Before cable TV and before infomercial
s, you had two kinds of TV. You had VHF
. VHF was, like, pretty much your basic network TV stations...ABC
, and CBS
. They've not gone away, unfortunately. If you lived close to the Canadian border sometimes some filthy Canadian station appeared on your dial. CCB or something. Anyway, UHF, not being network TV, had loads and loads of time to fill with local TV programming. Saturdays were surely a problem. You didn't have pro sports contracts to load up your Saturday/Sunday afternoon programming with. And as I say this was before UHF stations could sign away a 4-hour block of their air time to a spray-on hair manufacturer. If the other UHF station in your market snatched up Bowling for Dollars
, you were in trouble. Big trouble. Without Bowling for Dollars
, what a UHF station typically did, then, was use the early Saturday afternoon time period to run a horror movie double feature. Usually they ran at least one Vincent Price
movie or a Hammer Films
horror movie with the boobie scene cut out.
That was good.
To fill additional time and eek out a few more advertising dollars, most UHF stations created a horror character to host the afternoon horror double feature and plug some regular sponsor. "TV50's Afternoon of Awful Horror is sponsored by Jake's Aluminum Siding. Keep out the cold and the ghouls with Jake's quality aluminum siding
. No job too big, no job too small for Jake. Tell him Sir Graves Ghastly sent you!"
And this brings me to the exact subject of this node: Detroit's legendary Sir Graves Ghastly. In the '70s and '80s, Sir GG hosted a Saturday afternoon horror double feature on Detroit's WJBK. Sir GG (played by Ohio native Lawson Deming) was a dapper, mustachioed vampire
. He would rise each Saturday afternoon from a cheesy cardboard coffin on a small TV studio set and announce what rather horrible schlock
was going to play out for the next four hours. Deming never got to actually pick the movies shown on "his" show and you got a sense many of them were not even his fifth or sixth choice.
Sir Graves Ghastly was famous for his maniacal
laugh. Realizing that many of his younger viewers would probably find much of the horror a bit too much, Ghastly tried to provide a lot of comic relief
when returning from commercial breaks. Ghastly did small skits and appeared as other characters like The Glob, a singing amorphous blob, and Cool Ghoul, an undead beatnik
Ghastly would always close his show with maniacal laugh and his signature "Happy hauntings" line.
It was the golden age
of broadcast TV
. And it is missed.