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Thursday, November 20, 2008

Chiller Theater...

As a few of you know, I grew up outside of Charleston, WV in the town of St. Albans. Nearly every weekend I would spend at my grandparent's house in Charleston. Some of my best memories were watching TV in my grandparent's basement on Saturday night at 11:30pm. Chiller Theater brought to me some of the scariest movies from days gone by. Looking back on them now, they would be considered "B" horror by today's standards. Nevertheless, those old movies fostered my love of the horror genre. There was Chiller, Double Chiller, and Triple Chiller. So, there were many a Saturday night that I would be up past 3am watching three different horror movies. Those were the days! If you were a kid in the 60's and 70's, I hope you had the opportunity to see Chiller Theater. It really was something to look forward to every Saturday night. There's a montage video from the show below... check it out and remember...

There's also a clip from a Huntington, WV newspaper talking about Chiller Theater...

Public Access 20 Celebrating Halloween with Classic Horror Hosts

By Tony Rutherford
Huntingtonnews.net Entertainment Editor

Huntington, WV (HNN) – Beginning in the early 1950s, television stations across the country began a tradition of having a ghoulish, often hilarious, creature introduce late night horror features. “Vampira” pioneered by the late Maila Nurmi led to numerous imitators across the country, including John “the cool Ghoul” Zacherley in New York. In fact, even at the age of 90, he still comes to conventions.

WSAZ-TV in the late 50s had “Gaylord” portrayed by Fred Briggs, who went on to become an NBC news correspondent.

By the 70s, corporate owned television saw the end of regionally produced local programming. WOWK ran Elvira, a syndicated hostess of the dark, for several years, choosing the syndicated purchase over a locally aspiring host (and crew) known as “Dr. Cadaver.” The Doctor did occasionally promote Red Cross Blood drives and hosted a New Year’s Eve Marathon on WSAZ-TV.




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29 comments :

Kevin P. Kilburn said...

I remember Chiller very well. You don't happen to have a picture/video of the opening do you? I don't remember the one on YouTube. I remember just a painting of a castle.

Also, I remember a New Year's Eve show circa mid to late 70s (because I stayed up all night). It showed:

Strait Jacket
Die Die My Darling
Doctor Strangelove

There were two more, but I can't think of them at the moment. Any idea what year that was and what the other two movies were?

frgodbeyjr said...

Thanks for your comment Kevin. I checked from 1968 to 1983 and the only time Chiller was on New Years eve is listed below. Sorry I wasn'r able to help you. There were several differnet Chiller Theaters depending on where you lived, but the movies played should have been the same. Thanks again for your comment! Frank

Check out this link...

http://www.chillertheatermemories.com/Movies.html

Saturday, December 31st 1977
11:30 p.m.
It's a New Year's Eve
triple feature!
Happy New Year!
"Cauldron of Blood" (1970)
"The Spider Woman
Strikes Back" (1946)
"The Man Who Cried Wolf"
(1937)

Kevin P. Kilburn said...

I think it was a different channel, not Chiller.

I grew up in Kanawaha Falls (between Montgomery and Gauley Bridge).

frgodbeyjr said...

No problem Kevin... I know the area a little. We went to Hawk's Nest a few times and Summerville Lake a lot (my uncle had an A-Frame on the lake). What high school did you go too? I graduated from St. Albans in 1977.

Kevin P. Kilburn said...

Gauley Bridge High School Class of '86.

EyeNDSky said...

Kevin, I was going to ask the same thing. I grew up in St. Albans, class of '88, and I too remember what I thought was chiller in the 70's with the castle in the opening. Scared the hell out of me. I have searched for this opening but can't seem to find it.

Kevin P. Kilburn said...

Yeah, definitely was a castle (with a howling wind soundtrack). I think it was just something local, not the syndicated Chiller Theater. If I'm not mistaken, it was just "Chiller".

I remember The Love Boat and Fantasy Island came on, then the news, which was the longest half hour ever. I usually fell asleep before the feature finished, unless it was Frankenstein or Dracula.

Come to think of it, my father has all of the Frankenstein movies on Beta (old guys remember Beta, in addition to VHS). I bet he has that Chiller logo on them.

Duke said...

I remember chiller very well myself. I grew up around the Ashland Ky area in the 1960's and chiller was staple viewing on Saturday nights. It aired on channel 13 from Huntington Wv, usually at 11:30 pm.

I guess I'm confused at the links you provided. They point to a chiller from Pittsburgh hosted by "Chilly Billy". The one from channel 13 had no host. Did channel 13 simply strip out the chilly billy part and just air the movies without him or are these two different shows?

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