Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Creature Feature

Did you watch Creature Feature on your local television station as a kid?

Growing up in Tampa, I often watched Creature Feature on Saturday afternoons. It was a matinee-style show featuring old horror or monster movies from the '30s, '40s, '50s and '60s, hosted by a guy who called himself Dr. Paul Bearer. It introduced me to Japanese cinema staples like Godzilla and Mothra, British films with Christopher Lee playing Dracula, and American classics starring Bela Lugosi and others. It was great to spend Saturday with friends, a bowl of popcorn and, as Dr. Paul Bearer would say, a "horrible ol' movie."

I originally thought we had the only Creature Feature in the country, but it turns out the name and format were used by many television stations. The one in Tampa vanished from the airwaves after Dr. Paul Bearer died in the mid-'90s.

I thought of Creature Feature last night because Dave and I watched "The Creature from the Black Lagoon," which I don't think I had ever seen. (It would have been perfect for Creature Feature, but if it ever turned up there, I either missed it or forgot. It was a really fun movie, and the creature's costume was pretty darn great for 1954.) Anyway, Dave said he watched Creature Feature as a child as well, on his local TV station in Detroit.

All of which leads me to a somewhat unrelated postscript: Remember when some actors and cameramen invaded my office in New Jersey to film a movie? Well, that movie, now titled "At The Jersey Shore," is out making the rounds. A trailer is available on YouTube and it's apparently showing at a film festival in New York. It's not a horror film, but it might be horrible. I'd love to see it, just to see if I'm visible in the background, but I guess that won't happen unless it becomes available online!

(Photo: Pigeons LOVE to roost on this church window, down the street from our flat. It faces south, and I suppose it gets good sunlight and shelters the birds from cold northerly winds!)


  1. I'm pretty sure The Creature from the Black Lagoon played at least once on Creature Feature; otherwise, I can't imagine how I would have seen it (unless it played on the late night weekend version of Creature Feature--wasn't that Fright Nite or something?).

    I love revisiting these old films that scared the hell out of me as a kid. Occasionally, you'll discover they were actually pretty decent films, such as the original Godzilla, or my old favorite, Tarantula.

    I could talk for hours about them.

  2. I don't think our one channel carried Creature Feature. It didn't even last past midnight every day and there were many broadcast outages. We didn't have the Mickey Mouse Club or Howdy Doody either. I guess I was just a deprived child.

  3. Is this like the "Chiller" hand that came out of the dirt? We had that when I was little and it played before these creature feature type movies. It was great. And creepy.

  4. I saw Creature Feature and Dr. Paul Bearer for the first time in the late seventies as a kid just out of high school. As was pointed out, the films ranged from corny to actually quite good. I recall some that were a bit weird as well...The Attack of the Killer Tomatoes is one that comes to mind.