The Scary Tale of Shock Theatre continues....
Channel 13 producer and director Joe Wiezycki was placed in charge of getting 'Shock Theatre' into shape. Joe's son Larry recalls that when the program debuted on September 24, 1964, the Armstrong character was not an immediate hit: "The first couple of episodes, 'Shock' didn't say anything..he just moaned and groaned," recalls Larry. "There was no mention of the movieit was kind of like 'Shock's' own little show. For instance, he would prepare himself breakfast. He'd start to chop up a banana for the cereal and would use a bayonet instead of a knife. Then, the bayonet is not sharp enough so 'Shock' decides to whack the banana with it. He hits the banana so hard he busts the table. He was like a big klutz. 'Shock Theatre' didn't really take off until 'Shock' started talking on the third or fourth week."
A typical 'Shock Theatre' begins with a clip from "Dracula," one of the higher profile Universal movies in the package. As Dracula (Bela Lugosi) glides menacingly amidst a fog-shrouded forest, the "Shock Theatre" logo is superimposed. Wolves howl as spooky, dramatic music reaches a climax when Lugosi transforms into a bat and flies away while lightning flashes blaze across the screen. The Dracula films cuts to an old, spooky mansion (Looks like The Munster's home...and probably is) as lightning flashes and rain pelts the shabby exterior. The scene shifts live to Studio B, where the viewer peeks through a window into Shock's bedroom. Cutting inside, we see Shock asleep in his coffin. Shock's alarm clock, which is wired to the bolts in his neck, chimes out Big Ben's thunderous bells. Shock would stir, rise out of the coffin, kiss Lamby-pie (a stuffed Wolfman doll) and get into his routine from the attic of his haunted house. Offering a few morbid jokes and observations, Shock performs running gags or small skits between the night's double feature. His long suffering, off-camera mother is represented only by a recorded scream (AHHHH AAHHHHH AHHHHHH!!!) that always sounds exactly the same.
Shock hosted a double-feature package, with his twisted antics leading into and out of commercial breaks.
Armstrong's high jinx include:
*Smashing an old TV set
*Taunting his neighbors
*Bedding down in a coffin
*Cuddling a tommy gun to his chest
*Brewing a batch of nuclear dishwater, spraying it on passersby, pouring it down a trap door onto his mother (recorded scream AHHHH AAHHHHH AHHHHHH), and venting the goo into the city's sewer system.
At the end of the double feature, Shock would retrieve Lamby-Pie and return to his coffin.