Friday, October 31, 2008
On HALLOWEEN NIGHT, 39 years ago on a FRIDAY NIGHT, KTXL-TV 40, which is barely over a year old, shows a UNIVERSAL FRANKENSTEIN TRIPLE FEATURE starting at 8:PM with the original FRANKENSTEIN (1931) with BORIS KARLOFF followed by its sequel BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) at 9:30PM. At 11:PM, There is a variety show followed at MIDNIGHT with THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942). For some reason, KTXL skipped over the obvious second sequel of THE SON OF FRANKENSTEIN (1939), which I think is superior to GHOST. To the best of my knowlege, There was NO HOST for this HALLOWEEN NIGHT SPECIAL plus BOB WILKINS was still at KCRA-3 doing his LATE NIGHT HORROR SHOW. Also, ironically, then CBS-AFFILIATE KXTV-10 showed a HAMMER FRANKENSTEIN movie this evening at 11:30PM called THE EVIL OF FRANKENSTEIN (1964).
Thursday, October 30, 2008
About a little more than a year after BOB WILKINS left KTXL, he returned to do a One Time Special in 3D of the Universal Classic: REVENGE OF THE CREATURE. It was shown on SATURDAY NIGHT on JULY 17, 1982 at 8:PM and then repeated again at 11:PM. While the 3D effects was mediocre, it was a joy to see BOB WILKINS back on the Tube. The 3D Glasses sold for $1 at CARLS JR. In fact, if you saw the vintage commercial on the KTXL Anniversary Show, you could spot a Teenage ROBBY WILKINS just behind Bob at the CARLS JR. Ironically, a BOB WILKINS WANNABE (Forgot His Name) on a show called DISASTERPIECE THEATER on competing INDEPENDENT TV STATION KRBK-TV Channel 31 had their 3D Special of their own one week later with a DOUBLE FEATURE of GORILLA AT LARGE and a martial arts movie called DYNASTY. BOB WILKINS also hosted a 3D REVENGE OF THE CREATURE on SAN FRANCISCO'S KBHK-TV 44 during the same month with a competing 3D show on JIM GABBERT'S KTZO-TV 20.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Now, I'll let everyone know about my recollections of TOM LaBRIE'S NIGHT COMFORT THEATRE on KTXL-TV 40. My earliest I can remember is probably around 1975 when I was 13 years old. Looking through my TV GUIDES, It looks like ALL NIGHT MOVIES didn't start until 1974. Anyway, I remember looking through the TV Guides and finding an interesting movie listed around 3:30-4:AM. And since this was before VCR's, You either had to be an INSOMNIAC, working late or like me, going to bed early and hope you wake up early. I didn't even have an Alarm Clock. I usually went to bed at 8:PM, usually drinking lots of water and then conveniently wake up early :) Back in the 1970's, KTXL showed mostly B-Grade Movies, occasionally even Z-Grade but never the A-Grade ones. Those were usually shown during the earlier better hours. A lot of them were made between 1930 and 1965. An example of some movies, I woke up to included some of the Monogram CHARLIE CHAN films like THE CHINESE CAT & DOCKS OF NEW ORLEANS and a few Poverty Row Horror Films like THE APE MAN & BLACK DRAGONS and that occasional THREE STOOGES feature films like HAVE ROCKET WILL TRAVEL. By the 1980's, Newer movies were added but they were still of the B Grade. Surprisingly, DAVID CRONENBERG'S "THEY