Tour Guides to Terror

Used to be you had to turn the dial, adjust the rabbit ears, and hope, God willing, tonight’s creature feature would be a good one, like Vincent Price in Fall of the House of Usher, or a Hammer horror flick, or even some burst of vintage insanity like The Terrornauts. And because this was years ago, back when local stations filled time with local weirdness, you would get a host, too, a chatty aficionado who at commercial breaks would relish or denounce the film right along with you: On KTVU in the 1970s, it was Bob Wilkins puffing a cigar in his hornrims and rocking chair; as the age of Reagan approached, the affable John Stanley took over. And before them, San Francisco’s airwaves trembled before the might of the devilish Asmodeus, host of KEMO’s Shock-It-To-Me Theater in the late ’60s. Their day is gone, of course, but today Michael Monahan and Lon Huber host a tribute to the hosts, “Shock It to Me: Featured Creatures of Bay Area TV.” The co-authors of the recent book Shock It to Me — which memorializes Wilkins, Stanley, et al. — tell stories, show videos, and generally dish on all of the Bay Area’s fright night TV heroes — and on an age when mass media still honored the local, the personal, and the goofy.
Sat., Oct. 29, 11:30 a.m., 2011

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