Tuesday, July 2, 2013

R.I.P. Sammy Terry

It's a sad day for Hoosier horror fans: Bob Carter, who played Indianapolis TV horror host Sammy Terry, has died at age 83. 

Sammy Terry was known throughout Central Indiana as the host of Nightmare Theater on Channel 4. He hosted the show for three decades, from 1962 to 1989.

Every Friday night Sammy would hoist himself out of his coffin, utter his trademark sinister chortle and introduce various horror and sci-fi films. His sidekick was a large spider named George who spoke gibberish that only Sammy could understand.

In real life Bob Carter had a far less fiendish occupation: he owned and operated the Family Music Center in Indianapolis. He did his best to keep the two jobs separate and I'm sure many a customer bought an oboe from him without ever knowing they were in the presence of a ghoulish TV star.

Carter was married to his wife Phyllis for 59 years (!) and had four children.

In recent years Carter's health began to fade and his son Mark took over the Sammy Terry role, appearing at various horror conventions. Hopefully Sammy's legacy will live on through him.

I have very fond memories of watching Sammy Terry back in the day. In the pre-home video days of the 1960s and 1970s you couldn't watch movies on demand. If you wanted to see a particular film you just had hope it would come on TV some day. Sammy's show was a godsend, as he regularly aired old horror and sci-fi movies on Nightmare Theater. Sammy introduced me to Frankenstein and Godzilla movies and many more. I wouldn't be a horror fan today if not for him.

You can read more of my reminiscences about Sammy Terry here.

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