Horror Host Memoriam: Barry Hobart’s Dr. Creep
Last Friday, the Horror Hosting world was rocked with the news that their beloved friend, and fellow host, Barry Hobart a.k.a. Dr. Creep had passed away. As neither of The Daves had the privilege of meeting Dr. Creep nor had any familiarity with his show, we did not feel qualified to present our own tribute piece. Instead we felt it would be more appropriate to hear from his peers, as well as those whom had met and worked alongside him. Before his death we felt it unfortunate that we never me Mr. Hobart. After reading some of the amazing tributes below, it is even more regretful.
A GHASTLEE GHOUL: I still vividly remember watching the very first episode of Shock Theater with Dr. Creep. I was eight years old. My parents had gone to bed and I was flipping through the channels and adjusting the rabbit ears when this scary man appeared on the screen. Yes, Dr. Creep was SCARY for the first few episodes, with fangs and a more menacing countenance than the big teddy bear we all came to love. Up to that point, even at that young age, I’d fancied hosting a kid’s show like Captain Kangaroo when I grew up, but once I saw Creep I wanted to be THAT guy! Staying up to watch his show became a weekly ritual, and soon the good Doctor also began co-hosting the local afternoon kid’s show, Clubhouse 22. A horror host AND a kid’s show host! He was my hero.
It would be about nine years before we ever met in person. I was co-chairing a Jaycee’s haunted house and we went on Shock Theater to promote. By then the show had moved to Saturday afternoons and was being pre-recorded, after some wild debauchery during a couple of the live episodes! Even as a semi-jaded teen it was like going to the North Pole and meeting Santa. Anyone who ever met Barry knows his genuine kindness and sense of humor. You only had to meet him once to feel like he was a good friend.
He came out to our haunt that year for an appearance and was so much fun, going through the house several times with the crowds, his distinctive, infectious laugh carrying above the screams. We had a tape loop playing outside telling the story of the “legend” of the house, the old “man murders entire family forty years ago and may still be at large on the property” kind of thing. I was standing outside with Barry when he leaned over and asked, “Is that true?” What? Had Dr. Creep, purveyor of all things scary, fallen for some schtick I’d written? That was Barry, a big kid at heart, and always on the hunt for a real ghost story. He gave us a great idea for a scene for the house that night too, which we built and surprised him with the following year. His eyes lit up when he saw his idea come to life.
Over the next nearly twenty years he appeared on my show many times, and I popped in on the New Shock Theatre revival that Andy Copp produced on public access. I called him my “Illegitimate Stepdaddy”. Barry took that a step further toward the heart and called me his son, which, in the horror host family sense, I suppose is true. What an honor and privilege! In 2002 he came on my show, bringing an attractive lady vampire named Suspira with him. He came in saying “Ho, ho, ho! I brought you something!” Little did anyone know at that time that the joke would carry over to real life. In 2003 Dr. Creep was my best man at our horror host wedding at Cleveland’s Cinema Wasteland convention, perhaps the greatest night of my life. Just one more way Barry changed the course of my life, as he did the lives of so many others.
Over the years we appeared at a lot of events and conventions together. Barry was never at all territorial or competitive with other hosts, he embraced us all as family. Barry loved people, and people loved him. On road trips and while at conventions and events he was always engrossing us with stories, some we had heard but never tired of, others that made you say, “Wow! Why haven’t I ever heard THAT one before?” A truly fascinating man with so many facets, beyond the makeup. He was a DJ on Voice of America, wrestled professionally, and was even an Elvis impersonator! Many times I’d be listening and flash back to that little kid watching that first episode of Shock Theater, and appreciate how fortunate I was to have this man in my life.
Barry’s kindness, humor, generosity made him much more than just a legendary horror host. He was the kind of person who affected everyone he met in some positive way, from his never-ending charitable work to the simple warmth of his handshake and smile; he made the world a brighter place. He will live on in the hearts and special memories of countless people. As I’m happy I never missed a chance to say: We love you, Barry.
BARON MONDO VON DOREN: Dr. Creep was an inspiration. One of the true greats of the glory days of horror hosting and a man who loved what he did and did it very well. Barry Hobart was a wonderful person. A friend who took time to offer a fledgling host advice and regale me with stories for hours as we sat together, talking and laughing at Cinema Wasteland. The world is a little dimmer for having lost them both.
