and as well had a little Harvey Comics feel. That’s the one thing that for me always set Star Comics apart from the other Kids comics being made in the 80’s and even early 90’s is they always delivered entertaining adventures for home grown characters as well as others that came from toys and cartoons. And while I do think that the Popples is one of the weakest series they released, it still holds lots of nostalgic fun for a reader like me who grew up in the 80’s and know what the Popples are. The Popples not only in this issue but in the whole series are silly, happy go lucky fuzz balls who enjoy pranking, partying and laughing and its clear P.C. Popple is the leader of this group as he has the true magic touch and can do what ever he wants just by snapping his fingers. Billy and Bonnie are just good kids who enjoy as well having a good time but also show they focus on being active and doing the right thing. This ones cover is ok and is eye catching for fans of these guys and once more John Costanza does the interior art and shows that he has true talent for drawing kids comics. Over all this comic series was just ok and this could be one of the cheesiest and lowest rated from me this far on Rotten Ink, but I still had lots of fun reading it and revisiting the 80’s and when Popples originated no matter how little they impacted my youth. Check out the art below to see the style of Costanza and see what I mean that his style really does fit for kid’s comics.

So now that we have had a fun time with the Popples and shared some flashback memories with many of you readers, I think my next update will be something cool from my past that did mean something to me and impacted my youth and that’s the original Star Trek and the film Wrath Of Khan! As I promised back on my update for the Marvel Comic Star Trek series, I think it’s time to start the adaptations of the films and our next update will do just that. So until next time, read a comic or three, buy a 80’s toy or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for another space adventure with Captain Kirk.

 

A Garfield NES Christmas Eve Challenge!

Merry Christmas Eve to all my family, friends and readers!  I am sure that you’re like me and are looking forward to spending your holiday with loved ones and remembering the past Christmases. When thinking about what topic to cover for this Holiday update, I racked my brain to pick one that would be not only fun but also nostalgic for all of you. I thought about covering an Amazing Spider-Man storyline that took place during Christmas, I thought about covering one of the following toys that had comics Dino Riders, Air Raiders or Battle Beasts that are all toys from my youth. I even thought about covering the Horror Movie Krampus and the comic based on the film. But in the end I decided that I was once more going to cover Garfield as looking back on his Halloween Special a few months ago made me want to re-read his Christmas Special! So make yourself a mug of hot coco and be ready to spend a part of your holiday with Garfield and me as we have a cheerful good time.

Jim Davis is the creator of the Garfield comic strip, and I think we should take a brief moment to talk about him and his life. Davis was born on July 28, 1945 in Marion, Indiana and lived the farm life with his family and their 25 pet cats! Davis was a member of Theta Xi Fraternity while at Bell State University where he studied business and art, and in 2016, he himself became an adjunct professor at Bell State. In 1969 Davis worked for an advertising agency and helped on the comic strip Tumbleweeds as well created his own strip called Gnorm Gnat that ran in Indiana newspapers. He would create Garfield in 1978 and it would become a major hit in the world of comic strips with over 300 million readers on a daily bases! With the popularity of Garfield, Davis opened up Paws Inc. in 1981 in order to manage the high demand of the character as well as created the Professor Garfield Foundation that helps promote children’s literacy. Along the way he also created the comic strip “U.S. Acres” and “Mr. Potato Head” based on the classic toy. Over the years, Jim Davis has been married twice and has three kids. He has won a number of awards for his art and comic strip work. At the time of this update, Jim is 73 years old and shows no signs of slowing down and continues to deliver a high quality entertaining comic strip based around a character that is well loved worldwide.

On December 21, 1987, the cartoon animated special “A Garfield Christmas” was first shown and entertained the young and young at heart. Being a youngster who was really into Garfield, I can remember waiting and counting down the days to when this was coming on, and as always, my parents were super cool and let my brother and I watch it as they always did for Holiday Cartoon specials. And I must say most of Garfield’s holiday specials have always had a special place in my heart just like the Peanuts ones as they were always must watches for the holidays for me and my brother. A Garfield Christmas special was loosely based on Jim Davis’ holidays with his family, and he added some dramatic plots to spice it up and give it that make sure to always cherish your loved ones vibe. The special was nominated for awards and was well liked by viewers and critics and would run on TV all the way till 2000 before finally being taken out of broadcast rotation. In 2004, the special was released on DVD and was a big hit with buyers who wanted to watch this holiday special again. Say what you will but if you grew up in the 80’s and 90’s, I am pretty sure you watched and enjoyed this special at least once in your life. I want to also note that before the DVD this special was also released on VHS for fans to own and watch when ever the mood struck them.

Growing up, between my brother Bryan and I, we had lots of cool Garfield toys and one of the oldest things we had was a very old plush doll of the fat cat. It was my brother’s, and I am not sure were he got it from, I just remember it was around in our youth. We also had several PVC style figures that I can remember playing with in my Toy Wars as Garfield was always on the side of the Jedi and was always back at the Rebel base alongside other “good guy” figures. I can also remember growing up having some Garfield items that came from McDonalds like glass mugs that was released in 1987 and can remember drinking Kool-Aid, Milk and Pop from them while watching cartoons or Horror Host shows on USA Network. I also remember owning a few of the Happy Meal Toys from 1988 that had a mini Garfield figure and a vehicle. Not to mention, we also had many of his comic strip books that I would get from School book fairs and from Half Price Books. So as I have said, Garfield was always around in my youth.

The Nintendo Entertainment System was a major force in the 80’s and 90’s as home console video games were at a fever pitch, and any kid who wanted to be cool had to have a system and tons of games to impress the neighborhood kids and school yard pals. In fact, we Brassfield Brothers got our first video game system that was a Nintendo for Christmas one year, and we could not get enough games fast enough. One game that was made but never released here in America was one called “A Week Of Garfield,” a side-scrolling game released in Japan on home computers that was met with very mixed reviews that has you as Garfield having to save Odie in a week in game time. But thanks to the fine folks at Fan Brew Games I am able to get my hands on a copy of the game that plays in the RES System and one I can have a NES Challenge with! So take a drink from your Hot Coco as we are about to go gaming, and see if we can save Odie for this Holiday season of 2018.

After waiting forever for Fan Brew Games to send me the game as it was a special order, I chose October 16 2018 to play the game as the weather outside was perfect to stay indoors and get my retro game playing on. So I hooked up the good old RES (Retro Entertainment System) and put the game into the system and hit power and was ready to save Odie! And sadly my original RES died, and I had to select another day as I had to buy a new one. So the next day I selected was December 19 and I poured myself a tall glass of water as well as some cola and set my sights to focused on my mission at hand and that’s to beat A Week Of Garfield for the NES well or at least give it a good play. My first impression of the game when firing it up was that this game had a cool soundtrack as well as some good classic 8-Bit graphics…but then I started to play this game, and all I can say is, wow is it boring! As Garfield, all you can do is walk, crawl, look up and kick and for the most part all you do is dodge bugs, frogs, mice and other animals and when hit, your blood goes down pretty fast. You start with only one life and this leads to you playing the same levels over and over…and sad to say readers and friends, all I can say is this is one I walked away from after playing for a little under an hour as it’s just so bland and I felt I could do something better with my day before work like watch some Horror Movies and read some comics. So in other words, avoid this game unless you’re a massive Garfield fan and like games about walking.

I also want to let you all know that the Cinemassacre did a video play through this game that had James Rolfe and Mike Matei trying to play and review “A Week Of Garfield” back in 2017. And hearing these two play this game was lots of fun as they pointed out the flaws and over all cheesy nature of this kids game. And for those who enjoy video game and movie reviews and discussions, check out their Youtube station as it’s always packed with fun uploads. So did they like it, well you will have to watch the video and find out!

So now that you have all seen me fail at beating a kid’s game of Garfield for the NES, we should gather around the warm fireplace and take a look at the comic strip book adaptation of the Garfield Christmas Special! I want to thank an Etsy seller for having this book in stock. Plus as I sit here near the fire, my cat Leslie wants me to remind you all that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and you are looking for how well the book stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So take a drink of your eggnog or hot coco as it’s time to spend a part of Christmas Eve with the Arbuckle Family as well as Odie and Garfield!

A Garfield Christmas # 1  **1/2
Released in 1987   Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books   # 1 of 1

Garfield is having a dream about a mechanical Santa Claus that will give him any gift he can think of, and just as he is getting all the jewels and riches he can think of, he is awoken by Jon who needs him to get ready for their trip to spend Christmas with his family. Jon along with presents and his pets Garfield & Odie hit the road and arrive at the family’s farm in no time. They are all greeted by Ma and Pa Arbuckle as well as Grandma and Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother. Jon goes out and helps his dad and brother do some chores around the farm as Odie and Garfield as well must go outside and “help” before they all can have a good home cooked meal. After dinner as a family they set up the Christmas Tree, sing a carol together and even Pa reads them all a Christmas tale! Garfield all the while bonds with the Grandma who feeds him food during dinner and sits in a rocking chair and pets him while remembering back to her husband who is no longer with us. That night they all go to sleep with joy and love in their hearts as the next day is Christmas and it’s a perfect snowy night. The next morning Jon and Doc Boy open their presents, Garfield gets one from Odie and the final gift given is when Garfield finds old love letters in the barn written by the deceased Grandpa to the Grandma when they first started dating! In the end the Arbuckle family are happy to have each other for the holiday, and Garfield lets everyone know that the best thing about Christmas is love.

This comic strip book captures the good feelings of Christmas and showcases the small country feel for this holiday as family is very important and chores still have to be done. The plot of this one is simple and has Jon, Odie and Garfield visiting Jon’s family at their farm for Christmas and all spend time together and just enjoy being around each other and partaking in family traditions. Jon Arbuckle is a man who loves his family and his pets and while he has been away from the family farm, he still lends a hand when needed and tries his best to do it the best he can when clearly he is rusty at farm life. Garfield while still being himself in this books shows lots of love to his family and is not only super kind to Odie but also has a real bond with Jon’s Grandma who is clearly having a rough time missing her husband who has passed away, and while Grandma is a very strong woman with a big personality she still has a soft side that enjoys sitting by the window watching the snow come down and petting a cat. Odie is as fun loving as ever and even makes Garfield a present that’s a back scratcher. Once more Odie shows that he is just an all around good dog. Ma and Pa Arbuckle are good folks who enjoy their farming life and celebrate the holidays with big meals and lots of love. Doc Boy who is Jon’s brother is a farm boy who enjoys having his brother around as they always seem to be picking on each other. What really works for me the most about this comic strip book is the atmosphere as who doesn’t want to spend the holidays with loved ones with good food, great talks with snow fall coming down and no place to go! There is just something very special about this book and Garfield in general for me as I really does bring me back to my childhood and when times were simple and everything seemed larger than life. The cover for this book is fantastic and has the Arbuckle Family with Garfield and Odie sitting around a piano and the tree enjoying carols. Jim Davis’s art is as always on point and is classic 70’s and 80’s Comic Strip stuff. This was a prefect read for me and was one great flashback as well, so if you like Garfield and want to read a simple Christmas comic strip this one is for you. Check out the art below to see the holiday cheer that are packed into each panel of this book.

Thanks for spending a part of your Christmas Eve with me here at Rotten Ink as this update. I hope made you think back to your connection to Garfield as well as the NES and just brought a little cheer to your day. Well for me I am going to sit back with a mug full or eggnog while sitting in my backyard and look back at how great this year has been for me when it came to creative stuff! But I will not take up any more of your Holiday time and with that I will see you next update as I break down my best in cinema for 2018! I think I hear Santa and his reindeer, so I need to say I hope you all have a great Christmas and I will see you here again in 2019!

Horror Host Icon: Sivad

GOOD EEEEVENING! The people of Nashville, Tennessee were treated to a show in the 60’s that lasted into the 70’s featuring a vampire undertaker that would treat them to horror, thriller and science fiction films.  This show was called Fantastic Features, and its host was named Sivad. He was must watch television for young and old alike. Sivad has been a big part of the culture of Tennessee, and his show has influenced many creative people and helped create many monster kids from the era. Much like Ohio, Tennessee has a very large amount of Horror Hosts that have entertained over the decades like Dr. Lucifur, Sir Cecil Creape, Dr. Gangrene and Dungeon Doug to name a few, and at the top of that list is Sivad, who is a true icon of that state. So it’s with very high honor and respect that I give to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Sivad! So sit back, relax and let’s take a look at a truly amazing Horror Host.

