|Dr. Paul Bearer (Dick Bennick)|
hosted Shock Theatre.
For a seven-year period starting in 1966, Shock Theater had the added distinction of being hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer, a deep-voiced ghoul played by former radio disc jockey Dick Bennick. Amazingly, Dr. Paul Bearer's hosting duties spanned two TV stations over a 30-year period, making him television's longest-running horror movie host played by the same individual.
|A contest at the Carolina Theatre|
hosted by Count Shockula.
The new pun-making host (his favorite cereal was Lice Crispies) was a hit and Bennick was a fixture on Shock Theatre until 1971. When he moved to Cypress Gardens, Florida, he took the Dr. Paul Bearer character with him. While he worked at radio stations as a program manager and later sales manager, Bennick concurrently hosted horror movies on WTOG-TV, Channel 44, in St. Petersburg. His show, Creature Feature, debuted in 1973 and ran on Saturday afternoons until his death in 1995 at age 66.
Dr. Paul Bearer became immensely popular in "St. Creaturesburg" and often traveled to special events on the weekends in his black 1963 hearse. He would typically tape Creature Feature segments for 13 movies in a single day. At the height of his popularity, the Mayor of Tampa issued a proclamation designating October 30, 1993 as "Dr. Paul Bearer Day" in honor of the 20th anniversary of Creature Feature.
This profile of Dr. Paul Bearer kicks off our Classic TV Horror Host Blogathon, sponsored by the Classic TV Blog Association. For a list of all the blogathon entries, click here.
Newspaper ads courtesy of Carroll W. Hall at Piedmont Triad Nostalgia.