Mike Ensley aka The Baron Mondo von Doren
BARON VON PORKCHOP: I would like to say some words about the late, great Berry Hobart a.k.a. Dr. Creep. I never had the honor of meeting this horror host legend, but through the things I have read, seen, and heard, I now wish I would have had the chance to sit down and chat with this fine gentleman. Being new to the world of horror hosting, I was introduced to Dr. Creep’s work through my Director Matthew Brassfield. Mr. Brassfield is a long time friend of Dr. Creep and had many stories to tell about the man Berry Hobart and the legend Dr. Creep. After showing me many episodes of Shock Theater and The New Shock Theater, I was hooked. The magnetism and charisma of Dr. Creep was enough to keep you watching for hours. Every episode was fun and entertaining, I found myself laughing out loud at some of his charming antics. His work has been a huge inspiration for me personally and for our show and from reading some of these other tributes, for many other horror hosts as well. Dr. Creep will be sorely missed, but his legend will live on through everyone he has inspired and helped through is charitable nature. My dearest condolences to his family and friends.
THE BONE JANGLER: It’s not often that I find myself speechless, as I tend to speak as if I’d just invented the mouth only moments ago. However, something happened on Friday, January 14th, that has left me both saddened, and disoriented. What happened was that my friend Barry Hobart passed away in a hospice at the age of 68.
Barry Hobart is a name that, perhaps, may not be familiar to you. Dr. Creep, on the other hand is a name that anyone who even remotely considers themself a Horror Host fan should, indeed, know quite well. Barry Hobart was inspired to create his beloved Dr. Creep persona by his uncle Doug Hobart’s “Dr. Traboh’s Chamber of Horrors” traveling spook-show. Dr. Creep made his debut on Saturday night, January 1st, 1972, on a Dayton, Ohio program known as “Shock Theater.” Instantly, Dr. Creep became a sensation, with many viewers, and “Shock Theater” became a destination point for countless fans. Barry had actually been supplying creepy voiceovers for another program, “Science Shock Theatre,” prior to this, but, it was as Dr. Creep that his legend began.
When I first became a Horror Host myself, back in September of 2001, I wanted to make a splashy entrance into the genre, and knew that it was necessary to do so at a popular genre venue. This venue was the infamous Cinema Wasteland convention. So, Nocturna & I made our way to NE Ohio. Held only a few short days after the 9/11 tragedy, the atmosphere at the hotel was thick, and a little uneasy. We’d arrived late Friday afternoon, and spent many hours in the hotel lounge, discussing our goals, and plans, before finally making our way into the actual convention ballroom. We were quite incognito, seeing as no one knew who we were, and, we were dressed as mortals, trying to blend into the woodwork, and get a feel for the layout, and the show itself. That night, we hung out until the wee hours with The Son Of Ghoul, and his crew members, Bob Ferguson, and Joe Cole. But, that’s another story for another time. This is about Dr. Creep.
On Saturday morning, The Bone Jangler, and Nocturna, made our way into the show. It took a while, as we were stopped every few inches of the way by people commenting on our appearance, etc. We were there to make ourselves known. We headed over to The Son Of Ghoul’s table, where we were serenaded by SOG. A few short moments later, Dr. Creep made his way to the table. Nocturna & I were instantly blown away by the man’s extraordinary kindness, and his ability to effortlessly make you feel as if you’d known each other for years. He was quite inquisitive, asking us who we were, and what our “angle” was. He had his seal of approval, just like that, and that meant, and always will mean, a lot to us. I mean, we’re talking about Dr. Creep, a legendary Horror Host with a tenure that few others could boast of. Dr. Creep, with that booming voice, and laugh, was in our corner. We couldn’t believe it. His seal of approval gave us goosebumps. That day was an important day for us, meeting not only The Son Of Ghoul, and Dr. Creep, but Dr. Creep’s “son” A. Ghastlee Ghoul. Many photos were taken that day, more than I can count, and, as we made our way back to Chicagoland that afternoon, we couldn’t stop talking about it, and, in particular, Dr. Creep’s overwhelming kindness.
Barry Hobart was an extremely generous man. He created the Project Smiles program, designed to help needy children, and his charitable work is unmatched by anyone in the Horror Host industry. Nocturna & I have many memories of both Barry, and Dr. Creep, happy memories. While we are deeply saddened by the loss of this extraordinary man, we celebrate his life, a life that touched countless numbers of people. Also, it’s clear that, while Barry Hobart may have passed over into the Elysian Fields, Dr. Creep can never die. Dr. Creep Lives!
