Horror Host Retrospective: Sir Cecil Creape/Phantom of the Opry

Sir Cecil Creape

Real name: Russ McCown
Years active: 1971-1973; 1983-1985, Middle Tennessee area

In 1971, Nashville had been bereft of horror hosts since Shock Theater went off the air three years prior. That situation was rectified by Russ McCown, film editor for WSMV-4. Inventing the character of Sir Cecil Creape (pronounced ‘ses-cil creep’) the balding hunchback would descend into a dungeon every Saturday night to the tones of Bach’s “Toccata and Fugue in D minor” and greet viewers to Creature Feature. Ken Bramming, formerly Dr. Lucifer, acted as the unseen announcer. Pat Sajack, long before hosting the Wheel of Fortune, assisted in the scripts.

Delivering his lines with a droll deadpan, Sir Cecil would often interrupt the films with skits and comedy, often delivered at the expense of Nashville political analyst Floyd Kephart. Sir Cecil was also active in the Nashville community. He hosted his own ‘Ghoul Patrol’ chapter of the Boy Scouts of America.

Creature Feature ran on WSMV from 1971 until 1973. In September of 1983, Sir Cecil would return, this time on cable. Playing the title character in the Phantom of the Opry on TNN, McCown retained the same costume, but the show lacked the same level of humor as before and was cancelled after thirteen episodes.  McCown passed away in 1994.

“Good night, sleep tight, and don’t let the beddie bugs bite”

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