Shock Theatre, Chicago Style: WBKB-TV’s Late Night Horror Showcase!

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Chicago Horror Hosting has been receiving a lot of attention this days with the recent re-release of “Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie” (covered last week HERE) as well as a new book focusing on the “Shock Theatre” years specifically, “Shock Theatre, Chicago Style!”  This book was written by Don Glut, a film-maker, writer, as well as a super fan of Chicago’s Marvin. Glut had assisted us years ago when we featured our own tribute to this host which you can check out HERE!

Marvin (Terry Bennett) had a relatively short tenure as a host but made a strong impact on Glut who had the privilege of meeting him (covered in detail in this book) as well as collaborating with the late host’s son, Kerry Bennett, for an even more personal perspective. The book also gives a brief history of the near extinct profession of horror hosting along with a complete listing of all the films included in the famous Shock Package of films which helped to create them.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the inclusion of actual show dialogue. There are no surviving full Chicago Shock Theatre shows, only clips here and there (mostly audio). For someone like me who was born over 10 years after Marvin left the airwaves, it was really the closest I would ever come to visualizing what his show and horror hosting style was like.

Another interesting fact was that Marvin, while often credited as The Windy City’s FIRST Horror Host, was actually pre-dated by a “spooky swami,” Drana Badour (played by Allen Harvey) who hosted films in the early 50’s courtesy of WBKB’s “Before Midnight” show.

img617Drana Bordour hosted movies and offered prizes to viewers

I no sooner read the book when I discovered that Mr. Glut would be appearing at “Horrorbles” in Berwyn for a signing. I quickly grabbed my copy and headed out to my favorite store…

When I walked in the door, I heard a familiar, “Hi Dave!” and my mouth about hit the floor when I saw none other than classic commercial TV host, Count Gore De Vol (as his alter ego Dick Dyszel) standing there. While it was odd seeing the legendary Count in Svengoolie territory I shouldn’t have been too surprised. Like Glut, Dyszel also grew up in Chicago and was an avid fan of Marvin. Dyszel not only was kind enough to share his own memories with us in our aforementioned piece, but also wrote an Afterword in Glut’s new book.

Don Glut, Dave Fuentes, and Dick Dyszel (in the flesh)

I stepped up to meet Glut and told him that I’d read his book in two days. “That’s funny,” he quipped, “It took me about two days to write it.” I explained that I enjoyed reading the actual dialogue of Marvin and he said that those were not only from audio clips but his own vivid memories as well.

glutPhoto courtesy of Count Gore De Vol

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As Don greeted other fans, I had a nice talk with the Count which, as always, was a pleasure. My signing endeavor sure paid off as I was not only able to get Glut’s signature on the book but Count Gore De Vol’s as well!

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To order “Shock Theatre, Chicago Style” click HERE!

To order “Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie” (which is sited many times in this book) click HERE!

Dave Fuentes~

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