BUTCH R. CLEAVER: Barry Hobart aka Dr. Creep was not only a horror host inspiration to me but someone I grew up watching every weekend. I distinctly remember a our “horror club”: kids in my first grade class that would get together each Monday to discuss what cool monster movie we saw on Dr. Creep’s Shock Theater. Dr. Creep was my first horror host and introduced me amazing creatures like Frankentein’s Monster, Dracula, The Green Slime and Godzilla and he turned me on to all those wonderful Amicus films.
I stumbled across the horror host underground in early 2002 and became pals with A. Ghastlee Ghoul, who resided in Creep’s hometown of Dayton Ohio (just an hour north of our home). Through Ghastlee I was able to meet Dr. Creep, my childhood tv friend of so many years. It was a fantastic honor to not only meet him as a fan, but over the years to become his friend and to get to know the man behind the moniker. Barry was immediately warm and welcoming, he was supportive of our work as he was with all hosts he met. He was so humble and grateful when we would discuss his past hosting and he would share so much knowledge and so many stories of not only hosting, but of dark shows and film production and the world of television in the 70s. I have so many fond memories of spending time chatting and hanging out with Barry and Ghastlee.
Dr. Creep always believed in us even when we doubted ourselves. One example that really stuck with me was when we all shared a table at the Cinema Wasteland convention in Cleveland, Ohio…during one of the slower periods we asked Dr. Creep if he would mind watching our meager stack of MCT videos while we ran to grab a bite to eat…he graciously agreed. When we returned one of our tapes was gone and Barry handed us 30.00. He said he chatted up one of the guests into buying one of our tapes and sold it for 25.00 more than we were asking. He told us to “believe in your abilities and never sell yourself or your work short.” It was an amazing gesture from someone I had long admired and I’ll always treasure that advice.
I feel very blessed to have had the opportunity to meet and befriend a childhood icon such as Dr. Creep. My deepest condolences go out to his family and friends. I take comfort in knowing he has touched so many lives during his time with us…and in the end that is one of the most amazing legacies one can leave.
CHUCK DeCLOWN: It’s not everyone who gets the call to become a horror host. Hell, most of us never had the opportunity to grow up with one at all even. When the call came to me and I answered I decided to research those that had been before me and see wut the deal was. Dr. Creep and his antics on Shock Theater offered a great deal of inspiration for my own show and the work that I do. There have been many hosts and personalities, some better than others, and while his may not have been the greatest there was there is no denying that Dr. Creep was a strong influence on the entire horror host community overall. Our internets make the world a much smaller place, one where people who have never met can actually get close. Dr. Creep was one that I got close with. My sorrow is that I shall never be able to meet him nor thank him personally for his work and inspiration. My delight is, thanks to the internet, there will always be a memory of Dr Creep and his great work to share with us all forever. He will be missed.
COUNT GORE DE VOL: I’ve had the honor of spending a couple of weekends with the good Dr. Creep at Cinema Wasteland. At all times I found him to be a kind and generous person who thoroughly loved the art of horror hosting, as well as his fellow hosts. I will miss him.
COUNT GREGULA: Countess and I had the privilege to meet Dr. Creep at Cinema Wasteland in October of 2003. He vas very gracious and velcoming to us into the horror hosting community. Ve vere still new to the scene and not quite so familiar about other hosts outside of Chicagoland, yet he took the time to tell us of all the great people around the country including himself that have been hosting for years and their involvement in a group for horror hosts called the HHU (Horror Host Underground). I vill alvays remember him for his generous knowledge and DVD recommendation that led me to give hosting a try. R.I.P. Dr. Creep. You sure influenced many and vill be sorely missed by all.
DR. GANGRENE: Dr Creep is the best. Suffice it to say he was one of the kindest, nicest men I’ve ever met. Always quick to think of others, always quick with a compliment, and boy did he have some stories – and that laugh… Hoo hoo ha ha ha. Priceless.
HALLOWEEN JACK: It pains me to talk about those sad days when the luminaries that we love and idolize so much, depart this world. Though, you feel somewhat detached when it’s someone you know only through their work and not personally. It still pains me, but I can’t say that I hate it. Until it’s under circumstances like these. When it hits close to home, then I hate it more than anything in this world.
It’s with a heavy heart that I talk about the passing of one of our own. A dear friend, a great, generous, kind person. Someone who inspired and paved the way for many horror hosts.