Sivad was a vampire who dressed as an undertaker.  He loved the world of cinema and enjoyed presenting the movies to the viewers, many of whom were seeing these classic monster movies for the first time via their televisions! While a bloodsucker, Sivad was a goofy vampire who loved to share jokes and spew cheesy puns! He wore a black top hat, a black suit, cape, white gloves, a bowtie, a red belt and a sash that featured his family crest. Sivad had long fangs, bushy evil looking eyebrows, and spoke with a thick Tennessee ascent that was muffled due to his fangs. While Sivad looked evil and mean, he was very much a lovable vampire who enjoyed hosting his show and sharing these shocking films with his viewers. Besides hosting his show Creature Features on Channel 13, he also loved to make appearances at state fairs and local movie theaters and each time was a main attraction as hundreds, if not thousands, would flock to meet him! It’s also said that he sold over 800 tickets at a movie theater in Jackson, Tennessee while hosting a double feature, and during his introduction and before his song, he was drenched in coke that the kids in the audience threw at him, and he would not return to that town for years to this incident! Sivad was not only an amazing Horror Host but he also was a very good musician and would treat fans to songs. Sivad hosted Creature Features from 1962 to 1972 and walked away from it when he felt they ran out of classic horror films to show. Besides a handful of public appearances in the 70’s, Sivad retired from the Horror Hosting game but still remains as popular as ever even still to this day. I want to also make note that Sivad hosted Creatures Features live and like most live-aired shows there is little to no footage that survived, but that’s how talented this vampire was, he hosted live multiple times a week at times!

Watson Davis was the man who behind Sivad, and he was a man who was made to entertain! Davis was the advertising director for Malco Theaters in Memphis area and would do all types of great things to promote the films like dressing up as Frankenstein’s Monster and even building a giant King Kong to thrill movie goers. He would make these films entertaining for movie goers and would come up with great gimmicks to get them into the theater and would even do prize giveaways that the winners would win spooky trips complete with actors putting on a show for them like he did when winners of a coloring contest got a trip to Goat Island. The thing that set Davis apart from many theater advertisers is that he truly loved the Horror, Thriller and Science Fiction films they showed and would put lots of efforts into making their showings special. He even won an award for his work doing these promotions and got to meet his favorite actor Vincent Price! He developed Sivad while still working for Malco Theaters, and the name Sivad is just is last name Davis backwards as he wanted his Horror Host character to be just one name that stuck out like magician Houdini’s did.  While still working for the theater he started work on Fantastic Features as well. After retiring from both Malco Theaters and Creature Features, Watson Davis spent the rest of his days enjoying life and fishing while living in a small mobile home and stayed there until is death in 2005. While retired Davis would still for a short time play Sivad at fairs, paradise and public appearances and even at one time there was talk of having him as Sivad along with fellow Tennessee Horror Hosts Sir Cecil Creape and Count Basil to host some films at a theater, but sadly that never came about. Watson Davis enjoyed playing Sivad and doing these promotions for Malco Theaters as he enjoyed to entertain kids, and he was a truly great person who is missed by all those who knew him in real life and as Sivad.

Like all good Horror Hosts, Sivad had some great merchandise behind him that gave his viewers and fans something a little more special to enjoy and showed just how popular this Horror Host was! His fans were able to get their hands on such cool items as a Sivad Halloween Mask that kids in the 60’s could wear and scare their friends and neighbors. They could also get their hands on an official “Horror Club” fan club card that was endorsed by Channel 13 and Sivad and was a sure way to impress all your friends on the playground! For kids who liked to make art, a very cool Sivad coloring book was made and allowed them to make masterpieces for the family refrigerator. Also in 2010, a cool book called “Sivad Scrapbook” was released and showed old ads from the 60’s and 70’s that featured our classic Vampire host. Not to mention his image has graced many magazines, posters, ads and fan art. And the most amazing collectable for Sivad fans to sink their fangs into is the 45 rpm record of two songs he sang called “Sivad Buries Rock And Roll” and “Dickey Drakeller.” These songs played on Memphis, Tennessee radio and this record is now highly collectable. So as you can see, Sivad was and still is a true icon of Tennessee who is one of the states most beloved TV Personalities.

In 2013, Sivad took his place as an official member of the Horror Host Hall of Fame and secured that he is in fact one of the most beloved and influential host to grace viewers TV Screens. He was among such hosts as Svengoolie, Commander USA and Shock Armstrong who were part of the third class to get this high honor. The Horror Host Hall Of Fame is an honor for hosts who were and are at the top of their game to the respect they deserve, and Sivad, in my opinion, should have been inducted in the first class as he was truly an amazing host who set the bar for many who followed.

So we are at the point of this Horror Host Icon when we will be taking a look at the episodes I own, and the one I do have is clearly a fan reproduction episode because as of this writing, no full episode has been uncovered. So this is what us fans have to watch. I will not be giving this episode a star rating. The movie write up will be taken from our friends at IMDB and the host write up I myself will be writing. So let’s sit back and pretend its 1962 and we are watching Creature Feature, and Sivad is about to take us on a thrill ride!

Fantastic Features:  Fortress Of The Dead
Starring – John Hackett & Conrad Parham     Not Rated     1965

Host: Sivad rides in on his horse-drawn hearse carriage and removes the coffin from the back and we are set for Creature Freatures! Sivad then in studio welcomes us to the show and interrupted by a voice of a producer who tells him to talk about the TV Shows and other programs from WHBQ-TV Channel 13. We go into the movie as Sivad makes a joke about how pushy the producer is. When we join Sivad next he is wishing us a good evening and ending the show.

Movie: Guilt-ridden sole survivor of a unit wiped out on Corregidor in WW2 returns to the island 20 years later.

Note From Matt: This is a fan made reproduction of a classic episode of Fantastic Features and used footage from when Sivad hosted a promo for his home base station

Sivad was a host that made his viewers feel as if they were close friends, and while a scary looking vampire, he had a warm and inviting feel to him that captured the hearts of his viewers. While the world of Horror Hosts has its fair share of vampires and while many of them are legends and top notch hosts, they all still fall a little short of the magic Sivad had. As we leave the world of Horror Hosting, our next update brings us back to Greece as it’s Thanksgiving and that means we will be joining Hercules once more. This time around, we will be seeing what Radical Comics has to offer when it comes to our favorite demigod! So until next time, watch a Horror Host Show or two, and as always, support your local Horror Host! See you next update for the The Thracian Wars and for another great Turkey Day Holiday.

Garfield vs. The Ghost Pirates On Halloween Night!

October is almost here. The air is turning cold, and the ghouls and ghosts are gearing up to run the streets in preparation of Halloween, which is only slightly over a month away! For this third countdown to Halloween update I wanted to take a look at something that I owned as a kid. The TV special it was based on was something I watched every year, and of course I am talking about “Garfield Halloween Adventure” that was shown on local TV and was something I truly had to watch when on. Garfield is a comic strip character I grew up reading in the Sunday Funny Papers; next to Peanuts it was a must. I also grew up watching all of his TV specials as well as his regular cartoon series. While I love the toon “Garfield and Friends,” the specials all hold a special place in my heart. Not to mention I also would buy his books, and between my brother and I, we had many of his toys and stuff animals. Garfield really is an iconic character who for the most part has withstood the test of time, and it’s with great pleasure that on this update we not only get one step closer to Halloween but also take a look back at things from my childhood. So get a costume on and let’s go trick or treating with Garfield and Odie.

On October 30th 1985 CBS premiered the 24-minute “Garfield Halloween Adventure,” which combined two of my favorite things Halloween and Garfield! My brother Bryan and I were glued to the TV and watched with pure delight as the cartoon special brought some scares and lots of entertainment. We also made sure to tape it on Beta and watched it all the time year round. The best part of this airing was that it was paired with the very classic “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and made for the perfect Halloween season viewing. I can also remember many of the kids on the playground chatting about it, and everyone flipped when the comic strip book adaptation of it was offered in the Scholastic Book Club order form, with almost every kid I knew ordering it. The cartoon also did well in the TV ratings and almost all critics loved and praised it making it a staple for the holiday up until 2015 when it was finally taken off the schedule for good. The special also won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Animated Program and was the third Garfield special to win it, showing that he was one of the 80’s most popular cartoon characters. After its airing, the special would go on to be released on VHS and DVD and still is a well loved classic Halloween TV special.

So at this point I am sure you’re ready to take a Halloween Adventure with that lasagna loving fat orange cat Garfield and his simple minded canine friend Odie. I know that I am as I have not read this comic strip book since I was a kid, and am looking forward to seeing if it holds up as I loved it when I was a kid and re-read it every Halloween up until I was a teen. This is in my opinion is a great way to gear up for October and is a perfect third update for our countdown to Halloween. Before we get our trick or treat bags ready, I need to remind you that I am grading this book on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. I want to think Amazon for having this in stock and making this update possible. So lets costume up and go out with Garfield and see how much candy or even rocks we can get!

Garfield In Disguise # 1  ***1/2
Released in 1985     Cover Price $5.95     Ballantine Books    # 1 of 1

Garfield is awoken by Binky The Clown on TV who screams and demands that all of the viewers exercise with him, and right as Garfield turns off the TV, he hears the words Free Candy and quickly turns it back on to find out that it’s Halloween! Garfield goes around the house under a bed sheet and scares Jon and Odie and even has a little breakfast before tricking Odie into going trick of treating with him so he can get double the candy. Garfield and Odie go to the attic and look through old clothes and items and decide to go as pirates when finding costumes in a chest. After stealing Jon’s lasagna dinner, Garfield and Odie head out and start trick of treating! As they wander the streets getting candy and being spooked by real life ghouls and ghost, they end up getting into a rowboat and by accident they lose the paddles and float until they land on shore.  The only house around is an abandoned one lit by a fire. Once inside, they warm themselves by the fire and are surprised by a very old man who warns them that the island is haunted and that the ghosts of pirates from a hundred years back will be back at midnight to claim their buried treasure! While Garfield and Odie are shaking with fear, the old man steals their boat and leaves them at the mercy of the coming ghost pirates! Garfield and Odie hide in a cabinet as the ghosts appear and bring up their hidden treasure, and when a sneeze alerts the ghosts who chase them out of the house, Garfield steals a ring from the treasure chests. He and Odie jump into the water and swim to shore. Once on shore they find their candy and the boat and head home only to be attacked by the ghost pirates who followed them home. Once Garfield returns the ring they disappear, and Garfield and Odie go home where Garfield shares the candy with Odie and Halloween comes to an end.

This comic strip book is a great mood setter for Halloween as it captures the playful nature of trick or treat and the spooky feeling of that night. Our story has Garfield and Odie going out for Halloween in order to get lots of free candy.  When Garfield gets greedy, he leads them to an old abandoned haunted house, and they are witnessed and stalked by ghost pirates who have returned after 100 years! As I said the feel and atmosphere of this comic strip book is fantastic and much like “Legend Of Sleepy Hollow” really captures the feel of Halloween. Garfield lives up to his normal behavior and is self-absorbed, self centered and always looking for food to gorge on, but while he is sarcastic, he also does have a caring and grateful side. Odie is your typical dog that is loyal, goofy and smart and several times in this adventure saves Garfield’s butt from danger. Jon is just around in this one, mostly carving pumpkins and tying to enjoy meals that his cat ends up stealing. The old man who once worked for the pirates some 100 years ago is creepy and seems to get joy scaring those who stumble into his old home, plus the Ghost Pirates are very much mean and scary but really just want their treasure. This comic strip book does justice to the made for TV cartoon special and does a great job of capturing the mood and only thing missing is the musical numbers. Jim Davis, who is the creator and mastermind behind the world of Garfield, does the art and story, and both are well done and show why Garfield has remained a popular comic strip character all these years. The cover as well is amazing and eye catching and has a real kid friendly Halloween look to it. If you enjoy Garfield and love Halloween, this is a great read and one that brought back lots of great memories of my youth, and this comic strip book held up well and is a great read. So check it out as well as the art from it.

