"There is so much writing in English on Japanese cinema that can't be accepted at face value — not because the writers are careless, but because the differences in culture and language are just too intricate. When I see August Ragone's name on a piece of writing, it gives me permission to place my faith in it completely. Among Japanese fantasy film historians, he's the best working in English." —Tim Lucas, Video Watchdog

Saturday, October 31, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Is all that we see or seem but a dream within a dream?"



Candid photo taken on the "Creature Features" set at KTVU-2, 1971.

While there were horror hosts around the country, and with them a legion of devoted fans, it may be hard to quantify to those who did not experience, first hand, the unique greatness of Bob Wilkins. He wasn't a put on, and he didn't put on his audience. Never talked down to them, and was genuine and gentile, both on and off screen.

Scarcely do we realize, sometimes, how special or singular some moments, or persons, can be. Bob Wilkins was, and remains, an integral part of the lives of those who religiously watched his shows on KRCA-3, KTXL-40, and KTVU-2. I can honestly say, from my own perspective, that Bob made my childhood, and those millions of others, brighter.

Bob was truly a one of a kind, and not only do I owe him a debt of thanks for all those years of fun, and the excitement of waiting to watch "Creature Features" every Saturday night, but also for all of support in pushing me into the direction of "Godzilla/Japanese Film Expert", and his unselfish generosity. It's a debt I can never repay.

Thank you, Bob. We'll continue to watch horror films and keep America strong!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Friday, October 30, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Yes, Even You... Can Commit Murder!”



TV Guide ad for the Halloween broadcast on October 30, 1971.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Friday, October 23, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
Big "Creature Features" Show on October 25th!



Event poster for this weekend's show at the Niles Silent Theater!

This weekend, on Sunday, October 25th at the Niles Silent Theater Museum, see a complete 1976 "Creature Features" program on the Big Screen, starting at 4:00 pm! From their press release:

Join us for another rare, “complete” Bob Wilkins show, this time it's from 1976, with original host segments, TV commercials, and feature film on the big screen! Included is our "Creature Features" raffle and items for sale. On hand to host the show is filmmaker and "Creature Features" archivist, Tom Wyrsch. Special surprise guests will be on hand. Don’t miss it!

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Thursday, October 22, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES! "Well, At Least We Ran the Right Movie..."



The TV Guide ads were sometimes a little wrong... March 18, 1978.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"What All Little Ghouls Are Wearing This Year."



Every 'Ween, Bob's kids & their classmates modeled new costumes.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"We've Got a Classic and a Crummy Mummy."



TV Guide ad for the October 2, 1971 double-feature broadcast.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Monday, October 19, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Ah, Now Cut That Out!"



Bob in South Lake Tahoe, while interviewing Jack Benny, circa 1966. 

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Sunday, October 18, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"And Now, a Word From Our Sponsors..."



One of many gag Blackout Slides shown during commercial breaks.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Isn't Hyde a Lover After Your Own Heart?"



Invitation to MGM re-release of the 1931 version on June 14, 1972.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Friday, October 16, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Bob Wilkins is the Horror Host of the People!"



Full page TV Guide ad for Bob's move to KTXL-40 on May 9, 1970.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Thursday, October 15, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Break Out the Tissues, It's a Tearjerker..."



Full-page TV Guide ad for April 14, 1973 (yes, that's not the Big G).

This was the first time I saw SON OF GODZILLA from start to finish, gathered around the television set in the living room of my grammar school pals Alex and Ray Reyes. Still have some fuzzy memories of Bob's intro, the short film he'd run from time to time, "The Incredible Jet Car", and his outro in which he was mock teared up and blowing his noise into a hanky. This is partly why I have a strong attachment to this entry, and its just a solid piece of entertainment in the first place, with a rousing score by Masaru Sato.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

OFFICIAL: "GODZILLA VS. KONG" COMING 2020! Warner Bros & Legendary Release Statement

ワーナー・ブラザース 2020年『GODZILLA VS. KONG』を発表!


The gloves are off in Warner Bros/Legendary's Official Press Release!

While there has been much fan speculation since Legendary Pictures King Kong franchise has moved over  from Universal to Warner Bros, with the upcoming production of Jordan Vogt-Roberts' KONG: SKULL ISLAND, there surely would be a cross-over with their own GODZILLA franchise, which was launched with the 2014 Gareth Edwards film. And now, it has been officially announced in their upcoming schedule.