Yesterday we lost Barry Hobart, who we had come to know and love as the iconic horror host, Dr. Creep.
There has been and there is going to be much written about him on all the social networks. His accomplishments, his charitable work, his brilliance and his love for this business. And all deservedly so. Volumes can be written about the talent and generosity of this man. There isn’t much I am going to be able to add to that, so I want to draw from my own personal memories.
When I received the news of his passing, I flashed back on our first meeting. It was in 2001. A. Ghastlee Ghoul had been doing all night movie marathon’s at the Neon Theater in Ohio. One sad day, new owners had made a decision to turn the classic theater into a cinema, so the grand finale of the Ghastlee all-nighters was fast approaching. He put the call out to his fellow horror hosts, stating that if you ever wanted to attend one of these, now was the time. So Bago Bones and I packed up the car and off we went to the vast outback of the Sierra Umphweephwee region of Southwestern Ohio!
It was a grand experience meeting some of my fellow horror hosts for the first time, and friends such as Robin Hershey and Bob Ferguson, who were as much a part of the history of horror hosting in Ohio as the hosts themselves. The hosts in attendance were Dr. Gangrene, Curtis Prather – the producer of “The Spooky Movie,” the young – but old beyond his years Dr. Freak and of course, the legendary Dr. Creep.
As with many of the horror host icons I’ve had the pleasure to meet, I knew of Dr. Creep’s work through trading tapes with various friends over the years. When I heard he was arriving, I was excited, but nervous. I even found that I was trembling ever so slightly. After all, he was as much a legend to me as Zacherley or Vampira. In through the doors walked this larger than life presence, smiling, shaking hands, signing autographs. Everything a horror host should be. After introductions were made, he treated us to stories of his time on the air. He had this wonderful quality about him. He made you feel comfortable, as if you were old friends. And he was a master story teller.
As much as we didn’t want to break away from the campfire atmosphere, with Dr. Creep holding us all spellbound, it was show time! We were ushered into the theater and onstage where we were introduced to the audience and played a quick trivia game called “Stump the Hosts,” and stump us they did! The questions that the audience asked were incredible. One for example, “what was Henry Spencer’s apartment number in the film Eraserhead?” Huh? We were bombing out big time. Finally someone asked “What serial killer was the film “Deranged” based on?” “Wait,” I thought to myself. I know this! I yelled out “Ed Gein!” Finally, one for the hosts. Then from his side of the stage, Dr. Creep walked over to me, grabbed me by the arm and said “Halloween Jack, you saved us!” Then came that booming laugh that I had heard so often on tape. Hearing it in person gave me chills and goose bumps. I felt that night was my passage, my acceptance, my ticket into the world of horror hosting.
Flash forward to a few months ago. Right after the 2010 Horror Hound weekend, I talked to Dr. Creep on the phone. He sounded wonderful and in good spirits. You never would have known that during that weekend he had an episode which put him in the hospital. He seemed to have pushed that out of his mind and gushed on about all the wonderful people and horror hosts he had met. Some, ever so briefly, but enough to make an impression on him. He sounded like a child who gets to meet their hero or childhood idol. I couldn’t help but think this was a little bit backwards. He was acting like they were the legends! But, that was the humble, generous nature of this sweet man. He adored everyone and was grateful for the love and respect he received in return.
As I am writing this, I find myself choked up and at a loss for words. Two things that normally don’t happen to me, but such was the impact of this man on my life.
My heartfelt condolences to Dr. Creep’s family and all his friends. He will be missed, but never forgotten. He will forever be in our hearts and will forever be a part of Horror Host History.
R.I.P. Dr. Creep.
KARLOS BORLOFF: I had met the good Doctor a few years ago at Cinema Wasteland. Such a great fellow and a legend that’ll never be forgotten. Hats off to Barry, his family & illegitimate son Bob Hinton (A. GHASTLEE GHOUL) for fighting the good fight for a long time.
MARLENA MIDNITE: I first ran across some of Dr. Creep’s material around 5 Years ago, his shows had an incredibly funny and easygoing style about them. I did not grow up watching Dr. Creep because I am not from his area, but have certainly seen a lot of his skits and several of his shows. When Robyn, Blake and I got to meet him this past November at HORORHOUND WEEKEND in Cincinatti it was truly an honor. He was not in the best of health but was certainly aware and glad to be there.
