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Horror Hosts

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Horror hosts are a particular type of television presenter, often tasked with presenting low-grade films to television audiences.

In the early days of television, stations needed programming, and local stations frequently produced their own in-house, covering the gamut from children's fare to serious drama. As many early television shows were live, due to the expense of preproducing to film, stations needed personalities to introduce shows, as well as read commercials and station I.D.'s. Most stations utilized booth announcers, and a number of shows—in particular those using cartoons or movies—utilized a host or hostess, to perform those functions.

The first television horror host was Vampira. The Vampira Show featured mostly low budget suspense films because few horror films had been released for television broadcast. Despite its short 1954-1955 run The Vampira Show set the standard format for horror host shows to follow.

After the initial airing of King Kong on nationwide television, many horror films were released to television, and it was natural for local stations to show them on a regular, weekly program—often with a host.

The "Shock!" package, a collection of older science-fiction and horror movies packaged for syndicated television, was released to stations in October of 1957. To promote the films, the distributor supplied stations with a promotional kit which encouraged all kinds of antics. The use of a host was encouraged, and a number of stations elected to use them. Viewers loved the package, as well as the concept, and ratings soared. A "Son of Shock!" package was released in 1958.[1]

Hosts were often plucked from ranks of the studio staff. It wasn't uncommon, in the days of live television, for the weather man or booth announcer to finish a nightly news broadcast and race madly to another part of the soundstage for a quick costume change to present the evening's monster tale.

While a few early hosts like Zacherley and Vampira became the icons of this nationwide movement, most hosts were locals. The impact of these friendly ghouls on their young fans cannot be underestimated. The earliest hosts are still remembered with great affection today. (Source: Filmfax no. 13, December 1988)

See also

1950s

1960s

1970s

1980s

1990s

2000s

See also

Creature Features

References

  1. Watson, Elena M. (2000). Television Horror Movie Hosts: 68 Vampires, Mad Scientists, and Other Denizens of the Late Night Airwaves Examined and Interviewed. Jefferson, North Carolina, United States: McFarland & Company. ISBN 0786409401. http://www.mcfarlandpub.com/book-2.php?id=978-0-7864-0940-2.

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