The Scary Tale of Shock Theatre continues...
In 1964, Friday nights at 11:30 were dullsville on WTVT. Anybody with a brain was watching 'The Tonight Show' on Channel 8 where Johnny Carson, the hip young host, was two years into his thirty year gig for NBC. CBS and ABC provided no real competition for Carson, leaving it up to local stations to counterprogram against NBC's late-night juggernaut.
WTVT's management must have noticed the strong ratings for late-night horror programming in other parts of the country, and decided that something more was needed after Pulse news on Friday night than reruns of Highway Patrol.
Peg and Ed Scott, original hosts of "Shock Theatre" (1959)
A late-night horror package had been tried before on WTVT. 'Shock Theatre' was originally seen in 1959. The program was hosted by Ed and Peg Scott as a creepy duo living in a spooky mansion. (Scott was also one of the station's booth announcers and well known to younger viewers as the space hero "3-D Danny."
The show's title was based on a 1957 horror movie package sold by Screen Gems, a subsidiary of Columbia Pictures. The package was called 'Shock,' and offered a plethora of titles from the classic Universal Studios library. The package was so successful another one called 'Son of Shock' was introduced a year later. The name 'Shock Theater' was already in use by several markets around the country by the time Channel 13 got in the game. The extensive library of titles included such classics as "Frankenstein," "The Wolfman," and more recent fare "This Island Earth" and "Creature From The Black Lagoon."
WTVT's original 'Shock Theatre' ended around 1961, leaving a vacuum in local horror programming.