Here's comment on today's press release from Business Wire:

Following Legendary’s and Warner Bros. Pictures’ 2014 success with the global reinvention of the Godzilla franchise, the companies have come together to create an epic, new shared cinematic franchise. All-powerful monsters become towering heroes for a new generation, revealing a mythology that brings together Godzilla and Legendary’s King Kong in an ecosystem of other giant super-species, both classic and new. Monarch, the human organization that uncovered Godzilla in the 2014 film, will expand their mission across multiple releases.

The announcement that the reinvention of monsters continues was made today by Legendary CEO, Thomas Tull, and Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. The initial trio of films are 2017’s KONG: SKULL ISLAND; GODZILLA 2 in 2018; and then GODZILLA VS. KONG, arriving in theaters in 2020. While Legendary maintains its new home at Universal Pictures, the GODZILLA films remain in partnership with Warner Bros., who will now also distribute KONG as a part of this franchise. Production on KONG: SKULL ISLAND begins October 19th.

Warner Bros. and Legendary released Godzilla in May 2014 with an agreement to release Godzilla 2 on June 8, 2018. Both films feature the human Monarch organization. Shortly following Legendary's pact with NBC Universal, Legendary acquired rights to additional classic characters from Toho's Godzilla universe, including Rodan, Mothra, and King Ghidorah. This paved the way for developing a franchise centered around Monarch and anchored by Godzilla, King Kong, and other famous creatures.

When Legendary announced films centered on Godzilla and Kong, fans all over the world speculated these two characters might one day meet in the same film. Classic Toho monsters including King Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan, as announced at Comic-Con 2014, may also join the Legendary pantheon of giant monster mayhem going forward.

“Audiences really responded to Godzilla,” stated Tull. “Today, I’m excited to reveal that film was only the beginning of an epic new entertainment universe. As a lifelong fan of these characters, I’ve always wanted to see the ultimate showdown, and today we’re pleased to be announcing that and more.”

“Working with our partners at Legendary, we enjoyed tremendous creative and commercial success with `Godzilla,’” said Tsujihara. “It’s great to be able to revisit these characters and help create a franchise with so many creative possibilities for filmmakers. Fans love these big, globally iconic films and it doesn’t get any bigger than this.”

KONG: SKULL ISLAND stars Tom Hiddleston, Sam Jackson, Brie Larson, John Goodman, Tian Jing, Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell, John Ortiz, Shea Whigham, and Toby Kebbell. Directed by Jordan Vogt-Roberts and written by Max Borenstein, John Gatins, Dan Gilroy, and Derek Connolly, KONG: SKULL ISLAND will fully immerse audiences in the mysterious and dangerous home of the king of the apes as a team of explorers ventures deep inside the treacherous, primordial island.

Legendary’s Thomas Tull and Jon Jashni will produce with Mary Parent. Alex Garcia and Eric McLeod will executive produce. Warner Bros. will distribute the film in 3D and IMAX 3D on March 10, 2017.

GODZILLA 2 will be written by Max Borenstein and directed by Gareth Edwards. Legendary is producing with Mary Parent, and Alex Garcia will executive produce. The film is set to be released by Warner Bros. on June 8, 2018.

GODZILLA VS. KONG will be released in 2020.

Personally, I like the Japanese originals, because they are Japanese. To me, these American incarnations are sidebars, as Toho's vampire films are treated by those into that genre. I hope that the fallout from these only gives the Japanese films more scope in the US, in the form of better treatments in releases of the originals on home video, and beyond.

And, I also hope — at the very least — that these Hollywood-made incarnations are true to the spirit of the original characters, and will be fun, enjoyable escapism.

Stay tuned for more details as they develop!

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"The Secret Meeting is at Nine O'Clock..."



Half-page TV Guide ad for the November 10, 1973 double-feature.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Why Did Broderick Crawford Cross the Road?"



Typical tongue-in-cheek TV Guide ad for February 27, 1971.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Monday, October 12, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Most Of Our Movies Are Turkeys, Anyhow..."



Full page Thanksgivings TV Guide ad from September 26, 1973. 

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Sunday, October 11, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"The Strangest Thing About This Show on 2..."



Classic vertical publicity photo for "Creature Feautres" on KTVU-2.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Saturday, October 10, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Do You Wanna See Something Really Scary?"



TV Guide, September 2, 1972. Bob became KTVU's Weather Man!

