A Letter From Dr. Paul Bearer

Last month I got a very nice note from faithful reader Dan, a devoted viewer of Horror Incorporated back in the day. He recalled watching Dr. Paul Bearer hosting the show in 1974. Dr. Paul told his viewers that if they wrote to him in care of the station, he would write back. Our reader did so and got this letter in reply.

dr_paul_bearer

Ouch, those puns! But I suppose that, once upon a time, each of us were at just the right age for this sort of humor.

Paul was a little before my time; I didn’t start watching the show until a couple of years later.  I asked Jake Esau about him, and Jake replied:

Dr. Paul Bearer, the over-the-top punster and “coffin cornball” appeared on the Hubbard station in St. Petersburg, FL (WTSP-TV, Ch. 44?) in the 70’s, so they used him on H.I. for a couple of years.  I don’t remember him either, as I was in So. California at that time.

He suggested I check out Paul’s entry on the Horror Host Graveyard site. That’s always good advice.

I had read an interview with Paul (real name: Dick Bennick) some years ago, and knew that he did the show from Florida and that it was recycled for viewers in Minnesota. I hadn’t known it was home to another Hubbard station, but I should have guessed.

I thought you might enjoy this retrospective of Dr. Paul’s schtick, done in 1995 by WTOG Saint Petersburg shortly after his death.

3 comments

  1. My own memories of Horror Incorporated fade around this time. I don’t think I saw much of the Universal monsters or Godzilla until later in the 80s, after home video and video stores started taking off. Now I have most on DVD and BluRay.

    I have memories of KSTP running all night movies in the late 70s, complete with with a host. They called it the Charlie Horse Show, and the host was Charlie Bush, a twin cities radio personality. He would sit in a chair wearing a smoking jacket (or was it a bath robe?). He’d share letters from viewers. If my brain recalls correctly, they would send him stuff like home made Christmas decorations for his set.

    I still don’t recall specifics of when Dr. Paul Bearer hosted HI, but I think it was Friday nights in 73 or 74. Maybe both years. Supposedly he also hosted the Saturday afternoon show as well. And it must have been 75 or 76 when the show was briefly hosted by “Graves” along with “Grave’s Daddy” who was a guy in an old man mask. That was the midnight show.

    In December 1976, my family went to Los Angeles for Christmas to visit family. Huge thrill for me was going to Universal Studios twice. We were even menaced briefly by the Frankenstein monster. I caught glimpses of the Munsters House, the Psycho House, and saw the drained lake where they were installing the Jaws attraction. Life was good.

    Of course, 1976 brought Charlies Angles to the world, and 1977 saw a little flick called Star Wars. I was a teenager. First job, drivers license, high school. Life changed. But I never, ever forgot Horror Incorporated.

    Steve

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  2. I remember Charlie Horse well! It was on in the summer of maybe 1980 or 1981. Charlie Bush was probably best known for co-hosting Hinz and Bush in the Morning, KSTP AM’s morning drive show in the late 1970s (Charlie’s partner John Hinz went to WLOL a few years later to co-host Hinz and Berglund in the morning, the big morning drive show of my high school days).

    I drove my dad crazy because I’d stay up til 3 am watching Charlie Horse on summer nights and sleep until noon the next day.

    Some of the appeal was similar to that of the late night creature feature — very few people were watching, so you felt you were part of a special club. Charlie would crack jokes and the crew just off camera would laugh — it didnt matter because the audience was minuscule.

    He would show old black-and-white movies and read wacky letters from viewers and do commercial pitches for sponsors (I remember he always did a pitch for The Water Bedroom (“even milquetoasts sleep in water beds these days”, etc).

    After Charlie’s departure I remember a DJ named Jim Burnett hosted a movie show in the same timeslot under the title “Moondance”

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  3. So it was a few years later than I remember for Charlie Horse. I was in high school then, and working evenings as a cook at a local Happy Chef (remember that chain?) I’d get home from work late, and that would be about the only thing on TV. I was an insomniac.

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