I hope that this update has put you into the Halloween spirit like it did for me writing it! Made for TV Halloween specials are something that almost seems as if they are dying off as most broadcast stations only focus on their current shows and allow them to do a Halloween episode that most of the time are not very good with only a handful of series being able to pull it off. But for me just like “It’s The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown,” the Garfield Halloween Special is a one of my all time favorites and is one I suggest you watch every year. But now we have to leave the world of Garfield and the ghost pirates behind for our next update as we are now in full countdown to Halloween mode and our next one will have us looking at another in what I call “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” as we look at the killer Metalface and his film series Playing With Dolls! So until next time, read a comic or two, watch a cartoon or two and as always support your local Horror Host. See you next update for a bloody good time.

Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk

Over the decades, Horror Hosts have aired on TV stations all over the USA, and just like Ohio, the state of Tennessee has had its fair share of iconic hosts that have entertained viewers with their funny or spooky antics all the while delivering a shocking horror picture to chill the blood of their viewers. And while many of the state’s Horror Hosts had long running shows and made major impacts on the culture of the area, the one we are looking at today was a short lived host who might not be a household name. He still had a small following and meant something to his viewers who rushed to their TV sets on Friday nights to catch his show and watch his movies. So it’s with great pleasure that I bring to you my readers Horror Host Icon: Benedictine the Mad Monk! So sit back and enjoy this update and remember your time watching Benedictine or even discover him for the first time…Roll the blog update, Red!

Benedictine the Mad Monk hosted horror films on WZTV Nashville Ch17 on Friday nights for a total of about 3 weeks. He is said to have gone made and killed all his fellow monks and lived underground for centuries with his friend Red who is a skeleton with a red afro wig. For years he spent his time making wine in his cellar home and watched cheesy horror movies. But Benedictine’s perfect peaceful life comes to an end when the TV station WZTV was built on top of his wine cellar. So he does what he thinks is right and on Friday nights highjacks the airwaves and to show the films that he wanted to and generally be a thorn in the TV station’s side. Benedictine himself was kind of a crazed jokester who seems to enjoy sharing his movies with you and also likes to make and drink his wine. He has a bald head on top with long white hair on the sides. He also wears a brown monk’s robe with a rope belt. While he does not come off mean spirited, he clearly is not stable as he has killed off his fellow monks and also seems prone to fits of madness. So as you can see, Benedictine is a crazed wine making madman whose only friend is a wig wearing skeleton and one of his enjoyments in life is high jacking TV airwaves and sharing horror movies on the air.

Phil Valentine is the actor who played Benedictine the Mad Monk for WZTV for the three short weeks the show ran, and he himself was more than just an actor. Phil was born on September 9, 1959 to U.S. Democratic Representative Tim Valentine and his wife Betsy. In college Phil entered radio at East Carolina University and switched to Connecticut School Of Broadcasting in North Carolina where he majored in radio. This love for radio lead to him working for WWTN as a conservative talk show radio host who is on daily and is even in syndication airing on about 110 other stations! He also is an author as he has released three books this far all about conservative views and government greed. But he also has been in films and TV shows with 1989 being his start as Horror Host Benedictine the Mad Monk. He also starred in the film “A Letter From Death Row,”  written and directed by Bret Michaels lead singer of the band Poison. In 2003, he played a radio host on the TV Show “Threat Matrix” for one episode. He wrote, edited, produced and hosted the documentary film “An Inconsistent Truth” in 2012. Two years later he played a character named Eugene Lawson in the film “Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?”. And his last movie role as of this update was in 2015 in the film “The Secret Handshake” that also starred Kevin Sorbo and Amy Grant. So while Horror Hosting might not have been his calling in life, he found his career in being a talk radio host.

Benedictine the Mad Monk did have a sidekick that lived with him in the wine cellar and helped him make and drink his wine, the skeleton Red! Not much is really known about Red besides the fact he wears a giant red wig and is friends with Benedictine. Oh and his role on the show was that he was the one who ran the films. I am guessing that Red made very little appearances during the show’s short run, but I am sure he still had his fans. I just wanted to mention Red as I am sure he had been sadly forgotten by most for his time as a Horror Host sidekick.

We are at the point of this Horror Host Icon update where we will take a look at the episode I have of Benedictine the Mad Monk. This is the only episode of his known to have survived and was taped off TV, as his short run made it hard for his shows to have made it to the Horror Host trade lists. I want to thank my friend Larry for getting me this episode and making this update possible. So let’s take a look at this episode of Benedictine the Mad Monk! Oh and I want to also say that it looks like the show aired after reruns of Cheers.

Benedictine the Mad Monk: Taste The Blood Of Dracula
Starring – Christopher Lee & Ralph Bates       Rated R       1970

Host: Benedictine the Mad Monk starts the show by coming down the stairs and introducing himself and his friend Red Skeleton. He also is very happy to introduce the night’s film Taste The Blood Of Dracula that he says sucks! We next times we see Benedictine, he gives us pointers on Dracula as well as delivers cheesy jokes and puns! At one point he even goes over his checklist of wine that he has in his stock before he has Red roll the movie again.

Movie: Three middle-aged distinguished gentlemen are searching for some excitement in their boring bourgeois lives and get in contact with one of Count Dracula’s servants, Lord Courtley. In a nightly ceremony, they restore the count to life. However, the three men killed Courtley and, in revenge, the count ensures that the gentlemen are killed one by one by their own children.

Note from Matt: The end of the episode is missing so we get no closing segment of Benedictine the Mad Monk!

So while Benedictine the Mad Monk might not have been a long lasting host on TV and had a “if you blink you’ll miss him” career of sharing his love for Horror films with his viewers, he still had his fans and made his mark in the world of Horror Hosting. I for one really enjoyed what I saw on this episode and hope to some day track down the remaining two episodes and see what cheesy jokes he delivered on them. Once more I want to thank my friend Larry “Dr. Gangrene” Underwood for getting me this episode and making this Horror Host Icon update possible. One of my biggest goals for these updates is to showcase the Horror Hosts, and no matter how big or small their following and impact was to the art of Hosting, they have a home here at Rotten Ink as I want to share their stories and bring back memories for their fans and my readers. For my next update we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosts and entering the world of comic strips and paperback comic books based on cartoon TV Specials of the characters…so if you guessed Garfield Halloween, you would be right and should treat yourself to some candy and lasagna! So until next time, read a horror comic or three, watch a horror movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next time for a spooky good time with a orange furred cat.

Horror Host Icon: Chiller Theatre Six-Fingered Hand

The year is 1971, and it’s Saturday night at 8pm. You have your Mello Yellow drink in hand and a small bowl of potato chips as your favorite show is on air.  We are talking Chiller Theatre, and your blood turns cold as the Six-Fingered Claymation Hand comes out of the ground and spells out Chiller from growing twisted weeds! This Horror Host Icon update is a tribute to that Claymation Hand as well as the legacy that Chiller Theatre has spread around not only the Horror Host Community but also the world of Horror in general! Now I am sure many of you are saying, “Hey wait a minute – that hand is not a fully fledged Horror Host,” but to me just like the voice on USA Saturday Nightmares that Claymation hand brought terror to the hearts of viewers and also acted as their guide and source of nightmares so indeed that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is a Horror Host! So it’s with great honor that I bring to you readers Horror Host Icon: Six-Fingered Claymation Hand of Chiller Theatre.

Six-Fingered Hand took over Chiller Theatre in 1971 and creeped out viewers with its awkward movements and billowing voice that would announce CHILLER as it made letters emerge from the swampy land that it lives in. The letters spell out CHILLER, and the Hand would then grab the letters, slowly sink back into the swamp and say chilllllleeerrrrrr as it disappeared back into the bloody looking water. The Six-Fingered Hand is a mystery, and not much is known about its origin or where it comes from. But the one thing that is known about this hand is that it creeped out viewers and left them with chills before the horror movie even started. The Six-Fingered Hand would be the “Host” of Chiller Theatre from 1971-2011, and even when other hosts would be on the show, the hand would always follow before or after commercial breaks. The Six-Fingered Hand was a creature of few words; besides saying Chiller it would also say “Hoo…” and sound as if it was in pain. Another thing that makes Six-Fingered Hand so scary for viewers was the weird music that was played during its appearance that sounded straight out of one of the horror movies shown on the program. While simple, the Six-Fingered Hand is a true titan of fright and remains very popular with fans who grew up watching it emerge from the bloody swamp to usher them into their favorite late night fright program.

Now here are some fun and cool facts about Chiller Theatre from over the years. Chiller Theatre started in 1961. 1963 was when Zacherley was the host of the show, and he is the Godfather of Horror Hosting and was and still is one of the most beloved Hosts of all time. Chiller was first canceled in 1982 but was brought back for one night in 2008 as well as in 2009 where they had Elvira Mistress Of The Dark as the host, and she proved to be a major hit for her one time appearance. Also 2009 marked the first time WPIX would make merchandise for the show allowing fans to collect things based on their beloved Horror Host program. For Halloween like the years before, they let Chiller Theatre once more hit the airwaves in 2010 and 2011 allowing The Six-Fingered Hand and their evening newscasters to host the final airing of Chiller. Another very cool thing about Chiller is that it sparked many creative minds in the New York area to become filmmakers, comic book makers, musicians, writers and artists and even helped spawn the Chiller Theater Convention that was founded in 1990 and is still running to this day. Say what you will, but Chiller Theater is one of the biggest Horror Host shows in the nation and is one that still has a major following to this day even though at this point it has not been seen in seven years.

I first heard about Chiller Theatre in the pages of old horror movie magazines like Famous Monsters of Filmland and always seemed to know it was something special for the viewers of New York. I can even remember being at Horror Conventions here in Ohio and people wore shirts of Chiller Theatre showing that its influence runs deep in the world of Horror. We are now at the point of this update where I will take a look at the one episode of Chiller Theatre featuring The Six-Fingered Hand, and I want to think my brother Bryan for getting me this episode for this update! So if you’re ready to hit the swamps of Chiller lets travel back to one of NY’s top Horror Host shows!

CHILLER Theatre: Gorgo
Starring – Bill Travers & William Sylvester      Unrated       1961

Host: The six-fingered hand shows up in second clips and does his thing.

Movie: A salvage vessle is nearly sunk off the Irish coast by an undersea earthquake. A few nights later, a walking sea monster tangles with the fishing boats and enters the town. The salvage vessel captures Gorgo and takes it to London for display. Gorgo’s mother, who is upset and significantly larger follows his trail to London leaving a wake of destruction in her path.

Note From Matt: Sadly most the bumpers and commercials are cut out from this episode, but this was the only episode I could find with only The Six Fingered Hand as the host.

WPIX, in my opinion, have really dropped the ball as they should make CHILLER Theatre at least a Halloween night tradition year after year and do a double feature of frightful horror features to entertain and scare the viewers of late night New York television. And you know that Six-Fingered Claymation Hand is ready for his return to TV! I know that this was a really quick Horror Host Icon update and that the Six-Fingered Hand might not have a back story or skits like most classic Horror Hosts, but I really do feel that it needed to have a Icon update. As you have read this update I hope that you yourself thought back to watching Chiller Theatre or even to your own hometown host. For our next update, we will be leaving the world of Horror Hosting and be kicking off our countdown to Halloween with a From Horror Movie To Horror Comic that will showcase the Horror Comedy I Sell The Dead. So until next time, watch a horror movie or two and support your local Horror Host! See you next update for an undead good time!

Horror Host Icon: Superhost

Hello, dere! The state of Ohio has a very rich history when it comes to Horror Hosts with names like Dr. Creep, Ghoulardi and The Cool Ghoul leading the way.  Also at the top of that list is Cleveland’s very own superhero, Superhost! It’s amazing to think that the world of Horror Hosts is filled with lots of mad doctors, vampires and ghouls but only two Superhero ones that come to mind are Commander USA and Superhost, both of whom delivered lots of laughs alongside the movies they hosted. When selecting hosts to cover this year, I knew that I had to cover Superhost as he is a true legend in the world of Horror Hosting and is a true icon of funny fright here in Ohio. So join me on this Horror Host Icon update as we take a heroic look at the one and only Superhost!

