F A N   L E T T E R S

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Candid photo of J.P. Patches & The Count at the Lake City Elks Club (circa 1984)
Courtesy of City Dump Productions

Since many people love to share their love of all things nostalgic, I have set this space aside in order to reprint e-mails from those Nightmare Theatre who want to share their memories of the show, or share information they may have that will help shed some light on the subject. I have already received numerous correspondences from other fans, but I donít always have the answers or the time to respond to each and every one. If you want your letter to be printed, simply write "For Publication" in the subject line of your e-mail; if you do not want us to divulge your name and/or e-mail address, please state so clearly in the space before the body of your letter. We will not print physical addresses or phone numbers, even if they are part of the text, but give the option of e-mail addresses in case you would like to receive online responses from other fans. There is no limit to the length of letters submitted for posting, but please be reasonable as this site does have limited memory and bandwidth.


Update July 30, 2007:

Over the last few years since I created this site, I have received quite a few responses, of which follows are a handful. In addition to a slew of fond memories that reflect my own love for the show, I have also received some excellent information as well as some great pics from like-minded fans. Please keep them coming, and I'll promise to post them ASAP. And if I have posted your letter and you wish to make any changes to it, or would prefer to have me pull it, please e-mail me and I will do so pronto. (I will not include e-mail addresses or last names, unless asked to do so.) Let's all give a resounding thanks to everyone who has contributed and thus helped keep these memories alive!

Also, in the last year, I have been contacted by several members of Joe Towey's relatives as well as several of his close friends with whom he worked; unfortunately, due to a computer crash, I lost their e-mail addresses and all correspondence after I had made plans to interview them for a forthcoming book which includes a chapter devoted to Nightmare Theatre and the man who made it happen. If by chance you are one of those people, or are or know someone who was close to Towey and would like to contribute, please contact me and we'll set up a meeting at your convenience. Thanks in advance to anyone who wishes to share their memories of this creative and well-loved personality.



Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     3/17/04
From:     Robert G.

I came across your website while searching for information on Joe Towey as The Count from Nightmare Theatre. He and his show have left an indelible image upon me and I have been a lifelong fan ever since I used to stay up late (or try to) on Friday nights. I have a scan which I will send along for you from when I met him in person back in the mid 1970's. I think you'll like it.

There is a post by a guy with the screen name "Damian" on this site:
http://www.nwhikers.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=1437&postdays=0&postorder=asc&start=30
about three posts down on this page. He claims to have a friend who's uncle is Joe Towey!

It baffles me that there is virtually nothing about him anywhere! I was saddened to hear that all of the tapes used for Nightmare Theatre were wiped clean. Are you sure? If so, then that's a real bummer.

There is a small sequence of him (like maybe a minute or so) on a VHS tape called "J.P. Patches Memories." It brought back some great memories. The Count was a little older and chubbier (the clip was filmed in 1980), but he was still "The Count!"

I know the music that was used for Nightmare Theatre was not exclusive to that show. I believe it originally came from a movie from the 1960s starring Roddy McDowall, but I don't remember which movie that was. I'll do some research and see what I can come up with. I remember seeing the movie probably 20-25 years ago, and during the movie the music started to play and I was thinking to myself "Hey! That's the music for Nightmare Theatre!" The rest of the sound effects obviously came from the Disney Haunted House record.

Thanks for your time,

Robert


Robert,

The theme from Nightmare Theatre was swiped from the George Axelrod film "Lord Love a Duck" (1966), a rather strange little mod comedy that featured a score by Neal Hefti (of TV's "Batman" fame). And, you were correct, that film starred Roddy McDowall, and the sound effects for Nightmare Theatre were primarily lifted from "Walt Disney's Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House" LP.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     5/13/0
From:     Phil

Howdy,

I stumbled upon your page where you requested information on Nightmare Theatre. I too was a great fan of this show as a child. Unfortunately like you as well, I've found information on the show hard to come by. I do have a bit of information that may be useful in your attempt to find footage of the intro sequence. I recall that there were two different introductory sequences. Basically the same, they differed where one included a shot of a skeleton in an empty casket which turned into the Count. The other intro excluded this bit. If the Count would be on that night we'd see the skeleton. Now, I recall that one year KIRO did a special Halloween presentation of Nightmare Theatre after it had been off for a few years. For some odd reason, I can recall watching "Happy Days" earlier in the evening so it had to have been 1978, where Halloween occured on a Tuesday. At any rate, the Count did not appear on Nightmare Theater that night. I remember being disappointed with that but they did use the introduction without the skeleton. So it seems that at least one of the intros survived the demise of the show and existed as late as 1978. Maybe it exists today in some vault?

You mentioned on your page, also, that you were looking for memorabilia for the show. I don't have any. However, about a year ago, when I was searching for info on the show, I came across a scan of an autographed promo card from the show on sale at a collectors site. Since then it's be sold and removed from the page. I did save a copy of the jpg. If you're interested I could send that to you.

Finally, there was another horror host in Seattle in the early 70s by the name of Dr. ZinGRR who used to do a show on Saturday nights on Channel 13. I stumbled on a page put up by Dr.ZinGRR himself, Robert O. Smith. You may find it interesting:

http://www.robertosmith.com/zingrr.html.

Anyways, best of luck in your search.

Phil


Phil,

Alas, I never had the pleasure of checking out Dr. ZinGRR's show, as far as I can recall. I have added the link you sent me about Robert O. Smith aka Dr. ZinGRR to the website's Links page, though, as it would no doubt interest many a young horror fan from the time. Thanks.

Scott


Subject: I Can't Help But...
Date:     7/7/04
From:     Nick C.

I have nothing!

But...

There's another fan at the printshop new to the Loew's Uptown Theatre in Queen Anne. Check out the front window. I had a short talk with the printer there, nice guy.

Now, how about Doctor Zinger (although the spelling was more creative)? He was great too!

Regards,

Nick C.


Nick,

Again, sorry, I'm drawing a blank on Dr. ZinGRR. I would love to see or hear anything fans might have on him, though, so if you have something, feel free to drop me a line. Thanks.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre!
Date:     9/15/04
From:     Byron B.

Scott,

It is ironic that you are also searching for Nightmare Theatre. Last year I called KIRO to see if they had any footage on it. They said that it could be in their archive storage unit, but they would not let me have access to it.

I loved that show when I was a kid growing up in Seattle. He scared the wits out of me. I remember a friend who had a signed photo of Joe as the count. I also remember the Count on a commercial with a local car salesman. I can't recall the dealers name, but his trademark was to take a sledgehammer to the windshields of the cars in his lot. If you run across any footage of Nightmare Theatre let me know. I would greatly appreciate it.

A footnote: Didn't the Count start off the show with the camera panning through his room with lit torches on the walls, then showing him inside a coffin? I vivdly rememeber him saying one time that once the movie started that he was going to roam around Seattle, so you better lock your doors. Boy did I ever run around the house and make sure that everything was locked up. He was the best!