CAME FROM WITHIN" was shown around 1983. Even episodes of THE OUTER LIMITS and BORIS KARLOFF'S THRILLER were shown. As for TOM LaBRIE, I think he owned the LaBRIES WATERBED store that sponsored the show. On Tom's show, he didn't discuss the movies he showed. He had a few guests but not many. Tom had that mellow, soothing voice. I think, NIGHT COMFORT THEATRE was phased out around 1989 or 1990. Today, KTXL shows mostly Sitcom Reruns or that Dreaded INFOMERCIAL but at least they aren't SOLID INFOMERCIALS like KICU-TV 36. In fact, It is the INFOMERCIALs that pretty much killed off the ALL NIGHT MOVIES nationwide. A picture of me as a Teen is posted above.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I remember back in 1968 when I was a mere Six And A Half Year Old Young Boy, My Dad had told me of a new television station signing on the air on the UHF Dial. At that time, I was too young to tell the difference between VHF and UHF, I know at that time, I watched KOVR-TV Channel 13 for CARTOONLAND with Cartoon TV Host, CAPTAIN DELTA and KCRA-TV Channel 3 which aired some of the UNIVERSAL HORROR CLASSICS on SATURDAY AFTERNOONS on some HOSTLESS SHOW that I can't seem to recall the name of? Dad had gotten a UHF Antenna from some promotion KTXL was doing. And I was there when KTXL first signed on the air that Saturday Morning of OCTOBER 26, 1968 at 10:30AM. For the longest time, I knew it was some sort of Detective Movie, it wasn't until later that I discovered it was MEET BOSTON BLACKIE (1941). I do recall that there was a Test Screen for the longest time, until KTXL signed on the air with the NATIONAL ANTHEM. But what was VERY MEMORABLE that day was watching THE OUTER LIMITS for the very first time. I had read about it in FAMOUS MONSTERS and I knew KCRA-3 was showing but not until the wee hours of 1:AM if not later. I also remembered watching CAPTAIN MITCH hosting THE CAPN'S LOCKER that was similar to KOVR's CARTOONLAND with CAPTAIN DELTA (In fact, MITCH ARGUSS was the original CATAIN DELTA), in that he had a kids audience in the studio. Same for ROMPER ROOM. Then on HALLOWEEN NIGHT in 1969, KTXL broadcast a FRANKENSTEIN TRIPLE FEATURE of the original FRANKENSTEIN (1931), THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN (1935) and THE GHOST OF FRANKENSTEIN (1942). I was able to watch the first two but was unable to stay up for the latter. Also in 1969 (on MAY 3), KTXL started a SATURDAY NIGHT HORROR MOVIE SHOW called BLACK MUSEUM that was initially HOSTLESS until BOB WILKINS jumped ship at KCRA-3 in 1970 and took over. The KTXL Show was on earlier initially at 8:30PM then 8:PM then at 7:PM. The Last Saturday Night Show was on MARCH 6, 1971 and the following week, BOB WILKINS moved to SUNDAY NIGHTS at 7:30PM. His Final SUNDAY NIGHT Show was on SEPTEMBER 12, 1971 and he moved to LATE SATURDAY NIGHTS at 11:30PM on SEPTEMBER 18, 1971. (Later becoming a DOUBLE FEATURE in 1972 at a 10:PM start and again by 1977 at 9:PM but by Late 1978 went back to Solo Movie at 11:PM and by 1980 to 11:30PM before he left KTXL on FEBRUARY 14, 1981). In my next post, a little on TOM LaBRIE and his WONDERFUL NIGHT COMFORT THEATRE!