Superhost began his hosting career on WUAB Channel 43 in Cleveland, Ohio in 1969 and hosted back to back shows for much of his career with “Supe’s On!” being the pre-show that lasted an hour and would show “Three Stooges” and “Laurel And Hardy” shorts and would later show TV Shows like “The Munsters.” And then he would host his main show called “Mad Theater” that would have Superhost hosting two back to back films and later one film for the viewers at home. His shows would air on Saturday Mornings and was a great way for Monster Kids of the late 60’s-80’s to enjoy classic horror and comedy. Superhost would greet his viewers with his classic catch phrase “Hello, Dere”and would entertain them with his silly humor and even more goofy skits that would be parodies of famous TV Shows and people. Superhost was a fun loving kind of hero who wore a baggy light blue outfit that had his classic SH emblem on it, red boxer shorts, a large red cape. He had a red nose and seemed to enjoy bringing the movies to the viewers even sometimes taking jabs at the films’ quality and budget. Superhost’s set was mostly in front of a movie theater (called Superhost Theatre) that had glowing lights and the movie(s) or shows’ title on the marquee. With TV growing and the popularity of syndicated shows like Pro Wrestling, Mad Theater went through lots of changes shortening its run time and even changing its format but Cleveland’s favorite Host lasted on air until 1989 giving him a very great 20 year run on the air. During this time, he made public appearances and even appeared on other Horror Host Shows like “Hoolihan & Big Chuck” who also were iconic Horror Hosts from Cleveland on the rival network. Say what you will but Superhost is truly an icon of Ohio TV and his popularity lives on thanks to fans who trade his shows and chat about his silly ways!

Marty Sullivan is the man behind Superhost and was born in Detroit, Michigan on March 1, 1932 of Irish decent. Before he was on Cleveland airwaves, he survived in the Navy, went to college and worked a little a little as a radio newscaster. But he really made a name for himself on WUAB Channel 43 and not just for being Superhost as he also was the floor director and staff announcer and fill in movie host for the show “Prize Movie” and did that up until 1993 as well as did the news breaks from time to time for the station. He also had a background in radio and was really a jack of all trades when it came to media. Marty was inducted into the Ohio Broadcasters Hall Of Fame in 1991 and is still very much respected for all his hard work at WUAB. Marty is 86 years old at the time of this update and has long been retired from the world of broadcasting and is enjoying his days living in Oregon, chatting with fans who grew up watching him as the one and only Superhost. And for those wondering, yes, he does dress as Superhost from time to time for interviews and skits that appear on TV, but these appearances are very far and few.

The year was 2015, and the place was Horrorhound Weekend.  The event was the Horror Host Hall Of Fame and in this class Superhost was long overdue to be inducted! The honor of inducting Superhost went to Dayton, Ohio Horror Host Baron Von Porkchop who told me he was extremely honored to have been asked to do so, and he did all his research and watched many of Superhosts skits and shows and did a fantastic job of honoring a Host legend that paved the way for him and many others who followed. It was amazing to be in the crowd watching a Host I created inducting a super iconic Host from our home state and hearing people cheer as Superhost was officially added in and many of his fellow peers and fans witnessing this special moment. The only let down is that I wished Marty Sullivan could have made it and accepted his award as it would have been an honor to have met him in person. So if your reading this, Superhost, I hope that you enjoyed Baron Von Porkchop’s speech as it was our pleasure to pay you the respect that you deserve.

The strangest thing about Superhost for me is I cannot remember how I first heard about him, but I feel like I have known about him for many years including when I was a teenager. I am going to guess I had to have read about him in a magazine, newspaper or saw him on the news or even heard about him from some of my Horror Host friends. One thing is for sure, once I was able to track down episodes of his show I was all over them as he is considered a Horror Host legend here in Ohio and I had to see him in action.  From day one I was not disappointed as it seemed to me that he was having a blast doing the show, and I could see how viewers at the time made it must see television. Superhost is a real master of the Horror Hosting craft as he talked to the viewers and made watchers feel like they were his friend.  He would poke fun at himself as well as the night’s movies doing what he had to do to get them to laugh. It’s a shame that Superhost never made it to the world of comic books as he would make for an amazing all ages comic character…someone should do this….maybe Sparkle Comics could do a comic one shot about his silly adventures one day. But one thing is for sure, Superhost is well respected among Ohio fans and fellow Horror Hosts coast to coast. Here is to you Marty Sullivan for being a true icon in the world of Horror Hosting.

So its that time when the Sups Is On and we need to take a look at episodes I own of Superhost with many of these episodes coming from Trade Lists and friends like James and Darren who made this update even better with episodes they have sent me. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films coming from our pals at IMDB. So lets watch some Horror Flicks with the one and only hero of TV Superhost! Oh and to keep it easy I am just going to call all episodes Mad Theater to keep it simple. I also want to say I did have a DVD called Superbits that featured moments from the show but decided to leave it off of the review.

Mad Theater: Attack Of The Crab Monsters
Starring – Richard Garland & Martha Hunter       Not Rated       1957

Host: Superhost reads fan mail about getting his show and they are all made up and silly and then he promises that later in the show he will have big name guests, and then ushers us into the movie! Superhost comes back and chats with Herman Pincher, an expert in crabs, and the interview goes bad as Herman is crazy and thinks he is on the Tonight Show. All the while we are treated to cheesy Superhost bumpers where he always welcomes us back to the night’s film. At one point Superhost eats some crabs and says that’s how they should have dealt with the crab monsters from the nights movie. After the movie Superhost changes out of his costume and ends the show.

Movie: A group of scientists travel to a remote island to study the effects of nuclear weapons tests, only to get stranded when their airplane explodes. The team soon discovers that the island has been taken over by crabs that have mutated into enormous, intelligent monsters. To add to their problems, the island is slowly sinking into the ocean. Will any of them manage to escape?

Note from Matt: This appears to be a fan reproduction of the episode and is missing all commercials.

Mad Theater: Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Dwight Frye     Not Rated       1931

Host: Superhost opens the show giving us a few facts about Frankenstein and shows off some drawings of The Monster that were sent to him before going to the movie. Next up Superhost shares some local events that are happing around town like plays, festivals, haunted houses and fish fries! And his announcements for the community events lasts break after break and he does so with grace and charm. And sadly his final bumper is missing from this episode.

Movie: Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.

Mad Theater: Most Dangerous Game
Starring – Fay Wray & Joel McCrea       Not Rated     1932

Host: Superhost tells a few fun facts about the night’s movie and tells the viewers that it’s a really good movie! And sadly that’s all we get to see of Superhost from this episode as the person who recorded it removed his segments and the commercials.

Movie: After their luxury cabin cruiser crashes on a reef, Bob Rainsford finds himself washed ashore on a remote island. He finds a fortress-like house and the owner, Count Zaroff, seems to be quite welcoming. Apart from Zaroff’s servant Ivan, the only other people present are Eve Trowbridge and her brother Martin, also survivors of their own shipwreck. Other survivors are missing however and Rainsford soon learns why. Zaroff releases them into his jungle island and then hunts them down in his grisly “outdoor chess” game! Then after Martin disappears, Bob realizes that he and Eve are to be the next “pawns” in Zaroff’s deadly game.

Note from Matt: It’s always a shame when an episode of a Horror Host program is uncovered and who ever recorded it removes all or even some of the Host segments. Just really makes you wonder what Superhost did in this episode.

Mad Theater: Wizard Of Mars
Starring – John Carradine & Vic McGee       Not Rated       1965

Host: Superhost starts with reading a letter that had a triva question and gives the answers.  The film is the second feature of the day, and he gives us quick little facts about it and rushes us to the movie. Superhost welcomes us back to the show after a break but does say to us viewers that it’s a great day outside and that kids should be outside playing, but also make sure to say or stay in and watch the movie. We next join Superhost as he reads off some local events that are going on in the coming weeks, and so he does for a few more breaks. Superhost then closes the show and tells the viewers that next on is King Kong and wonders why his boss didn’t give him that to host.

Movie: In 1974, four astronauts, silver shoe-clad Dorothy, overweight Doc, goofy Charlie, and wooden Steve, crash land on Mars when taking readings, with only four days of supplies. They must try to survive on the surface, which is barren except for some canals with huge maggots with fins. After embarking through a golden igneous cavern, braving a storm and finding an unmanned Earth vessel, they discover a golden road which leads them to the unchanging ruins of what was once a beautiful Martian city. The Martians are modeled on the Flatheads of Oz, and their collective consciousness, the “Wizard,” forbids them to leave until they perform a very small task.

Mad Theater: Wolf Man
Starring – Lon Chaney Jr. & Bela Lugosi     Not Rated     1941

Host: Superhost starts the show off by reading a letter from a fan who sends his list of favorite Horror Movies and on that list is The Wolf Man that happens to be the day’s film! We next join Superhost as he says alerts us to some local events happening and shows us a drawing a fan did of Frankenstein’s Monster! And when we see him again Superhost must spend more time telling us about events going on around Halloween, and this goes on for a few more breaks. And sadly his final break is missing from the episode.

Movie: Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns from America to his ancestral home in Wales. He visits a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by Bela, a gypsy who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf but is bitten during the fight. Bela’s mother tells him that this will cause him to become a werewolf at each full moon. Larry confesses his plight to his unbelieving father, Sir John, who then joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. Transformed by the full moon, Larry heads for the forest and a fateful meeting with both Sir John and Gwen Conliffe.

Superhost really is a great Horror Host and really has inspired many creative people from the Cleveland, Ohio area and beyond. Superhost has a friendly and calming voice that made the viewers feel like one of his close friends. And what shows that Superhost was such a great Host with a great show is the fact he lasted on air for two decades and is ranked as one of Cleveland’s top Hosts and ranks up with the likes of Ghoulardi, The Ghoul, Son Of Ghoul, Big Chuck & Little John and Mad Daddy to name a few. So to sum it all up, Superhost is a true Icon in the world of Horror Hosting and deserved to be inducted into the Horror Host Hall Of Fame! But sadly for our next update we must leave the world of Horror Hosting behind and travel to the world of Bones! Yep we will be talking an epic journey with Malibu Comics and their series simple called Bones. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you soon for an adventure with a skeleton hero!

Look In The Sky! It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s Hawkman!

DC Comics has been in the comic book game since 1934, and for the longest time was the top comic company in the world until Marvel Comics came onto the scene in 1939. Over the years, they have traded places off and on being the top company in the game. DC Comics has brought the world some amazing superheroes like Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and The Flash who over the years have all been on many fans’ top Superhero lists as well as have done their share of bringing in money and readers to DC, but while those heroes are household names, many of DC’s heroes slip under the cracks like Red Tornado, who I covered last year. For this update I am going to cover another hero that I feel does not get the respect and attention he deserves. I am talking about the Justice League Of America and All-Star Squadron member Hawkman, who has always been one of my favorite DC heroes and who I feel has been underrated by comic readers for many years. So let’s travel to the DC Universe and enter that Shadow War as we talk about Hawkman and breakdown his 4 Issue Mini-Series from 1985! I hope you have packed a snack as this one might get a little long as Hawkman has been around for many decades and has lots of cool stuff to talk about.

