Horror Host Retrospective: Humphrey the Hunchback

Humphrey the Hunchback

Real name: Barry McAllister
Years active: 1994-1996, Middle Tennessee area

When the Count of Five was buried in the 1980’s, it appeared to be the end of the horror host in Middle Tennessee. Sir Cecil, reborn as the Phantom of the Opry, couldn’t maintain the viewers and over the ensuing years, tastes and formats changed.

By 1993, most local programs save for news had been scuttled in favor of syndicated fare and infomercials. When the WNAB made its debut in 1994, the fledging network tried various things to keep the audience coming back every week. Local comedian Barry McAllister heard of the casting calls and shot a promotional video at the famed Two Rivers Mansion. The tape was a hit and soon he was sporting the fake hump of Humphrey the Hunchback on the creatively named WNAB Saturday Night Horror Movie.

Movies featured were generally later produced films, unlike previous hosts and classic films. Forgoing public domain or a preselected package of films from one distributor, Humphrey presided over everything from the glossy and gross Jason Goes to Hell: The Final Friday to the low budget 1970’s mishmash Screamers. Sadly this wasn’t enough ,and like so many other hosts the decision came down to end the series when the WNAB decided to cancel all locally produced shows.

The WNAB Saturday Night Horror Movie ran on WNAB from 1994 until 1996. Near the end of its run the name changed to Frightmare Theater. Barry McAllister is still alive and still works in the Middle Tennessee area.

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