Monday, October 15, 2007
INTRODUCING: Monsterpiece Theater
I was so excited about this that I just couldn't wait until next week to publish it!
As a special treat for you Sci-Fi and Horror flick fans out there, Classic Cinema Online is delighted to introduce you to our very special guest, Tom Keenan, who is known in Myspace circles as "MonsterlandDVD". Tom hosts the new Monsterpiece Theater series (not the Sesame Street version) and owns a shop called Monsterland DVD. He has a rather impressive collection of monster films!
I asked Tom to tell us a little bit about himself, so without further ado -- folks, meet Tom:
Before I get started on this little dissertation on my life as a horror host I would like to begin by saying thank you to the folks at Classic Cinema Online for taking a liking to my program and for wanting to share it with others. I’m both flattered and honored.
How do I begin? I guess I could say that I’m like everyone else here. I grew up watching old monster flicks and have loved them ever since.
I grew up in Brooklyn NY and discovered monsters sometime in the early 70’s. It was great. There was a ton of stuff being broadcast on shows like Creature Feature, Chiller, Million Dollar Movie, Movie of the Week, and others. My first exposure to monsters were the classic Universal monsters. Later I discovered the great AIP not-so-classics, Godzilla and Toho sci-fi, Kong, and too many others to list. My personal favorites were the Godzilla movies, and they still remain my favorites.
Fast forward to the late 90’s. I’ve retired from the Air Force and have settled down with my wife in Cape Girardeau Mo. I lost track of the monsters I loved during the previous 20 years and missed out on some great shows like Elvira’s Movie Macabre and Commander USA’s Groovie Movie. When I learned that Toho had started filming more Godzilla flicks after Terror of MechaGodzilla, I had to track them down. This ignited a spark of renewed interest in monsters. It wasn’t until sometime around Halloween 1998 that the spark became a flame. It was during that time that I discovered AMC’s Monsterfest. At that time they were showing the classics from the 50’s, and I found myself watching them over and over again. I then went out and started to build my movie collection. I currently own over 400 sci-fi/horror films on dvd and about another 100 on vhs.
Fast forward again to the year 2005. I was beginning to get frustrated in my search for some of my favorite monsters on dvd in my local area. I had a hard time finding the Ray Harryhausen classics, along with some others. Then it struck me. If I was having a hard time, then so were others. What was needed in my area was a shop that catered to our tastes, and thus Monsterland DVD was born. It wasn’t until April of 2006 that I opened for business, thanks mainly to my friend Ken Murphy of Marvels and Legends who set aside space in his shop for me to set up my dvd business. Today I have a selection of about 350 different titles, including the Harryhausens I couldn’t find earlier, most of the Godzilla movies, all the Universal monsters legacy collections, Hammer, AIP, Wade Williams collection, and many more.
Now that I had a shop my next problem was to advertise. At the start I went the usual route by advertising in the local paper and on radio, but this got expensive and I did not see a significant increase in foot traffic to my shop to warrant continuing to pay the prices I was paying. What could I do to get some free advertising?
As you can see from one of the photos I sent with this, one of my favorite magazines is Scary Monsters, which usually has articles on horror hosts both past and present. Reading about the current crop of hosts I learned that a great resource for them to air their programs was through local public access stations.
Having a place to broadcast my show, I next tackled the problem of how to get it filmed. Fortunately I have a friend involved in local independent filmmaking, Charles Parsons, who heard what I was wanting to do. He asked if it was okay with me if he approached our local Career and Technology center, which had a course on filmmaking. I said go for it. The program that came from this was called “It Came From The Past”. Unfortunately I had absolutely no input on the show, and it wasn’t what I had wanted, but it was going on the air, and was a form of free advertising for me. Sadly, only two episodes were ever filmed. Or maybe I should say happily since I was now in control of putting together the kind of show I wanted.
Since I had done It Came From The Past it proved to me that I could host my own program, something I was in doubt of up until the filming of that show. However, since I‘m not an actor I had no interest in trying to come up with an odd character to play. I would simply play it as myself.
Now that I decided on how to host the show, the next problem was what kind of content would be included? Due to budgetary concerns I have to show movies found in the public domain. This isn’t a problem since there are a lot of good movies in the public domain available to me. But if I were to show just a movie this would make for a very short program and I was wanting to make this into a nice enjoyable viewing pleasure. I had to flesh out the program. Then I remembered a show I briefly saw on PBS many years ago called Saturday at the Bijou. It contained movie serials, cartoons, b-movies and other items. This would be perfect for me, but I would give it a sci-fi/horror slant. Over the coming weeks I will be showing Fleischer Superman cartoons, all of Undersea Kingdom, to be followed up with Phantom Empire. I will also be showing episodes from a little known cartoon called Space Angel, along with episodes of Colonel Bleep. Movies - well coming up are Killers From Space, Gammera The Invincible, The Wasp Woman, Phantom From Space, The Devil Bat, and many more.
For those of you who watched my first program, thank you. I was a little stiff in it, but I believe I do get better. If you haven’t seen it yet, but would like to you can see it here:
Future episodes will be posted here:
If anyone would like to get in touch with me you can visit my myspace page at:
Or you can send an email to:
Hope to hear from you soon.
Thank you, Tom, for being our special guest!