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Bob Dalton (52-55)

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SCREENINGS

ORDER THE DVD

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Order the DVD!

This DVD will be available on October 10, 2009

$20


More Films From Horse Archer Productions


WELCOME TO THE
BOWMAN BODY PAGE:


 

DO YOU WANT A BOWMAN BODY DOCUMENTARY?

   

Horse Archer Productions will produce a feature length documentary on Bill Bowman and his beloved character, the Bowman Body in 2011 . . . and we need your help!

Here are some ways you can get involved:

  • Contact us if you have memorabilia, footage, audio or a great story, especially if you were on the show.
     

  • Join the Facebook group to stay informed and spread the word. 
     

 

 

   
  • PRE-ORDER THE DVD!

We anticipate that the DVD will be ready in September of 2010, just in time for Halloween (though delays are possible).  This will be our 5th full length feature documentary and you can save a few bucks now and help fund the production by preordering!

   

Pre-order for just $15
 

 

This is $5 off the regular price and ensures first available day delivery!

 

Buy a copy of Virginia Creepers and get your Bowman Body pre-order for just $10!
 

$30 for both films on DVD! Save $10 off the DVD price and get a copy of Virginia Creepers NOW!

   
   
   

Pennsylvania native, Bill Bowman, arrived in Virginia in the mid 1960s with a plan to escape cold weather as program director at WXEX TV.  His career would span three decades and he would be honored in the Virginia Broadcasting Hall of Fame, the Virginia Associated Press awards, and by the Virginia state legislature with an official resolution thanking him for his public service.  But, what most people remember Bill for is his body . . . the Bowman Body, to be precise.

The Bowman Body first appeared on television in the summer of 1970.  Shock Theater on WXEX was a replacement show and was never supposed to go past 12 weeks on the air.  All the episodes were shot in a short period of time and in the last segment of the last show, Bill decided to ask viewers to write the station if they liked what they saw . . . and apparently, they sure did.  The station was flooded with mail and it was a very popular with college students who had returned in time to catch it.  One single letter from a fraternity at William and Mary had over 400 signatures alone. 

The Bowman Body first appeared on television in the summer of 1970.  Shock Theater on WXEX was a replacement show and was never supposed to go past a few odd weeks on the air.  All the episodes were shot in a short period of time and in the last segment of the last show, Bill decided to ask viewers to write the station if they liked what they saw . . . and apparently, they sure did.  The station was flooded with mail and it was a very popular with college students who had returned in time to catch it.  One single letter from a fraternity at William and Mary had over 400 signatures alone. 

 
From there, it was easy to get sponsors and sponsors became a very big part of the show.  Bill would not only do commercials, he typically reserved time in each show to plug the people putting bread on his table--sometimes literally.  During the process frozen roast beef sandwiches accidentally shattered and people went into Liberty Grocery asking where they could get the giant pickles they had seen the Bowman Body showing on his program.  You would think they might realize it was the height of watermelon season.

 
Bill's approach to the show was a sort of enthusiastic and yet strangely deadpan ghoul in Converse All-Stars who would open each show by saying, "Well hello there, horror movie fans," with just a hint of exaggeration.  Through three shows--Shock Theater, Cobweb Theater, and Monsterpiece Theater, as well as short term hosting spots on Slime Theater and an appearance on Dr. Madblood's show--the character remained more or less the same.  Imagine Bob Newhart crossed with Gene Wilder and you have the Bowman Body.

Bowman's fans really seemed to come out of everywhere--they wrote him songs, designed comic strips for publication, and once a pair of naked college girls showed up at his door in the middle of the evening making him very popular with his neighbors . . . though perhaps not so much with his wife.

 

This was a reflection of Bill's ability to entertain an audience with a mix of talented side kicks (like Reed Woliver, Tom Blaylock and Michael D. Moore), perfect deadpan delivery, and a strategy that everyone on set should be having a good time.  It created great chemistry and allowed for a lot of invention in the process.  With scripts written on cocktail napkins and the interplay of creative people, Bill attracted fans from all over the state and remains to this day an exceedingly popular personality at events and functions.

The Bowman Body with his signature ukulele entertaining fans and fellow hosts alike at the Chesapeake Monster fest in 2006.

 

The Bowman Body trying to get a word in on his own show with producer and raconteur extraordinaire on the set of Cobweb Theater.

Bill Bowman being interviewed for Virginia Creepers, April 19, 2008.

 

FAN CONTRIBUTIONS

 

APRIL 24, 2008: 

Dear Virginia Creepers: 

I was a huge fan of Bowman Body and used to send in jokes of the week to him, which he faithfully read.  I never missed a show and can still recite the Liberty Grocery Store commercials, ďWhere they really ring the old bell." 

I played him in a 4-H talent show as a kid and am still puzzled why I did not win.  I may have been the only person in Dillwyn who was a fan since most of the audience looked at me like I had two heads.  Iím thrilled about your project and canít wait to see the film.

Thanks,  Woody Anderson

 

Monster Kid Memories
Michael Joyner

As a longtime fan of the Horror Hosts, I am thrilled to the bone that the film project is underway. I hope to be able to contribute as much as I can.

The first horror show I remember was on Richmond TV, but it had no host that I know of.  It simply used some photos, probably materials mostly from the Shock pressbook.  I know I saw "The Wolfman" probably on this show about 1962.  Anyway, it simply had a voice say "Shhoockk Thhhheeeeatrrrrrre," ran some graphics, then the movie. 

 
I know WTVR CHannel 6 also had an unhosted show in the late '60s, called "Sci Fi Theater." I'm pretty sure it came on at 1:00 am on Saturday nights.  My most vivid memory was seeing "Queen of Blood" with Florence Marley and Basil Rathbone all the way through. It was probably the latest I had ever stayed up at that time.

I remember watching Shock Theatre with the Bowman Body from the "preview night" and through the whole first week, when it was on each night. Well, more about that another time, I need to save some stories.

During the WXEX years, I met the Bowman Body twice, first on a supermarket tour, and later at the State Fair. I met Bill again about 10 or so years ago when my roommate suggested we interview him for
the Comcast public access Channel is Richmond. This ran quite a few times and I used to meet a lot of people who saw it. I kept in touch with Bill of and on.

Later, after we both became Masons, we began to be in more frequent contact. In the last few years we have kept in close touch. I hope to have a lot of good things to say about becoming friends with Bill and some great memories of his show, as well as Dr. Madblood and Count Gore, and even a few encounters with other hosts like Zacherley.

I am also quite fascinated to hear you have tracked down Jerry Sandford.  While I never saw his horror host show, I was a regular watcher of his later "Bungles the Clown" show.

Stay Scared

Michael

 
 
 
 

 

LATEST YOUTUBE CLIP: 
Well . . .  hi there horror movie fans . . . the Bowman Body was famous for quite a few things:  his Converse All-Stars, his deadpan delivery and his ukulele to name a few.  The Body entertained audiences from Richmond to Charlottesville to NOVA for more than a decade and here we have a slice of the documentary sure to demonstrate why.  Check out this clip called . . . "Music Appreciation!"

 

 
See more about the Bowman Body, click here.  For more clips, go to the Clips Page.


© Horse Archer Productions, 2009