It was great to see how appreciated he was by the people who grew up watching him, perhaps the greatest gift a host can receive. He was incredibly kind to everyone and when we tried to buy some of his DVD’s that he was selling, he INSISTED on trading for DVD’s of our show. We were shocked and flattered. I guess we kind of had our own perception that a host who had spent many years on Television was sort of a different breed than hosts like Robyn and myself who have only been doing it for a couple years. But I don’t think he saw things that way, his love for the genre (“art form” if you will) over rides such minor distinctions that we were making. He was truly an incredible man and the people who grew up spending late nights with Dr. Creep are very lucky people indeed.
MIKE MURPHY (SON OF FROGGY): I wish to thank A. Ghastlee Ghoul, Suspira, and Sue Cantrell for giving me the opportunity to learn who Dr. Creep really was. I didn’t grow up with him (he wasn’t on here in Michigan). I had never seen his show. At first he was just one of many new people I had met that worked in the genre. In October of 2005 I was invited to Troy Ohio to see him appear first at Around About Books (with A. Ghastlee Ghoul and Suspira), later as the guest of honor at a masquerade ball. Over the course of an afternoon I got to know him through the eyes and hearts of his fans. Each person I watched him interact with greeted him like a favorite uncle, and he responded in kind. The love I experienced there that day was wonderful. I listened to the conversations, and soon found out many of the fans came to see him not only for his work on television, but also for being touched in one way or another by the charity he co-founded (it makes me happy to think of how his face would light up when later we talked about Project Smiles). I feel blessed to have been able to spend that day with him, and for the time I had with him after. To me, Barry lives where all great people always are and always should be…….in the minds and hearts of those they touched, and those that love them.
MISS MISERY: “Dr. Creep will be forever in my heart, he is a huge inspiration and one Horror Host I have not had the pleasure of meeting. But from what I hear about him I know for a fact I could of learned a lot from him. He will be missed deeply.” Reyna Young
MR. LOBO: It’s a deep hurt to lose your horror host. I lost my horror host, friend, and mentor, Bob Wilkins in 2009 and it still hurts. I wont pretend I knew Dr. Creep. I saw clips of the good doctor years ago via the makers of American Scary and he always seemed like a nice man and 100% professional. There are many more qualified than I to talk about him. His fans have approached me with great stories–THEY are the ones who will carry on his memory. Any more maudlin praise from Mr. Lobo would appear like I’m exploiting his passing for self-promotion. As entertainers we must be self aware and remember when the attention should not be on ourselves. Our hearts and attention should remain with Barry Hobbart’s fans, friends, and family.
PENNY DREADFUL: I will always regret that I never had the chance to meet Dr. Creep. I had always wanted to meet him but our paths never crossed. His show was wonderful and I thoroughly enjoyed his work. His loss is felt by all his fellow horror hosts. It is clear that he was both a beloved performer and a dear friend to those who knew him. Dr. Creep will live forever in the hearts and minds of his many fans.
RICH KOZ (SVENGOOLIE): Unfortunately, I never met Dr. Creep- but have read about him, and know that he was the inspiration for several horror hosts who used to watch him in Ohio. He obviously was a beloved host, and also a kind and generous man.Yet another member of our horror host legacy who will be missed.
SALLY ZOMBIE: I’ve known Barry (aka Dr. Creep) for nearly ten years. Barry was very warm and kind to me. I loved sitting down with him for hours and just listen to his stories. He was fun to listen to. Barry’s life was was as rich and diverse as his talents. For many years, Barry played Dr. Creep in front of the camera. Dancing and playing and just have a grand old time. When Barry wasn’t in front of the camera, he was busy caring for hundreds of Ohio-area needy residents through “Project Smiles.”
Barry had a big heart and loved to help others when they had no one else to turn to. There was more to Dr. Creep than just a top hat and cap.
Dr. Creep brought joy to tons of fans across the country and he kept up going until he was too sick to perform. I spoke with Barry many times over the years and I always made sure I stayed in touch with him. I loved his conversations and the time I was able to send with him.
I was very lucky and honored to have such a good friend and I will miss him terribly. I wish I had more time to spend with Barry and I wish I was able to visit him more often but I am grateful for the time spent with him.
Goodbye, Dr. Creep. I love you and will miss you and I promise I will make sure no one forgets you.
SINISTER MINISTER: I had never met the good Dr., but have heard so many good things about him, I feel that I did…So, we at the Chap-Hell of Horror send our most sincere condolences to all family & friends of Dr. Creep…