Due to his incredible popularity and massive ratings with "Creature Features", horror host Bob Wilkins was offered the job as the Weather Man for the all-new 10 O'clock News at KTVU. While the workload of doing this, and his horror shows at KTXL-40 in Sacramento and KTVU, eventually stepping down and going back to the fun horror.

Even so, Bob garnered an Emmy Award nomination for his Ski Report, hilariously set to footage from the pre-credit sequence from Peter Hunt's Bond Adventure, On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969). It was pure Bob at his wry best.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Friday, October 9, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Who's Next...? Perhaps You?!"



Promotional screenings were part of the Bob Wilkins experience!

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

TITANIC TERRAPIN SET TO RETURN IN "GAMERA"!
Director Announced, Trailer Screened at NYCC!

NYコミコンでCG映像公開『GAMERA』新プロジェクト企画予定!


Advance promotional art for Kadokawa Daiei's upcoming GAMERA.

Today, at the New York Comic-Con, Tsuyoshi Kikuchi, Senior Managing Director, and Shinichiro Inoue, Planning and Producer, from Kadokawa Daiei Studios traveled to Fun City to introduce their trailer — noted as a "pilot film" (read, "Proof of Concept") for this Golden Anniversary feature film, rebooting the studio's Gamera series, at this juncture, simply titled "Gamera". Their purpose was to unveil the trailer and announce the upcoming film to the world at one of the biggest pop culture and media events in the world.


Kikuchi and Inoue (center) at NYCC. Photo by Edwin De La Cruz.

This trailer is also noteworthy in that all of the visual effects were created and rendered completely via CG, whereas the previous film, Ryuta Tasaki's GAMERA: THE BRAVE (2006), used traditional practical effects — miniature sets and man-in-suit monsters — with some CGI effects, primarily employed as a compositing tool. It appears that Daiei Kadokawa wishes to push the envelope even further to produce all of the visual effects in digital and leave the traditional behind.


Director Ishii during the Yubari Int'l Fantastic Film Festival 2015. 

In all of the English-language publicity material handed out today at NYCC, including the live stage event — simulcast by Twitch — the director was announced as Katsuhito Ishii. While the internationally-known director, who made his feature debut with SHARK SKIN MAN AND PEACH HIP GIRL (1999), has never worked in the genre before, he has considerable chops, garnered a number of awards, and worked with powerhouse actors such as Tadanobu Asano.


Frames from the "pilot film" trailer, Gyaos Attacks! Enter Gamera!

After the success of PARTY 7 (2000), Ishii was tapped to supervise the animated O-Ren flashback sequence by Quentin Tarantino for KILL BILL VOL. 1 (2003), and in the following year, scored another hit with THE TASTE OF TEA (winning "Best Feature" at the Hawaii Int'l Film Festival). In 2006, he co-directed the lauded FUNKY FOREST (2006) with his old school chums, Shunichiro Miki and Hajime Ishimine (aka Aniki), and formed the production company, Nice Rainbow.


Frames from the "pilot film" trailer, Manafu rescued by Gamera!

Ishii was cast in small part by director Hideaki Anno for the beguiling 2003 live action film, CUTEY HONEY (of course, Anno is coincidentally directing the next Japanese-made Big G film, Shin Godzilla), and also voiced the titular character Hal in the 2007 animated series HAL & BONS. Extensively working in animation, he penned the screenplay for RED LINE (2010) and served as Creative Advisor on LUPIN III: JIGEN'S GRAVESTONE (2014) for director Takeshi Koike.


2-sided handbills distributed at NYCC. Photo courtesy of Mike Russo.

According to the handbills distributed at NYCC today, featuring the kanji characters「帰還」(kikan or returns), the story of this all-new GAMERA is thus summed up (paraphrased for colloquial English): "In a near-future Tokyo, giant monsters, known as 'kaiju', are thriving and terrorizing the populace. Manafu, a young boy, whose father is killed when the Gyaos strike the metropolis, is the only one who is saved by Gamera. What will Manafu's destiny be...?"


Writer-Actor-Musician, Kankuro Kudo, plays Manafu's doomed father.

Appearing in the trailer as Manafu is seven year-old child actor Rui Takahashi, who has worked steadily since 2013 in ten commercials, fifteen television shows, and five feature films under his young belt, so far. His father was played by Japanese Academy Award-winning writer/director/actor/musician, Kankuro Kudo. Among Kudo's lengthy credits are screenplays for GO (2001), PING PONG (2002), ZEBRAMAN 2 (2010), and he was recently cast in PIECE OF CAKE (2015).


The official "Gamera 50th" website launched in tandem with NYCC.

While kaiju fans across the globe will be waiting to see what the next move by Kadokawa Daiei Studios in the production of the upcoming film will be (release date was not announced), they're hosting a 50th Anniversary event at the Tokyo International Film Festival on October 22nd. The longer proof-of-concept trailer will be run with a digital restoration of GAMERA VS. GYAOS (1967), as well as new 4K Scans of Shusuke Kaneko's Gamera Trilogy of the 1990s.

And without further ado... Here's the full-length proof-of-concept trailer for GAMERA (view on YouTube and adjust quality to 720p):


Stay tuned to this blog for further information on Katsuhito Ishii's GAMERA as production readies and more details develop! Also, check out my previous stories, here, and here.

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"They're Dead... They're All Messed Up."



San Francisco television premiere of NOTLD on January 1, 1972.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

"NEW GAMERA" WILL BE REVEALED AT NYCC '15!
October 8th on the Live Stage (Booth #656)

明日に角川映画はNYコミコンで新作『ガメラ』を発表します。

Gamera's getting off his back and going to New York Comic-Con.

Everyone has been awaiting a new Gamera film for the half-century Anniversary, and Kadokawa Daiei Studios Co., Ltd. (which owns the entirety of the Daiei Studios and their catalogue, including Gamera) was prepping a big announcement last May for a release in 2015 — which I covered, here — but never materialized. Most non-Japanese fans wondered why, not knowing the megalithic Kadokawa Group (the biggest publisher and film producer in Japan) was going through a series of major upheavals.

On June 22, 2013, nine subsidiary companies in the Kadokawa Group were merged (eight of them now operating as branding companies) and rechristened Kadokawa Corporation, while Kadokawa Productions was subsequently dissolved and integrated into their intellectual properties business headquarters. The restructuring continued when Kadokawa merged with Dwango, which owns Niconico (the Japanese version of YouTube), forming a new holding company, Kadokawa Dwango on May 14, 2014.

New York Comic-Con's listing for Kadokawa's Gamera presentation.

Now that the dust has settled, the plan to celebrate the colossal chelonian's 50th Anniversary is moving forward. Tomorrow, reps from Kadokawa Daiei will be hosting a half-hour presentation on the NYCC Live Stage (Booth #656) at the New York Comic-Con to announce a new "pilot film". What that intimates is a test film or a teaser for a full-blown feature film, that obviously, will not be ready in time for Gamera's official anniversary this year (the original film was released on November 27, 1965).

With the announcement taking place in less than 24 hours, there's no need to fret or speculate; I'm sure we'll see the announcements flow via the interwebs, tomorrow...


Meanwhile, don't forget I'll be hosting another "Kaiju Marathon" for Shout! Factory TV on October 17th — this time, we're presenting "Gamera's Revenge"! — streaming eleven of the terrible terrapin's feature films all day, absolutely free, starting at 8:00 am Eastern (stay tuned for more information)!

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"The Beautiful People... The Beautiful People."



TV Guide ad for "The Black Castle", November 30, 1968 at 11:30 pm.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"A Free Shrunken Head With Every Purchase!"



Bob with Dan Ferris, proprietor of the Cinema Shop, KTVU-2, 1971.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Monday, October 5, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Well, I Guess They Can't All Be Winners..."



TV Guide ad for "Creature Features" broadcast, May 29, 1971.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Sunday, October 4, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Shocking... Positively shocking."



Mid-'70s gag photo of Bob on the "Creature Features" set at KTVU-2.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Saturday, October 3, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Wilkins Isn't Just for Saturday Nights Anymore!"



TV Guide ad for non-"Creature Features" broadcast, mid-1970s.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Friday, October 2, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Can You Feature That Awful Creature?"



Full page TV Guide ad for the Saturday, January 13, 1973 broadcast.

Northern California's beloved host of KTVU Channel 2's "Creature Features" (not to mention his stints at Sacramento's KRCA-3 and KTXL-40) is being celebrated in my dreadful creepy countdown to Halloween, each and every eerie day this monstrous month, in a sinister series vampiric vintage ads and blood rare photographs...

Bob Wilkins lives!

