When I created Escape and Suspense! two years ago, I was influenced by two things: a small book titled Horrifically Bad Album Covers and, more specifically, by a local television personality from the 1970's named Bob Wilkins.
Mr. Wilkins was the host of a late night tv horror show in northern California called Creature Features, but he was also the host of a local children's afternoon show in the late 1970's called The Captain Cosmic Show. Now, I was just around the target age for The Captain Cosmic Show when it debuted, so I spent a fair amount of time watching it. Captain Cosmic's true identity was supposed to be a big secret, but of course, all the kids knew it was Bob Wilkins from Creature Features.
Sure, we weren't supposed to be up late watching Bob Wilkins and the dreadful b-movie horror flicks on Creature Features, but we all did. Often, the best part of the show was just Bob himself. Bespectacled, cigar-puffing, and always slightly amused, Bob Wilkins would sit in his yellow rocking chair and warn us, with droll wit, about the movies he had lined up for the evening.
After eight years as the host of Creature Features on KTVU Channel 2, Bob Wilkins left the show in 1979 and went back to his career as an ad man. Many years later, it was announced that he was suffering from Alzheimer's disease. On Wednesday, January 7, 2009, he died at the age of 76 from complications of Alzheimer's.
Below are a couple of Youtube videos that demonstate Bob Wilkins' style of humor. The first clip is taken from his early days as a tv horror host in Sacramento. The second clip was the intro to The Captain Cosmic Show.
Above is a poster of Mr. Wilkins that I used to have hanging over my desk at work...until my employer made me take it down.
Here is Captain Cosmic: