During those days, local TV stations fell over one another to create horror movie hosts. These guys introduced the late night monster flicks that aired, generally on weekends when kids like me could stay up into the wee hours hoping to be scared shitless. Bestoink Dooley was the weirdo who dished the grue in Atlanta Gee Ay. I really liked him. He was famous throughout the Atlanta area, and had to be just about the most popular cat in town. At least to me and my pals in grade school. Years later, when he owned and operated a repertoire cinema in Buckhead (a downtown Atlanta neighborhood), I heard that he didn't like to be identified with his old role. But whenever I'd walk into that movie house to view some obscure foreign film and see him, I know he'd see the little kid shock on my face as I recognized him not as George Ellis, but as the horror film host of Channel Five's "Big Movie Shocker". Man, those were the days!
Later, after we'd moved first to Macon Gee Ay and then to a small, weird village in the mountains of north Georgia (Ellijay), Bestoink Dooley had become a faded memory as I entered my teens. I still enjoyed horror movies, but we lived in the woods (I mean seriously in the woods--the nearest neighbor was two and a half miles away), and TV reception was hit or miss. The station that we could receive best had Dr. Shock, host of the aptly named "Shock Theater". The best thing about old Shock was that he had a puppet sidekick named Dingbat who spilled out terrible puns (just like Forry!), and who spoke in a wonderful, exaggerated southern accent. By then, I think I watched the movies just to see Dr. Shock and Dingbat introduce them and to listen to their banter between commercial breaks.
At any rate, here's to the great horror hosts of my youth! I thought that these crazy bastards would be a good subject for my 400th post as a blogger.
And here's a great website about local TV horror hosts! Find the ones you recall from your days as a kid sitting in front of the glass teat.