Monday, October 27, 2008
Wow, that was such a great special that KTXL FOX 40 put on last night especially that footage of BOB WILKINS. I wished it was longer than only 2 minutes but I am Very Happy That He was acknowleged at all. Here is a little bit of KTXL Trivia, THE 10:00 NEWS is the longest running show on KTXL (24 Years) but what was the longest running show? That distinction goes to the Syndicated THE ANDY GRIFFITH SHOW which started at 40 in 1979 almost 30 years. It was dropped on SEPTEMBER 5 to make room for the new Morning Show FOX 40 LIVE. And on the End Credits of the FOX 40 At FORTY Special was a SPECIAL THANKS to GARY MELLO> He was the long time producer of BOB WILKINS shows.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Don't Forget That tonight is the night of FOX 40 AT 40 special. It is scheduled at approx. 9:PM after the WORLD SERIES. Also for some reason, the FOX 40 web site, now list the special at 8:PM. My suggestion is that you turn on 40 at 8:PM and just wait for the WORLD SERIES to end. Even if it ends AFTER 9:PM, The Special will air in its entirety.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FOX 40! or is that HAPPY 40TH ANNIVERSARY FOX 40? Either way, Today is a special day for KTXL FOX 40! At 10:30AM on OCTOBER 26 in 1968, KTXL was born. Its very first show was a classic movie by the name of MEET BOSTON BLACKIE (1941). Its original studio site was in DOWNTOWN SACRAMENTO on F Street before moving to its current location on FRUITRIDGE ROAD in SOUTH SACRAMENTO in 1970. However Channel 40 did exist in two previous incarnations with different owners before it became KTXL in 1968. In 1953, It signed on as KCCC-TV and was SACRAMENTO'S FIRST TV STATION and had a combined affiliation of all 4 National TV Networks: ABC, CBS, NBC and the Late DuMONT. Because at the time, The FCC did not require Television Set Manufacturers to include a UHF Tuner, KCCC had a very low viewership. In 1955, KCCC lost its affilations to NBC and CBS to KCRA-TV Channel 3 and KBET-TV (later KXTV) Channel 10, respectively and the DuMONT network folded in 1956. In 1957, KCCC merged its operations (as well as its lone ABC Network) to then INDEPENDENT KOVR-TV Channel 13 (that signed on in 1954) and Channel 40 went dark. Under new ownership in 1959, Channel 40 signed on again as KVUE-TV as an INDEPENDENT TV STATION but it only lasted for six months. In the late 1960's, A group headed by JACK MATRANGA, who was the owner of KGMS-1380 RADIO, got permission to be the new owner of Channel 40 License as CAMELIA CITY TELECASTERS. And KTXL signed on promptly at 10:30AM on OCTOBER 26, 1968. KTXL gained a huge advantage early on when its original owner won the Local Syndication Rights to a Massive Number of Movies including Classic AND Contemporary Films. KTXL also gained the rights to both the MERRIE MELODIES and LOONEY TUNES Cartoons, which at the time was held by 2 different owners. DICK LEESON who worked at both KOVR-TV Channel 13 and KLOC-TV Channel 19, gained employment at KTXL as Production Manager, a job he held for almost 30 Years. Also MITCH ARGRUSS, better known as Children's Host CAPTAIN DELTA at KOVR-TV and later worked briefly at MODESTO INDEPENDENT TV STATION KLOC-TV, joined KTXL and went by the new name of CAPTAIN MITCH. Initially his show (called CAPN'S LOCKER) had a Childrens Audience similar to the KOVR show CARTOONLAND, but eventually KTXL eliminated the audience and CAPTAIN MITCH went solo (with an occasional guest). CAPTAIN MITCH was at KTXL from 1968 until 1984 when, like most TV Stations with Childrens TV Hosts, decided to show Cartoons hostless. Another early staple at KTXL was BIG TIME WRESTLING which was operated by promoter, the late, ROY SHIRES, who controlled the NORTHERN CALIFORNIA region, back in the days when Pro Wrestling was a Regional Pseudo Sport. BIG TIME WRESTLING was hosted by HANK RENNER and was syndicated to other TV Stations in Northern California. Another early staple at KTXL was Horror Movie TV Host BOB WILKINS who left KCRA-TV Channel 3 in 1970. Initially Bob took over the hostless BLACK MUSEUM horror movie show that was on Saturday Nights from 7:PM-8:30PM then it was moved in the summer of 1971 to Sunday Nights at 7:30PM then