Wednesday, March 3, 2010


When I was growing up, every Sunday afternoon Channel 17 out of Philadelphia ran the Creature Double Feature.  The format was two old horror movies back-to-back.  If my brother and I got lucky, one would star Vincent Price and the other would be some Japanese gross-out flick.  The latter style was preferred by my brother.
What I loved about those old black and white shows was they would stick with me through the entire week.  Sometimes I would lay in bed at night and dwell on scenes and by the time Wednesday rolled around, my imagination had turned these cheap spook movies into colossal productions of sheer terror.  The pinging of a radiator coming to life became a well-dressed zombie doctor hell-bent to eat my entrails.
The instant reaction in these circumstances was to throw the covers over my head and keep as quiet as possible.  In my eight year old mind, if you can't see them, they can't find you and therefore you are safe.
 Thus began a waiting game.  Five minutes soon turned to ten and the heat generated from the blankets and heavy breathing would get unbearable.  Sweat would pour down my face until my shield of protection had to be flung off.  Of course I found nothing there, but in no time at all another bump in the night started the process all over again.
I am reminded by this because my son is going through the same process now.  The only difference is that his defensive strategy against the ghouls is to wake up his mother and force her to sleep next to him on the floor.  I remember trying this tactic once and my dad's wrath made me decide to take my chances with the zombie doctor.
"The only thing we have to fear is fear itself".  I have yet to figure out what that means but it is definitely not a piece of advice I can give my kid who thinks the wind rattling the window is a man-eating mutant.  I can only wish him the best, and let him know that his mother and I will be there.  Only time will rid him of bedtime fears.  The unfortunate thing is that it will also bring new fears like junior high locker rooms and puberty.  Now that I look back, I would prefer the mutants and vampires any day of the week.


  1. Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. Creature Double Feature was the best. Was it 17 or was it the ever-magnificent channel 48?

    Dude. Good one.

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  3. You could be correct, Anonymous. It could have been 48. My legal team of Dewey, Cheatum, and Howe told me to remind readers that this is a memoir and any discrepancies from the truth are due to my memories - or lack thereof.

  4. Roland on channel 10 at 11:30. Now that was a creep fest. I was a bit put out when I found that his wife's name was "Betty", the name of my Mother. When Roland left Philadelphia for the big-time in NYC, I felt betrayed. Ironically, Roland (aka John Zacherle) is still alive. He wouldn't need makeup these days.