PCR past banners Now in our fifth calendar year
PCR #223  (Vol. 5, No. 27)  This edition is for the week of June 28--July 4, 2004.

Will's Key West Adventure -- Part Three
 by William Moriaty
"Spider-Man 2"
 by Mike Smith
The Amazing Lonnie Dohlen: The DPB Database Continues
 by Andy Lalino
Exhibitor Corruption
 by Clayton Smith
Salem's Lot....Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban....The Chronicles of Riddick....The Devil Rays....Our Lizards Are Back
 by John Lewis
It's The 4th!....He's Just A Horny Bastard
 by Matt Drinnenberg
Getting Better....What's It Mean....It's Not A Law, Dammit....Bad Guys....Meet The Beatles, Part 23
 by Mike Smith
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Andy Lalino
Oddservations by Andy Lalino

The Amazing Lonnie Dohlen: The DPB Database continues

Dr. Paul Bearer-worshipers the world over have a new ally in their quest to enshrine their beloved horror show host by memorializing his legacy: Lonnie Dohlen.

Lonnie lives in south St. Petersburg, and has an interesting perspective on DPB/Creature Feature due to his location. Most of us are from either Hillsborough or Pinellas counties, and sometimes forget outlying counties received Channel 44's signal in the '70s/'80s as well.

Lonnie remembers, to a stunning degree, exact times and dates of particular Creature Feature shows, and certain events featured within those shows ("Miss Invisible Woman" contests). He is, in fact, a living, breathing DPB/Creature Feature encyclopedia, like Nolan, Ed Tucker, Will Moriaty, and I'd like to include my name in with that esteemed bunch.

It was a delight to have had the chance to spend a morning/afternoon with Lonnie, and take in many of the wonderful memories he shared of those classic TV moments of the '70s and '80s. Here's how our day went: I picked up Nolan at 10:15am (way past Nolan's bedtime), and we proceeded to head out to the Main Library on 9th Street in St. Pete. Nolan doesn't get out to St. Pete much, so it was a treat for him to see an area he's never been to before (I think Nolan's been to a library once or twice in his lifetime) (Au contrare, moissuer, and I'm sorry if I gave you that impression. I used to go to the Tampa libraries quite frequently in my youth---later I found buying and keeping books preferrable to returning them, so I haven't been back in a while. In fact I was at a branch in Tampa fairly recently when my computer went down so I could check email. I'll admit never having been to any Pinellas County Libraries before. The wide-eyed wonder you saw is a normal part of my getting out of the house a few times a year.---Nolan)

We were to meet Lonnie at 11am, and we were there promptly (I think; we may have been a few minutes late, if so, I'm sorry, Lonnie). After our introductions, we proceeded (noisily) past a wonderful collection of "Hopalong Cassidy" memorabilia the library was exhibiting toward the reference area.

Lonnie had done Dr. Paul Bearer research before, so he was intimately familiar with the procedure of acquiring and viewing materials archived on microfilm, namely early '70s editions of the St. Pete. Times and the defunct "Evening Independent".

Andy Lalino, left, and Lonnie Dohlen look over historical newspaper clippings relating to Dick Bennick, aka, Dr. Paul Bearer
First, however, Lonnie shared with us photocopies of numerous DPB articles he acquired while researching his subject. Curiously, many were from different newspapers/periodicals from around the state (I think one was even from Jacksonville). Nole and I smiled countless times as we reviewed photocopied pictures of the Doctor along with amusing anecdotes contained within the articles.

Then, we all sat down, with Lonnie expertly helming the microfilm viewer, and began chronicling a continuation of the DPB database started by Lonnie, Ed Tucker, and Will Moriaty. It was simply a jaw-dropping experience glancing over newspapers from the 1970's. Memories came back in waterfalls as we thumbed through pages loaded with ancient "Woolco", "Eckerds", "Robinsons" (a clothing store), and "Fields" (an old dept. store) adverts.

