Friday, March 30, 2007

Hostbusters

Authors Ted Okuda (left) and Mark Yurkiw of our upcoming Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie (May/June 2007) in host-busting mode (photo by Adam Yurkiw). Our cover designer Timothy Kocher has done such a fantastic job, we couldn't wait to show it off, though it's still being tweaked. Read the back cover:


Creature Features

During my generally misspent youth, I devoted an inordinate amount of time watching the most preposterous movies ever made. I use the word preposterous advisedly, because that’s the precise term to describe films involving giant scorpions, teenage werewolves, little green Martians, big alien brains, fire-breathing space turtles, 50-foot women, puppet people, humongous leeches, killer shrews, and grasshoppers as big as the Shedd Aquarium. Not that I have any regrets.

—Co-author Ted Okuda




Although the motion picture industry initially disparaged and feared television, by the late 1950s, studios saw the medium as a convenient dumping ground for thousands of films that had long been gathering dust in their vaults. As these films found their way to local TV stations, enterprising distributors grouped the titles by genre so programmers could showcase them accordingly. It was in this spirit that Chicago’s tradition of TV horror movie shows was born.

TV viewers couldn’t get enough of the old monster movies—everything from glossy Frankenstein and Dracula epics to low-budget cheapies featuring giant grasshoppers and teenage werewolves. Here in Chicago, these films were broadcast on such horror movie shows as Shock Theatre, Thrillerama, Creature Features, and Screaming Yellow Theater.

Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie is the first comprehensive look at Chicago’s horror movie programs, from their inception in 1957 to the present. Through career profiles of the Horror Hosts who provided comedic interludes between commercial breaks, discover which creepy presenter was one of the 12 reporters to travel around the country with the Beatles during their 1965–66 U.S. tour, and learn about the politics behind Channel 32’s sudden (and outrageous) switch from Svengoolie to the Ghoul. Also included are broadcast histories of such “hostless” programs as Creature Features, Thrillerama, The Big Show, The Early Show, The Science Fiction Theater, and Monster Rally, along with a guide to 100 fright films broadcast on Chicago television and a look at the “Shock!” horror library that started a TV craze.

Filled with rare photographs and never-before-published data, Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows celebrates a grand tradition in local television.

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