Saturday, February 25, 2012

Creature Double Feature

It was roughly thirty-two years ago and right about now I would be watching. Man, we're getting old. As a kid I was raised and reared on a syndicated horror show broadcast out of Boston known famously in the region as Creature Double Feature [1972-1983]. Thanks to the advent of DVD I'm watching all over again.

Through the 1970s and 1980s Creature Double Feature served up a Saturday afternoon double bill and enlightened the young and the young at heart to the classic world of Japanese kaiju and American monster movies. It was perhaps, for a time, one of the greatest shows on the planet - at least on Saturdays!

Every Saturday was a treat that often delivered wide-eyed children heaping amounts of Godzilla, Gamera, Rodan, Mothra and strange delicacies like Attack Of The Mushroom People, Attack Of The Puppet People and Yog: Monster From Space not to mention the incredible Daimajin.

The list goes on and the show could easily shift between the best of Toho or Japanese classics back to American fare like X: The Man With The X-Ray Eyes and The Amazing Colossal Man to The Brain That Wouldn't Die. Right? I know. You wouldn't want to miss Creature Double Feature either. It was through this massive series of cool that I was exposed to the very best of kaiju and early science fiction. It was my bread and butter as a kid. When the world was throwing everything it could at me and making every effort to knock me down this series gave me my chance to curl up and escape into other worlds and other fears. I was not alone.

The series aired immediately after the traditional 6:00 AM-Noon run of Saturday morning cartoons that featured everything from Barbapapa, Super Friends, Thundarr The Barbarian to Land Of The Lost, Herculoids and everything in between. As you might well imagine I was often cooking up a marathon day on the homefront.

I enjoyed those Saturdays immensely especially after a week at school that tried my nerves and patience. When those Saturdays arrived I rarely wanted to leave the pajamas behind. I was all-in on the pajamas and, like the Cylons, I had a plan from sun up to sun down on those days. I never wanted to leave the comfort of my home those days, but who did? Saturday was special.

On one occasion I recall my mother forcing me out the door to swimming lessons at our local beach. I was so devastated I was about to miss the monster movies of the week I had to make a stand. Like any typical kid ruled by a life of ME, I declared defiantly and passionately to her, "Mom, I hope I'm so sick next week I can't even move!" This battle cry, while normally ill-advised by normal, clear thinking people, seemed like a good idea at the time if it meant an afternoon with Creature Double Feature. Off my prayers went to the heavens. This was of course intended to ensure me a seat in front of the television for the next round of kaiju clashes and other survival classics, because as kids we understood survival. We did it every day back and forth from school. Why not live vicariously through Godzilla. He won most of the time! So my wish for ill-health was indeed child-like and to say the unfortunate act of a kid that should not wish such things on anyone or one's self, but it was merely the temporary thinking of a child who simply yearned to be that much closer to Gamera and others. I mean kids loved Gamera even the boy scouts.

Well, by God, as luck would have it, my prayers were answered, the next week I was thankfully sick as a dog with the very temporary stomach bug [thank God nothings serious] and this little boy was home free and sitting pretty with ginger ale and a giant heap of Toho between visits to the porcelain throne, but heck, I was home with Creature Double Feature as my nurse friend. Ice pops and other goodies accompanied the roughly three hour tour, a three hour tour.

In honor of the spirit of that fine Saturday and those formative years, I intend to bring you our first official Creature Double Feature flashback for Saturdays [time permitting] in the near future. It'll be a fun way to look back visually at images that instantly recall those unforgettable classics and revisit those simple, but effective, plot lines of the best in Japanese and American science fiction and monster movies. And boy, in Japan, those aliens from outer space were always stirring up trouble.

18 comments:

le0pard13 said...

Great memories, SFF. We had similar offerings out here in my parts. Those Saturday monster and sci-fi movies were what us kids literally lived for. And you covered a number of the same we grew up with. I recall how positively freaked when I was exposed to Ishirô Honda's 'Attack Of The Mushroom People' (AKA 'Matango'). It was chilling and oh so memorable. Looking forward to whatever you have in store, my friend.

John Kenneth Muir said...

I can only echo my dear friend, Le0pard13 here, SFF: "Great memories."

I loved reading this nostalgic and witty look back at Saturday afternoons of a bygone age. I had much the same experience as you. Once noon hit, WPIX in New York always seemed to have some monster of horror movie on, and I always wanted to watch it, even while my parents encouraged me to go outside and play.

A universal experience of the 1970s, I guess!

Loved this post...

best,
John

Kevin Bachelder said...

I grew up just south of Boston and I watched these movies religiously every week.

You can find a couple of audio clips from the original Creature Double Feature here - http://www.shado-x.com/cdf.html

These movies also helped inspire me to start a podcast called the "Saturday B Movie Reel" (http://www.saturdaybmoviereel.com) where we cover the Syfy Original Movies and other fun B movies.

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Thank u all. L13... Love matango... One of my favorites.
Indeed John... Great memories for all. Go outside and play... Perish the thought. :D
Kevin...thanks fir stopping. Wonderful show left me with many happy weekend memories too. It was like religion. I'll be sure 2 check those links. Thank you very much.

