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It's Chiller Time!

If you didn't live in New York City back in the 60's and 70's, you may not recognize that animated creepy six-fingered claymation hand.  This was the 20-Second opening clip of The Chiller Show aired on Channel 11 WPIX New York in the '60s through the early 80's.  In fact, sometimes the creepy hand was more frightening than the actual featured movie.  It was also played after the commercial break before the movie resumed.  Allow me to paint this picture for you. When I was a young child living in The Bronx of New York City, we didn’t have Cable TV in the '60s, ’70s, and '80s.

We had excellent TV programming on our local network channels and superstations like WPIX Channel 11 and WWOR TV Channel 9.  Before Chiller Theater came on the air at 8 pm every Saturdays on WPIX, and sometimes 11 pm postponed due to the Yankee ball game, I had three tasks to complete before that creepy claymation opening clip began at 8 pm.

  1. 30 minutes before the show began with the opening six-fingered hand eating the words "CHILLER" I had to adjust the rabbit indoor VHF antenna on the TV set to ensure a clear reception.  My family was poor and could not afford either an indoor rabbit antenna or a VHF/UHF antenna that was mounted on the roof.  We improvised by creating our own ghetto TV antenna version with some aluminum foil and a coat hanger.  Although the reception on our TV set had a ghosting effect with double images and a little snowy static, it was sufficient enough to enjoy our favorite Horror and Science Fiction films on the “Chiller Theatre” show.  Sure, we saw two Bela Lugosi's and two Creatures From The Black Lagoon on our 19-inch black and white TV but it made it the movie scarier.
     

  2. After adjusting the antenna for proper TV reception, it was time to prepare the snacks that consisted of Spanish cheese called Queso De Papa (Mild Cheddar Cheese), a box of Ritz Crackers or Saltine Crackers (whichever was available at the time) and a cup of Bustelo Coffee with milk to ensure we stayed up watching the movie until the end.
     

  3. We Locked the closet door so the boogieman would not escape, turned off the lights, got under the bed sheets covers and IT WAS CHILLER TIME!

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Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)
The Blob (1958)
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Creature From The Black Lagoon (1954)
The Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
King Kong (1933)
King Kong vs. Godzilla (1962)
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John Zacherle
1918-2016