On the beat

Remembering Dr. Creep

By Jim Bucher
Photo: Barry Lee Hobart, aka Dr. Creep (1941-2011)

He was born Barry Lee Hobart on June 23, 1941. A native of Middletown, he was the nephew of horror film make-up artist and stuntman Doug Hobart, who hosted a traveling monster show in the 1940s and ’50s. This quite possibly predetermined his life as a beloved Miami Valley TV icon.

After high school, Hobart graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in broadcast engineering and was soon hired by WKEF television (now ABC 22) as a camera specialist and Master Control Operator.

But 1971 was the year that changed Barry’s life. Station management began looking for a gimmick to garner ratings on Saturday nights. Hobart suggested a late-night horror movie show, which he, himself, auditioned for by donning a monk’s robe, fangs and skull-like make-up. At the time, he called himself “Dr. Death.”

Barry got the hosting job, but the fangs were abandoned and the skull face make-up was toned down – it was way too scary. The character’s name was changed to “Dr. Creep.”

“Shock Theatre” premiered on Saturday, Jan. 1, 1972 and was a fixture on Channel 22 for years, showing the best classic “B” horror films. But what made this different was Barry’s irreverent humor, rather than horror.

He soon became a beloved and popular personality, which, if you’re old enough, brings out fond memories from his legions of fans. With this being The Creeper’s favorite time of year, what better occasion to dig up some old stories?

“He used to scare the crap out of us!! LOL,” say Facebook friends, Steve and Jeff.

Melissa writes, “Sitting next to him in the audience of ‘Clubhouse 22’ when I was in the third grade, I remember crying. Years later I met him through work at DATV; he was one of the nicest people ever!”

Jill goes way back: “Went to visit Dr. Creep, Malcolm McCloud and Duffy the Dog when they visited Gold Circle! Remember Gold Circle?”

Yes, unfortunately, I do.

Jeff sums it up perfectly, “[Hobart was] a great guy!”

From Dawn: “I remember being on ‘Clubhouse 22,’ Dr. Creep, Malcom McCloud and Duffy the Dog! Also, ‘Shock Theatre’ on Saturdays!”

Gary remembers the doctor out and about, “[I] would see him at Carl Casper’s Auto Show. Always had to get his autograph.”

Joe writes, “He and I did a remote broadcast together about 35 years ago from Concord City. Wo ha ha ha.” (That was Creep’s signature laugh.)

Tracey says, “I loved ‘Shock Theatre’ and seeing him every year at Foy’s in Fairborn during Halloween. Miss his laughter.”

And speaking of Foy’s Halloween and Variety Store, owner Mike Foy remembers his pal Dr. Creep fondly, “Buch, I met Dr. Creep when I was 17 and a member of the Fairborn Jaycees. He would make appearances at our haunted house on Dayton Yellow Springs. One night at the Haunted House someone loosened his lug nuts on the hearse that he drove and on his way home the wheels fell off. He could have been killed. It totaled the old Hearse, but Dr. Creep lived on. He appeared for 24 years in a row at Foy’s, even coming in the wheelchair the last year. Like you, he was a dear friend.”

Thanks Mike but, if I’m a dear friend, as you say, I had better go check my lug nuts.

Jerry writes, “Me and my brother Joe were in the back seat of our car going somewhere with our parents. We pulled up to a stop light on Stroop Road right next to Dr. Creep in full costume. We went crazy yelling and waving at him. He waved back and we were thrilled!”

Brian has a childhood memory, “When I was a wee-one, remember being in the family car on I-75, and being so excited that Dr. Creep was driving a hearse next to us.”

Colleagues of Creep chimed in: “Worked with Barry at WKEF – he directed ‘The Morning Movie.’ And we made many ‘M.D. Night’ appearances together, along with buddy Johnny Walker,” says George.

“We did a lot of appearances together back in the day,” writes David G. “I even got to fill in on ‘Clubhouse 22’ with him a few times. When I opened my video store in 1985 he gave me the coffin from ‘Shock Theatre’ for my Video Cave of Horror.”

Allen sums it up best, “All around nice guy. We all have to go sometime, but he left too early.”

We lost the good doctor in 2011 at age 69, but, when you think about it, what a spooktacular life he led.

Cheers to Dr. Creep!

Your buddy, Jim BOO!-ker

A regionally known and loved local television icon for over 25 years, “Buch’s” followers describe him as trust-worthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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For over 25 years, Jim Bucher has been a regionally known and loved local television icon. “Buch’s” followers describe him as trustworthy, fun, the guy next door, a friend and role model. You can promote your business with Buch and grab your customer’s attention! Reach DCP freelance writer Jim Bucher at JimBucher@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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