Sincerely,

Byron B.


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     11/22/04
From:     Mark

Hi Scott,

Our Vancouver station, BCTV, used to air horror flicks opposite the Nightmare Theatre showings and while most of their offerings were dreck, I remember sometimes having to chose between the two stations's films. I remember the off-screen announcer for BCTV once announced a grade Z horror film and its less-than-famous stars and finished with, "and a bunch of other people you've never heard of before."

And when BCTV ran another film, "The Beast of Hollow Mountain," they lost the last reel, so the announcer simply said, "That's it, we lost the ending. Film's over. Go to bed." Wish I could remember similar stories about Nightmare Theatre but they seemed to go on without mishap.

It would be great to exchange memories about Nightmare Theatre or the 1970s Seattle TV days with you or anyone else. If you heard from any other Nightmare Theater fans who seem to be on the level, feel free to pass along my email to them.

Thanks!

Mark


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     1/12/05
From:     Bill

Hi Scott,

My name is Bill, and I live north of Seattle in Lynnwood. Do you know if there is any way I can get any old Nightmare Theater video footage.

In about 1985, I had the pleasure of meeting Joe Towey. I used to work in a camera store, and his wife came in one day to drop off film. I recognized her last name and asked her if she was related to Joe Towey. She said he is my husband. When she came in to pick up the photos, she brought Joe with her. It made my day. He was a very nice man, and had a great sense of humor. He was thrilled that I used to stay up as a little kid just to watch him at 11:30pm.

Bill


Bill,

As you probably know by know, the only footage know to survive was released on the "J.P. Patches Memories" video; although this VHS release is now out-of-print, this program is available as part of the "J.P. Patches Collection" DVD set, which can be had for a measly $24.95 plus S&H (and well worth the investment) from www.jppatches.com.

Scott


Subject: Joe Towey Article
Date:     7/19/05
From:     Keith B.

I have an article that ran in either the rotogravure section of either the Seattle Times or the PI, probably in the early 70s, about Joe Towey and the count. I recall that it had a few pics of him, made up and applying his makeup. The article is stored away somewhere, but I'm pretty sure that I still have it. Do you have this piece in your archives? If not I can scour around and find it and send you some scans.

Thank you.


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     8/21/05
From:     Joanna B.

When I was about 4 years old, which would make it 1969/1970, we were just moving into our new house. My room wasn't done yet, so I had to sleep in the living room. My pot-smoking uncle would babysit me while my parents went out, and he always watched Nightmare Theatre. For some reason, the coffin lid opening as the Count appeared scared the crap out of me. I usually had toys and books and games spread out all over the place, and if I wanted to watch the movie, I had to clean it all up before it started. I remember trying to hurry and be ready, while trying to avoid looking at the screen so I wouldn't see that scary coffin opening. The movies themselves, and the Count's schtick, never fazed me, but that coffin...

Thanks for taking the time to commemorate one of those golden northwest memories.

Joanna


Subject: Joe Towey Article
Date:     7/26/05
From:     Keith B.

Scott,

Here is a copy of the article I wrote about the Count. The fanzine (it appeared in) was called "The Crypt Reader's Review." We did only two issues, what with paper routes, yard work jobs and after school activities, trying to stay awake through the second Nightmare Theater feature and hoping it wasn't something lame like "The Mystery Of Edwin Droud". I'm pretty certain it would have been in 1970 or 1971.

If your search at the library lands you nowhere I know that the Museum of History & Industry in Seattle (near the Mountlake Cut by U of W) also has archives of local newsprint. I'll dig around some more and see if I can't find anything else.

By the way, I'm with you - the folks that worked so hard to make an impression on us when we were kids (like JP Patches and The Count) are worthy of our praise, remembrance and gratitude. I know that I wouldn't be the same person I am had I grown up somewhere where there was no KIRO-TV to warp my impressionable young mind!

I'll keep you posted.

Thank you,

Keith B.


Keith,

I still have not been able to locate the article you mentioned, but will continue looking. Thank you much, though, for the copy of the article from your fanzine. I have since posted to the Articles page on this website so everyone else out there can check it out as well.

Scott


Subject: Joe Towey
Date:     10/15/05
From:     Professor Fred H.

Dear Scott,

I enjoyed your web site immensely. I currently star in a "bad movie" program on SCC-TV (Channel 28, Seattle only, through Seattle Community College) called "Prof. Fred's Movie Marvels" and we show many of the same films that Joe used to show on Nightmare Theater. ("Attack of the Giant Leeches," "Werewolf in a Girls' Dormitory," etc.)

In 1971, I ran, with two partners, a movie society at the U. of WA. called The Vintage American Cinema Society. We showed obscure films from the '30s and '40s in the Hub Ballroom. One of my partners contacted Joe Towey and asked him if he would like to come out to the U. one night and host our showing of "The Ghost of Frankenstein." Joe quickly responded and said he'd love to do it (even though we only were able to offer him the ridiculously low price of $160 or so).

Joe arrived at the showing, which was completely full, a full 60 minutes or so early, got dressed in his Count outfit and, at showtime, jumped onstage and told almost 40 minutes worth of hilarious monster jokes. His timing was perfect and the audience (mainly baby-boomer college kids) was roaring. We then showed the movie and Joe agreed to autograph several hundred glossies he had brought with him.

When the movie ended, there was a line of hundreds of students who wanted to speak with Joe and get his autograph. Joe took the time to speak w/each student and give everyone an autographed picture. He spent over an hour and a half after the movie doing this.

Joe was always cheerful and a complete professional in every way. I have been showing movies, hosting movies, and reviewing bad movies on radio and TV for over twenty years, and, along with Pat Boone, Joe Towey stands out in my mind as one of the nicest, most caring entertainers I have ever met.

A few weeks later, Joe gave my partners and me a tour of KIRO studios and he went out of his way to introduce us to every single person there! He told us that he went down to Mexico one weekend and directed a Mexican horror film, but I have never been able to find it.

Joe was absolutely beloved at KIRO, and his life ended too early. I'll always remember the kindness and support he showed to three college students who had a little film society way back in 1971.

They don't make 'em like Joe Towey anymore. And that's a shame.

"Prof" Fred Hopkins


Subject: Nightmare Theatre!
Date:     10/22/05
From:     Michael M.

That was my favorite show!

I remember my two brothers relocated to Southern California while I remained in Tacoma and therefore had Nightmare Theatre to myself, except when friends slept over. The Count came on after my brothers had left so I'm pretty sure it was later than 1968. Halloween once fell on a friday and four movies, "Frankenstein," "Dracula," "The Son of Frankenstein" and the "Son of Dracula" were broadcast until nearly dawn, when we actually saw the count climb back into his coffin as the program went off. Memorable!

KIRO also had Science Fiction Theatre on Saturdays for a brief period, with none other than Chris (J.P. Patches) Wedes hosting as the Mad Doctor with the Boris Karloff accent.

