Friday, October 29, 2010

Creature Feature

Between 1970 and 1973, also known as my pre-teen into early teen years, I couldn't wait for 10:30 p.m. on Saturday night. That is when Creature Feature aired on channel 4, WSMV, in Nashville. At exactly 10:30, an announcer would come on and say,
"Each of us carries upon his shoulders this bony sarcophagus, the grinning face of death. Within it resides the human brain, encompassing within its pulsating grey mass the totality of the cosmic consciousness. What a delicate instrument; capable of thoughts of inexpressible beauty, but often enslaved in mindless terrors by monstrous horrors that the mind cannot fathom, and indeed, horrors that may not exist except within the bony confines of the human brain box. This is Creature Feature... exploring the realms of the unknown. And now, from deep within the catacombs beneath our studios, here is your master of terrormonies, Sir Cecil Creape."
Sir Cecil (pronounced ses-cil) Creape was creepy. As the announcer was introducing the show, Sir Cecil would descend from a stone staircase to the sounds of water dripping ever so slowly. When he finally reached the floor of his dungeon, in an unmistakable droll, Sir Cecil would say, "Did someone call?" Then he would look into the camera and say, "Oh, there you are!" 

The dungeon, that was supposedly deep beneath the studios of Channel 4, had rock walls and a large bookshelf, on which rested a few books, a skull, and a framed picture of Floyd Kephart, political analyst in Nashville during the seventies. For some reason the protrayer of Sir Cecil (Whom I will reveal in a minute) thought it was funny to have a picture of Floyd on the mantle, and would refer to Floyd from time to time with such jokes as "Suffering Kepharts," or "That is almost as frightening as Floyd Kephart!"

Sir Cecil was an odd looking character; a short, round little fellow, bald on top with just a bit of hair on the sides. He wore a dark blue cape with a huge purple collar and a chain mail tunic. He had a hump back and walked in a slow, lurching style. He had a large scar across his forehead and wore a monocle in one eye. He wore a set of deformed teeth and always carried a strange looking lamp in one hand

Sir Cecil Creape was actually Russ McCown, a film editor for WSMV. He had a long history of camera work and film editing - In fact, he was the person who shot the very first color commercial in Nashville in 1956. Russ got the name of Sir Cecil from Cecil B. DeMille, the lgreat actor/director of such movies as "The Ten Commandments." He later described his character as a cross between the Hunchback of Notre Dame and Oliver Hardy.

Something else I discovered later on is that one of the main writers of the show was Pat Sajack, star of Wheel of Fortune. Sajack was an announcer and part-time weatherman at WSMV during my childhood.

Wait, I hear the steady drip, drip, drip, drip of water.

"Did someone call?"
(Below are a two Creature Feature segments.  I hope they creep you out just like they did me when I was a child.)


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Psalm 63

My soul thirsteth for thee

My flesh longeth for thee

In a dry and thirsty land where no water stands

I will seek thee

To see thy power

To see thy glory

To know your love is the lovingkind

I will praise thee

And I will bless thee while I live

I will lift up my hands in thy name

I will lift up my hands in thy name

In a dry and thirsty land where no water stands

I will see thee

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Road To Burkesville

For those of you who do not know, for the past several weeks, road crews have been busy rebuilding that portion of Highway 1590 here at the radio station in preparation for the by-pass that is being built around town. That part of the road has been closed while the work is being done, and one of the detour routes is the Old Burkesville Road. The Old Burkesville Road was built nearly 200 years ago, so it was not built with today's traffic in mind, and it was definitely not built to handle the amount of traffic that has had to travel the road the past few weeks.

The Old Burkesville Road is one of the oldest roads in the county. Just prior to the year 1800, the third family to settle in here was the Wood family. They had moved from Virginia to North Carolina after the American Revolution, and now they were headed to a new area in Kentucky that had just opened for settlements east of the Green River. The Wood family chose to settle at Stockton's Valley, where they quickly established themselves as leaders in the community. They helped organize the first Church in the valley, Clear Fork Baptist Church. William Wood was the town surveyor and its sheriff. The Church minutes of 1813 state that William's brother, Samuel, was appointed overseer of the Burkesville Road from Robert Davis’ to the county line. That area of the community was known as Wood's Gap back then. A portion of the road that Samuel Wood helped build later became known as Wood Street. It still bears that name today.

When more automobiles began using the road, and when trucks hauling goods and services got bigger, the need arose to build a bigger road, and so around 1931, nearly 100 years later, the Burkesville Road, as we know it today, was built.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

What's In A Name?

There is an old proverb that says 'good men must die, but death cannot kill their names.'

When we chose the name Marina for my daughter, I was a little skeptical at first because of all the marina's where I live, but she IS Marina and I could not imagine her name being anything else. Most people are named after their ancestors. My great-great-grandfather was George Washington Boles.  His cousin was Abraham Lincoln Boles. My great-grandfather was Ulysses S. Frost.  His nickname was Grant.

When I was born, my dad wanted to name me Roy Rogers Speck. "I think NOT," said my mom.  I am glad, too. Sorry Roy, but a lifetime of always being serenaded with "Happy trails to you until we meet again," would have been a little too much. Western TV shows were popular back then, so it could have been worse. He could have wanted to name me Zorro or Festus.

I used to tease my son, Elijah, by telling him that we almost named him Michael Jackson Speck. Although he would never admit it, for a few moments he actually believed me.

For the past several months, I have been keeping up with Rand Paul of Bowling Green. He is a Republican candidate for the U.S. Senate in Kentucky and he has become very popular.  Fox and CNN are always talking about him and I have been thinking that, IF he wins the election, I might drop the Y from my first name, totally ditch my last name and start using my middle name. So, it would be RAND RAY.

I said I MIGHT. I didn't say that I would.


Long may our Land be Bright with Freedom's Holy Light

Officially, the Continental Congress declared its freedom from Great Britain on July 2, 1776, but after voting to approve it, a draft do...