"The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of" ... Bogart, Shakespeare, The Maltese Falcon, Those Great Movies

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Favorite TV Horror Host - Sammy Terry, The Ghoul That Ruled!

At the start, he was black and white ...
In color, he was a sight ...

Sammy, dear Sammy,
Your  jokes were so hammy.
Your face was all green,
Your hands looked so clammy.

You rose from your coffin,
Our courage would soften.
Your laugh was so evil
That we'd all stop talkin'.

Friday was your night
To give us a big fright.
When we went to bed,
We needed a night light.

Thanks, Sammy Terry,
For being so scary.
To all of us kids
You are legendary.

We kids are all grown up now, very grown up, but we all remember Sammy and Friday night Nightmare Theatre.  We didn't know it then, but Sammy Terry was Bob Carter, a reporter who worked for Sarkes Tarzian, the gentleman who owned WTTV Channel 4 in Indianapolis.  The show started out in 1962 as Carter's Shock Theatre, but soon morphed into Nightmare Theatre with host Sammy Terry.  I hate to admit how long it took for me to realize that his name was a take on cemetery, but I was just a kid so I guess I can be forgiven.

Sammy showed movies that were good, many that were awful, but all were of the horror genre and all were fun. It seems to me that Vincent Price's House on Haunted Hill was on every other week, but that's just my memory, I guess.  Sammy would interrupt the movie occasionally to comment on it, usually with puns that were real groaners.  In his dungeon lair, Sammy had a friend, George the spider, who was always hanging around -- groan.  His young son Mark appeared once in a while as another friend, Ghoulsby.  When the show started, Sammy's coffin lid would creak loudly and he would sit up.  Sometimes the coffin would tip a little as he stood, but we never held that against him.  There were some stories about Sammy, which we thought were all completely true.  One I remember particularly is that Sammy fell asleep in his coffin after the show, and some of the crew decided to put him into the back of a truck, drove him out to a deserted road and left him there.  I sure like to think that really happened.

The Screaming Skull!
I have 6 brothers and sisters, and we all sat on the floor in a semi-circle around the TV to watch Sammy every Friday night.  My very favorite memory of Nightmare Theatre involves humiliating my big brother, who always made fun of the rest of us for getting scared during the movie.  He would sit there chomping his popcorn and acting very superior about those "dumb movies" and our tendency to watch a lot of things through our fingers.  Of course, he never missed Sammy either.  One night, Sammy showed The Screaming Skull.  To me, it had a few shivers, but I didn't think it was very scary.  Then I looked over at my brother, and his face was a little pale.  He was scared, actually scared, and I was so delighted!  I think that was the first time he was ever really spooked, and after much razzing, admitted he hated skeletons and skulls.  One scene in particular made him jump, and being the sweet, rosy-cheeked little sister that I was, I NEVER LET HIM FORGET IT!  Revenge is sweet.  I won't even tell you the whole story of how I treated him when he was in love with a girl named Cathy, who didn't like him, and the Everley Brothers came out with their song "Cathy's Clown."  But I digress...

Sammy Terry and Nightmare Theatre ended in 1989, but I'll never forget him.  Bob Carter still lives in Indiana, and unfortunately is too ill to take on his alter-ego in personal appearances as he has done for years.  But Sammy Terry lives because of his son Mark.  Mark took over the cloak and makeup, and performs online and in person (see link below)..  He looks remarkably like his Dad, and even has the voice down perfectly.  He never appears in public without his makeup, which I think is pretty cool.  (Well, I imagine he doesn't wear the makeup to church or anything like that.)  But here is a clip of my Sammy in his prime, doing his introduction.  Those were the days.

The clip and some of the pictures are from Sammy's official website, http://www.sammyterrynightmares.com/home.html.  You can find out more about Sammy Terry there, and even find some great stuff to buy.  I might just get a T-shirt!

This post is part of the Horror Host blogathon sponsored by the Classic TV Blog Association.  To find the complete list of bloggers, click on http://classic-tv-blog-assoc.blogspot.com/2012/10/classic-tv-horror-host-blogathon.html

Friday, October 12, 2012

Rub-A-Dub-Dub ... 6 Stars In The Tub

October is my favorite month ... autumn in Indiana and horror movies on TCM.  I am working on entries for two blogathons this month:  Speakeasy's Val Lewton blogathon for which I am doing my take on I Walked With A Zombie; and the Classic TV Blog Association's Horror Host blogathon, for which I am doing a piece on my favorite TV ghoul, Sammy Terry's Nightmare Theatre.  It's going to take some time and effort to do them up right.  So, for the interim, here's something that takes no effort to speak of.  I can't remember why it occurred to me, but I think seeing movie stars in the bathtub is fun.

The classic gangster in the tub ... cigar, drink, newspaper and fan ...
(Edward G. Robinson in "Key Largo")

This little piggy will go to market clean!
(Bob Hope in "Son of Paleface")
*This pic is courtesy of our very own Ivan of Thrilling Days etc.*
I believe he has a large framed version on his living room wall

He doesn't look too happy -- and boy, what scummy water!
(Clint Eastwood in "High Plains Drifter")

A modern gangster's bubble bath ... cigar, drink , AC and a TV remote
(Al Pacino in "Scarface")

I'm sure Dana Andrews would rather be looking at Gene Tierney
(Clifton Webb in "Laura")
Sorry, all you hopeful men -- I forgot to mention that it was not about women in the tub, didn't I?  Well, just for the male readers, here's something anyway...

She looks a lot better out of the tub than in 
(Jack Nicholson and nameless ... uh ... ladies in "The Shining")

Tragically, I wasn't able to find a single picture of Errol Flynn in the tub -- now that would be my idea of fun.