My Brother works at KIRO, and I implored him to get me a tape of the Nightmare Theatre theme music and wallpaper they used for years before the Count made his appearance.

"Good Evening, and welcome to Channel Seven's Nightmare Theatre. Tonight, "The Mummy's Navel," starring... (Muffled laughter could be heard in the background).

Yep, I have a pretty good memory when it comes to horror! And I became a mad Chef/Scientist.

I want a recording of that music!

Mike


Subject: Nightmare Theatre Info
Date:     10/26/05
From:     Bryan S.

Hey Scott,

My name is Bryan Senn, and my brother-in-law told me about your Nightmare Theatre website. It was great to find this, as I thought that my brother-in-law and myself were the only two people who remembered (or even cared to remember) this institution of my adolescence. So I applaud your efforts!

Like yourself, I've turned my love of monster movies into something of a cottage industry regarding writing books and articles. I've got three books to my credit to date ("Fantastic Cinema Subject Guide" [co-written with John Johnson] and "Golden Horrors" from McFarland; and "Drums of Terror: Voodoo in the Cinema" from Midnight Marquee Press), with a fourth on the way ("365 Silver Screams: The One-A-Day Horror Movie Guide" from Dinoship Press). Of the many articles I've written (for publications such as "Shivers," "Filmfax," "Scarlet Street," etc.) was one little piece on Nightmare Theater. It was for the fanzine "Midnight Marquee," in which a number of authors wrote of their formative experiences with monster movies. (Sorry, but I can't recall the exact issue or article title.) Anyway, I thought I'd send it along to you--in case you can use it for your article-in-progress mentioned on the website, or on the site itself. Feel free to use all or none (just please credit me and mention "Midnight Marquee").

BTW, I've read your book on the '80s and enjoyed it very much. In fact, I do some freelance editing work for McFarland and served as copy-editor on your book (I hope you're pleased with the final product).

Anyway, thanks for pulling together the Nightmare Theatre info and creating the site; and keep up the good work!

Bryan


Bryan,

Thanks again for permission to reprint your article. Although I had originally posted it on this page, I have since moved it to the Articles page on this website.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     10/27/05
From:     Robert R.

Dear Scott, I have had a great time reading through your website devoted to Nightmare Theatre. I both congratulate you on the work you've done and wish you well for tracking down more details and data. The chronology of films aired was a particular trip; I was able to pinpoint exact weeks that I saw many a horror film thanks to Joe Towey and KIRO.

My own exposure to the program was officially late in the game. While I wasn't aware of the format of Nightmare Theatre itself, my youthful browsing of TV Guide had me wishing I was old enough to stay up late & partake of the many horror and science fiction films that populated the late night air waves. A break came for my ninth birthday. I was able to cajole my parents to allow myself and three buddies to plunk our sleeping bags down in the basement, dig into a handy crate of Pop Shoppe offerings, and stay up to enjoy the May 7, 1976 double-bill of "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and Bride of Frankenstein." I think for the four of us this was as late as we'd been up. To the best of my recollection we all made it through Creature but the fatigue factor had two of my friends asleep shortly as Bride unspooled, and by the time the castle came crashing down I was the last one up. A channel hop also introduced me to the novelty of television station sign-offs. I never knew such things existed! The next day my friends and I went to a circus visiting our Fraser Valley, B.C. town--and we happily talked about The Count and the movies and a seemingly inexhaustible number of Cal Worthington TV commercials. I was hooked.

Having proved that I could stay up I did my best to convince my parents to let me try this on a more routine basis. After all, I could sleep in on Saturday--there was no school. It seems to me that I wasn't interested in every single film that Nightmare Theatre offered; most of my must-sees were stoked by readings of "Famous Monsters" and assorted monster movie books. I do remember falling asleep perhaps 30 minutes into "Dracula" the following week, May 14, waking up just in time for his demise. Looking through your chronology I recall the movies that I made it through and enjoyed, and those that I only saw in part due to heavy eyelids. Seeing "The Mummy" on the August 13, 1976 schedule brought to mind my entirely unsuccessful attempt to convince my mother I would be fine if she stuck me on a bus and sent me home 500 miles from the remote northern community where we were staying with cousins just so that I could see that particular film. Apparently there were limits to what my parents would allow.

There was a simple, unmitigated joy in being able to just and try to stay awake to see these movies I'd read or heard about. This was a universe existing before the days of time-shift recording, when if you really truly wanted to see something you had to commit yourself to it.

With each week's news wrap up that title of Nightmare Theatre would appear, the camera would dolly over the crypt set and The Count would appear to cackle and crack wise during his introductions. I was in monster movie nirvana. When the format did come to a conclusion I was terribly sad to see it go. There were still quite a few other monster movies populating the late hours, but there was one and only Count. It always tickled me to see his occasional appearances on "J.P. Patches," and I guess it was my first awareness that both The Count and Patches inhabited the same colorful KIRO universe.

Regarding the show's Saturday time slot. I can't recall for certain but I do remember sitting with my sister - who was four years older - and watching some of the A.I.P. fare like "The Tomb of Ligeia" and "Masque of the Red Death," and "The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms" on a later Saturday afternoon/early evening. I think "Dracula vs. Frankenstein," too. This would have been 1973, perhaps 1974--and while I don't remember any host I'm wondering if this was the weekend Nightmare Theatre. Back then channels were considerably fewer.

I was happy to see your inclusion of Channels 6, 8, and 12 for their movie offerings. Channel 6 (CHEK, now CH) from Victoria and 8 (CHAN then BCTV now Global) from Burnaby were sister stations and frequently shared the same film library a week or two apart. Around the same time I began watching Nightmare Theater their offerings--AIP fare such as the Count Yorga, Dr.Phibes, and Godzilla films--was being run in a program slot that was dubbed something akin to Suspense Theatre or Shock Theatre. There wasn't a host; rather a title card with eerie music and a graphic that gave the impression of something bleeding over the title lettering. As for KVOS they used to program movie weekends revolving around a particular theme (a star, director, or genre), so on occasion they'd have a weekend of nothing but science fiction and horror. I don't know if they ever went the route of a movie host. Certainly KCPQ from Tacoma did; they had Stanley Kramer hosting a Saturday night movie segment for a while, and for a couple of years ran a horror special each Halloween comprised of movie clips, trailers, and interviews.

These days of course television programming is a radically different animal. Those late night hosted movie segments are a thing of the past. While you can still find some late night movie programming without resorting to cable or specialty channels, the bulk of the air time is filled with infomercials. The art of the television sign-off has largely been retired. A few stations have held out, but I wonder if that will continue or if with time they too will lay it to rest.

Again, I wish you the best of luck in your research of Nightmare Theatre. Who knows? Perhaps there was somebody out there with a prehistoric VCR who somehow captured the Count in his glory during the mid-1970s. Maybe one day footage long thought lost will be discovered in a KIRO vault or in someone's personal archives. Have any of Joe Towey's family been able to provide extra details?

