Horror Host Retrospective: Count Basil

Count Basil

Real name: Mike Curtis
Years active: 1974, West Tennessee area

Sivad had many fans in the West Tennessee area, including a young man named Mike Curtis. As an adult, Curtis worked for Malco Theaters, dressing up in costumes to promote whatever film was playing at the time.

By 1974, Curtis was hosting his own show on Cable Channel 6. Shock Theater showed Curtis and co-host Roger Hughes hosting movies live from the station. Hughes, who played various characters, but mostly Clod Turndirt, left after three weeks. Booner, Curtis’s cat, often sat in as a co-host. Cameramen were also roped into playing characters, mostly just wearing a green mask over their heads.

Shock Theater was cancelled after twelve weeks, not due to ratings, but because the station only had twelve movies. From there, Curtis moved into writing and other fields. Curtis would don the black and white makeup once more in 2010 for the Sivads of March, an event honoring the work of Watson Davis.

Shock Theater aired for twelve weeks in the summer of 1974 on Cable Channel-6 Jackson. There were efforts to have Mr. Curtis continue as the “Son of Sivad”, but those plans fell through. Mike Curtis is currently writing the Dick Tracy comic strip.

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