All the best everyone
Sff

Kevin Bachelder said...

Here's another site folks might want to checkout -
http://www.creaturedoublefeature.org/

Fritz "Doc" Freakenstein said...

I too grew up in the Boston area during the late-60’s and 1970’s. My friends were not monster movie fans like myself, so I only watched Creature Double Feature when they away from home or otherwise busy with family activities. I do remember seeing some of the classic “bad” science fiction films from the 1950’s on CDF. Some of my favorites included Journey to the Seventh Planet, The Angry Red Planet, Invasion of the Saucer Men and too many others to name!

I must admit that The Ghoul show, which ran on channel 56 for about a year in 1973 had a bigger impact on me than Creature Double Feature. This ran on Friday and then Saturday nights at 11:30 and it was a thrill to watch these mostly terrible “B” horror and sci-fi fliks with my first real horror host – The Ghoul!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Tku Kevin. I had seen that site. It's a great one. I will check your others out this week. Tks again. And doc... I sure know your love for the ghouls so I can see how the other was even more appealing to you than CDF. Cheers for stopping Doc.

The Film Connoisseur said...

Cool memories man, I use to watch as much sci-fi as I could myself man...my saturday mornings were filled with Ultraman! By the way, I just bought the entire series in this awesome boxed set! I couldnt believe it when I found it. Those old Ultraman shows from the 70's where like mini-Godzilla movies...in fact, in one of the episodes Ultraman actually battles this monster that is obviously an altered Godzilla suit...so funny!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

ha. I enjoyed your reflection of the period too.

I have only seen snippets of Ultraman. I've always kind of thought about pulling the trigger on the Ultraman box set. It looks like it's a hoot.

Many of the kaiju folks from those Godzilla films are involved. I should try it someday.

Thanks
sff

The Film Connoisseur said...

Seeing those shows now, it's so obvious they were aimed at kids, the gang always finds a way to take the kid with them on their monster killing adventures.

It's great stuff to watch on Saturday Mornings...for nostalgic purposes I alternate between watching Ultraman and Defenders of the Earth, which was this cool animated show from the 80's that united The Phantom, Flash Gordon, Mandrake the Magician and Lothar all in the same show...with Ming the Merciless as the villain. Ever seen that one?

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Gosh no. I have not. But it sounds wild. You've got me watching the Ultraman series. I may have to buy that cheap box set soon featuring effects work by Eiji Tsuburaya.

By the way Fran. I wanted to tell you that I have enjoyed your tremendous Godzila coverage and plan on returning soon to revisit a few I missed.

Thanks Fran.
sff

The Film Connoisseur said...

Yeah, I went on a Godzilla rampage and watched the ones that grabbed my attention the most, but I've still to see some like King Kong vs. Godzilla. It's just that Im not a huge fan of the sillier looking versions of Godzilla which is why I havent seen Godzilla vs. The Smog Monster and a couple of others from that era. But I intend to catch them at some point anyways. Those movies are great fun.

Thanks for reading Sci-Fi Fanatic!

Hey, hows about a collaboration? Let's see what we can cook up! Something obviously sci-fi oriented!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Fran... a collaboration seems like a great idea. I wonder how we should approach this one.

I'll have to give it some thought and, likewise, if you have some ideas on what to cover, how to do it, or the theme definitely let me know. I think it sounds like a fun idea. We could work something around kaiju or sci-fi or do something entirely creative.

I'll start brainstorming a few ideas and share my thoughts with you later. Cheers my friend.
sff

Kevin Bachelder said...

Maybe you guys could do a podcast together?

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Kevin. That's a very thoughtful idea. I appreciate that suggestion. Honestly, I've never done one and have always stuck with the anonymity of the quiet power of the pen [or keyboard], but I'd be open to it.

I don't know where we would begin on something like that, but I would say, knowing Fran's humor and his own work, I think it would be quite a successful idea. I know I would have great fun with somehting like that and be quite reflective on the subject matter.

If you have any suggestions on how to approach that I would say it's a possibility. Cheers.

Kevin Bachelder said...

Everyone likes to share their passions differently. For some writing comes naturally while for others it's podcasting. Ask me to write something and it would take me an hour to come up with a coherent paragraph. Give me three bullet points and I could talk coherently for an hour. :)

I've been podcasting since 2005 and I'd be glad to share any ideas, suggestions, pitfalls to avoid, etc. if you're interested in looking more into the idea. I can be reached at...

my first name at tuningintoscifitv.com

Good luck!

The Sci-Fi Fanatic said...

Well put and very well articulated in two paragraphs. I think you could do it. : )

Thanks for the advice assist and I will keep that in mind Kevin. Thank you.

Regards,
sff

The Film Connoisseur said...

Sci-Fi Fanatic, Im trying to find your e-mail on your blog but cant, if you can, send me an e-mail so that we can work on something, I have an idea for a collaboration I think you would enjoy!