All the best,

Robert


Subject: Late Night Horror Shows
Date:     11/14/05
From:     John P.

Hi: I was an avid watcher of Nightmare Theatre from the mid-60's on. I am disgusted by the lack of variety shown on TV. these days compared to back then in regards to horror shows on networks such as Space.

As you are no doubt aware there are literally thousands of movies never shown any more. I've searched e-Bay and found several I hadn't seen since Nightmare Theatre's time.

It's a shame for the kids today to miss out, don't you agree?

I applaud your web page and look forward to visiting it as it develops. I know several of my old friends will also get a kick out of it.

Cheers,

John


Subject: Nice Site
Date:     11/28/05
From:     Jon B.

Hey man,

Nice website. I have very happy memories of Nightmare Theater. Did you know that The Count also hosted a Saturday afternoon horror show called Chiller Theater? It only ran until about 1977 or so maybe earlier . The opening segment did not have him come out of a coffin but rather in a different room pull a book from a old bookcase a open it to find the name of the film. And as I recall, they mostly screened AIP and TOHO stuff. Lots of fun anyway.

Thanks,

Jon Behrens


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     01/07/06
From:     Robert R.

Hi Scott,

In those prehistoric days before there was a VCR in the family home I did have a tape recorder--a Christmas gift as a child--and habitually taped things of interest. Little did I know the video revolution was right around the corner and I wouldn't need to rely on reliving favorite moments via audio. Anyhow, I began the New Year sorting through some of these old tapes to see what I might want to convert to MP3 format for nostalgic purposes.

Something that I discovered and had completely forgotten about is audio tape of The Count introducing a Halloween special screening of "Frankenstein: The True Story." I'm guessing this is the same special for which a video clip was used on the "J.P. Patches Memories" show. I've seen that clip, and while my audio snippet of the Count does not begin with his actual introduction all of the dialogue is completely different from anything seen in that clip. It runs approximately 1 minute 40 seconds. As the tape recorder was hardly state of the art the audio is only fair--but it is The Count and that makes it a rarity. Can't tell you just how surprised I was when I realized what I was listening to.

I tried to clean it up a bit. Obviously this was recorded via external microphone (or rather the condenser mic built into the tape cassette recorder), so the bit of banging around at the very start was in all likelihood me lifting the unit and moving it closer to the TV set. I tried to see if there was anything else from the special on the tape, but there isn't, and most likely what happened was I tuned into the movie and only then realized The Count was doing the intro. That's why the beginning of the audio is missing. I honestly think all that is missing is what you saw & heard on the J.P. Patches special.

Now if some video tape of the Count would just turn up somewhere!

All the best,

Robert


Robert,

I cannot thank you enough for passing this along and allowing me to post it on this site. I had almost forgotten just how painful The Count's jokes could be, but it doesn't make me miss Nightmare Theatre any less. For those readers who missed it, I have now posted this audio clip to the site, which can be accessed by clicking on the image of The Count on the Home Page of this site. The audio quality is not bad considering the means by which it was recorded, but keep in mind that you will only hear it coming out of one speaker channel. (In the future, when I have the time and means, I will try to balance the signal so visitors won't think they have a busted speaker.)

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     03/15/06
From:     Kevin B.

Hello,

Growing up around here watching Nightmare Theatre was something as a kid I did every Friday night. It is one of the fondest memories I have. My friend would always fall asleep but I would watch both features. I want to thank you for a great web site where I can find the titles of movies I would like to see again.

Thanks,

Kevin

P.S. It is funny because I worked with Chris Towey and his brothers at Denny's in Lake City so many years ago and live in the house that was owned by the Towey that owned Aqua Dive, Joe's brother.


Subject: About Joe Towey
Date:     03/23/06
From:     Joe T.

Hey, I came across your site when I got bored entered my name into google. I am Joe Towey. The Count was my grampa. I am curently 17 and living in Edmonds, I am the son of Chris Towey. I might be able to get some stories, pictures, or something of the sort. I just found the site and think that it is really cool that you are doing that, though it is kind of weird to see a site about my grampa.

Thanks again.


Subject: Joe Towey Stuff
Date:     05/10/06
From:     Jehrome F.

I interviewed Joe when I was a kid looking for an aricle to help my grade in High school journalism. This would have been around 1971 I'm fairly sure, possibly early 1972 but no later.

He was very personable. He mentioned that he had his fangs for his vampire character done by a dentist friend; originally as an accessory to a halloween costume. They were actual dental porcelain caps that could be clipped on to his teeth and looked as good as "real" when he wore them.

He said that when they had begun talking at KIRO about needing a character to introduce horror movies he told them he "might" have something they'd be interested in. He put on the teeth and costume and he was in as the new host of Nightmare Theatre.

He took me behind the KIRO sets where I saw the J.P. Patches set, and Lloyd E. Cooney was taping an "editorial opinion". Bob Newman, aka Ketchikan the Animal Man, was behind the camera with a headset on and he held up a clipboard where he'd written "take 17" for Joe to see as we walked by.

Joe introduced me to JP (who didn't have his makeup on at the time so he looked nothing like JP to me!)

When he was done giving me the mini-tour of KIRO he told me to "drop by for a bite" any time. Not bad for someone who wouldn't have had to give a kid the time of day if he'd chosen not to.

The article was printed and I think I got an "A" in journalism that quarter.

Jehrome Fritz

P.S. Feel free to use any or all of the above as long as you include my name if you use it as the submitter. My apologies that the actual article doesn't exist anymore that I know of. I do remember that day vividly because I was such a huge fan even then of Nightmare Theatre and looked forward every week to seeing what the Count would do next.


Subject: Finally -- Here It Is!
Date:     09/22/06
From:     Laure C.

Hello,

I am so happy to see this site as it has always crossed my mind if anyone else remembered staying up late Friday nights (I think Friday) to watch a spooky movie. I grew up on Queen Anne, born in 65' and this was my only rebellious outlet, staying up late to watch a scary movie. If I am not mistaken, it was midnight when the movies began, or 11:30? What cool memories! Are any of these movies available on DVD?

Thanks for keeping my childhood memories active! For some reason I thought it was called Midnight Theater. Remember Sci-Fi Theater? Afternoons on Saturday or maybe Sunday?

Well, thanks again!

Laure


Laure,

Check out the original TV Guide listings on this site for the exact times Nightmare Theatre started, as it changed throughout the course of its history.

I definitely remember Science Fiction Theatre, which was shown on Sunday afternoons (usually between eleven and one) for most of the 1970s. Unfortunately, towards the end they mostly reran the same handful of movies time and again, "Gojira-Minira-Gabara: Oru KaijŻ Daishingeki" aka "Godzilla's Revenge" (1969) and "Beyond the Time Barrier" (1960) among them.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre Recollections
Date:     09/11/06
From:     Bill S.

Here are a few things I remember about Nightmare Theatre and The Count.

