On Monday, March 30th we spent the day at the Nashville Zoo before walking the streets of the city like Rhinestone Cowboys. Neither of us is particularly keen on Country music so most of the local flavor was lost on us as we strolled right past the numerous amateur crooners (who seemed to be every twenty feet) in search of a prognosticating Elvis I found via Roadside America. Unfortunately, by the time we located the animatronic, fortune-telling “King of Rock n Roll” we discovered it was broken and had to settle for just a picture.
Later we visited Cooter’s Place a museum dedicated to the cult TV show, The Dukes of Hazard. Neither of us were big fans of the show back in the day but it gave us something to do until our meeting with Tennessee horror host, Dr. Gangrene.
Larry Underwood created the character back in 1999, having grown up a fan of Sir Cecil Creape (1971-1973). At the time, Underwood was working at a hospital and was often told he looked like Dr. Mark Green from the popular television show, ER. Underwood decided to capitalize on the resemblance and named his character “Dr. Gangrene.”
On July 1, 1999 Dr. Gangrene’s Chiller Cinema debuted on Nashville Public Access TV and, six years later, joined Nashville’s WB affiliate (later CW), WNAB. His show was popular and would go on to be nominated for several local Emmy’s as well as garnering two Rondo Hatton Awards. This year he was nominated for five more Rondos; one alongside us in the category of “Best Blog” (for which he would win and rightfully so). One of our favorite projects he partook in was a team up with New England hostess, Penny Dreadful, for the highly entertaining “Dreadful Hallowgreen Special” and. Underwood is also a regular contributor to Scary Monsters Magazine where he writes his own column.
I’d met Larry a couple of years ago at the 2013 Cincinnati Horrorhound Weekend. He also was a part of our weekly horror host reports back when we did those though his Tennessee locale made him somewhat elusive. Needless to say, we were delighted when he accepted our invitation to meet with him while passing through his neck of the horror host woods.
We met up with him at his house and he invited us in to look around. He proudly showed off his home office which was adorned with monsters and movie posters…in other words all the things that say “Home Sweet Home” to us Terror Daves.
A few moments later he brought us to one of his most prized possessions; a rare old poster of Sir Cecil Creape (Russ McCown) that he’d had framed. The poster was a gift from McCown’s family who felt that Underwood’s devout fandom of Sir Cecil made him the logical heir. Underwood says he knows of only one other in existence.
We also got a glimpse of a great replica of the PSYCHO house. It was donated to Underwood and used to serve as his make-believe dwelling during some of his shows. It was packed tightly in a closet so we only got a side view but it looked phenomenal.
We went out to dinner at a local Olive Garden where we discussed movies and his currently watching ALL the Vincent Price movies in order in preparation of an upcoming project. We talked about some of the more obscure ones such as Dragonwyck as well as his work with the beautiful Gene Tierney in Laura and Leave Her to Heaven.
When Larry asked what other sites we planned on seeing during our trip, we mentioned a ghost tour we were scheduled for the next day in Chattanooga which our waiter overheard before joining in the discussion. Apparently he has a grandmother who actually lives in Transylvania and he spoke of her numerous superstitions and various home methods she used to protect herself from the local monsters. You could tell he was being 100% serious and I wish I could go back and have gotten his contact information in the hopes of his elaborating further. That’s the problem with these vanguard road trips…you’re too tired to think of things until later on after you’ve had some rest.
We returned to Underwood’s home where he gave us T-Shirts and stacks of free shows. He’s friends with Svengoolie but doesn’t get MeTV so I promised to send him some of his shows by mail (we Daves should seriously start our own Svenflix Mail service). We also borrowed a prop for another upcoming stop on our trip. More on that next time!
We left his place and headed straight to Chattanooga where we’d be staying three nights. The next day would be one of our busiest of all as we’d be taking a side trip to Atlanta, GA to see their zoo…as well as a cannibalistic locale from The Walking Dead!
Coming Up…Finding Terminus!