finally to its Late Saturday Nights at 11:30PM in SEPTEMBER of 1971. Over years, Bob would add a second movie to become a Double Feature and had earlier slots at 10:PM and later at 9:PM, but by 1978 went back solo with just one movie at 11:PM and before its eventual demise, at 11:30PM. In 1974, KTXL started THE 10:00 NEWS. Initially Half An Hour, it later grew to ONE HOUR. It was on the air 5 Days A Week but expanded to Weekends in 1978. In 1979, It became NEWS-PLUS with PETE WILSON with a less formal news set. In 1977, another longtime tradition was THE SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL which lasted until 1986. During this summer tradition, KTXL showed some of the Greatest Movies Ever Made!!! In 1981, KTXL made history by being one of the first commercial tv stations to show an UNCUT, UNEDITED MOVIE (that being THE DEER HUNTER) with Few Commercial Interruptions. At one time, KTXL became a Regional Superstation (like the Bay Area's KTVU-TV Channel 2) and was carried by CABLE TV SYSTEMS in OREGON, NEVADA and MONTANA. In the mid 1980's, KTXL experimented with a MIDDAY NEWS which failed, but by 2005, started a MORNING NEWS that later morphed into FOX 40 LIVE today. In 1985, KTXL's transmission moved to it New 2000 Ft. MONSTER TOWER plus they added STEREO SOUND. As for Competetion, KTXL ruled the roost until KMUV-TV Channel 31 signed on the air on OCTOBER 5, 1974 with an ALL MOVIE Format. While KMUV was able to raid some of the movie packages that KTXL held, some of the most classic and best films were still held at KTXL. KMUV's All Movie format failed (a little ahead of the time) and went SPANISH and KTXL was back to being the Lone English Language INDEPENDENT, that is until APRIL 6, 1981, when the new ownership of Channel 31 changed its calls to KRBK, and FULLY CHALLENGED KTXL with ALMOST IDENTICAL programming. While KRBK had a Large KIDDIE BLOCK (which effectivelly killed off CAPTAIN MITCH's show at KTXL) of CARTOONS as well as CLASSIC TV SHOWS like PERRY MASON, GUNSMOKE, MY THREE SONS and GOMER PYLE, KTXL still had the edge with both MOVIES, NEWS and more CONTEMPORARY SYNDICATED TV PROGRAMMING. In 1986, KTXL became a charter affiliate of the new FOX NETWORK which started out with THE JOAN RIVERS SHOW on weeknights opposite JOHNNY CARSON with the Prime Time Programming starting on APRIL 5, 1987 initially on SUNDAY NIGHTS only. And then the Classic "TV 40" logo became "FOX 40". Eventually, its longtime prime time MOVIES slot (known as THE BIG MOVIE) became FOX TV PROGRAMMING. Another casualty was its LONGTIME ALL NIGHT MOVIES show called NIGHT COMFORT THEATRE hosted by TOM LaBRIE. The all night wasteland that was once the domain of old B grade movies for INSOMNIACS became a mixture of Old SITCOMS and the dreaded INFOMERCIAL, though KTXL isn't as bad as most TV STATIONS. In 1987, JACK MATRANGA decided to retire and sold KTXL to RENAISSANCE BROADCASTING. IN 1997, TRIBUNE COMPANY bought ALL of RENAISSANCE which included KTXL. Right now, one of its longest on air employees is SPORTS DIRECTOR, JIM CRANDELL who started at KTXL in 1984. He later became Main Anchor after the death of TED MULLINS but returned back to Sports in the 1990's. Other Longtime Employees includes reporter LONNIE WONG (1980) and news anchor, DONNA CORDOVA. This history IS NOT DEFINITIVE and I am sure may have errors. Let me know. Most of this information is from emails from DICK LEESON in 1999, the KTXL website (http://www.fox40.com/ ), Wikipedia as well as my tireless research at the STOCKTON PUBLIC LIBRARY searching through microfilm of TV GUIDE and THE STOCKTON RECORD newspaper. Also the Artist drawing of the KTXL studios is COURTESY OF KTXL-FOX 40- THANKS MIKE! This week I plan to reprint the TV GUIDE LISTINGS for OCTOBER 26, 1968, trivia facts, ads for KTXL and other tidbits!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
On this evening, BOB WILKINS shows a very eerie science fiction film from ARCH OBLER, who did the Radio Horror Drama LIGHTS OUT, about the world being destroyed by a Nuclear Holocaust. Only Five Survivors: A Pregnant Woman, A Poet, A Banker, A Neo-Nazi and A Black Man. I'd like to see this movie on DVD. Bob also showed an episode of SECRET AGENT.
