Sunday, September 24, 2006
On Saturday, September 24, 1966 on KCRA Channel 3 at 11:30PM, Bob Wilkins showed a double feature of "Dementia 13"(1963) and "The Brain Eaters"(1958). The first movie was directed by Famed Filmmaker "Francis Ford Coppola"(one of his first films). It is a very spooky movie released by AIP in 1963 and starring William Campbell , Patrik Magee and Luana Anders. The synopsis is: "John Haloran has a fatal heart attack but his wife, Louise won't get any of the inheritence when Lady Haloran dies, if John is dead. Louise forges a letter from John to covince the rest of the family he's been called to New York on important business and goes to his Irish ancestral home, Castle Haloran to meet the family and look for a way to ensure a cut of the loot." Very good movie unfortunately due to the movies public domain status, nearly all of the DVD's of "Dementia 13" have lousy film transfers. The second movie "The Brain Eaters" is a SciFi movie also from AIP and loosely based on Robert A. Heinlein's "The Puppetmasters". "Strange things are happening in Riverdale, Illinois. Alien Parasites attach to the back of the head to control humans (shades of "Invasion Of The Body Snatchers"). This was released about 10 years ago on VHS but currently is not on DVD.
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
I like to add to the Bob Wilkins DVD Reviews, that all of the DVD's offered from Scott Moon site comes in DVD Keepcases. Also Tom Wrysch also sells a Bob Wilkins CD which has Bob's original theme song "The Gotham City Municipal Swing Band" as well as The Poppers "Creature Features" Theme Song plus the "Friday Night Theme Song", some "Captain Cosmic" theme songs plus an interview with Bob Wilkins conducted by Sonny Joe Fox for his "Sinister Cinema" show for the now defunct "Classic Movie Channel" in the Bay Area. This is the audio only. To buy "The Bob Wilkins Compact Disc", check out Scott Moon's Bob Wilkins site at http://www.bobwilkins.net
Tuesday, September 19, 2006
For fans of Bob Wilkins, there are a number of DVD's available to whet your appetite. There is some duplication of certain Bob Wilkins footage on most of them, BUT ALL ARE MUST OWNS!!! Scott Moon's most excellent Bob Wilkins website offers: "Bob Wilkins Interviews Hollywood", "The Best Of Bob Wilkins", "The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show" and "The Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set". Scott Moon produced "Bob Wilkins Interviews Hollywood". This DVD is unique as none of the interviews on this disc are available on any of the other DVD's. It is exclusive only to this DVD. It is mastered from the original 16mm film elements from Bob's personal collection. Tom Wrysch, author of the excellent out of print "The Bob Wilkins Scrapbook" sells both "The Best Of Bob Wilkins" and a 6 Hour "The Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set. Bob Johnson sells a remastered version of "The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show", a KTXL Channel 40 Special from about 26 years ago. Speaking of Tom Wrysch, his "Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set" are DVD-R's of his 3 VHS set. Tom's DVD-R's are mastered from VHS tapes recorded in higher quality SP mode. "The Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set" also offers the only known segment from Bob's KCRA Show from 1968 and the Bob's All Star Promos, also from his KCRA years. Tom's DVD's offers one of the "Star Trek Specials" (The KTXL one from 1977). As for Tom's other DVD he sells "The Best Of Bob Wilkins", has far less but is practically the best, quality wise plus it has a Professional Fully Authored Menu. It also has a Behind The Scenes Slideshow as well as a Bumper Slideshow (Bumpers are photos with Balloon Captions written by Bob). Both Slideshows has a music background of Bob's theme songs of both his Friday and Saturday Night Shows. Now onto Bob Johnson's Excellent DVD of the KTXL TV 40 Special from 1980: "The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show", though it is deceptively advertised as "A Creature Features Special Event", even though this special was only shown on KTXL TV 40 (Which had "The Bob Wilkins Horror Show") and Not KTVU Channel 2 (Which was the TV Station that had "Creature Features"). This is probably the best DVD of them all,Quality Wise! Now I know what you're saying, "Well this show is also on Tom Wrysch's 3 DVD Set, Why should I get this one too?" Well here is the ANSWER!!!: On the "3 DVD Set", it is much better but there are still some minor flaws, But Bob Johnson's DVD of this show is remastered from the original elements and looks and sounds as good as it did more than 25 years ago. This DVD also includes two extras: a ho-hum interview with Ben Johnson and a much better Contemporary Interview with both Bob Wilkins and his "Creature Features" replacement, John Stanley from a recent convention. Too bad that Interview is too short. And last but not least, is Scott Moon's "Bob Wilkins Interviews Hollywood". This is just that, Interviews with the Stars, but not all from the Horror and SciFi Genre, but from ALL GENRES!: William Shatner, Werner Klemperer, Esquivel?, Richard Pryor, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei, Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill, Gahan Wilson, Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, A Captain Cosmic Promo with George Takei and a Ronald Reagan outtake from when he was governor that is well worth the price of the disc. "Bob Wilkins Interviews Hollywood", "The Best Of Bob Wilkins" and "The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show" sells for $17.00 each ($15.00 plus $2.00 Shipping and Handling), "The Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set" sells for $34.00 ($30.00 plus $4.00 Shipping and Handling) while You can buy "Bob Wilkins Interviews Hollywood", "The Best Of Bob Wilkins", "The Bob Wilkins Super Horror Show" and "The Bob Wilkins 3 DVD Set" at http://www.bobwilkins.net
Sunday, September 17, 2006
On Saturday Night, September 17, 1966, Bob Wilkins showed "Curse Of The Demon"(1957) and "Blood Of Dracula"(1957) on KCRA Channel 3. On this date, KCRA moved Bob's show from 11:00PM to 11:30PM. "Curse Of The Demon" is actually a good spooky movie, directed by Jacques Tourneur about a skeptical american scientest named John Holden(Dana Andrews) who arrives in England to take part in a conference on the supernatural and to investigate the activities of Devil-Cult leader, Julian Karswell(Niall MacGinnis). Julian Karswell conjures up a pretty scary Demon Monster. The second movie is just alright. "Blood Of Dracula"(1957) is directed by schlock movie director, Herbert Strock. Under hypnosis, a young woman is turned into a vampire. Pretty cheap effects, this was released by AIP. Both movies are available on DVD. "Curse Of The Demon" is paired up with its longer British version,"Night Of The Demon" courtesy of Sony Home Entertainment while "Blood Of Dracula" is paired up with "How To Make A Monster"(1958) as part of "The Sam Arkoff Collection" courtesy of Lionsgate Home Video.
Wednesday, September 13, 2006
Bob's second movie of his double feature on his first night of September 10, 1966 was the low budget horror movie from AIP called "Attack Of The Giant Leeches" (1959). A brief synopsis of this movie: "In the Florida Everglades, A colony of larger-than-human size intelligent leeches is living in an underwater cave. They begin dragging local people down to their cave where they hold them prisoner and slowly drain them of blood." In my opinion, this movie is far worst than the one before it: "Attack Of The Mushroom People" (1964). Men in rubber suits are what the leeches look like. This movie was featured on Comedy Central's "Mystery Science Theatre 3000" in 1992. This movie is also in the public domain which results in dozens of budget DVD's in awful condition. The best one around that I recommend was released by Elite Entertainment as a Drive In Special complete with Distorto-Sound. It also had Distorto-Picture:)
Monday, September 11, 2006
Bob's very first movie shown on that fateful Saturday Evening of September 10, 1966 was "Attack Of The Mushroom People"(1964). Directed by Ishiro Honda, this movie was about a group of friends on a yacht who get stranded on a deserted island, where they find a fungus covered wreck. Hunger forces them to eat the fungus with disasterous effects. It was released to theatres in Japan in 1964 but was never released theatrically in the U.S. but was released direct to television by American International. In addition to September 10, 1966, "Attack Of The Mushroom People" was also shown on Bob's show on KCRA on July 26, 1969 and August 29, 1970, A total 3 times on KCRA! "Attack Of The Mushroom People" was also shown on Bob's shows on both KTVU Channel 2 and KTXL Channel 40 in the 1970's. It was also shown on Bob's Reunion Show On KCRA during the station's 50TH Anniversary Celebration on September 9, 1995, just a day before the show's 29TH Anniversary. On this particular show, Bob had both Geoff Wong (Bob's KCRA Late Night Successor) and Gary Tomsic (A friend of Bob's who also filmed 8mm amateur films and got a job at KCRA through Bob) were the guests. KCRA utilized "Kellyvision" for this show, which sped up the movie during the slow parts. Actually ,contrary to what Bob thought about "Attack Of The Mushroom People", I actually thought it was a bit spooky and not that bad.
