Horror Host Retrospective: Dr. Shock

Dr. Shock

Real name: Tommy Reynolds
Years active: 1970-1982, East Tennessee area and Northern Alabama

Moving into East Tennessee, the area may have lacked the variety of hosts of Middle Tennessee, but it more than made up for that in style. The first host of the area was WTVC program director Tommy Reynolds. Donning black greasepaint and a full tuxedo, Dr. Shock welcomed viewers to a variety of films and skits. Along with artist Dan East, the duo created Shock Theater, a weekly program on WTVC-9.

With a host of puppets, most notably Dingbat, and local beauties playing Nurses Goodbody, Badbody, and Purebody, Dr. Shock haunted the airwaves for several years. The show’s writing was considered a bigger draw than most of the movies shown and it was often considered a sign of success if Dingbat namedropped you on the show.

The show came to an end in 1976 when both East and Reynolds moved to other projects. Shock Theatre enjoyed a brief revival in the early 1980’s, this time in Huntsville, AL, but the station only had the rights to a few Roger Cormen films and little else before going off the air with no fanfare in about six months.

Sadly, and in a tale far too common to horror hosts and fans, there is no footage surviving of Shock Theatre as both stations destroyed their archived master tapes in the mid-1980’s. Dr. Shock, Dingbat, and the rest do live on, however, in the new Shock Theatre.

Shock Theatre ran on WTVC-9 from 1970 until 1972 and from 1974 through 1976 on WDEF-12 before Reynolds relocated to Huntsville, AL on WHNT-19. Dr. Shock enjoyed a brief revival in the early 1980’s before Reynolds hung up the cape. Tommy Reynolds passed away in 2008.

A fan film made during the 1970’s:

“And if you should awaken in the still of the night, the scream you hear may be your own”