Read more about Bob Wilkins and "Creature Features", here — and don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

31 DAYS OF HALLOWEEN: BOB WILKINS LIVES!
"Watch Horror Films... Keep America Strong!"



Bob began hosting horror in Sacramento on September 10, 1966.

Robert Gene Wilkins (1932-2009) was the antithesis of the traditional horror hosts that haunted television sets around the country; without an affected accent, costume or cape. Bob played himself on screen, he was one of "us", and his dry humor was his calling card. His cigar, a trademark, was picked up from his days working as a foreman in the steel mills of Indiana. But after a stint in the Korean War, the ghoul went west, where he became an ad man for Sacramento television station KRCA-3 in 1963.

Bob quickly became well known for his brilliant wit and sense of humor, and soon became the MC at the station's luncheons, awards shows and retirement ceremonies. On day in 1964, he was asked to fill in for the absentee host of the afternoon movie show, "Valley Playhouse". Station manager Tom Breen felt that they needed to put this kid on the air, and at 11:30 pm on September 10, 1966, they finally did. Bob later retorted, "See why the News comes first," (back then, most viewers turned off their sets at 11:30 pm).

As the late-night host of "Seven Arts Theater", Bob's first movie was Ishiro Honda's Attack of the Mushroom People (1963), and he opened the show by flipping through TV Guide, and telling viewers what their alternatives on the other channels were. The advertisers were pulling their hair out, but when the ratings came in on Monday morning... "Seven Arts Theater" and Wilkins were certified hits, and the station was flooded with phone calls and letters: everyone was throughly mad about Bob, who became an instant celebrity.

His last show on KCRA was broadcast on March 14, 1970, and was back on the air over at Sacramento's premiere UHF station, KTXL-40, with "The Bob Wilkins Double Horror Show" at a much earlier time slot. From May 9, 1970, he held court every on KTXL ever Saturday night (not including the occasional special written and produced by Wilkins) until February 14, 1981. After making the jump to KTXL, and with five years under his horror host belt, Bob was about to make another monstrous step.

Former KCRA manager Tim Breen had made the move to the San Francisco television market at KTVU-2, broadcasting out of Jack London Square in Oakland, California — and he wanted Wilkins. With some local fanfare, and against another local horror host ("Shock-It-To-Me Theater" with Asmodeus on KEMO-20), Bob brought his magic brand of droll humor and weird movies to the Bay Area with the 9:30 pm premiere of "Creature Features" on Saturday, January 9, 1971 with Del Tenny's The Horror of Party Beach (1964).

We were never the same again.

"Creature Features" started off airing before the 11 O'clock News in a 90-minute time slot, but within five months, the show jumped to full two-hours, and then expanded to a double-feature format on August 7, 1971. Introducing Monster From the Ocean Floor (1954), "This film is so bad, it was delivered to Channel 2 in a plain brown wrapper. No return address." On Target Earth (1954), "It's a story about an army of robots from Venus. Of course, Switzerland is known for their watches, and Venus has always been known for their robots."

There were great movies, too, as the show gained popularity KTVU (boasting itself as the Bay Area's Movie Station) went after as many great horror catalogues as they could lay their hands on, even though there was competition from the other local channels. Another asset was that Bob had guests, such as Forrest J Ackerman (Editor-in-Chief of Famous Monsters of Filmland), Sir Christopher Lee, Buster Crabb, Carmine Infantino, and other horror and pop culture celebrities, past and then-present.

By the mid-'70s, KTVU's show was so successful, that it would often beat network programming in the local ratings, such as Saturday Night Live. In 1976, "Creature Features" moved up to 8:00 pm, and then the show added an additional night on Fridays, starting at 11 pm on February 4, 1977. Bob Wilkins was unstoppable. Even Cleveland's mighty sicko, The Ghoul (aired over on KBHK-44), couldn't knock Bob and "Creature Features" off of their mantle. Of course, as rabid Monster Kids, we were in horror movie heaven.

There's a lot more to the story, but I'll save that for another time.

To those of us growing up in Northern California in the 1970s, Bob was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and "Creature Features" was the greatest local show ever made. I was so fortunate to get to know him and work with him while his shows were in their prime at KTVU-2. He was an idol to millions of Northern California kids (and some who got to see him from Honolulu to NYC during KTVU's brief stint as a "Super Station"). He was my hero, my mentor and my friend.

Counting down to Halloween this month, I'll be publishing a different Wilkins post, every day — so stay tuned! And don't forget to visit the official Bob Wilkins website!

Bob Wilkins lives!