Sunday, September 10, 2006
Before The Internet. Before The 500 Channel Cable TV. Before "Mad TV", And Before "Saturday Night Live", There was a quirky little show on saturday nights hosted by a young man who wore Horn Rimmed Glasses, had a cigar, sitting in a rocking chair showing Horror and SciFi Movies. It was 40 years ago today, that Bob Wilkins debuted on KCRA Channel 3, Sacramento, on a Saturday Night at 11:00PM, following the 15 minute "Newsbeat". It was a double feature consisting of "Attack Of The Mushroom People" and "Attack Of The Giant Leeches". Prior to this double feature, Bob worked at KCRA Channel 3 in their advertising department as well as writing lines for his best friend and fellow employee, Harry Martin, for his afternoon movie show: "Valley Playhouse". Bob also hosted the annual KCRA Employee Christmas Party. KCRA's then P.D., Tom Breen, thought very highly of Bob and thought he would be perfect as a host of a late night TV show featuring a variety of Horror and SciFi Movies, they had acquired. Tom lent Bob a 16mm copy of "Attack Of The Mushroom People", to give Bob an idea of what the show would be. Bob was said to be bewildered at the movie and how awful it was. Horror Movie TV Hosts have been around since 1957, when the "Shock Theatre" package, first came out and there were many different Horror Movie TV Hosts like "Zacherley", "Terrance" and "Vampira", All the hosts dressed as Vampires, Ghouls and Monsters but not Bob. He just appeared as himself. Since Bob spent most of his time at KCRA, behind the scenes, he was a bit nervous in front of the camera, so to ease his nervousness, he held a cigar and rocked in his rocking chair. On this particular show on September 10 at 11:00PM, Bob leafed through the TV Guide and suggested that the viewers should check out the movie on KOVR Channel 13 (Then ABC Affiliate) instead. Well I was a bit curious at what type of movie that Bob wanted the viewers to watch instead of his show, so I looked up the September 10-16, 1966 issue of TV Guide (via the Public Library Microfilm) which was the "Fall Preview Issue". Well, according to the TV Guide, At that time (11:00PM) the news was on KOVR, however at 11:30PM, they did show a 1953 Comedy Movie with the title, "Latin Lover" starring Ricardo Montalbaun and Lana Turner. No wonder the audience decided to keep their TV set on KCRA to watch "Attack Of The Mushroom People". Also I was curious on what other shows, viewers could have watched instead of Bob. KXTV Channel 10 (Then CBS Affiliate) was in the midst of showing a Pro Football Game (Colts vs Packers) that had started at 9:30PM, KVIE Channel 6 (Then NET Affiliate) signed off the air earlier that evening and the area's only Independent UHF TV Station, KLOC Channel 19 Modesto, which had signed on the air on August 15 of that same year, had just signed off at 11:00PM after showing the TV show rerun, "The Naked City". So before Cable, That was all you can recieve without a very good aerial antenna to pick up the Bay Area Stations, so there wasn't much of a choice. Much has been discussed about Bob's first movie, "Attack Of The Mushroom People" but not his other movie of the double feature, "Attack Of The Giant Leeches", which I think is a much worst movie than "Attack Of The Mushroom People". I don't know who was Bob's guests was on his first show, But over the years on KCRA, Bob had Harry Martin as well as a young man named Gary Tomsic who made amateur 8mm and 16mm movies which he also showed on Bob's show. Tom Breen's gamble had paid off and KCRA did well for that time slot (which later changed from 11:00PM to 11:15 to 11:30 and occaisionally later at Midnight), which caused KXTV to start showing "Boris Karloff's Thriller" TV Show as well as showing an occaisional Horror Movie. Tom Breen would later duplicate this formula in 1971 at KTVU Channel 2 Oakland with "Creature Features", but with bigger success (probably due to the earlier time slot of 9:30PM). From now on, every week on this day, I will post the titles of the movies that Bob has shown for that particular evening. Tomorrow, a more in depth look at the first movie that jumpstarted Bob's career at showing Horror And SciFi Movies on Saturday Nights: "Attack Of The Mushroom People".
