RIP: Bob Wilkins 1932-2009

Bob Wilkins, the original host of KTVU’s Creature Features and Captain Cosmic, died yesterday after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. 

While I can’t remember any specifics of what I watched on Creature Features, I do remember watching it.  It would have been an event for me at that age to stay up late to watch it.  Since I would have been eight when he left the show, I probably watched his successor more than him (and even less at the end of the series’ run, when Doctor Who began it’s late Saturday run.)

I can more vividly recall watching Bob’s daytime show – Captain Cosmic.  This is where I was introduced to series’ like Ultraman and Captain Scarlet.  I even remember a little of the opening sequence, an homage to the Superman openings, “Faster than a speeding BART train…” with him running down a BART station platform.  I even had the membership/decoder cards – though I can’t remember what we had to decode.

Of course, Bob was pretty much relegated to the back of my mind for most of the 80s and 90s.  Then in 2005 he was back in my life through his protoge, the host (and writer, producer, &c…) of Cinema Insomnia with Mr. Lobo.  Like myself, Mr. Lobo grew up watching Bob – except that he was inspired to follow in his footsteps and host his own shows.  It was through my collaboration with Mr. Lobo that I would eventually meet – and have the pleasure of introducing to an audience at SiliCon – Bob.  Sadly, this was around the period when the Alzheimer’s was taking effect, and would be my only meeting with him.

We are, however, lucky to have had Bob Wilkins in our lives.  Whether you only saw him on the television, or got to know him personally.  Thankfully, we have film and video clips to remember him by – and not just our faded memories.  I’m also glad that the internet will keep his memory alive.  As a launching pad to memory lane, why not try Scott Moon’s official Bob Wilkins site (where I pinched this image from.)  If you are from the Sacramento viewing area, maybe you’d want to head over to Blog Wilkins, which not only has memories of Bob on KCRA and KTVU but also continues to look at the state of hosted horror movies in the two markets (and where I got the top image.)  I would also be remiss in not suggesting the site for Cinema Insomnia, which Bob not only inspired but was an adviser for.