A long forgotten art form that I miss is the Horror Host. The Elviras, the Bob Wilkins, and the Joe Bob Briggs of the world. Sure, there are still a few out thre plying their trade, Svengoolie is still going strong, we have on called Zomboo in my neck of the woods and some localities still have a few.
But for the most part, it's not really a thing anymore. And that's too bad because sometimes, they are as entertaining as the movies themselves. Perhaps even moreso.
For example, growing up, I used to watch a lot of Creature Feature with Bob Wilkins. Bob was a little different than a lot of horror hosts. Sure, he had all the tradtional props around him. A set full of skulls and cobwebs. He even had a skull candle with which to light his cigar. But his own persona wasn't that of some ghoul or vampire. It was just some mildy bemused guy, sitting in big old chair, surrounded all of this schlocky horror stuff and acting like it was the most normal thing in the world. In a way, that made him a bit creepier than if he put on a cape and some pancake makeup and pretended to be a vampire. More like a serial killer who finds a room full of skulls to be no weirder than a room full of Special Moments figurines.
Bob didn't take his job too seriously. I appreciate that even more now than then. He would often comment on just how bad the movie he was about to present was, sometimes making recommendations as to what was on other channels. Of course, for me, that only made me want to watch the movie even more. But there was a love for his job too, and that really shone through in a way that I can't really elucidate.
Creature Feature was also really my first exposure to "geek culture" too. It was on a channel out of Oakland, KTVU, which was an independant station in those days (It's Fox now, I believe) and I was in Yerington, Nevada, Several hundred miles away. So I couldn't go to any of the conventions or meet and greets he talked about, but he would always be talking about such things going on in The Bay Area. And he would have guests on his show to talk about things that now would be considered nerdy; horror movies, Star Trek, Star Wars, Sci-fi in general, to my 9 year old self, it was an amazing and wonderful world he opened up that I wanted to be a part of someday.
For a short time, he did a second show called "Captain Cosmic" during the day. He put on this fake superhero costume on a set meant to look like the bridge of a space ship, and presented things like UltraMan. I never really got into that, but I still watched the show religiously after school.
I found out in recent years that he moved to Reno in his retirement, prior to his death. I regret that I never bumped into him on the street to tell him how much I loved his show and how much of an influence he was on me. But he was as much an influence as my parents in many ways. And I hope to continue living his mantra "Watch Horror Films, Keep America Strong" for many years to come.