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Milwaukee Horror Hosts


How did you start collecting information on Milwaukee's television horror hosts?

I discovered SCARY MONSTERS magazine in late 1995. I noticed that publisher Dennis Druktenis dedicated quite a bit of editorial space to horror hosts from around the country. Since I was a big fan of the late Jack DuBlon's "Dr. Cadaverino" character, I inquired re: my writing an article on him. It came out in issue #20 (September 1996).

While discussing the piece with an acquaintance, who happened to work in television in the early 1960's, I was told about "the Advisor". I began researching him. I then decided to write a series chronicling all of Milwaukee's hosts, and did so. I have been fortunate enough to meet and interview Bob Hersh and Rick Felski. I continue to write on the subject as time permits, and as new information becomes available. (See JOURNAL OF FRANKENSTEIN #3, for the story of how I began to collect monster magazines.)

Why produce this website?

Since I had done the research and compiled so much information, I thought it was time to put out a site which showcased this bit of local broadcasting history. It has been a labor of love, which I'm happy to share with other fans.

Who was your favorite?

I grew up with Jack DuBlon's "Dr. Cadaverino" character, and as such, he's my favorite. Although I was alive, I was too young to have watched Bob Hersh as "The Advisor", and by the time Rick Felski played "TooLoose NoNeck", I had become an adult, and didn't watch very often. Everyone reading this will have a different favorite.

How do I get a copy of SCARY MONSTERS #20, or any other sold out issue?

The publisher is out, so you will have to check out auctions on eBay, or some of the numerous collectors.

Where can I get a copy of (INSERT THE NAME OF ANY SHOW)?

To my knowledge, no recordings were ever made of "The Advisor". Neither WITI, nor WXIX produced any kinescopes or videotapes of his shows. We're holding out a slim hope that someone may have made an amateur recording by pointing a movie camera at their television screen. Likewise, someone made have made an audio recording. Please let me know if you have any leads!

Almost all of the "Nightmare Theatre" shows are gone. WITI simply erased and reused the videotape. The 1966 Halloween show was shown in 1970 & 1971, but has disappeared. There are a few copies of shows in private hands, which were made on the original 1/2" reel-to-reel videotape recorders, as well as a few owned by guests who appeared on the show, but none of them are currently available to the public. VCR's, primarily Sony's Betamax, were available in 1980, for "Dr. Cadaverino's Halloween Special", and I would love to know if anyone recorded that show. We showed Gordie Trantow's copy of the "streaker" episode from 23 March 1974 on "Dr. Destruction's Crimson Theatre", so it is now out there.

Rick Felski has the TooLoose and Company shows he produced, but has not offered them for sale to the public. Most of his "Shock Theater" tapes were erased, although he retained some. We showed one on "Dr. Destruction's Crimson Theatre".

The WUHF/WVTV openings/closings are long gone.

Unfortunately, that's the status. Most of the shows simply were never preserved, and with a couple of exceptions, the few that were haven't been made available.

Please contact me if you have any leads!

How did you go about gathering all of the information?

I have made some contacts over the years. I also spent many, many hours in the Milwaukee Public Library, going over microfilm, back issues of TV GUIDE, and anything else I thought might help. Compiling the film lists was especially time consuming.

Do you ever think we'll have another hosted show in Milwaukee?

That's hard to say. The major stations don't show films anymore, as VCR's, DVD players, and Cable TV have pretty well sown up that market. The cable networks have obtained exclusive rights to show many of the classic films, so they are no longer available to local stations. A number of folks around the country have taken to showing public domain films on community access cable. "Dr. Destruction's Crimson Theatre" made its debut on Kenosha community access cable on 16 December 2001, and as of 13 July 2002 can be seen on MATA (channel 14) in Milwaukee. "Svengoolie" (formerly "Son of Svengoolie") is now available on the low power WMLW-CA (channel 41) in Milwaukee.

I'm confused. Just who is "Dick Nitelinger"?

That is the name I used on WMSE radio when I produced and hosted "Folk City" from 1984-92.

The origin of the name is rather interesting. My first job out of college was with Harley-Davidson. I worked on a program with the codename "Nova". It was a project which was being done in conjunction with Porsche. (The project was confidential for over twenty years. However, many details were finally revealed in an article in the August 2002 issue of AMERICAN RIDER magazine.) While joking around, we began to give each other codenames. One of my colleagues became "Schultz". He searched for a name to give me. Some time later, he was watching the John Wayne film The Cowboys. In it, Roscoe Lee Browne played a character named Jedediah Nightlinger. John Wayne simply called him "Mr. Nightlinger". My friend (now a Waukesha County supervisor) changed the spelling slightly, and began to call me "Mr. Nitelinger"!

In 1980-82, I was often a guest on a friend and fellow Milwaukee School of Engineering alumnus’ show on WMSE radio. After joining MSOE’s faculty, I eventually got my own folk and acoustic music show on WMSE. The station manager at the time was the late Bob Betts, who asked me if I was going to use my real name. In a burst of serendipity, I chose to use "Dick Nitelinger". Many folks only knew me by that name. In 1985-86, I hosted the talk show "Milwaukee Talking" on WMSE under my real name. That show was on immediately after my music show. There were some people in the community, who knew me as a music show host, who asked me if "the guy on after you is related"!

I can remember taking a class at the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee in the 1980’s. As I was the faculty advisor to MSOE’s Society of Automotive Engineers student branch, the same students at UWM knew me, and would say "hi" when they saw me in the halls of the UWM engineering building. I walked into the student union immediately thereafter, was seen, and greeted with "Hey Nitelinger!" (I had been to more than a few concerts at UWM, and had even recorded a few for broadcast on my radio show.)

Willy Porter had been playing around Milwaukee for some time by the summer of 1992, but he had never been on my show. The evening I had him on, he hung around the station and talked (off-the-air) about music and promotion for some time after his performance/interview. At some point I mentioned that I had just had a series on race car aerodynamics published in ON TRACK magazine. Well, Willy’s dad raced in a series I had helped a team out in. He had read the articles I had written, and was surprised to find that I was the same person!

When I began writing for SCARY MONSTERS, magazine, I used my old radio name. The rest, I suppose, is history!

Me, my brother andPop

Here I am in 1965 (left), along with my younger brother and another Milwaukee TV kids' show host from the 1960's "Pops" (Tommy Richards).

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Text ©1996-2008 Richard G. Golembiewski. No information on this web site may be reproduced without permission. Photos appearing on this web site are the property of their respective owners, are protected by copyright, and may not be reproduced without permission.