Sunday, October 11, 2015

Creepy TV: Chiller Theater (NY)(1961)

WPIX had a Saturday night tradition in place when cable television came to upstate NY in the 70's.

Chiller Theater bowed in 1961, playing a lot of B-movies. Two years in, Zacherle, aka "The Cool Ghoul", began a 2 year stint as studio host. After he left, they developed the following intro:




This remained in place until sometime in the 70's, when, amazingly, Rankin-Bass, the folks behind a zillion holiday specials, were commissioned to create a new intro, with a six-fingered hand made of clay, rising from a swamp to pull the word, Chiller, down into the muck.



Unfortunately, 'PIX pulled the plug on Chiller in the early 80's, and after bringing it back for periodic specials in recent years, decided to retire the franchise again three years ago. There was a period in the late 70's-early 80's, before Chiller was cancelled, when WPIX experimented with running the franchise in daylight, during the afternoon. Suffice to say, it ultimately didn't work.

Rating: B.

4 comments:

SaturdayMorningFan said...

In the Boston area in the '70s and '80s we had The Creature Double Feature on WLVI (56). This show started out in the evenings on Saturdays, then moved to late-night, and then, reportedly because it was very popular with kids, it was moved into the Saturday afternoon slot where it stayed for about a decade and did quite well - that's when I first saw it. It would air right after Fat Albert ended, and if they were airing a pair of Japanese giant monster flicks, I'd stick around and watch. They ran giant monster movies about 10 times a year I believe, so that meant that for 10 Saturday a year my butt was glued to the couch from about 7AM until 4 PM when the The Creature Double Feature ended. I tried doing that again a few years ago with a recreated 1970s Saturday morning TV schedule, but I kept falling asleep. I just don't have the TV-watching stamina I used to, I guess.

hobbyfan said...

We briefly had WLVI on my cable system, but I don't recall the Creature Double Feature airing in the daytime at the time.

SaturdayMorningFan said...

It ended its run sometime in the early-to-mid '80s, but nobody seems to have an exact year (1983 is mentioned on wikipedia, but is noted as approximate). I also seem to remember it was just The Creature Feature at the end of its run, having been cut down to one movie, but that may be a false memory. Ernie Boch Jr., owner of a local car dealership and longtime fan of the show, sponsored its revival a few years ago (2006?). It aired a handful of times, but never came back as a regular series.

hobbyfan said...

Hmmm. The way you described its history, it parallels Chiller and the NY Creature Feature (WNEW), which we're going to cover soon. I will see if WLVI's Creature Feature is on YouTube.....