Saturday, September 09, 2006
Lots of anniversaries. Yesterday (September 8) was the 40TH Anniversary of the debut of the original Star Trek. And tomorrow is the 40TH Anniversary of Bob Wilkins debut on Saturday Night TV via KCRA Channel 3 Sacramento. All of which will be covered tomorrow in a special post. It is also the 35TH Anniversary of Bob's debut on KTVU Channel 2 as well as KTXL Channel 40. Lot's of Bob Anniversaries:) While I know the exact start and finish of KTVU's "Creature Features", and the start of KCRA's "Seven Arts Theatre, his departure date from KCRA is a bit hazy as well as his start at KTXL. I know that Bob made an appearance on his successor's KCRA show, Geoff Wong's Charlie Chan Theatre (as Geoff's Caucasian Houseboy), which indicates that he must have left KCRA on good terms. Tom Breen indicated to me that he was sure that Bob stayed on at KCRA a little longer while at KTVU and Jack Matranga (Former Owner And GM at KTXL) thought Bob was fired at KCRA because he accepted the KTVU deal, so Jack offered Bob a spot on Saturday Nights initially hosting all kinds of movies (including Marx Brothers and W.C. Fields as well as Film Noirs like Mr. Moto) before gradually moving back to Horror and SciFi Movies. Because of that, I can't seem to pinpoint Bob's KTXL actual start date but it was in 1971. His last day at KTXL, however was February 14, 1981, though he also did a one spot 3-D Special in 1982.
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
In a previous post, I mentioned that "Night Of The Living Dead"(1968) was the most shown movie on "Creature Features" with 10 showings. Well, the second most shown movie on "Creature Features" was a little ditty from England called "The Vulture"(1967) starring Akim Tamiroff and Robert Hutton, for a total of 7 showings. It was a weird movie about a mad scientist who turns himself into a Half-Man/Half-Bird Monster to avenge the death of his ancestor. It was on KTVU's "Creature Features on the following dates and times: February 27, 1971 @ 9:PM, August 21, 1971 @ 9:PM, July 29, 1972 @ 9:PM, January 19, 1974 @ 9:PM, July 12, 1975 @ 11:30PM, September 9, 1977 (Friday) @ 11:30PM and January 26, 1979 (Friday) @ 11:30PM. With the exception of the last two, "The Vulture" was shown on Saturday Night. This movie was shown theatrically by Paramount Pictures and was released on VHS by Monterey Video back in the 1980's. It has yet to be released on DVD. I don't think it has been shown on television, either broadcast or cable in years!!! A Lost Weird Classic For Sure.
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
I want to say thanks to Scott Moon, for the use of most of the Bob Wilkins stills on my Blog. The Pictures, enhances my blog. Check Out Scott's Most Excellent Website Dedicated To Bob Wilkins, His website was the first and best. It was his website which encouraged me to start this blog. Keep Up The Great Work Scott!!! Check It Out Today! www.bobwilkins.net
Friday, September 01, 2006
When I first saw Bob Wilkins on KTXL Channel 40 in 1973, I never knew he also had a second show in the Bay Area. My parents got cable tv for the first time in 1974. At that time I was 12 years old. When I was young, I was obsessed with TV Guide and would read the tv listings all the time, and I knew about other channels, we could not pick up, would offer Horror movies also especially KTVU Channel 2 , which was showing the Universal Classics. In the Sacramento area, the Universal Classics were last seen back in 1970 om KTXL, but they hadn't shown them since and I was starved for those Classics, and when we first got Cable TV, it was a dream come true. Little did I know that Bob was showing the classics on KTVU at the same time he was showing other Horror Movies on KTXL. When I was young, I assumed that Bob did those shows at KTXL Live, but was I wrong, when I tuned in KTVU's "Creature Features" and Bob was hosting there. I didn't know if they were twins or clones, but I later knew that both shows were taped. The KTVU shows were on either 9:PM or 9:30PM, while KTXL was on at 10:PM.So I watched the show which had the best movies at the time. Bob seemed to have more fun on KTVU than on KTXL. The KTVU "Creature Features " set was dressed up like a Haunted House while KTXL just had paintings of the "Frankenstein Monster", "Dracula" and "The Wolfman" in the background. Also while KTVU had Bob Wilkins segments between commercials in addition to the beginnings and endings, KTXL only had his segment before and after the movies.