Now, for the first time in over 35 years, Memories from WGN's Creature Features show. The sound was recorded on reel-to-reel tape machines by holding up the tape recorder to the TV's speaker, so the audio is less than perfect, but it's all we have...for now!
*Historical Note: Where is the original footage of the show's opening? A very interesting story. Sometime, in 1980, while transferring tapes, all the original openings from the show were accidentaly erased! A 1973 "promotional" sponsor reel is the ONLY original footage from the show! This tape has the original opening video segments from the show, but announcer Marty McNeely talks about the shows upcoming films "selling" the show to prospective sponsors. WGN announcer and newsman Carl Greyson was the original voicover host for the show during it's first few months from Sept. 1970 until that same years end. In 1971, Staff announcer Marty McNeely took over and continued until the shows end in 1976*. It is believed that there were 5 different openings during the shows 6 year run, most just different movie clips inserted for old ones, but one experiment had an actual "live" person dressed in a cape, hat and false teeth reciting the weekly poem after the camera zoomed into the eye of a creepy skull. Not much is known about this "live host experiment". This outraged viewers and, after angry calls and letters, the old "monster montage" was quickly put back! This was an obvious attempt at WGN trying to compete with the "live" horror hosts of the time, like "Svengoolie" who was hosting "Screaming Yellow Theater" that same year on WFLD. It seemed that the classic monsters is what the audience really wanted. In those Pre-VHS days, it is very unlikely any home video recordings exist. To this day No "original opening footage" or a complete or partial show taped "off air" has ever surfaced!
* UPDATED: New Information suggests that it was Marty McNeeley who started off the show in the fall of 1970 and it was Carl Greyson who later took over as announcer in mid 1971. Here is the info from longtime fan, Rick LaPorte:
"I'd like to clarify that the voice of Creature Features heard in the very oldest recordings was actually Marty McNeeley. Carl Greyson was the deep-voiced announcer who recorded the "whispering" open with the low, haunting laughter (as in the 1973 sales video and your video re-creation of a Wolf Man open). Of course, it's possible that both announcers may have recorded the opens early-on, but if we're to assume a timeline based on the age of the various recordings, it appears that McNeeley was first, followed by Greyson. I'm sure that this point is unimportant to most people, and despite the possible timeline juxtaposition, I'm just very glad to see that Mr. Greyson is finally being acknowledged at all as having been one of the Creature Features announcers, after seeing only Marty McNeeley given credit for way too long"
Thanks Rick for the info! It's Fans like you who make this site great...
After speaking with Series writer, Karen Verwolf, she confirmed it is indeed Marty McNeeley
who is doing the opening intros.Carl Greyson provided narration on the very first episodes in 1970,
but the scripts Karen has provided prove it was Marty. Marty is also the voice on the famed '73 promo!
Also, we now know the show ran in some form until 1980, very late mostly on Thursdays
at 1:30am or later (see filmography). You can listen to an audio intro below from
August 3rd, 1978 of Godzilla narrated by WGN announcer Jerry Golden. Also you can
watch an actual off air recording of "The Raven" from 1978 over at our friends at
the Museum of Classic Chicago Television! And you can Listen to Carl Gresyon's
chilling Halloween intro from October 31st, 1970 below in the audio section...