The DC Universe is filled with many Earths, each with a different history for characters and even in some cases names are changed and even characters have died with new people stepping into the shoes of the fallen hero. But while Katar Hol and Fel Andar have been Hawkman, for me, the only guy to wear the bird mask is Carter Hall! Back in the days of ancient Egypt, Prince Khufu was kidnapped and killed by his arch nemesis Hath-Set, and in the 1940’s Khufu is reincarnated as Carter Hall, an archaeologist from America who soon gains the memories of his past life and is able to figure out that his life means more to the world and that his enemy of the past is also wandering the Earth as a scientist who has kidnapped a woman. This causes Hall to become a costumed hero named Hawkman! As Hawkman he wears a mask, wings and created a gravity belt out of Nth Metal. After saving the woman Shiera and falling in love with her, she later becomes Hawkwoman! Hawkman would go on to be a member of the super hero team Justice Society Of America and even joins the Air Force and fights in World War II. Along with the JSA during the 1950’s, he took on Congress when they wanted all the heroes to tell them their real identities causing the bulk of the team to retire for some time. It wasn’t until the 1960’s when the JSA comes back and somehow meets with Earth-1’s Justice League Of America, who, for some reason over the years keeps the kids of the JSA members from joining the team and is thus responsible for the creation of the team Infinity Inc. Due to the massive age difference and after the events of Crisis On Infinite Earths, they explain that Hawkman’s aging has slowed down thanks to a super villain who put a spell on the heroes and their spouses…yep now that’s an evil deed, am I right? Now during modern times both Carter Hall Hawkman and the original Hawkman Katar Hol were active in the same Earth, and over the years Hawkman has died, been brought back, joined teams like the Justice League of America, become a terrorist and so much more! This is just a very brief look at Hawkman as sadly the world of DC Comics is one mixed with lots of silly different Earths and reboots that sadly, for the most part, becomes a tangled mess of nonsense. But one thing I must stress is that Hawkman is one kick butt character, and if you like the brief bio I supplied you readers with, make sure to visit your local comic shop and buy a few comic issues that star this mace-carrying winged hero. Check out the images below to see Hawkman in all his glory!

In 1984, Kenner released the first series of their DC Super Powers toy collection, and in that first wave was Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern and others that included Hawkman! When I was a youngster, my brother and I tried our best to get any and every Super Powers we could find at local stores with many of ours coming from Hills or Children’s Palace.  The first figures from this series I owned were Superman and The Joker that I got on the same day! Later on I would get Hawkman, who was one of my favorite figures from that toy line. It’s funny to think that as a kid, even though I read comics with Hawkman in them, I always made him super strong in battlers, like he has Superman level power! In 1991, Kenner, the maker of the Super Powers figures, reused many of the figure molds when they started making figures based on the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves and the body of Hawkman was used for the Dark Warrior as well as Little John. In 1990, Toy Biz made a figure that looked like a cheap knock off of the Kenner Super Powers Hawkman, and it stunk up toy shelves. These two figures are only a small amount of toys made based on Hawkman, and for me are the two I remember the most from my youth. Check out the pics below to see what they look like.

Back in 1967, Filmation created a cartoon called “The Superman/Aquaman Hour Of Adventure” that featured 6 minute cartoons featuring the likes of Hawkman sandwiched between longer Superman and Aquaman toons. Hawkman would also go on to star in many other cartoons through the ages like Challenge Of The Super Friends, Super Powers Team: Galactic Guardians, Justice League Unlimited, The Batman, Batman: The Brave And The Bold and Young Justice, to name a few. It’s crazy to think that Hawkman has been a star in so many cartoons that spanned over many decades, and he is not nearly as remembered or loved by comic readers and those who grew up watching these toons. But again,, while he is not as popular as Batman, Superman or Wonder Woman the winged hero Hawkman still has made his mark on the world of cartoons.

Besides cartoons, Hawkman has also appeared in many live action shows and showed that while DC might not treat him with that much respect, young fans did indeed like Hawkman. In 1979, two episodes of a show called Legends Of The Superheroes were made that had Adam West and Burt Ward once more playing Batman and Robin. They were joined by many other heroes like Captain Marvel, Green Lantern, and yes, Hawkman who was played by Bill Nuckols and wore the classic outfit and hammed it up for both silly comedy kid friendly episodes that were called “The Challenge” and “The Roast”. Years later Hawkman would appear in several episodes of the hit show Smallville and was well liked by viewers, but sadly just like in the comics, they decided to kill the character off in Smallville. He was played by actor Michael Shanks. Hawkman, played by Falk Hentschel, would then go onto be in many other modern CW Shows based on DC Comic heroes like The Flash, Arrow and Legends Of Tomorrow and while he has yet to be in any live action films, here is to hoping that sometime in the future he will appear in a Justice League film. My favorite live action version of Hawkman is hands down from Legends Of The Superheroes as it’s super cheesy and his over dubbed loud hawk yell is the stuff of legend when it comes to bad TV from the 70’s, complete with laugh track. Plus while the other actors did a great job in their roles, they did not have the muscles and build to pull off the character right. Below are images from all the actors who have played Hawkman on these TV Shows and each have made their mark on the legacy of the character.

I first discovered Hawkman thanks to old comics that came from garage sales, and I was drawn in as I found the comics weird and entertaining. Besides the comics, the Kenner Super Powers figure was also a very big introduction to the character for me. Much like many of the Superheroes from DC, the main issue is that they have silly costumes and names and always seem dated as they fear making major changes to them and this causes lots of modern comic readers to dismiss some of the characters as out of time. But for me, the outdated look and Boy Scout attitude is what makes DC characters so different from those of Marvel. Over the years of buying comics from all the local shops, I always find myself picking up copies of All Star Squadron or Justice Society from .25 and $1.00 bins if Hawkman is on the cover as I enjoy reading about him trying to save the day. So this update is for Hawkman and Hawkwoman and all the creators behind them from the past and present.  While he might not be an A-List hero, he is a great hero who this comic reader has always enjoyed and it’s because of their hard work that made him so awesome.

So we are at the point of this update where we will be reviewing some Hawkman in the world of DC Comics.  The series I chose was The Shadow War Of Hawkman because I remember reading it when I was a youngster and want to see how well it holds up now that I am in my 30’s. I want to thank Bell, Book And Comic for having all the issues in stock and allowing me to be able to re-read them as it’s been too long. One thing I want to stress to all you comic collectors reading my blog is don’t be like me and sell off your collection at an early age to get money to help a girl you were dating at the time.  While I enjoyed my time with that girlfriend, I also have always regretted getting rid of 90% of my collection. With that, let me also once more remind you that I grade these on a star scale of 1 to 4 and am looking for how well the comic stays to the source material, its entertainment value and its art and story. So get your flight wings on, as we are going to war with Hawkman and Hawkwoman!

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 1  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 1 of 4

Mousy Mason is a down on his luck cat burglar who one stormy night is visited by a race of mean aliens who bully him into taking a heist for them to steal the anti gravity units from Hawkman and Hawkwoman and threaten him with harm if he refuses. Meanwhile in the city Hawkman and Hawkwoman stop a gang of crooks who have been targeting the elderly, and after making short work of them, they fly off and chat about their old home planet and whether it’s right to read the minds of humans if it is to help them. The pair change into their human identities of Carter Hall and Shiera and start to go to work as they need to set up an exhibit for Mavis Trent and her press agent Joe Tracy, but before they can start, an alarm goes off that someone has broken into their home.  Hawkman heads home to bust the intruder, and Shiera stays behind to work. As Hawkman gets home, he finds Mousy, and the pair are attacked by the aliens who murder Mousy with their vaporize gun and as quickly as they attack, they retreat. Hawkman figures out that this was just a distraction and rushes back to Hawkwoman’s side at the museum but finds that the aliens have been there and that they have used their terrible vaporize gun on Hawkwoman who is now nothing more than a shadow on a wall!

This first issue is as good as I remember it being and showcases why Hawkman is an amazing character that is underrated! The plot of this issue has Hawkman, who has just patched things up with Hawkwoman, at war with himself over the use of his alien powers to look into the minds of man. As he is dealing with that, a race of aliens with a powerful burning vaporizing gun have targeted our heroes as they want the technology that allows them to fly. Hawkman is a man deep in thought who knows that helping people is the right cause, but hates the fact that he can enter the mind of man and see what they are thinking. He is also very much homesick as he misses his home planet and it’s clear that all of this has been a strain on his relationship with Hawkwoman even though they are both very happy being with each other. While battling his own inner thoughts, when it comes to fighting Hawkman in this issue pulls no punches beating up thugs and aliens alike. Hawkwoman is such a cool character who clearly loves her mate as well as fighting crime.  She also has a sense of humor and sadly while fighting against aliens who attack her while at her day job, she is “killed” by their zap gun or so it seems. The aliens in this issue are true scumbags who use their weapons and powers to try and intimidate and kill those who they think are in their way.  They even kill two people just so they can steal a belt! Mousey Mason is just a crook who makes a living breaking into peoples homes, and he becomes the target of the aliens as they use him to distract Hawkman so they can attack Hawkwoman. This poor guy loses his life trying to help battle the aliens that have forced him to enter the home of Hawkman. Mavis Trent and Joe are great side characters with Mavis being a snob who has a crush on Hawkman and Joe Tracy is her smart mouth press agent who likes to tease her as it almost appears he has a crush on her. The cliffhanger of this issue, the “death” of Hawkwoman, is really well done and leaves the reader wanting to find out if she really is dead, and if so, how is Hawkman going to avenge her! The part that works really well for this comic is the fact that writer Tony Isabella mixes this superhero comic well with elements of drama, action, science fiction and even some comedy making for a solid read for fans of Hawkman. The cover for this first issue is fantastic and very eye catching and would surely draw in fans of the character as well as first time readers. The interior art is done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is great stuff and showcases the great 80’s DC art style. Over all this is a great comic and held up very well for this comic reader and now makes me very much look forward to reading issue 2 again after all these years.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 2  ***
Released in 1985    Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 2 of 4

Eddie Hamilton is a young man who dares to dream of one day being a superhero.  He has the power to grow wings and fly if he thinks hard enough about it and even has a name he wants to be known as, The Icarus Kid! While training to control his power of flight in the farmlands of Kansas, those pesky aliens show up and use a new gun to shoot Eddie from the sky, and the blast burns him alive…the aliens have killed yet again! Meanwhile Hawkman is alone in the Museum room looking at the brunt shadow on the wall that was once his wife.  As he leaves the room he asks police Captain Frazier if he could chat with him for a moment, and Hawkman even snaps at artist Mavis Trent as he does not want to speak to the woman who has a crush on his alter ego. Hawkman opens up to Frazier and tells him who he really is and allows him to witness as he disposes of alien tech that he fears is the cause of this alien attack. Hawkman asks the Frazier to keep his men at the museum as he goes off the fight the aliens alone. Hawkman talks to the birds around his house and finds a hint of radiation and is able to pick up the aliens trails that leads him to the side of a mountain that is the hideout for the aliens. As Hawkman enters and make short work of some of the aliens, he soon finds that these aliens are from his own home planet of Thanagar and are working on orders from their government that wants them to conquer the Earth first and then the rest of the universe!

This second issue has the plot thicken as we learn why the aliens are attacking and that they are attacking superheroes in order to get them out of the way before the invasion that’s planned happens! This issue has Hawkman gearing up to avenge his wife’s murder as the aliens are killing and gearing up to attack the planet Earth in order to take it over. The shocking part of this issue is that the aliens are from Thanagar, the same home planet of Hawkman and Hawkwoman, and that their home world is now on a path to try and take over the universe! It also is shown that the alien who killed Hawkwoman was not supposed to, he was only told to capture her! Hawkman in this issue is heartbroken over the loss of his wife and wastes no time getting rid of the high powered tech he has hidden and sets out to bring the aliens to justice. Captain Frazier is a good cop who Hawkman respects, and our hero tells him his true identity as well as gets his help to keep the museum safe just in case the aliens come back. Mavis Trent is upset that the superheroes have caused her some delays and bad press for her art showing, but does seem to have something important that she would like to tell Hawkman, but he just blows her off. Joe Tracy in the issue really is a terrible human as he is more worried about bad press than he is that a brave hero just died before his very eyes. The aliens are super cold blooded and are cruel to mankind and even toward each other, and they clearly have lots of high tech weapons that could kill anyone who gets in their way. And poor Eddie Hamilton aka The Icarus Kid is killed before he can truly be a hero of the world. This issue is really great and had enough drama mixed into the action to build the mini series’ story up. The cover is great as is the interior art once more done by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala, making this second issue just as good as the first. This issue holds up to my childhood memories, and I can’t wait to see if issue 3 does as well.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 3  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics    # 3 of 4

The alien who killed Hawkwoman gets a punishment from his fellow kind as they make his mind and soul bound to a computer, making him a living instrument of information and mind reading. Meanwhile Hawkman is trying to get answer from the aliens he has just beat up and finds that his home world has lost all technology and that they are no longer advanced in the ways of weapons and that’s why they targeted him and his wife. As Hawkman gets his answers, he is attacked by a group of the aliens who beat him down and bind him and just as they are going to steal his anti gravity belt, the aliens are blasted by a stun blast fired by Hawkwoman!! The heroes escape the base and after they are safely away, they take a moment to catch up with each other and Hawkwoman explains that she was not killed in the museum, and it was Mavis Trent who was killed as the artist was the one in the costume, and after she was murdered, Hawkwoman quickly dressed as her in order not to be attacked and killed herself. The pair decided that they can not get any help from anyone as they cannot allow the enemy to find out about their hidden ship and tech and travel to JLA Headquarters in order to erase their history and to do so ,they must stun Aquaman and Elongated Man, but just as they are to erase their history from the computers the screen shows a message from the aliens who have found their old war ship and are on their way to attack and kill them!

Wow, this issue is a roller coaster of emotions as we go from thinking Hawkwoman is dead to finding out she is alive and well! This issue’s plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman attacking and retreating the aliens and having to sneak around and attack fellow Justice League Of America in order to keep the war they are fighting in the shadows and protect the Earth and all the people on it including those with super powers. The aliens meanwhile have figured out a way to read minds and all the world’s computer information and have highjacked the hidden spaceship of the Hawks and are on a path to use the ship to kill them! Hawkman in this issue is filled with rage and wants to not only get information from the aliens but also wants to beat them to death! His mood changes when he finds that his wife is alive, and he is filled with joy but also has the will to save the world from an unknown terror that they do not know is coming. Hawkwoman is alive and is sad that Mavis Trent died in her place, but also knows that she must pull it together and with her husband stop this Shadow War. One cool thing also in this issue is having Aquaman and Elongated Man in cameos, and it’s sad as both Hawkman and Hawkwoman feel bad that they had to stun their friends with guns in order to achieve their goal. This third issue also does a great job of building the story of the Shadow War and makes the readers wonder how Hawkman is going to stand up to a space ship that is hellbent on killing him! The cover for this issue is as well great and has Hawkman fighting with both Elongated Man and Aquaman, and the interior art once more rocks and is done by the team of Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and is such great 80’s DC style. With the alien ship heading toward our heroes and this issue as well holding up to this long time comic reader, I think it’s time to read the final issue in this mini series.

Shadow War Of Hawkman # 4  ***
Released in 1985     Cover Price .75     DC Comics     # 4 of 4

The aliens of Thanagar have started their war with earth in secret as they have used their mind reading computer to get the dirty little secrets of people in power and will use it against them unless they go along with what they say. Meanwhile Hawkman and Hawkwoman leave the JLA Headquarters with Aquaman and Elongated Man still knocked out and beam themselves aboard their old ship and are met with aliens who want them dead! Our heroes fight off the waves of gun firing aliens and make their way to the ships second control room in order to override its controls as they find out the ship is going to crash land in Detroit on purpose starting the war and making a statement for all mankind. While Hawkwoman works to overwrite the controls, Hawkman battles an alien and gets stabbed as they also cut off the air supply to the ship. Hawkman wounded takes over the controls and does what he thinks is best to save lives and that is he blows up his own ship just as he and Hawkwoman beam down to Earth and the explosion kills all but one of the aliens as the leader of this task force also beams down, but he meets his fate at the hands of the mega mind reading computer who uses all its last energy to blast it’s one time captain. The bleeding and wounded Hawkman and his wife Hawkwoman have saved the world from a war they did not even know was happing. In the end the new artist hired at the museum is shown to be a spy from Thanagar and the Shadow War has really just began!

The Shadow War comes to an end thanks to the heroic efforts of Hawkman and Hawkwoman who had to put their own lives, friendships and even ever returning to their home planet on the line, and the sad part is no one besides the aliens they beat and themselves will ever really know what they did to save the Earth. This final issue in the mini series plot has Hawkman and Hawkwoman beaming aboard their highjacked war ship and beating up some aliens and then blowing up their own ship that has been set to blow up Detroit by the aliens! Hawkman in this issue once more shows that he is a skilled fighter, but also is super smart and can use his brain to also defeat his enemies. Hawkwoman as well shows that she is smart and super skilled in combat and proves why she is not a sidekick but a full fledge equal in the superhero partnership. The Aliens from Thanagar so wanted to kill our heroes as well as start the war full force showing that they were cold blooded and murder and mayhem was what they enjoyed. While they might now have been super powered super villains they still were a major threat to the world as we all know and love it. The thing that works so well about this comic mini series is that at all times the odds seem against Hawkman and Hawkwoman and they seem to be trying so hard not to alert Earth to the battle and war that is gearing up to crash down on them, and all this dread and heroic moments makes this feel really more epic than it should feel. And this is why as a kid I really liked this comic series and even now as an adult I find myself still very much enjoying it. The cover of the fourth and final issue is well done and has our heroes beating up the aliens and the interior art once more is crafted by Richard Howell & Alfredo Alcala and show that they are a pair of artist that work so well together. Over all this is a great read for fans of the character Hawkman as well as those who enjoy 80’s era of DC Comics as this is a cool mini series that showcases why Hawkman is still around to this day in comics, no matter how neglected I feel he is by DC. Below is some cool artwork from this cool comic series, so check it out!

So now that we have witnessed Hawkman win the Shadow War, I think it’s time we walk away from the world of DC Comics and their underrated heroes and into a world with giant monsters that come from the deep where our only hope is giant two person controlled robots….that’s right, we will be entering the world of Pacific Rim! Thanks for spending some time with me here at Rotten Ink, and I really do hope you friends and readers enjoy my updates as much as I do writing them. So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update as we talk about war ready robots!

Horror Host Icon: Ghost Host

The thing about Horror Hosts is that, as far as I know, every state in America has had one and each have meant something to their fans and viewers.  For many, they feel like long lost friends who are guiding them through scary movies, and for others, they seem like the crazy uncle who does the zany stuff to get a laugh around the table during dinner. For Baltimore, Maryland and later Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, one host that seemed to capture the attention of the viewers was a ghoul named Ghost Host who would stand in the shadows and host his show “Ghost Host Theatre” all the while calmly and creepily telling you about the night’s movie. Ghost Host was shadowed with mystery as his deep echoing voice would ring out and his face was covered by the darkness with only his sinister eyes peering into the viewer’s very soul! I first discovered an episode of Ghost Host many years back when cruising around a Horror Host trade site, and while I had always heard of him, it was via this trade site that I finally was able to view one of his shows as he hosted the Universal Frankenstein! And after watching this episode, I was hooked and I can see why Ghost Host has a loyal fan base. So I am very proud to bring you this update of Horror Host Icon: Ghost Host! Let’s travel to his mansion and discuss this creepy Horror Host.

Ghost Host is a spirit in his dark mansion surrounded by woods with a rainstorm always raging outside during his show’s opening. Ghost Host wears a nice suit, has a beard and unkempt dirty hair, haunting dead eyes that stare into your soul, and a booming spooky voice that echoes. He also hides in the shadows and seems to enjoy telling the viewers about the night’s movie, and he does so with class. Besides being a spirit, Ghost Host also seems to like to do experiments in the Mansion’s dungeon as well as take strolls in the cemetery that is on the grounds of his property. Ghost Host seemed to take joy in having the viewers as his guests and took pride in introducing the evening’s movies as he would treat them with respect.  He also enjoyed sharing info on the actors and makers of the film or films he was hosting. Ghost Host was not your typical Horror Host as he was not one to incorporate comedy skits or deliver cheesy jokes.  Instead he went the more direct, semi scary route to help add to the chills of the viewers making Ghost Host live up to his name! His quote that he would say in order to close his show was this “Here’s Blood In Your Eye” as he would take a drink of some unknown weird liquid he made.  Ghost Host scared viewers on his show “Ghost Host Theatre” from 1971-1985 and ran in many markets from Maryland to Pennsylvania and became a must watch for many of Monster Kids.

George Lewis was the man behind Ghost Host and was a TV Personality for WBFF out of Baltimore. He started his time as a TV host in 1957 as the host of a kids show called “Steamboat Bill and Mr. Cartoon” that ran until 1970 on WSAZ-TV out of West Virginia. George started his major TV career in 1971 on WBFF Channel 45 in Baltimore, Maryland when he played Captain Chesapeake, a kids show host who was super popular and ran all the way until 1990.  1971 also started his run as Ghost Host a late night horror host for WBFF, and he also delivered news for the station! During his time as Ghost Host, his show was also picked up in Pittsburgh, and the character gained more followers and acted as a gateway for youngsters to wait for Chiller or other shows that introduced them to the classic monsters. In 1990, after Captain Chesapeake went off the air, George retired from on-air roles and spent his remaining days enjoying life and spending time with family and friends. Sadly, George Lewis passed away on December 18, 2000, and while he is gone, the mark he made on kids of the 70s-80’s is still felt and his memory will always live on. I want to also note that George Lewis produced another Horror Host called Gaylord, who was a returning host from the 50’s who got a new show in Maryland in the 70’s! While Ghost Host was a very popular host, it is clear that his time as Captain Chesapeake is what most watchers from Baltimore remember him best for.

I first heard of Ghost Host around the late 90’s thanks to old horror magazines and an old black and white image they printed of him. Some years would pass and thanks to Horror Host show traders, I was able to get my hands on a few episodes and found myself hooked as the atmosphere of the show was top notch! The thing that did throw me off was the fact that the shots used for the show were used episode after episode and only the voice over would change as Ghost Host was really in the video just reciting Hamlet! I heard they went the route of reusing footage to save money on tapes and also that one night The Ghost Host was a little drunk on live air and it made for a crazy and enjoyable watch for viewers.  But keep in mind, him being drunk on air is a Horror Host Urban Legend, and it has never been proven as fact. While looking up information about Ghost Host, the one thing I found interesting is that while he was very popular in Maryland, he was not as favored in Pennsylvania (but still liked) as many of the viewers would only tune into him before their favorite shows,like SNL or before Chiller Theater, would hit the late night airwaves. The thing about Ghost Host and his show is that it very much had a cheap look and feel to it making it a true Horror Host show on a budget, but while he might not have had a huge production budget, he did have a great spooky over all feel and look to the show and I really dig the creepy music that was played during his segments as well like his intro song and credits very much. Did you know that in 2016 Ghost Host was inducted into the official Horror Host Hall Of Fame and finally took his place alongside the immortals of the hosting genre? What he lacked in budget, he made up for in atmosphere and character and that’s why Ghost Host is one of the all time greats to this Horror Host fan.

Most of the time, Horror Hosts feel like your friends who wait for you to join them at their home or base and watch a scary movie all the while they get into some sort of silly adventure with hosts like Commander USA, Dr. Creep, The Creeper and Grandpa Munster all had this quality about them. Ghost Host however does not have the friend feel and has more of a crazy old man who lives in the big run down house at the end of the street that never mows his lawn and the parents of the neighborhood dislike and the kids all share stories of how he has the bodies of missing kids in his basement…in other words, he seems sinister, crazy and spooky, and while a ghost, he sure does love to do experiments and stroll in his graveyard. This is just something I felt I should point out about him as I enjoy his show very much and like this aspect of him as it’s very different from most hosts of his time. Oh and I also love that his mansion is a painting and that the graveyard is clearly a set with cardboard tombstones with names of famous monsters misspelled on them, classic Horror Host stuff!

So we are at the point of looking at the Ghost Host Theater episodes I own, and most, if not all, of them are from his Double Feature show taped off TV from Maryland, and these are all the ones I have been able to collect over the years and want to thank all the Horror Host Trade Lists for having these available for me to watch and now review here on my Horror Host Icon update to honor Ghost Host. I do not give these episodes a star rating and the host segments are written by me with the films coming from our pals at IMDB. So sit back and take a trip to the Ghost Host mansion and see what horrors he has in store for us!

Ghost Host Theatre: The Cat Creeps
Starring – Noah Beery Jr. & Lois Collier      Not Rated        1946

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and ushers us into the first part of the night’s film. The Ghost Host is now walking around his graveyard and tells viewers what will be coming soon to his show as well as that his second film of the night is “Captive Wild Women” and goes back to the first film. And we are treated to lots of Ghost Host name logo bumpers before we join him once more in the graveyard, and as he is telling us about the second film, this DVD cuts off and we miss his bumper and the second film!

