‘Creature Features’ host tells all

Television horror-show hosts are a dying breed. John Stanley, host of the hit TV show “Creature Features” on KTVU from 1979 through 1984, knows that, but doesn’t let it stop him from publishing horror history books and appearing at sci-fi and horror conventions.

The title of his newest book — “I was a TV Horror Host,” printed in blood-dripping type — is a throwback to old horror films such as 1957’s “I Was a Teenage Werewolf.” Such films have always been Stanley’s passion and were what drove him to become “Creature Features” host following the legendary Bob Wilkins.

Stanley, 67, watched the films while growing up. He also reviewed them as an entertainment writer at the San Francisco Chronicle, where he worked for 33 years. During his Saturday-night slot for “Creature Features,” Stanley told anecdotes about the films and interviewed their actors and directors.

“He is a walking dictionary of all the films and all the people that were part of the films," said Tom Wyrsch, a longtime fan of the show who created a scrapbook about Wilkins and Stanley. “It’s amazing — you can ask him about any film out of the blue and he pretty much knows what the story was about and who directed it.”

Stanley, who lives in Pacifica, has carefully studied the genre, which began in the 1950s and died off with the arrival of VHS technology in the mid-1980s.

“It was something that had a time and place in media history,” said Stanley with a sigh of regret.

“I was a TV Horror Host” is a semi-autobiographical book that includes many stories on the celebrities he encountered such as Lucille Ball, Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), Ray Bradbury and Jimmy Stewart.

Smiling at the thought, Stanley explains, “I’m the first so-called horror host to write a so-called autobiography.”

Stanley will be signing copies of “I Was a TV Horror Host,” Nov. 4 from 2 to 4 p.m. at Borders Books in Stonestown Mall, San Francisco.

svasilyuk@examiner.com

Bay Area NewsLocal

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

San Francisco Police Officer Nicholas Buckley, pictured here in 2014, is now working out of Bayview Station. <ins>(Department of Police Accountability records)</ins>
SF police return officer to patrol despite false testimony

A San Francisco police officer accused of fabricating a reason for arresting… Continue reading

Disability advocates protested outside the home of San Francisco Health Officer Tomas Aragon. (Courtesy Brooke Anderson)
Vaccine rollout plan for people with disabilities remains deeply flawed

On February 13, disability activists paid a visit to the house of… Continue reading

Mayor London Breed and Supervisor Shamann Walton announced that funding would be diverted from the police budget toward the black community in June 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City directs $60 million toward Black community services and housing support

San Francisco released new details Thursday for how it plans to spend… Continue reading

The Stud, The City’s oldest gay bar which is vacating its longtime home at Ninth and Harrison streets after more than 50 years, on Thursday, May 21, 2020. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
City’s nightlife recovery fund approved but struggling business owners fear relief may come too late

As San Francisco’s nightlife scene approaches nearly a year of a complete… Continue reading

Riordan Crusaders versus St. Ignatius Wildcats at JB Murphy Field on the St. Ignatius Prepatory High School Campus on September 14, 2019 in San Francisco, California. (Chris Victorio | Special to the S.F. Examiner)
State allows high school sports to resume, but fight is far from over

For the first time since mid-March 2020, there is hope for high… Continue reading

Most Read