Another mind-blowing treat was perusing the movie ads (which I wish we had more time to do), which to my surprise featured (large) print ads for X-rated films like "Behind the Green Door" and "The Devil in Miss Jones"! I guess the St. Pete. Times back then was a whore for the almighty dollar, God bless 'em! We also caught glimpses of luscious ads for movies like "Ghidrah - The Three-Headed Monster". Now, these were monster movies I usually caught on TV (on Creature Feature) and it was simply wonderful experiencing the print ads the way these movies were meant to be seen - on the big screen! What a treat!!!

Lonnie Dohlen works the "movieola", the viewer that allows micro-film of ancient newspaper articles to be read.
Finally, we got down to brass taxes and started chronicling the DPB database. Lonnie and Nolan were an immense help here, because they were intimately familiar with the distinctions between various shows like Creature Feature, Fright Theater (a double-feature show also hosted by Dr. Paul Bearer), Shriek Theater (Channel 10's version of Creature Feature), and an obscure Sci-Fi show Nolan recalled called "Terminus" in terms of hosts, times, and days.

During our research we encountered numerous surprises, including a print ad for "Shriek Theater" (which I remembered!), and horror prime-time movie events ("Frankenstein - The True Story", the pilot for "The Six Million Dollar Man", and "Killdozer"). Ed Tucker will be glad to know that we located the first Creature Feature installment of "Voyage Into Space", which first aired (2/9/1974 at 2pm). I also believe that a sequel to, not the original, "Gamera" was the first to air on Creature Feature, that being "Gamera vs. Monster X" on Feb. 16, 1974. We had yet to find when the original (B&W) "Gamera" (or "Gammera") aired on Crea Fea, although it did air, according to Will Moriaty's research, on Channel 13's "Shock Theater" on Sept. 15th, 1972.

According to our research, the first monster movie shown on the Creature Feature show which featured Dr. Paul Bearer, was "The Deadly Mantis" at 2pm-4pm on Sept. 15, 1973 (note there was no double-feature in the afternoons as yet). A double-feature version of "Creature Feature", called "Fright Theater" showcased Universal's "The Ghost of Frankenstein" and "The Invisible Man". Fright Theater aired at 11:30pm on Saturday nights (later moved to Fridays). Imagine that - 3 great old horror movies every day on Saturday!!!

Andy Lalino and Lonnie Dohlen pour over several months' worth of old Sunday newspaper TV Guides, looking for evidence of Creature Feature.
My first memories of Creature Feature were of "The Deadly Mantis", "Earth vs. the Flying Saucers", "Tarantula" and "The Giant Claw", so it will be interesting to see if my fledgling memories indeed date back to that fateful Sept. '73 episode when Dr. Paul Bearer first appeared.

It's interesting to note that early Creature Feature was dominated by Universal horror classics: "Creature from the Black Lagoon" + sequels, "House of Frankenstein/Dracula", "Frankenstein vs. the Wolfman", "Dracula's Daughter", and many others. Channel 10, which obviously competed with Channel 44, aired horror/sci-fi films at the same time (2pm) but featured more color films than Creature Feature, such as "War of the Gargantuas" and "Robinson Crusoe on Mars". IMO, it was a pathetic attempt to lure kids away from who they really wanted to see: Dr. Paul Bearer. Color or not, we tuned in to see him.

On the bad side, we re-discovered that unfortunately Creature Feature showed many now-dated "crime-thrillers" disguised as horror movies that duped the kids; for example: "The Crime of Dr. Hallet" and "The Crimson Canary". I believe in Ed Tucker's "The Lost Interview of Dr. Paul Bearer", Dick Bennick lamented the fact that a lot of crime movies, mostly Italian "Giallos" got thrown in the Creature Feature mix. I recall being disappointed whenever "Terror of the Tongs" (a Hammer crime drama) showed, even though it had the venerable Christopher Lee starring. Sorry, it just wasn't horror.

At about 2pm, we packed up, but were exhilarated at our findings. We couldn't wait to continue or research, documenting week-by-week, year-by-year what movies played when and on what date on Creature Feature. Keep checking the DPB database on the Crazed Fanboy home page. More to come!

"Oddservations" is ©2004 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics (unless otherwise noted) are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2004 by Nolan B. Canova.