Movie: A black cat is suspected of being possessed by the spirit of an elderly murdered woman.

Note from Matt: It appears this was part of a double feature showing, so not a full episode and the commercials have been cut out.

Ghost Host Theatre: Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Colin Clive      Not Rated        1931

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and then walks over to his desk and starts to mix potions and tells us the first film of the night is Frankenstein and then slowly takes us into the first part of the movie. We next join Ghost Host in the graveyard, where two bodies are laying and have clearly been murdered, and he tells us that the second film of the day will be “Ghost Of Frankenstein.” He steals a ring off the dead female body and ushers us back to the film as he sits with the dead. We get lots more Ghost Host logo bumpers and no end segment or second film.

Movie: Henry Frankenstein is a doctor who is trying to discover a way to make the dead walk. He succeeds and creates a monster that has to deal with living again.

Note from Matt: This was part of a double feature showing, so not a full episode with all segments.

Ghost Host Theatre: The Mummy’s Curse
Starring – Lon Chaney Jr. & Peter Coe      Not Rated        1944

Host: This episode starts with a jump cut from the opening credits and has Ghost Host wandering around the graveyard.  He tells us a little about who stars in the film we are about to see, The Mummy’s Ghost! The next time we see Ghost Host, he is closing the show, mixing a drink and giving us his closing line “Here’s Blood In Your Eye”.

Movie: An irrigation project in the rural bayous of Louisiana unearths living mummy Kharis, who was buried in quicksand twenty-five years earlier.

Note from Matt: This was part of a double feature showing, so not a full episode with all segments and to boot it’s the second film shown of said double feature. This also seems like a very poorly edited episode from the person pausing for commercials as most logo bumpers are missing as are most of The Ghost Host skits.

Ghost Host Theatre: Night Key
Starring – Boris Karloff & Warren Hull      Not Rated        1937

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and then walks over to his desk and starts to mix potions and tells us the film of the night is Night Key and then takes us into the first part of the movie. We next see Ghost Host walking around his graveyard, and he chats about 30’s horror films that they will be showing soon on his show and then takes us back to the night’s film. We next join Ghost Host in his lab once more working on an experiment, and he tells us what’s in store for us next week!

Movie: The inventor of a new top-of-the-line burglar alarm system is kidnapped by a gang in order to get him to help them commit robberies.

Note from Matt: Sadly this episode is missing the end segment as well as end credits.

Ghost Host Theatre:  Werewolf Of London
Starring – Henry Hull & Warner Oland      Not Rated        1935

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and then walks over to his desk and starts to mix potions and tells us the film of the night is Werewolf Of London and then slowly takes us into the first part of the movie as he continues to work on his experiment. We next see Ghost Host walking around his graveyard and hypes some upcoming films he will be hosting in the coming weeks like The Mummy and Night Monster and has a sinister chuckle about the viewer being scared over the night’s movie. The Ghost Host ends the show by inviting us back next week and delivers the line “Here’s Blood In Your Eye” as he takes a drink and the rainstorm still rages on outside.

Movie: While on a botanical expedition in Tibet Dr. Wilfred Glendon is attacked in the dark by a strange animal. Returning to London, he finds himself turning nightly into a werewolf and terrorizing the city, with the only hope for curing his affliction a rare Asian flower.

Ghost Host Theatre: Invisible Ray/Mad Doctor Of Market Street
Starring – Boris Karloff & Lionel Atwill     Not Rated       1936/1942

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and then walks over to his desk and starts to mix potions and tells us the first film of the night is Invisible Ray and then quickly takes us into the first part of the movie as he continues to work on his experiment. We next see Ghost Host walking around his graveyard and hypes the second film of the night and just chills standing next to a tombstone while we go back to the movie. We return to Ghost Host and he is still in his graveyard, and we just hear his voice at first and then he appears and takes us to the second film. Once more in the graveyard Ghost Host tells us about upcoming film he will be showing very soon on his show and then quickly we get a Ghost Host logo bumper. The end segment seems to be missing.

Movies: The Invisible Ray – Visionary scientist Janos Rukh convinces a group of scientists and supporters to mount an expedition to the African continent to locate and study an ancient meteorite of great significance. He exposes himself to the highly toxic radiation of the meteorite, and while an antidote devised by Dr. Benet saves him from death by radiation poisoning, his naked touch causes instant death to others. Back in London, the benefits of the meteorite’s controlled radiation offer Dr. Benet an opportunity to restore eyesight to the blind. The antidote’s toxicity excites Prof. Rukh into paranoid rages as he seeks revenge against the members of his expedition, who he accuses of stealing his discovery for their own glory. The Mad Doctor Of Market Street – A mad scientist is forced to leave San Francisco when his experiments become known. He lands on a tropical island, takes control and terrorizes the local populace. The survivor of a shipwreck washes ashore on the island, sees what is happening and determines to free the natives from his rule.

Note from Matt: Sad to say this episode has lots of digital breakup as the person I got it from put it on a very cheap DVD-R, and this made it very hard to see the ending of the film and episodes closing segment that appears to have been cut off.

Ghost Host Theatre: Doctor RX/The Spider Woman Strikes Back
Starring – Lionel Atwill & Gale Sondergaard     Not Rated       1932/1946

Host: Ghost Host is standing looking out the window of the mansion looking out at the rain and then walks over to his desk and tells us the film of the night is Doctor RX and then super quickly we go to the first part of the film. We next see Ghost Host walking around his graveyard and hypes the films coming soon to his show and just stands around before we go back to the film. We come back to Ghost Host who is in his mansion and ends the show with his famous like “Here’s Blood In Your Eye”!

Movies: Doctor RX – A monster lurks as New York newspaperman Lee Taylor investigates one of the “Moon Killer” murders, in which the victims are strangled, cannibalized and surgically incised under the light of the full moon. The trail leads to the cliffside mansion of Dr. Xavier, where the doctor and his colleagues conduct a strange experiment. The Spider Woman Strikes Back – Jean takes the job of caretaker/companion (before the word took on a completely alternate-life style meaning) to blind woman Zenobia. Also hanging around the house, in this horror/western, is Mario, a deaf-mute servant who evidently wasn’t much help to Zenobia when it came to identifying the source of a noise Zenobia couldn’t see. Jean is a little slow in realizing that Zenobia is slowly killing her by taking her blood. Nothing personal. Zenobia needs her blood to feed some plants. She uses the blossoms of the plants to make poison to kill cattle in order to drive away the local ranchers so she can buy all the land…cheap.

Note from Matt: The second film on this disc is clearly a crappy put together fan reproduction or just a goof from the station as the breaks for Spider Woman Strikes back are those of Doctor RX!

While Ghost Host’s footage from episode to episode only changed slightly and the voice over sometimes was hard to understand from the echo and music playing over it, to this day I find him to be a great Horror Host whose look and style was all his own and his spooky echoing voice is captivating and draws you into every word he is speaking. Also while his show has been off the air for decades, I like to think his old mansion is still out there crumbling as the constant rainstorm batters it and that The Ghost Host is still inside working on his experiments and taking breaks from it by strolling around the rundown graveyard and still watching black and white horror movies for enjoyment. I am as always interested in getting more episodes of Ghost Host so if you, my friends and readers, have some feel free to send me a message and we trade or something. I also would love to hear from you guys about what Horror Hosts you would like to see me cover here at Rotten Ink and give the old Horror Host Icon treatment to.  I always love learning about new hosts and enjoy seeing what joy they brought to their viewers. So to wrap up this update I want to say a big THANK YOU to Ghost Host who was an amazing Host with such a simple low budget show. Our next update will take us away from the world of Horror Hosting and into the world of aliens as I will be delivering another “Alien Invasion” update that will cover the DC Comic adaptation of the movie Alien Nation! So until next time, read a comic or three, watch a Horror Movie or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you back here for the next update.

 

Horror Host Icon: The Creeper

Dayton has had its fair share of Horror Hosts with Dr. Creep of Shock Theater on Channel 22 being the most well known and loved. After Dr. Creep went off the air in 1985, the Horror Hosting void was filled years later thanks to public access and Hosts like A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Dr. Freak, Iris & Retina, Baron Von Porkchop, Commandant Gore and The Creeper who entertained and brought back the local host to TV airwaves. Growing up I have spent lots of late nights and early weekend afternoons watching Horror Hosts on the TV, and one that in my opinion has been way over looked here in the Dayton, Ohio area is The Creeper who hosted a great little show called “Moraine Playhouse Theater” that provided so many moments of entertainment for me and my brother Bryan. Thinking about it, I think The Creeper and A. Ghastlee Ghoul both started their Horror Host careers at the same time in 1989, making them both the official first Dayton, Ohio Horror Hosts to fill the void of the legend Dr. Creep! So it’s with complete honor that I present to you again, and for some the first time, a host who brought so much joy to my youth and one that should be remembered for all he has done for not only Public Access TV but also the city of Moraine.  So welcome to this long overdue update as I bring to you Horror Host Icon: The Creeper!

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The Creeper was a host who enjoyed hosting locally shot Horror and Science Fiction no budget films on his show called Moraine Playhouse Theater that started in 1989 and aired on the public access stations MVCC and later DATV. No one is sure what The Creeper’s backstory is or why he loves to show cheesy locally shot movies but did know that he as well thought the armature films were stinkers but highly enjoyable. Over the shows run The Creeper had two looks that stuck out the most with me, with one being eye glasses with huge fake eyes, a red nose and a Halloween mask worn on the top of his head and backwards given the appearance that he had white hair and the more used and normal look for the later years of the show was a mask that was bald on top and white hair on the sides with an older vampire appearance that showcased wicked long teeth at the top of his mouth. But The Creeper’s appearance changed many times turning his run on public access even wearing a Jason Voorhees Hockey Mask! The Creeper just like Dr. Creep was known for his sinister high-pitched laugh that he would deliver through out the episode and would be something viewers would look forward to hearing. The Creeper’s style for hosting Moraine Playhouse Theater was that he would open and close the movie and would tell you at the start the films title and who was acting in it, while at the end he would most the time promote the film some more with also at times telling us about the next film to be shown. But while in most cases having a Horror Host only host during the opening and closing would not fair well with viewers it worked for The Creeper as Moraine Playhouse Theater was about an hour long and never felt like it over stayed it’s welcome with the armature cheesy film. One things for sure those who grew up watching The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater understand that this nasally talking, high pitched laughing Horror Host was truly a great way to fill the void of Dr. Creep as our local Dayton, Ohio Host and made No Budget Horror films cool to watch and make.

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The Creeper was played by Dave Miller who at the time was working for the City of Moraine in the Parks and Recreation department and even as of this update he is still working for the city. He started his public access career in 1979 with the show “Moraine Recreation Update” and from there he and his friends would later go on to make their own No Budget Films and created “Moraine Playhouse Theater” as an outlet to show the films as well and encourage fellow Ohio viewers to write, produce and direct their own films with a chance to be shown on Moraine Playhouse Theater or better yet able to help on one of their films. For his time on Public Access Dave Miller has won many awards including an Arnie and as well is respected for all the stuff he has done for the city of Moraine. Dave also in his free time likes to hike looking for history and also enjoys going on ghost hunting adventures! Dave Miller is a man who takes pride in his city, state, family and making entertainment! I want to also note that he had a show called “Moraine Teen Theater” that was much like Moraine Playhouse but the films were done my teenagers!

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The Creeper never had any real sidekicks on his show but he did have many recurring characters in the movies he would show like the Paranormal Investigators, who were a group of scientists who would look into legends and cryptozoology creatures. They were very popular amongst the viewers and I can remember talking to kids at school about them as well as my brother and me would try and predict what other monsters they could have them hunt from Bigfoot all the way to Frankenstein’s Monster in future movies. We also had Deputy Cheeks, Sheriff Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear all who lived in Colorado and hated the masked killer Jason Myers. But hands down the most popular character and the one that almost anyone who watched this show remembers is the hockey mask wearing supernatural serial killer named Jason Meyers who starred in four films that aired on the show and even was interviewed by The Creeper on one episode of the show! So while no characters shared the hosting duties with The Creeper on Moraine Playhouse Theater, the show did have many of the returning characters in the no budget movies feel like a part of the shows lore because they where! Below is a picture of the Paranormal Investigators as well as Jason Meyers all whom made this Horror Host show even more special for us the viewers.

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While the Jason Myers Friday The 13th knockoff films are some of the most iconic flicks that The Creeper had hosted one other has always stuck out to me! Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 7 were he hosted the film “Trail Of The Werewolf” that was an adventure of the Paranormal Investigators who travel to Minnesota in order to stop a killer werewolf who has been making short work of the locals. The Creeper segments were nothing to special and had him wearing a hockey mask in what appears to be a kitchen and while he is as entertaining as ever it was the over all cheesiness of the film that stuck out the most to me. The werewolf was just a man in a half faced werewolf Halloween mask, but to be honest I think that’s what I love about it the most. The effects of the kills was pure backyard stuff and tame and the soundtrack like most of the movies made for this show was taken from Night Of The Living Dead. My favorite scene from the film is when The Werewolf attacks a gravedigger in the cemetery, so fun and holds the true spirit of independent no budget cinema. You see I have always been a fan of werewolves and as you long time readers and friends know my first ever original shot on video film was “Werewolf Of Ohio” and with Trail Of The Werewolf being made years before it, I wonder if maybe this film and episode of Moraine Playhouse Theater helped inspire my cult shot on video film, it’s very possible as I know that this show was my introduction to armature local shot on video films. The copy I got of this episode came from the master tapes of The Creeper and while it has glitches I still found it to be as entertaining as it was in the past and this could be my favorite film of the series with my favorite host segments being on Moraine Playhouse Theater episode 4 aka the episode that shows Jason Still Lives Part 2: The Ski Resort Murders. So I want to send out a big thanks to The Creeper and the cast of crew that made this show and its movies as they helped shape this aging Monster Kid into what he is today.

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After about 15 years of being away from TV screens across the Dayton, Ohio area I had to look high and low in every local graveyard and abandon video rental stores to find him and I am proud to say that The Creeper has been found and was nice enough to take a few moments away from watching his shot on video no budget horror films to give me a interview! So here it is 5 Questions with The Creeper…

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Matt: Welcome to Rotten Ink Creeper, and I guess my first question for you is when did you decide to become a Horror Host and unleash Moraine Playhouse Theater onto the viewers of MVCC Public Access?

Creeper: Growing up I enjoyed watching Boris Karloff, Lon Chaney Jr. and Christopher Lee horror movies and from that interest I purchased a super 8 movie camera.  My friends and I in high school began making silent movies in 1973 and trying to add sound to them with a tape recorder.  In 1979 working for the City of Moraine I was introduced to MVCC and began filming, writing, editing and hosting Moraine Parks & Recreation shows for the municipal access channel.  In the late 1980’s I began the Moraine Playhouse Theater shows hosted by The Creeper.  We wanted to write, act in and show our movies on TV and thought that some kind of horror host character would work good to introduce and make fun of our own movies.

Matt: So what if any Horror Hosts inspired you to become a host yourself?

Creeper:  Growing up before cable TV my television at home could only pick up four local channels and if the weather was good I could get one Cincinnati channel and one Indianapolis channel.  I watched Dr. Creep in Dayton, the Cool Ghoul in Cincinnati and Sammy Terry out of Indianapolis.  They were funny and played all the Universal classic monster movies.

Matt: So over the years us viewers always wondered why you changed your appearance so much, was it to keep us guessing at what was next from you?

Creeper: I really didn’t want to change the appearance of The Creeper.  I had a creepy looking half ghoul/ half old man mask that was perfect for The Creeper.  But I used it every year for Moraine’s haunted house attraction (which became Slash Moraine) which we ran three or four weekends every October for Moraine Parks & Recreation.   So eventually the mask wore out.  So in some Playhouse Theaters I grabbed whatever mask was handy, one time just grabbing the Jason hockey mask and wrapping myself in a bed sheet.  It added to the cheesy-ness of our productions.

Matt: Your show Moraine Playhouse Theater has had many fan favorite episodes, but what is your favorite episode?

Creeper: We began in 1989 and through 1999 we had over a dozen shows.  Among them we had four movies centered around the “Jason” character, one movie where we battled a werewolf, another movie aliens and UFO’s.  But my favorite movie was when the Paranormal Investigators battled a vampire in “Trail of the Vampire”.  It was classic poor acting, cheesy special effects, but a good story line which always keeps us laughing every time we watch it.  My second favorite is “Cops & Robbers” (we spent a lot of time on that creative title didn’t we?) which is a fast paced police tale in which the detective’s are on the trail of a criminal genius named “The Viper”.  Depending on the availability or lack of availability of the person playing the Viper, if you look real close sometimes the Viper has a full head of hair, sometimes he is going bald.

Matt: The final question that is on all the minds of us who grew up watching your show is will their ever be new episodes and will we ever see “Trail Of The Zombie” the lost adventure of The Paranormal Investigators?

Creeper: I am going to say yes you will see it by years end.  I need to learn digital editing at MVCC because editing and creating the final product is the most fun aspect of moviemaking to me.  We have a zombie footage scene that we filmed in back in 1991 and have filmed scenes for this movie at least four or five other years.   I guess it is time to try to come up with a plot to tie them all together (if that is even possible) and finish filming this epic movie.  And yes, The Creeper will host the show and I am sure he will mock the script and the poor acting.

Matt: Thanks for all these wonderful answers Creeper!

WOW! That’s fantastic news as it would be great to have another Dayton, Ohio Horror Host active to go alongside Baron Von Porkchop. And with rumors of a new episodes by Iris & Retina of “Mondo Smash A’ Go-Go” being in the works, Dayton might just become a hot bed for Horror Hosts again! I want to thank The Creeper for taking time away from his no budget films to answer these questions for me and my readers as it’s always fun to chat with a Host!

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So we are now at the part of this Horror Host Icon review where we take a look at the episodes I have on DVD-R.  I want to thank Andy Copp, who, a long time ago for my birthday, got me a copy of Episode 4.  Also, a big thank you to Dave Miller and the staff of MVCC who got me all the remaining episodes.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Cops And Robbers
Starring – Tim Clark & Dave Miller     Not Rated      199?

Host: The Creeper, wearing a skull mask, introduces the 6th episode of the series and hypes up both films that will be shown! The first is called “Cowboy And Indians” and acts as the warm up film as it’s a vintage 1970’s super 8 film. After the first film, The Creeper is wearing a goblin Halloween mask and explains that he will be going Trick Or Treating and then introduces the second film, a detective themed flick. At the end of the show, The Creeper wishes everyone a Happy Halloween and tells us about the next film that would appear on the show.

Movie: Jack Hammer and Joe Monday are two good detectives who are in the big city and must try to end the crime wave of the evil masked crime lord, The Viper, and his sinister henchmen!

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1989

Host: The Creeper comes out of a coffin and informs us that the night’s film is inspired by the Friday The 13th film series and will showcase the talents of many of Moraine, Ohio’s top armature actors. At the end of the show, The Creeper is drinking blood and introduces his son The Leper who is over 200 years old and briefly interviews him and shows his son’s short film “Fleshy Headed Mutants 2051”!

Movie: Jason Myers is a hockey masked killer on a cruise ship who comes ashore and starts killing people in Ohio! Can the local cops put a stop to his rampage or will this killer on the loose rid the town of its entire population?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Still Lives 2
Starring – Scott Golden & Dave Miller    Not Rated   199?

Host: The Creeper is once more in a great mood as he brings us the second film in the Jason Myers series.  He is so happy that he also gets to interview the killer live on the show! But joy turns to terror as the silent killing machine Jason does not take kindly to The Creeper’s judgment of him and attacks our host!

Movie: Jason Myers is back and now in Colorado on a murdering spree during a blizzard that leaves Sheriff Cobb and Deputy Cheeks on the hunt for the madman, all the while braving the cold and getting the help of a mountain man named Billy Joe Black Bear! In the end Jason has his final stand on a cliff that leaves the hockey masked killer falling to his death…or does he?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Return Of Jason 3
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    1992

Host: The Creeper is walking down a hall and notices the viewers.  He lets us know that today’s first film is a comedy short called “Junior: The Mean Little Boy,” changing up the pace from horror to silly comedy. The Creeper is now in master control of a TV station and tells us that today’s film was requested by fans and that it took two years to complete! But sadly this episode is not complete and is not only missing the end of the movie, but also the end of The Creepers closing segment.

Movie: Deputy Bud Cheeks and Sheriff Cobb are upset when the body of Jason is missing after falling off the cliff at the end of the second Jason film.  They go back to the scene of the crime and find that the killer could be alive still! After a phony press conference, Cobb and Cheek know that they must really stop the killer once and for all. Now Jason Myers is loose again and starting his killing spree on all those who get in his wicked path for revenge, but this time in Chicago.  So our Colorado law enforcement team of Cheeks, Cobb and Billy Joe Black Bear comes to Chi-Town to save face for lying.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Jason Part IV
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark    Not Rated    2000

Host: The Creeper is in a living room, covered with a blanket and introduces the day’s film, the fourth in the chilling Jason Myers series.  Our host informs us that this film was 8 years in the making. He also informs us that this is the show’s Halloween episode and ushers us into the film.

Movie: Jason Meyers is brought back to life at his funeral after a relative of one of his victims breaks into the funeral home and brings the killer back to life by accident. Deputy Bud Cheeks is once more on the hunt to bring down Jason and tries to get Billy Joe Black Bear to help him on the case again but instead must go to Chicago alone to bring him down. Can the world’s favorite goofy deputy do it?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The UFO
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1991-1997

Host: The Creeper is chilling in his office and shares a short film called “The Return Of The Vampire” and then chats about aliens & UFO’s and the new adventure of The Paranormal Investigators who star in the day’s film. The Creeper ends the show wearing a tux and thanks us for watching both films and dares us to join him for the next episode.

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt for a UFO that has been tormenting a small town. When they themselves are abducted and wake up with missing hours, they wind up in a farmhouse with an alien outside with a message for NASA and the human race.

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Vampire
Starring – Dave Miller & Tim Clark    Not Rated    199? 

Host: The Creeper brags about how his show won an Arnie Award, meaning that they are the best of Public Access! He then informs us that this is the first in a series featuring The Paranormal Investigators that will always be on the trail of some sort of monster!

Movie: The Paranormal Investigators are back and this time are on the hunt to stop a vampire outbreak that has lead to many deaths and points back to Count Dracula! Can our team put an end to his blood sucking curse?

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Moraine Playhouse Theater:  Trail Of The Werewolf
Starring – Scott Golden & Tim Clark   Not Rated   1992

Host: The Creeper is now wearing a Hockey Mask and a blanket and once more is very hyped to bring you the best of the worst of Moraine shot on video horror and ushers us with glee into the day’s movie. After the first movie, The Creeper brags about how bad the films he shows are but also delivers another short film for us to enjoy called “Janitor Man”! Once the film’s over, The Creeper wakes up from a nap and closes the show.

Movie: Harry is a wildman who is wandering around the town and at night, during the full moon, is a werewolf! But on the case once more are the legendary Paranormal Investigators who are going to stop the werewolf’s rampage!

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The Creeper and Moraine Playhouse Theater were truly staples of my childhood viewing as he and the cheap movies he showed always brightened my day. I can remember watching his show in Waynesville and when traveling with my parents and brother to Kettering to visit my grandparents, talking with my brother about the show. So I want to say a truly big THANK YOU to The Creeper for all the years of public access entertainment he has delivered, and I for one think he should be in the Horror Host Hall Of Fame as he helped inspire me as well as other creative people in the Dayton area. For our next update, we are going to walk away from the world of Horror Hosts and into another chilling “From Horror Movie To Horror Comic” update about the 2014 film I, Frankenstein! So until next time, watch a Horror film or two and as always support your local Horror Host! See you next update for a shocking good time with Frankenstein’s Monster known as Adam.

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