Thursday, October 23, 2008
Just letting everyone know that my LITTLE OLD BLOG was featured on the morning news talk program FOX 40 LIVE today on KTXL-FOX 40 SACRAMENTO at around 8:20AM. This is a thrill. Never in my wildest dreams would I think that my Blog would be featured on TELEVISION. Of course, I sent a e-mail suggesting they feature my blog since they mention so many other blogs, plus MY BLOG ALSO FEATURES ALOT OF KTXL INFORMATION since this is KTXL's 40TH BIRTHDAY this coming Sunday and I will feature MUCHOS KTXL. I do need to thank ANNALEE PENNY! THANKS ANNALEE, YOU'VE MADE MY DAY!!! Here is a link to that footage on my blog http://www.fox40.com/pages/annalee and click on 10/23-Fox 40 Featured On Viewers Blog. And let me know how you think?
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Well in 4 more days, KTXL FOX 40 will celebrate 40 Years On The Air! And For One Week, I Will Be Celebrating KTXL's Birthday On My Blog. I Plan To Reprint TV GUIDE Listings For October 26, 1968 As Well As Old TV Guide Ads For KTXL Which Had Its Start As An INDEPENDENT TV Station Which Became A FOX Affiliate In 1986. Remember, KTXL Was The Home To Horror Movie Tv Host BOB WILKINS From 1970-81. This Sunday, After The World Series Ends, At 9:PM, KTXL Will Air A One Hour TV Special On Its 40 Year History Which Will Include A Two Minute Segment On BOB WILKINS. BTW: WELCOME TO BLOG WILKINS To Annalee Penny of FOX 40 LIVE fame!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
On this very late night, Bob shows a PEPLUM ZOMBIE MOVIE from Italy. I have never seen it personally but recall seeing this title in the TV GUIDE listings. I know this stars JOHN DREW BARRYMORE and it is described in the IMDB as a DARK SWORD AND SORCERY ZOMBIE MOVIE. I couldn't find any poster for it. Personally I'd like to see this on DVD? Bob also shows an episode of SECRET AGENT.
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
I just read in today's paper that Music Composer, NEIL HEFTI passed away at the age of 85 on Saturday, OCTOBER 11. He was the composer of the BATMAN TV series theme music of the 1960's AS WELL as the composer of BOB WILKINS official Theme Music at all of his shows on KCRA, KTVU and KTXL. Of course, Bob used THE GOTHAM CITY MUNICIPAL SWING BAND as his theme song.
Sunday, October 12, 2008
Monday, October 06, 2008
Last week, September 28, was the last day of MR. LOBO on KTEH-TV Channel 54. Right now, There are negotiations going on with KRON-TV Channel 4 (MY NETWORK TV) and KBWB-TV Channel 20 (INDEPENDENT), both in SAN FRANCISCO. Let's hope and pray, they are successful!
Sunday, October 05, 2008
As of 7:AM, CW 31 KMAX is 34 years old today! They were originally born as KMUV, then later KRBK, KPWB and then KMAX. For a NOT-SO-DEFINITIVE-HISTORY-OF-KMUV-TV-CHANNEL-31, check it out at http://bobwilkinsthemanbehindthecigar.blogspot.com/2008/08/kmuv-tv-channel-31.html
On this Late, Late Evening, BOB WILKINS shows a UNIVERSAL PICTURES CLASSIC, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, The 1943 version starring CLAUDE RAINS as The Phantom. This version was actually more musical than horror movie. Despite being made during the UNIVERSAL STUDIO MONSTERS 1940's rally,which were produced as B Level Productions, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA was budgeted as a A Grade Movie in Color! There has been many adaptations over the years including 1925 (with LON CHANEY), 1962 (with HERBERT LOM), 1989 (with ROBERT ENGLAND), 1990 (TV Miniseries) and 2004 (based on the Hit Broadway Musical of LLOYD WEBBER YOUNG). I always preferred the 1925 silent version. Also Bob showed an episode of SECRET AGENT.