The Saturday evening version of the show came on at 6:30 (I think) and was called Chiller, not Nightmare Theatre. I'm pretty certain that The Count wasn't on it. I remember that it showed several of the Roger Corman/Vincent Price/Edgar Allen Poe films as well as "The Demon Planet" aka "Planet of the Vampires," "The Astro-Zombies" and "The Incredible Two-Headed Transplant." Some weeks when the KIRO announcer told the viewers what would be showing, some fancy graphics of the film's title--possibly taken from some promotional materials supplied by the distributor--would be on the screen.

When "The Time Travellers" was shown on Chiller, I watched eagerly because I had read that Forrest J Ackerman of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" magazine fame had a tiny role in it. When he mentioned it in his mag, Forry warned that people who viewed the film on TV might not see him because his scene would probably be cut out to fit into allow the film to fit into a ninety-minute time slot. In this case he was wrong, because I saw him. Interestingly, when they showed "Dracula Vs. Frankenstein," which also had an Ackerman appearance, his scene was cut out, even though it was important to what passed for a plot in the movie.

But that's all Chiller stuff. Here's what I remember about Nightmare Theatre: The sound effects (screeching cats, ghoulish laughter, thunder, barking wild dogs, etc.) were from the Disney record, "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House." The sound of somebody falling down the offscreen hole on J.P. Patches was taken from the same recording. When they were going to show "The Day the World Ended" in the early '70s, they substituted "War of the Collossal Beast." The next week they showed "The Amazing Collossal Man," so I saw both Collossal Man films a week apart, but in reverse order! A year or two later, when they reran Collossal Beast, during the scene when the giant is lifting a school bus full of terrified kids over his head, my sister came into the living room and told me that Lon Chaney, Jr. had died. I don't really recall very much variety in what The Count himself did. His gleefull ghoulishness and wild laughter was enough to keep me entertained. I do remember that he had a (fake?) skull that he sometimes talked to. I don't recall it ever talking back. He called it "Pamela," so I gave that name to the plastic skull I owned at the time.

A few breaks in the routine that have stuck with me are as follows: Once, through the magic of video wizardry The Count appeared to be less than a foot tall as he climbed out of his coffin. This just happened to be the first time I watched his show, so I thought he was always tiny until I saw him again the next week. On another occasion they made him look huge, with only his giant head sticking out of his coffin and on a different week flames seemed to be coming out of his resting place. Once, during the winter, they showed him appearing to approach a still photo of a car that was stuck in the snow, while he cackled and commented that the weather was the least of the driver's problems.

On a more personal note, the struggle with my parents to let me stay up and watch the show never got easier. My father had no patience for the "garbage" that I enjoyed watching (things really got rough between us a few years later when I started bringing punk rock records into the house).

Meanwhile, my mother, who was half deaf in the daytime, could hear a parameceum sneeze as soon as the sun went down. I would have to drag the TV as far away from the wall that separated the living room from their bedroom as far as possible. Then I would turn the set's volume down as low as I could, lean in really close and try to hear enough of the dialogue to make out at least part of what was going on. In spite of all of this effort, she would always scream for me to "Turn it down!" at least once during the show. My mother is still like this. I have to practically shout in her ear to be heard during the day, but at night things have to be as quiet as a tomb or she ain't happy.

On top of all this, I suffered from hay fever during the spring and summer months which made it necessary to take medicine to stave off the sneezing and itchy eyeballs. This medicine always made it extremely difficult to stay awake, but I had been programmed by all of the monster magazines to believe that any horror film more than five years old was a classic and I didn't dare to miss out on what may have been my one and only chance to see "The She Creature" or "Attack of the Giant Leeches."

And speaking of "The She Creature": Before I actually saw the film myself, two of my classmates insisted that it contained a scene where the monster moved in really close to the camera and roared viciously, after which several live worms popped out of its eye- balls! One of these kids even put up his hand in class and described thisscene to our teacher. I suspected that he was pulling our collective leg and was certain of it when I finally saw the movie. I was still disappointed, though.

Anyway, I drifted off the subject of the show itself several paragraphs ago. I hope at least some of this was usefull or interesting.

Sincerely,

Bill S.


Bill,

Although my father was more tolerant of horror films (he didn't mind that I liked them, per se, just that my preoccupation with them was possibly unhealthy, and thatI stayed up all hours regardless of how many times I saw a particular film), it sound like we had the same problem once I discovered punk rock as well in my mid-teens. He was also perturbed by my growing interest in bloodier horror fare, although I think he is relieved that--as I get older--I've come full circle and now once again think that Boris Karloff, Val Lewton and American keiju eiga flicks are indeed the bomb.

Having just recently re-watched "The She Creature," I'm actually surprised that the film- makers didn't throw in a scene with live worms popped out of its eyeballs; the film had everything else in it, so why not? What a wonderfully contrived trash epic that was.

Thanks for taking the time to share so many memories of the show.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     10/26/06
From:     Chuck B.

I ran across your website regarding Nightmare Theatre and it definitely brought back good memories. I probably can't really add anything new except my own memories. I do remember that both The Count and J.P. shared the same corny yet very grownup sense of humor. Grownup not in the sense of being "off color" or smutty. But these were kid- geared characters that had humor that amused both kids and grownups at the same time. Not an easy task to do. Especially in those days. Sort of like Bob Hope and Bing Crosby used to do. I can still remember the reddish bloody intro with the count raising from the casket, gumming his fangs and repeating "Gooood Evening." I always looked forward to the show every friday after the local news--1968 would be about right. I was in 6th grade, and a lot of times my friend Bill would spend the night after we went roller skating at the Chateau Roller Rink in Bremerton, and we would make a call to some girls in our class while we were all watching Nightmare Theatre.

Those were the days.


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     10/26/06
From:     George P.

Hey Scott... I thought I was the biggest fan of The Count. Wow.

Great web site. I can't believe how much the count influenced me growing up. I am really bummed that there is nothing available to watch--no real VHS or DVD on the show. Do you have anything? Taped or VHS?

Thanks.

George


George,

Only the intro that is included on the "J.P. Patches Memories" collection, available on VHS or as part of a more extensive archive of J.P. Patches footage on DVD. But I'm still looking...

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     10/27/06
From:     Ken

I saw your email on the bottom of my favorite horror show that I would stay up and watch all night. Nightmare Theatre is so vivid in my mind. I just wanted to know if there was any way to get those late night recordings with him getting out of the casket. Man I used to love that stuff in the 70s. I guess some things you just never forget. I am sure that you know what I am talking about when I speak of this show. Anyway Joe Towey was the best when it came to hosting late night horror, I tell ya.

Take care,

Ken


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     01/12/07
From:     E

What memories your site conjures up! One of the most memorable was after watching Nightmare Theater for several years, a friend once made a comment on how the "eye" "freaked" him out... for years, I never knew it was a black and white eye! LOL! Once he commented, it was a forehead slapping experience that I was reminded of every Friday night thereafter by seeing the graphic! (The Simpsons did not invent "Doh!")

