August 6, 2014

The Shock! Treatment

October 1957, a trade ad in Broadcasting magazine features Glenn Strange’s floating head as Screen Gems celebrates the blockbusting launch of Shock!, the TV package that brought the classic monster movies to a whole new generation of fans.

Just look at the boom, zoom and bloom numbers! Ratings at San Francisco’s KRON-TV went up 807%! It was the same story all over: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Antonio, Philadelphia and points between recorded similarly stratospheric performances, and all those boggling, industry-shaking returns were generated by just one film, Shock’s inaugural offering, FRANKENSTEIN. 

The James Whale film had been a box-office phenomenon upon its initial release in 1931 and it was still drawing ‘round-the-block crowds when it was sent out again in 1938. FRANKENSTEIN would continue to pop up in second-run houses through the years as a perennially reliable ticket.

When it made its TV debut as the linchpin of the Shock collection, Colin Clive threw the switch that ignited a Monster Boom and Boris Karloff stomped into living rooms across America, ushering in the Monster Kid era. Soon, Famous Monsters magazine and Aurora figure kits appeared, and monster merchandizing multiplied. Within a decade, The Frankenstein was a sitcom star on The Munsters.

Next up: The SON of SHOCK!


1 comment:

Rick said...

Great, great, great. I love everything SHOCK! I only saw one film during the original run of SHOCK! THEATER, and didn't even know it was something called SHOCK! It was just a late show that was showing a monster movie.
But when SHOCK made a comeback in '62, I was there every single Saturday night and saw nearly all the Universal classics for the first time during that one year. So my attachment is very strong, and I love any and all things dealing with the series. Thanks for this.