Then Is Now #3 – By Roger Froilan

                                                                                              

April was crazy with birthday parties, Easter, and then the Boston ComicCon at the end of the month, which is why this next installment has taken so long. The beauty of the BCC was that almost everyone was from the area, and we all fondly reminisced about Creature Double Feature, Feep, Simon’s Sanctorum, Chiller and the other great horror programs of the past. Many fans and I talked about how cool Channel 56 and 38 used to be, before they became UPN, WB and the CW. Back then, the local stations cared about the audience and eagerly accepted input from the local fanbase.

When I was a kid, you could always count on a classic sci-fi or horror movies at many times of the day: particularly Friday and Saturday nights, early and late, Creature Double Feature on Saturday Afternoons, and Chiller on Channel 5 late Sunday Afternoon. I have a great memory of watching Chiller one dreary Sunday which was airing “The Bride of Frankenstein”. The parents had fallen asleep on the comfy living room furniture, and I was left awake and alone, terrified by the events of the film!

I remember my mother and I would snuggle up in the living room late Fridays and Saturdays and watch the scary movies that started at 11pm. One particularly scary film was Hammer’s “Vampire Circus”. Of particular interest for me was that Lala Ward, who played the second Romana during Tom Baker’s run as Doctor Who, was in the film. It was really creepy to see her as a blood sucking vampire! Former Boston radio personality, Charles Laquidara, hosted horror films for a short time late Friday nights on Channel 38. I have a clear memory of watching the film, Torture Garden, which starred Burgess Meredith (the Penguin from the campy Batman TV Series of the 60s). It was great seeing stars that I knew in other roles, playing in horror films.

Do you ever find that even though we now have zillions of channels, there’s still nothing to watch? Even with the huge selections of On Demand, you can never find something to fill that craving you have (sometimes, it’s a craving that you just can’t put your finger on, but you’ll know it when you see the right film or show listed). Part of the problem is that local stations don’t care about the local audience anymore. Your home town, formerly UHF/VHF channels, would rather fill empty slots with infomercials than find out if the local audience is looking to see something in particular. The big networks and cable outlets are all run by guys in suits who think they know what you want. Look at the soap operas: ABC is cancelling All My Children and One Life to Live because their so-called “scientific studies” show that people want more reality shows. But if you look at the talkback on the web pages and fan pages of those shows, the evidence clearly indicates that the fans DO NOT want more reality programs. I think it’s terrible that ABC has decided to cancel shows that have been on for over 40 years and have a loyal following, many of whom watched it for almost that long. It’s just proves to us that the networks don’t really care about the audience, just the bottom line. Many fans of those soaps are planning on boycotting ABC, and I hope they do. I hope the message gets sent loud and clear to the network that we DON’T WANT MORE REALITY SHOWS!!! If the network actually gave people what they wanted, they would stand to make even more money, than if they just put crap on the screen and hope people watch.

This, then, is another reason why I created The Fright Channel. We strive to put things on that our audience wants to see. While we can’t afford just yet, big name films like Scream or Friday the 13th, we’re still able to get cool programming that’s not being shown anywhere else. We value the input of the fans and every letter we receive is factored in to our collective thinking here at TFC. Most of us who grew up Monster Kids have finally realized that while we may have been the only one in our class that watched scary movies, there are many hundreds of thousands of others across the country that watched essentially the same sort of films at roughly the same time of day. We are a vast and loyal group, and I’m proud to say that I’m a horror and sci-fi fan, and wish to bring back fond memories for older audiences and new, fun, scary movie-watching experiences for younger audience members!

Give us your feedback! Email me at roger@horrorhaven.com, and let me know what YOU want to see. TFC is for all of us, and your input is valued greatly! We can truly make “Then” into “Now” for us and future generations of Monster Kids!!!

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