TO ALL CREATURE FEATURES FANS: A letter from John Stanley

**Update: As of April 16th “Creature Features” with host Al Omega was discontinued on KOFY TV and subsequently replaced with Vincent Van Dahl’s sanctioned “Creature Features” show.

“TO ALL CREATURE FEATURES FANS:

I have been very disturbed by what is happening on KOFY’s
new Saturday midnight series, “CREATURE FEATURES.” **

Its host Jim Currie, who uses the name Al Omega to
describe the TV horror host character he is portraying, is
reportedly trying to trademark the title “CREATURE
FEATURES,” which has been a generic title in use since the
era of the horror host dating back to the 1960s and 1970s.
(It was also the name of a board game that dates back to
1975.) This is extremely disturbing, given that, for one
thing, “CREATURE FEATURES” was the title of Bob Wilkins’
long-running series on Channel 2 in Oakland, CA.

Bob enjoyed eight successful years in the ratings,
building a huge audience that today still fondly remembers
him and his humorous and warm style of introducing horror,
fantasy and science-fiction movies. Bob was usually seated
in a yellow rocking chair, clutching a cigar in one hand.
Next to him was a small table atop which rested a human
skull with a candle inserted into the top. Behind him, on
the wall, was a sign reading “WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP
AMERICA STRONG!”

When Bob decided to retire in 1978, I was chosen as his
replacement and continued the series for an additional six
years. Thus did “CREATURE FEATURES” enjoy continued
success for a 14-year period, making it one of the
longest-running shows in the San Francisco Bay Area TV
market.

Bob was a close and personal friend, and to see “Al Omega”
using Bob’s visuals, slogan and format as part of his own
show does not set well with me. Especially since Currie
never even bothered to ask for permission to use these
identifiable objects entirely related to Bob Wilkins. What
gives him the right to use them without at least asking
for permission? It also disturbs me that he addresses the
skull on his mediocre set as “Bob.”

Tom Wyrsch, producer of the 2008 Bob Wilkins documentary
“WATCH HORROR FILMS, KEEP AMERICA STRONG!” and the
individual responsible for bringing Bob and myself back in
2000 to make personal appearances at special shows and
conventions, first notified me about Currie’s attempts to
trademark the title.

Tom also informed me that Mr. Currie sent a
cease-and-desist letter to the management of Silicon
Valley Comic Com demanding that they remove Vincent Van
Dahl from the guest slot at their upcoming convention.
Vincent is the host of Northbay TV’s variant of Creature
Features, a show on which both Tom and I have been guests.
The producers of that program requested (and received)
both mine and Tom’s endorsement to do an alternate version
of the show before they ever began any filming, unlike Mr.
Currie who simply decided to blatantly abscond with all of
the elements that made the Bay Area Creature Features
unique and to call it his own. Northbay TV told us that
Currie even went so far as to send a similar letter to
both YouTube and Vimeo in an effort to close down their
online channels.

This is demeaning behavior that utterly sickens me.

Tom described it well when he wrote me: “Currie is
attempting to use squatting rights to claim he somehow
owns the show’s title. He has applied for trademarks for
both the ‘CREATURE FEATURES’ title and for Bob’s
much-remembered slogan ‘Watch Horror Films – Keep America
Strong.’ As you know, there have been many horror host
programs titled ‘CREATURE FEATURES’ for the past fifty
years. And as far as we know, no one has ever tried to
monopolize the title in all of that time nor in the manner
that Mr. Currie is attempting. The Creature Features
community has always practiced a civil camaraderie. Mr.
Currie’s efforts to gain dominance over the name will no
doubt have a chilling effect on this community. But even
more concerning is that he also applied for a trademark
for ‘Watch Horror Films, Keep America Strong!’, Bob
Wilkins’ signature catchphrase and slogan which he coined
in 1966 and used his entire career. If approved, it would
be, in my opinion, outright theft.”

Tom Wyrsch also informed me that the Wilkins family is not
pleased with this situation. Tom spoke with Bob’s wife
Sally Wilkins recently and she told him she is quite
saddened that somebody would be trying to monopolize and
monetize her late husband’s most famous works.

Nor am I, who is still indebted to Bob Wilkins for what he
did to advance my career, pleased about anything Currie
is trying to pull off. If he wants to be a TV horror host
he can do it without stealing outright all those things
which identified Bob Wilkins to his ever-loving audience
of dedicated fans. You fans live on, and I hope you too
will rise up in protest against this outright thievery.”

– JOHN STANLEY

bob and johnDespite being cancelled from KOFY TV Mr. Currie is still in the process of trademarking the term “Creature Feature” and the phrase “Watch Horror Films — Keep America Strong”.

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