Remembering Dr. San Guinary

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:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Creature_Features

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:

http://www.drsanguinary.org/

http://drsanguinary.com/

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About Jim Lawless

I've been programming computers for about 36 years ... 30 of that professionally. I've been a teacher, I've worked as a consultant, and have written articles here and there for publications like Dr. Dobbs Journal, The C/C++ Users Journal, Nuts and Volts, and others.
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3 Responses to Remembering Dr. San Guinary

  1. Doc says:

    Thanks for the blog!

  2. Ken Frank says:

    John was a personal friend of mine.We had a golf foursome every Saturday, partied together.Great guy.

  3. Jim says:

    What a great man and what great days those were! I remember from nine years of age to about 13, 76 through 80 those amazing Saturday nights. I was living in Pompano Beach Florida at the time and what a great place to be a kid in the 70’s. A typical Saturday would be to wake up to those awesome 70’s Saturday morning cartoons with a huge bowl of sugar cereal, load up my BMX bike with all of my beach gear for a 5 mile ride down to the Pompano pier for the day, back by late afternoon and nappy time to get ready to stay up all night with Creature Feature and the like. One of the most feelgood simple experiences possible, a pizza, copious amounts of your favorite ice cream, blanky, Batman Jammies and settling in for a late night adventure spookfest with the DR. That’s the thing people don’t talk about ever. Those old Black and Whites offered people an adventure of many sorts from the comfort of the fore mentioned which has been missing from cinema since the 70’s. Everything has become mindless flashes, drama and pyrotech it seems. We thank you sincerely Doc for those endless great Saturday nights and we all miss you dearly. Wherever you are it’s a damned good place with you there. God bless you and keep you in peace.

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