I do need some help on at least one movie I remembered. There was a movie where everyone except the narrator, turned into a mushroom (and he turned into half of one!) If I recall correctly, there was a shipwreck on an island involved. I always wanted to sneak that movie in on my wife and the grandkids, for laughing at me when I recounted having seen it and thus using it as a valid reason to avoid eating mushrooms on pizzas! ...and other "healthy" foods! (Still working on making a connection between the "Creature from the Black Lagoon" and avoiding anchovies). The problem is that I have no idea what the title was! Any memories or guesses of this?

E


E,

You do recall correctly, and the film you remember is the surreal Japanese creature feature "Matango" aka "Attack of the Mushroom People" (1963) directed by InoshirŰ Honda of Godzilla fame. It is available from Tokyo Shock on DVD (which I just rented recently from NetFlix), and there are still VHS copies from Something Weird Video floating around as well.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     02/18/07
From:     Steven S.

Hi,

Just checked out your website and found it very informative. I was in the Army at Fort Lewis during 71-72. I remembered watching horror movies on the weekend but could never figure out which host or show it was. After reading your site, I think Nightmare Theater might be it. The only thing I remember is the opening with the host materializing in a coffin. For some reason, I also vividly remember him saying, "So I can mesmerize my victims!" Please let me know if this was indeed Joe Towey and Nightmare Theater.

Thanks for your great work.

Steve


Steve,

Although I don't recall the line about mesmerizing victims, the scene of him materializing in his coffin definitely sounds like our favorite Count, though.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     06/30/07
From:     David P.

Hello,

I must say I loved seeing your Nightmare Theater web site. I was born in 1959 and remembered watching Nightmare Theater primarily from 1969-1972. Me and my brothers and friends loved the corny jokes and the sometimes great, sometimes not so great, horror films. I have to admit that part in the introduction when The Count would change from a skeleton to himself in his coffin would give me the creeps.

Thanks also for the information on Science Fiction Theater which I also remember well. I forgot that it was Chris Wedes who hosted it. I figured it was Craig Shreeve but I guess I was wrong. I met J.P. Patches many times over the last few years but unfortunately never asked him about Nightmare Theater though he had fond memories he shared of working with Joe on the Patches show.

I knew one of Joe Towey's sons briefly years ago and he told me how his Dad would some- times come home after taping the show still in his cape and makeup and he would be so scared that he would hide under the bed! He also told me that his Dad had a dentist friend who made the vampire fangs from real porcelain so that they looked real! But I suppose you already know that.

Anyway, thanks again and good luck finding more information on the show. Too bad VCR's had not gone into general use yet.

David


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW / Auto Dealer's Name
Date:     11/25/07
From:     Jeff I.

To Whom It May Concern:

I love your web site! I thought I was the only person left in Seattle who remembered Nightmare Theatre! I only wish there were more pics, info, etc. regarding The Count. God, I remember staying up watching him and all the Universal, American International and Toho movies!!!

I have a response regarding Byron B.'s inquiry in his letter dated 09/15/04 as who the car dealer that The Count made commercials for (if you haven't already answered): The car dealer's name was Dick Balsh.

Anyway, I await to see more interesting things on your web site!!!

Jeff


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     12/06/07
From:     Steve G.

Hi Scott,

I just wanted to thank you SO much for putting up the Nightmare Theatre website! I was begining to think I was the only one who cared! I grew up on the KIRO Count and he gave me a wonderful childhood. I've searched for years for more info on him and have not had much luck. The fact that he is not mentioned in any books or other sites surprises me. I hope you don't mind me sharing some memories with you and bits I've gleened over the years. I apologize if some of it's redundant to what you know or have written.

I read or heard years ago that Joe Towey became the Count after he showed up at a Halloween party dressed as Dracula. Everyone loved it and it was suggested he host the show in that persona. You are right, the show ran Saturday evenings around six for a few months around the mid-70's but didn't catch on. Joe did play the Count one more time in the early 80's on a Halloween night--one of the movies was "Theatre of Blood" and may also have been followed with "The Abominable Dr. Phibes." It was shot around Seattle, not on a set and I believe that was the last time he played the Count. It was a surprise as no publicity for it was ever mentioned--I just happened to catch it.

One piece of memorabilia I have that I don't want to part with but would get you excellent pics of if you want is a 24" x 36" poster of the Count from around the mid-70's. I found it years ago in a shop and didn't know they ever made them.

I'm just getting into your site and like you became a monster fan because of it and can't wait to read the rest. Hopefully I can shake some cobwebs off the memory and come up with other stuff for you. I've often wondered if there are any videotapes floating around out there with some of the show on it or even the Halloween special from the 80's as home video machines have been on the market since the mid 70's and a surprising amount of stuff seems to show up that people thought lost. I've even toyed with putting ads in "The Stranger" or other papers to see what turns up!

Thank you again!

Best wishes,

Steve


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     01/03/08
From:     Greg W.

Hi Scott,

Thank you so very, very much for putting together the site for Nightmare Theatre. I can't tell you how much fun it was staying over night with friends and watching those movies. I have a tape recording of one of his introductions where "The Circus of Fear" and "Before I Hang" were to be shown. Please let me know if you would like to have a copy. I used the wolves' sound over and over again for a haunted house tape. What's fantastic is that I still have his monologue. One of the things he said were: "Only two things can kill me; a stake to the heart or a steak from the KIRO cafateria!"

Greg


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     02/15/08
From:     Marc C.

Scott,

I came across your website, and saw that you would like to post articles relating to Nightmare Theater. A story I wrote about it ran in the West Seattle Herald last June. If you like it, you are more than welcome to put it on your website. It can be found at:

http://www.westseattleherald.com/articles/2007/06/19/interact/columnists/column03.txt

Best Regards,

Marc


Subject: The Count
Date:     04/03/08
From:     Eric D.

Hey Scott,

I've been enjoying the J.P. Patches website for quite sometime now. What a thrill to relive my childhood memories. I was going through it yet again and found your Nightmare Theatre web page and couldn't wait to check it out. I love it! My twin brother and I were born in 1961 in Port Angeles, WA, but soon after we moved to Des Moines near the Puget Sound, near Seattle. From what I remember, and I've checked this with my brother, Nightmare Theatre debuted with The Count on Halloween night in 1968. I remember this quite distinctly because there was a lot of hype about it. Our parents had given us a TV for our room for our birthday that year. I remember the commercials for Nightmare Theatre on television, probably during "The J.P. Patches Show." We went trick or treating that night and then soon after we had to go to bed, but my brother and I waited up until 11:30 to watch Nightmare Theatre. There was the eerie music and the lightning and thunder. The camera would pan up to a coffin and the lid would slowly creek open to reveal a skeleton. The "flesh and bone" body of The Count would materialize over the skeleton and then the fun would begin. He was hysterical. We thought his laugh was the best, not to mention the tongue and cheek jokes.

