It was so very odd (Sorry, Mom, it was!). But that didn’t make it bad by any means. Instead, it made my mom so very cool. Or as the kids have been saying since the 80’s, awesome!
Let’s take a trip with Mr. Peabody and Sherman in the Way Back Machine (If you have to ask, you’re barely beyond puberty) to when Kevin Fischer was just a little tyke. My older brother Greg, a relatively quiet introverted chap was already in his hip teens, playing rhythm guitar on his candy apple red Fender Stratocaster in the neighborhood band.
Because Greg was a musician, he got to do cool things like perform in dingy, dirty, smoky clubs late at night wearing psychedelic shirts with go-go girls dancing in cages next to him onstage. Not bad for an introvert!
While my brother was living the life of a rock star, albeit on the cheap, I was home with mom and dad (if mom and dad weren’t there watching Greg which they’d often do).
I recall many Saturday nights. Greg was off somewhere and I wouldn’t see him until Sunday when I woke up. Dad was asleep after the 10:00 news. Mom wanted to stay up. That’s because Shock Theater hosted by Bob Beringer was on Channel 18. The best part was that mom would let Kevin stay up!
Looking back, Shock Theater was primo TV. No “The Thing That Ate Pittsburgh” on this program. No sir. Shock Theater concentrated on the monster classics churned out by Universal Studios:
I watched in utter horror and amazement right up until Beringer at the end of the movie would promote the following week’s flick. I couldn’t wait to see “Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman.”
And as I grew up, I noticed my mom‘s love of horror movies continued after Universal’s monster productions ended. The TV would be on whenever a 50’s “B” sci-fi movie was featured. Occasionally, there’d be a real winner, like, “The Day the Earth Stood Still.” There were the Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, and Peter Cushing offerings. And “Jaws.” And “The Howling.” And “Dark Shadows” on TV. And “The Twilight Zone” and “Outer Limits” and “Kolchak: The Night Stalker.”
Here was this kind, sweet, gentle, lovely, warm-hearted woman all excited about, “Silence of the Lambs?”
Oh, yes. Wouldn’t dare miss the re-runs.
As she would proudly tell folks, she loved those spooky movies, “the scarier the better.” My mom would leave them in total disbelief.
Because she was so good to let me stay up very late those Saturday night, my mom exposed me to the Universal monsters that I have a strong affection for to this day.
This weekend, a remake of what is probably my favorite Universal monster hits theaters across America, “The Wolfman.”
How could you not sympathize with Lawrence Talbot, the cursed werewolf who only wanted to die so he wouldn’t kill anymore?
My mom would no doubt want to see the 2010 version.
But after seeing it, my mom would would have said she wasn’t happy with some of the scenes and the original was far better. And she’d be right.