Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Sammy Terry, RIP

Sammy Terry died again this week. No one knows how old he was. For anyone not from Indianapolis or central Indiana, Sammy Terry was the onscreen persona of Bob Carter, an actor and television personality in Indianapolis and Bloomington. From 1962 to 1989, Sammy hosted Nightmare Theater, a late-night television show that broadcast old horror movies from the studios of WTTV, Channel 4. When we were kids, Nightmare Theater was on Friday nights until late. Science Fiction Theater (which did not have a host but--if I remember right--played a jazzed-up version of "Dancing in the Darkness" as its theme) followed on Saturday nights. I can't count the number of classic (and not-so-classic) horror movies, monster movies, and science fiction movies I saw on those two shows.

Bob Carter was born on December 4, 1929. He arrived in Indianapolis in the late fifties or early sixties. Along with Janie, who showed early morning cartoons, and Cowboy Bob, who showed cartoons at lunchtime or in the afternoon, Mr. Carter, in the guise of Sammy Terry, became a fixture in his adopted home town. If you weren't scared by Sammy Terry and his ghoulish laughter (as my sister was), you most assuredly loved him, being as he was a part of your childhood. Bob Carter died on June 30, 2013, at age eighty-three. You can see his official website by clicking here.

RIP, Bob Carter and Sammy Terry.

I couldn't have asked for a better picture: Cowboy Bob, Janie, and Sammy Terry, together, probably signing autographs. I don't know the date or the occasion, but those look like Sharpies on the table, and Cowboy Bob is graying at the temples, so not contemporaneous with their respective shows. The current issue of Traces, the magazine of the Indiana Historical Society, has an article about the personalities from Channel 4.
Text and captions copyright 2013 Terence E. Hanley

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