I looked at the line-up of movies you have listed and was surprised to see that this show was on even earlier than 1968. My brother and I both remember the movies for that night a bit differently than listed and there were more than two movies. "Frankenstein" was the first movie, then "Son of Frankenstein", followed by "Dracula" and "Son of Dracula" and the "The Wolfman" followed by "Son of the Wolfman." I thought it was Frank, Drac, Wolf, and then the Sons. Either way these are the movies we remember. This was an all nighter, but the listings don't jive.

Thanks for the memories,

Eric D.


Eric,

I'll look into the 1968 Halloween show and see what I dig up, but I'm curious to see what the films aired were, since "Son of the Wolfman" is not a film (although the other five were all Universal films produced in the 1930s and 1940s.) Of course, if I find anything substantial, I'll add it to the program schedule (especially since I don't have anything listed for Halloween of 1968, only the Friday before and after).

Scott


Subject: The Count
Date:     04/03/08
From:     Eric D.

Hi Scott,

Just to let you know that you can post my last email on your site if you want. I finished going through your site tonight and really enjoyed it. I especially loved the old recording that one guy found. We used to record stuff off the tv all the time on my dad's old reel to reel. We had all sorts of stuff including a Count intro, but those tapes are long gone.

I had totally forgotten aboutn Sci-Fi Theatre on Sunday afternoon. That's the show that turned us all on to those Japanese monster flicks. Do you remeber a kiddee show on weekday afternoons in 1971 or 1972 that featured a fat white guy with a loose, curley afro hair style and he was some kind of a "super hero"? Sometimes the guys off camera would throw popcorn at him because it would stick in his hair. He introduced cartoons and such. I forgot who he was.

As I told you in my last email I lived in Seattle for the first 10 years, and then we moved to Hoodsport, WA which was up north off Highway 101 on the Hood Canal. We had a restaurant called "Daily's Sea Breeze." Unfortunately we couldn't get the Patches show up there in the morning, but we could get Nightmare Theatre on at night. Like some of the people who wrote you we would bake cookies and make tents out of our bed sheets in front of the TV and stay up and watch a Nightmare double-header.

Thanks again for letting me relive my childhood. I look forward to your updates. When's your new book coming out?

Eric D.


Eric,

I don't recall the children's show host in superhero garb, but that's not surprising as I may have been just a tad too young to remember him. The release date for my book is still up in the air--the publisher is just starting on the layout process now--but I've been told that it should be before the end of the year.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre
Date:     05/03/08
From:     Betty B.

Hi Scott,

I love the Nightmare Theatre web page, thank you for making it available! It brings back many great memories of my childhood. J.P. Patches and The Count were my idols while growing up in the Seattle area. When I was about 12 years old me and my friends used to throw pajama parties and we would all sit around the TV, watch Nightmare Theatre and eat popcorn. The picture you have of the DJ's Records and Tapes poster made my jaw drop! I used to have that same poster hanging on the wall of my old bedroom at my parents house. I gave my poster to the neighbors son when I moved from home. I really wish I still had it!

Do you know how and where I might purchase the Danny Nowak/Bigfoot Comics & Cards reproduction?

Best Regards,

Betty


Betty,

A reproduction of the poster is not available, but a full-color version of it will appear in my book Trashfiend: Disposable Horror Fare of the 1960s & 1970s, which is slated to be published before the year is out.

Scott


Subject: The Count
Date:     07/27/08
From:     Betty B.

Hi Scott,

Unfortunately I missed it but somebody brought to my attention--belatedly--that KIRO ran a 50th anniversary special June 26 at 10 p.m. When I went to the link they provided I was pleasantly surprised to discover several minutes of The Count, taken from a Halloween special that seems to be different from the one I provided the audio for. Who knows? Maybe (hopefully) more original footage has turned up!

Here's the link:

http://www.kirotv.com/kiro50years/index.html

Cheers,

Robert R.


Robert,

What they featured on KIRO-TV: 50 Golden Years was a heavily truncated version of the same footage (taken from the 1978 Halloween Special), marred by narration, so you didn't miss anything in the way of Nightmare Theatre. It did, however, include some footage from The J.P. Patches show that did not appear on the video collections released a few years back, which was also welcome. As for the audio clips you provided this site, I've now fixed the erroneous information, although we still need to nail down the actual date it originally aired.

Also, I've contacted KIRO-TV again in the hopes that other clips of The Count has surfaced. Keep your fingers crossed!

Scott


Subject: Joe Towey
Date:     08/14/08
From:     Kelly M.

HI there!

Joe and his wife were the bestman and maid of honor for my parents in 1957. My father went into the Marines with Joe and they remained friends until his death. My father is also gone now, but I have several autographed pictures and one poster sized photo signed by "The Count". I would run into Joe with JP and Gertrude on Halloween. I have many pictures of Joe from grade school, high school, and the Marines. One of my favorite memories was at one of Joe's son's weddings, JP and Gertrude pouring the champaign in street clothes. You could recognized their voices from across the room.

Kelly


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     08/21/08
From:     Bryan C.

Hey:

Just stumbled over your site and... THIS IS F***ING GREAT!

Just the program listings brought back memories. Thanks!

I saw the entire classic Universals (and a lot of great junk) thanks to Nightmare Theater.

One of my favorite memories--at 5-years-old--was seeing The Count (along with J.P. and Gertrude). One of my wiseass older friends yelled "Hey Count--come and bite Bryan!" He said, without missing a beat in his hammy-faux-Transylvanian accent, "I just ate!" I believe I giggled in relief.

I do remember being somewhat perturbed back then when, all of a sudden, The Count was gone (at first I thought he was on vacation), replaced with only a screen shot of him and a skull, ala Hamlet, with an announcer introducing the flicks.

Thanx for the site, Iíll check back often.

Keep up the good work.

Bryan C.


Subject: American Scary
Date:     03/22/09
From:     Phil I.

Hi Scott,

Youíre probably already aware of the documentary American Scary but in event youíre not I thought you and perhaps some of the readers of the Nightmare Theatre tribute site would find it fun. It doesnít have anything on any Seattle area hosts but still itís very entertaining. Currently itís available via streaming on NetFlix.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0371530/

Thanks,

Phil


Subject: Nightmare Theatre on Facebook
Date:     06/07/09
From:     Leif Eddy H.

Hi,

Since JP Patches has a FaceBook fan age. Why don't you do a Nightmare Theatre On FaceBook? You could direct more people to the big website (which I am still enjoying). God, I remember watching all those movies and I own quite a few on DVD. Just a suggestion I hope you take to heart. Joe Towey was a great figure in a lot of us that grew up in the 1960s.

Sincerely,

Leif Eddy H.


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     07/02/09
From:     Lisa E.

Hi, I wonder if you can help me out. I grew up watching Nightmare Theater back in the seventies. There was a movie I watched back then but I don't know the name of it or even who stared in it. All I know is it scared me to death when i was a little kid. It was about this reporter (women) who gets stranded in this small town and has to stay at a motel. If a dead bird was found in your room that means they would come for you. Well they came for her. Men in black robes and you couldn't see there face. They ended up putting her on this table and killing her with a knife. A sacrafice. Thats all I really remember. would you happend to know the title?

Thanks!!!

Lisa


Lisa,

That sounds a lot like Horror Hotel (1960) aka City of the Dead, although I haven't seen it in a few years so I cannot say with any certainty. Under the former retitle it has had numerous releases on DVD, though, so it shouldn't be too difficult to track down. Hope this helps!

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     07/02/09
From:     John B.

Dear Author,

Am really enjoying your website, as I grew up watching Nightmare Theatre. I definitely recall it airing as early as 1964 or 1965, but perhaps the Count wasn't hosting it at the beginning of the series. I'm glad that you have catalogued the list of films that appeared on the program.

I bought my first VCR in September of 1977, and taped a couple of films that KIRO showed, such as Homicidal and Blood and Lace. I've long since deleted those tapes, but I recall that they had some Nightmare Theatre intros and outros. I believe that the Count was still the host in 1977, but you would know better than me if that's an accurate memory or not. I'm sorry that I didn't keep those tapes.

Nightmare Theatre took me literally from grade school through college, and I wish that I could recall more of the Count's antics. For me, it was the films that were important. I tried to watch every week, and cajoled many of my friends into watching it too.

Was there a time when the show aired on both Friday and Saturday nights? That's what I recall, but I could be wrong. Aside from Science Fiction Theater, I also remember KING-TV's Spectacolor Theater, which was a Saturday afternoon package of sword-and-sandal films. Sunday had KTNT-TV's Jungle Theater with endless Sabu and Johnny Weismuller flicks.

I was always fascinated by the fact that Nightmare Theatre would sometimes show uncut prints, and sometimes censored ones. The Brain That Wouldn't Die was uncut, while Blood and Lace was cut a bit. The weirdest example was Homicidal; one time it would be uncut, and another time it would have most of the gory first murder deleted. I watched Homicidal whenever it was on, never knowing if the first murder would be intact or not. I wonder if prints scheduled for the 11:30 starting time were scrutinized a bit more closely than prints scheduled for the 1 AM time slot?

I also recall one Friday night when I went to sleep early, and had my mother wake me up for the 1 AM showing of The Tingler. Unfortunately, the two films that aired that night were shown in reverse order to what had been scheduled as per TV Guide magazine, so I missed being able to watch The Tingler that night. I think it was repeated at a later date, so I finally caught up with the film at that point.

Thanks for provoking these memories,

John B.


John,

I don't recall if Nightmare Theatre was shown on Saturday Night as well as or in lieu of Friday night, but it's possible as its schedule was occasionally erratic.

Scott


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     06/22/10
From:     Kurt K.

I stumbled across your site when researching about the Nightmare Theater radio show from 1953. I got sucked in by your stories and was amazed, because I never heard of this guy but I did a show almost EXACTLY like his for radio back in the 1980s on KZSU 90.1 FM Stanford (Palo Alto, CA). It was called Mystery Playhouse 90.1, and the host was called The Count, who would deliver a half dozen zingers before starting the 90 minute show of old time radio shows (all horror or sci-fi). Each show was about 30 minutes each, then he'd return and deliver another salvo of jokes. And just like the clip on your site, the joke would be followed by a wolf howl, or lightening, or other halloween sound effect. Even the background storm effect is identical. And the delivery style is the same--although I was channeling SCTV's Count Floyd (or so I thought) at the time.

Heck, even the make up was similar, although that is the least remarkable coincidence (vampires-- you've seen one in the mirror, you've seen 'em all.) You can see yourself --not in the mirror, but on the web, at: http://www.radiohorrorhosts.com/playhouse90.html

It was a hoot to do and lasted 60 episodes, before we changed the format to 60 minutes and introduced a completely new host (Dr. Morgan). He was less campy, more sinister, and a hell of a lot easier to write for!

I still have all sixty shows of The Count on tape. One day, I should put them up on the web via mp3 (if I ever get the time). That would bring back some fond memories!

Anyway, thanks for the fun site. I enjoyed it a lot.


Subject: Lifelong Fan of Nightmare Theatre
Date:     09/14/10
From:     Ron F.

I watched Nightmare Theater pretty much from the beginning. It influenced me greatly, and I went on to write and direct a number of horror films. Born in 1958, as a boy (and admittedly still) I was obsessed with the movies I saw pictures of in Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine. I remember watching Nightmare Theater for years before the Count appeared. They had that logo that I could never figure out, it was either an eye or an eye-shaped swamp backed by tracks from that Disney Sounds from the Haunted House record. When the Count appeared. I guess around 1968, it was a revelation. We were thrilled! I do remember that in the last years of the show the wraparounds were constant repeats of generic wraparounds that Towey probably made to air when he as on vacation and what-not. At that point too, if memory serves, it was a steady stream of the same movies, usually AIP stuff from the 1950s like How to Make a Monster, Blood of Dracula and Attack of the Puppet People. My brother and I lived for Friday when Nightmare Theater would air, often just waiting for the wraparounds, since we had seen the movies over and over. Now that I can watch these movies any time I want, it's just not the same. Not as special as when you waited all week and stayed up all night for it.

I hope this helps just a little.


Subject:Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     01/20/11
From:     K.A.

Just wanted to tell you what a fantastic site you have. Brought back so many memories of the rest of my family being asleep while I curled up in the dark and watched The Count. Would love to be able to have almost all the films I saw then on DVD, or better yet, Blu-Ray! Anyway, congrats and thanks for letting me relive my well spent teenage late nights...


Subject: Nightmare Theatre NW
Date:     02/08/11
From:     Matthew J.

Hi There,

I just wanted to say thanks so much for putting this website together. I think this is so cool to have local tv memories forever preserved. I would like to share a funny story about Nightmare Theater.

I was born in 1967 and I am guessing that I must have been around 4 or 5 when I first became aware of this show. Unlike most viewers, I didn't have such a wonderful time with the show. I guess it just hit me at the wrong time as a child and I will never quite understand why. I would be in my room playing or something and would hear the music start and would come running out of my room just screaming. I would start yelling at the top of my lungs for my parents to turn it off. I wouldn't even go near the TV. I was so scared and my parents would laugh which made me think they were in on it somehow. It was never enough to just turn it off, I would just keep screaming for them to turn it off, then turn the dial and finally I pleaded for them to unplug the tv. I was so serious about this and I would be scared every Friday night right around the time it started.

I have told many people about this over the years and can never seem to convey what I was talking about. I remembered that I had this nightmare that I remember to this day about a fire on a brick wall and I never understood it until one day I Google searched the show and there it was, the infamous start of Nightmare Theater!!! I must admit that for some reason I started to cover my eyes a little bit when the coffin opened up, but I saw something very familiar...the fiery green wall!! That explained so much to me.

Well thanks again for all the work you have put into this and bringing back so many memories of the time.


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