It's true that the 1970's saw most major - and semi-major - television markets offering late-night scary movies hosted by local personalities with appropriately shlocky names. But while there was a certain similarity in the format, all horror hosts were not created equal. And it's hard to imagine any of the hosts being more beloved in their communities than Dayton's own Dr. Creep. Mention the good doctor to, say, a Cleveland native, and you might here: "Oh, we had a couple of those guys, too". Well, no you didn't.

Dr. Creep, aka Barry Hobart, was one-of-a-kind within a genre of fly-by-night pretenders. The co-creator and host of Shock Theatre, which morphed into Saturday Night Dead (airing as it did immediately after the then-new Saturday Night Live), Creep also was a regular participant in the after school kids' program Clubhouse 22.

His distinctive chuckle and avunacular disposition welcomed kids home every weekday across the Miami Valley. The fact that the heavy-set, bearded host wore all black, covered his face with white greasepaint and blackened in his eyes and lips didn't seem to disturb young viewers tuning in for their daily dose of Speed Racer and reruns of Lost In Space. But his was an act based more on humor than chills. And his basic good nature was underscored by the founding of Project Smiles, an organization that has been providing toys to needy and underprivledged children for more than two decades.

What's more, Dr. Creep is still on the airwaves, though in a different setting. After his first extended run on local television ended in 1985, he returned in 1999 with The New Shock Theatre, which runs cable on MVCC and DATV.

In honor of the impact Dr. Creep's presence has had on the psyche of area residents, Big Beef Records is issuing a new CD, Amazing Sounds of Shock Theatre! Starring Dr. Creep! Part soundtrack, part compilation record, part tribute album, the collection features an amalgamation of rock, metal, funk and electronica stylings by a musical collective that calls itself The Lawn Jockeys. The musicians include past and present members of Dayton groups such as Cage, the Kommandoz, Ultra Vega, the Obvious and the Killjoys, as well as the Convulsions, an R&B outfit from Chicago. The Organic Groove Continuum (OGC), comprised of DJ Snapper (Adrian Roberts) and Brett Skywalker (Brett Owsley) produced the disc's trance/electronica elements.

All the live rock and funk featured on the disc was recorded during a two-day session at Dayton's Cro-Magnon Studios and engineered by John Shough and The Punk Rock Physicist. Dr. Creep was involved directly, as well, laying down some voice samples and off-the cuff-style commentary. Proceeds from the CD's sales will go to Project Smiles.

- Carol Simmons

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