Long before Svengoolie, and even long before Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, there was Sammy Terry and Nightmare Theater. I was just a young kid then. My parents didn’t like horror movies (although my dad did develop a liking for sci-fi movies). Nevertheless they would let us stay up and watch them late at night on weekends. Which is to their credit, as some parents back in the 60s didn’t let their kids watch them.
This of course was long before you could rent movies to supplement regular network television. WTTV (Channel 4 back in those days) was an Indianapolis alternative station. They would program movies, local professional wrestling, reruns of series that had wandered off of the regular networks, as well as a local news program.
There was a strange lure to Nightmare Theater. It was dark, viewed in black and white those days. But anything really frightening about the program was pretty much negated by the camp attitude of Sammy Terry himself — played by and the creation of Robert Carter. He was certainly one of the pioneers in this genre.
And there were certainly a few movies across the years that scared the hell out of me.