elionwyr: (spooky)
[personal profile] elionwyr
As Zacherle took to the airwaves in Philadelphia, horror hosts were starting to spring up around the country. It's a little surprising to note how quickly show names were repeated, as is the case with Chicago's own Shock Theater.

WKBK tapped local actor Terry Bennett (April 25, 1930 - October 12, 1977) to host this new program. Bennett was a logical choice, as he'd been working at WKBK as a producer, writer, actor, logo designer, program development coordinator, and director. Yet Bennett found this new character, Marvin, a challenge to assume.

Marvin had a very different look from Zacherle and Vampira, whose characters used fairly elaborate costuming and make-up. Marvin's costuming consisted of myoptic glasses and a heavy black turtleneck sweater. Marvin, like Zacherle, had a wife on set with him, but in this case the audience had..well..at least a body to put to the name. Terry's wife, Joy, played the often-tortured "Dear," though her face was never revealed until the last episode of the show.

Shock Theater hit the airwaves on December 7, 1957, and quickly gained enough popularity to warrant a secondary half-hour show to be scheduled afterwards. Called The Shocktale Party, the show had a rather more expanded cast which included "Shorty," a Frankenstein-esque monster, an assistant named "Orville," and a full studio band, "The Deadbeats."

Like his predecessors, Martin had an enthusiastic following and a fan club. When the show was cancelled in August 1959, thousands of fans signed a petition begging for a return/renewal. The audience was treated to a personal farewell by "Dear" and the last episode of The Shocktale Party featured Joy and Terry, out of costume, sitting and discussing the past year and a half of shows...a classy end to a sometimes-creepy, sometimes-silly show.

For more information about Martin, please visit:

April 2009

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