The Gang That Shot Up Hollywood
Posted December 27, 2011on:
Four Guys From Oakland Part 4 —
I was disappointed when it was announced that Bob Wilkins was leaving Oakland’s KTVU after having been Channel 2’s host of “Creature Features” from 1971 – 1978.
John Stanley was to be Bob’s replacement, and the only “John Stanley” I knew was an entertainment writer for the San Francisco Chronicle. It turned out he was one and the same, and I was pleasantly surprised that he was a worthy successor to Bob.
John knew how to conduct an interview, and I always looked forward to reading them in the Chronicle. Apparently I wasn’t the only one; John’s tenure at the Chronicle lasted 33 years!
He interviewed Clint Eastwood on the set of “Rawhide,” James Stewart, Lauren Bacall, Ida Lupino, Barbara Stanwyck, Jane Russell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, and …I couldn’t begin to remember them all.
“Creature Features” gave John an opportunity once again to interview science-fiction and horror stalwarts; this time on camera: Vincent Price, Christopher Lee, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner, Ray Harryhausen, Roger Corman…again, too many to recall.
John Stanley’s latest book, “The Gang That Shot Up Hollywood” is loaded with re-worked interviews/observations/reflections (and over 750 photographs) of many of the famous entertainers he’s interviewed through the years at the Chronicle. My favorite is the section on Samuel Fuller. John knew Joe Rosenthal, photographer of the famed Iwo Jima flag-raising, and there is a very interesting piece on him, too.
You can buy the book from Amazon, but if you get it through John’s site, www.stanleybooks.net, he’ll autograph a copy for you. Even if you don’t buy the book, be sure to check out his site and “click” every option as there are more cool books including, “The Creature Features Movie Guide” and his autobiographical, “I Was a TV Horror Host,” and various “Creature Feature” DVDs as well.
John Stanley’s efforts too often fall under the radar…don’t let him fall under yours.