By: Cathy Hamaker, Exhibit Developer
If you grew up in the Indianapolis area in the 1970’s, like I did, then Sammy Terry needs no introduction. This ghoulish character was the regular host of WTTV’s Friday night monster movies for decades; he would rise from his dungeon coffin each week, introduce the films, and engage in entertaining banter that often referenced local news, politics, and sports. While Sammy’s regular appearances on Channel 4 ended in the late 1980’s, he is still a beloved icon for generations of Hoosier horror fans!
Sammy was originally played by Robert Carter, a veteran of WTTV’s various talk shows. He developed the Sammy character himself in 1962, when the station purchased a package of classic monster films to show on Friday nights and needed someone to do the live “intros” and “outros.” Sammy Terry (a pun on “cemetery”—get it?) was a caped ghoul who slept in a coffin and lived in a dungeon, chatting with his friends George (a rubber spider,) Skully (a disembodied skull,) and other characters who appeared over the decades. While Robert Carter passed away in the summer of 2013, his son Mark has carried on the legacy of Sammy—he’s been playing the character in public appearances and TV specials since 2010.
So you can imagine that we here at The Children’s Museum were pretty thrilled at the opportunity to work with Mark Carter for our new Halloween experience, “Hollywood Haunts,” open at the museum from Oct. 5–Nov. 24. Mark has generously loaned us a number of original Sammy Terry props and set pieces, including Sammy’s coffin (!) and George the Spider (!!!) If you’re a longtime fan, this is something you won’t want to miss—and if you’re new to town, it’s a great way to get to know a legend of Hoosier television history. But Sammy’s not the only thing to see in Hollywood Haunts—this little exhibit is jam-packed with real movie props and costumes from films like The Addams Family, The Mummy, and Corpse Bride. Stop by and see it—and have, as Sammy would say, “Pleasant Nightmares!”