As I walked in the door of Krypton Comics in Omaha early this year, I was unexpectedly greeted by Doctor San Guinary … a character originally from Omaha’s own Creature Feature TV show that graced the airwaves on channel 3 ( then an NBC affiliate ) in the 70’s.
He was there seeking blood donations for a bloodmobile drive. According to the “San Guinary” Facebook page, they exceeded their desired quota.
I “shared” his post about the drive from his Facebook page on my own wall which elicited responses from family and friends who had seen the original character in the early 70’s. The brief conversation soon disappeared as the original post that I had “shared” was deleted … so, my thread of messages was deleted as well. I thought I’d write up my own post about the character.
This fellow I saw wasn’t the original Doctor. The original Doctor was played by KMTV Channel 3 producer John Jones who passed away in the late 80’s. Dr. San Guinary was our host, with his off-screen companion Igor, every Saturday night for some of the most enjoyable monster movies ever to grace the screen.
I’m pretty sure that the first movie they showed was the original King Kong. In fact, they showed it twice. Next came Godzilla films and others … Giant Behemoths, Triffids, … a vast array of strange creatures. The Doctor would comment on that night’s movie and would end up playing various skits before cutting back over to the movie.
Note that many other local TV stations also ran their own similar programs with the same name. See the following Wikipedia entry:
My brother took me to meet the original Doctor at one of the local Omaha Malls back in the 70’s. I got a postcard picture of the doc, with the year’s movie schedule printed on the back.
Good times … until…
I went to the TV one Saturday evening to enjoy another Creature Feature episode when some clown named “Chase” and a bunch of others appeared a live comedy show. Gah! I was a little miffed that I’d have to wait until the next week. However, the next week, the Not Ready for Prime-Time Players were back again. NBC’s Saturday Night Live had taken over the Creature Feature’s time-slot.
Creature Feature moved to midnight and was never quite the same. I could never stay up late enough to see complete monster films at that time. Eventually, the shows became murder mysteries from the U.K. until the plug was finally pulled some time in the early 80’s.
The show was profiled in a 1995 episode of the PBS series Living in Iowa:
During his time away from Creature Feature, Jones was always a participant in the annual Muscular Dystrophy telethon. He would make appearances in-character to help raise money for the charity.
Here’s a clip from an early promo with a somewhat unnerved MDA host Jerry Lewis:
A promotional clip that appeared later included Jones, Lewis, and KMTV anchorman Jeff Jordan. ( Watch to the the end for a funny outtake ) :
Those days were a lot of fun. I’m glad to see modern efforts to keep the show and characters alive.
Further clips, images, and memorabilia related to Creature Feature and Dr. San Guinary can be found at the following sites: