Bob Wilkins, 1932-2009
January 7, 2009 7:20 PM   Subscribe

If you were a fan of late-nite horror movies in Northern California during the 1970's, you likely spent Saturday nights watching Bob Wilkins, the droll, cigar-smoking host of Creature Features. An unlikely horror-show host, Wilkins' deadpan delivery and apparent disdain for the show's films (he reguarly suggested his audience change the channel) made Creature Features a show not to be missed. Bob Wilkins passed away today after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease.
posted by Chinese Jet Pilot (23 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I grew up watching Creature Features. I remember him eating jello while screening The Blob. Rest in Peace, shaper of my childhood.
posted by mecran01 at 7:29 PM on January 7, 2009 [2 favorites]

Oh wow. Was just thinking about him. Grew up watching Creature Features, (and was a member of the Captain Cosmic Rangers, (or whatever they were called)).

A sad day.
posted by jettloe at 7:34 PM on January 7, 2009

posted by flipyourwig at 7:35 PM on January 7, 2009

In honor of him and all of the other horror-show hosts who have passed:

posted by jquinby at 7:41 PM on January 7, 2009

I like how he pronounces "robut." Wish there were more than one clip though.

From the "bobwilkins" YouTube account profile:
As many of you know, Bob is in the final stages of Alzheimer's Disease. Visit Bob's website: www.BobWilkins.Net to purchase DVDs - proceeds go to pay for his care.

The U.S. health care system is far more horrifying than anything he showed on his program. Poor guy.
posted by JHarris at 8:00 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

I used to love his deadpan way of talking about whatever movie he was showing. He would often pull out a TV Guide and tell you what was on the other channels and recommend that you change the channel because the movie he was showing was so awful. Of course you'd watch anyway often just to listen to his comments.

And he had great guests. It was my first exposure to Harlan Ellison.
He finally gave it up because he was becoming too famous. He said something like "I'm the kind of guy that likes to mow his own lawn without being bothered."

posted by eye of newt at 8:11 PM on January 7, 2009

posted by doctor_negative at 8:14 PM on January 7, 2009


I wish that format would return.
posted by brundlefly at 8:26 PM on January 7, 2009

Awwww...damn. I enjoyed his show as a kid. RIP, Bob, and thanks for the memories.
posted by mosk at 8:28 PM on January 7, 2009

I did not grow up on this show, but I wish I had. Thanks for hipping me to this.
posted by nola at 8:37 PM on January 7, 2009

He struck me as a genuinely nice guy. I remember one time he showed "The Asphyx", and he said, very clearly, something like, "Listen, if you're young, this movie is very frightening. It starts out pleasant and happy, but it gets dark and intense. You probably don't want to watch it. Really. Go to bed." God, I should have listened. I think I made it about halfway, turned it off, fled to my room, and still had nightmares for most of a week.

I mean, geeze, how many movie hosts tell you, in absolute seriousness, that you didn't want to watch their program? Class act.

I was never much of a horror movie buff, but Mr. Wilkins was a staple on Channel 2. I didn't recognize his face, after all these years, but boy did I recognize the voice.
posted by Malor at 8:43 PM on January 7, 2009 [1 favorite]

Oh, and note that apparently, telling people to watch something else was part of the schtick, but in the case of The Asphyx, he was specifically telling young viewers that it would be too frightening. It felt like a real warning to me at the time, not like a gag.
posted by Malor at 8:46 PM on January 7, 2009

Oh Bob, I've missed you.

posted by jamaro at 10:40 PM on January 7, 2009

I loved Bob Wilkins as a kid. I remember my dad being out often on Creature Features nights, and I was left alone with Bob, his candle-on-a-skull, his humor, and the movies that, as a 11-13-year-old (yeah, I was left alone at that age), were perfect. Way better than Nickelodeon and Cartoon Network for that demographic, as far as I'm concerned. His shows were really made for the kids that stayed up late, I think, whether it was by design or not.

Also loved him as Captain Cosmic on weekday afternoons, flying through he sky and tearing his tights on the Pyramid (or was that a secret?), introducing the Bay Area's kids to the cool and quirky world of Japanese sci-fi adventure series.

There's a reason I don't watch TV any more.

posted by al_fresco at 11:09 PM on January 7, 2009

A bit before my time and I didn't grow up in the SF-area, but thanks for posting this. I really miss this era of television. Wilkins reminds me of a weird cross between Joe Bob Briggs and Captain Chesapeake.
posted by dhammond at 11:20 PM on January 7, 2009

Bye-bye :(
posted by chance at 11:28 PM on January 7, 2009

posted by lupus_yonderboy at 11:32 PM on January 7, 2009


I met him years ago at a Roxy-hosted screening of Spiderbaby (with Jack Hill answering questions -- I talked to him afterward about the manor house in Eagle Rock where it was shot.) He hocked his book at the screening, and I'm sad now that I didn't buy a copy.

Generally awesome. Sad to see him go.
posted by electronslave at 12:19 AM on January 8, 2009

Here in Florida, we had our own Creature Feature, with Dr Paul Bearer (YouTube Link), but I will always mourn and miss any of the old school horror show hosts.

They just don't make them like that any more.

posted by willmize at 7:08 AM on January 8, 2009

By the way, does anybody have any clips from Creature Double Feature on WKBS-TV, Channel 48? "The great station in Philadelphia! Channel 48!"

A big . to the whole era of horror movie hosts that we have lost.
posted by jonp72 at 8:29 AM on January 8, 2009

He was definitely a part of my childhood. Was pleased to recently find clips of his show on youtube. He'll be missed.
posted by gallois at 9:16 AM on January 8, 2009

Thanks, Bob.
posted by merelyglib at 9:50 AM on January 8, 2009

I think I only watched bits of Creature Feature (too young and impressionable), but I remember watching Captain Cosmic. My husband also grew up in the Bay Area and was a big fan of both shows.

Thanks, Bob.

posted by mogget at 3:09 PM on January 8, 2009

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