Remembering TNT's MonsterVision

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Echoing what a reader said during our look back at USA’s Saturday Nightmares, I miss Joe Bob Briggs. Just as important to me as I was growing up was TNT’s MonsterVision. Where Saturday Nightmares was there as I was a kid, I had MonsterVision for much of my teen years. And it reminds me of a time not soo long ago when TNT had some cool stuff on their channel…Makes me miss Ted Turner.

MonsterVision first aired on TNT March 1st of 1993, and some have forgotten that the show actually had Penn and Teller guest-hosting MonsterVision marathons before Briggs came on board as the full time host. Typically MonsterVision would show two movies (showing classic 1960s, 1970s and 1980s B-movies and cult films) with the more popular film getting the top billing with the second film (being shown under the title Joe Bob’s Last Call) rounding out the show.

With Joe Bob you also got intros to the films as he’d run down the movie you would be seeing and give us the “drive-in totals” for each film. Also in between commercials Joe Bob would pop in and even had running skits that went on throughout the night like, Briggs giving a monologue about certain things in life, including his four ex-wives (usually “Wanda Bodeine”). He often made fun of the “scissoring” (editing) of the films, saying “Has Ted (Turner) been crackin’ down on us again?” This led to a famous running gag during a Halloween marathon of Friday the 13th movies in which strange occurrences kept happening throughout the night, leading up to Joe Bob realizing that it was Ted Turner trying to kill him, the final scene of the event led to Joe Bob giving an impassioned apology to Turner, claiming he was an amazing person, before the video feed cut off eerily. A similar stunt was staged in Blair Witch-themed host segments for a marathon showing of Carrie, Child’s Play and Phantasm one night, with the host mysteriously missing. For Super Bowl Sunday in 1997, he hosted a 16-hour marathon of monster movies from New Orleans starting with The Omen. (Thank you Wiki)

But sadly like all good things, it has to come to an end at some point. TNT decided they wanted to change their format and as a result they actually pulled Joe Bob Briggs from the program in July of 2000. And then the show came to an end in September of that year.

Late in its run, the program changed formats to show mainly Hollywood films. Briggs has said he believes TNT showing fewer horror and drive-in movies may have led to the program’s fall. I to agree with this 100%. I never understood why people who had something good going would want to mess with the formula..then again I guess I don’t run a network do I?

But at least we still have the memories right?

MonsterVision “Phantasm II” Host Segs Part 1 1998

MonsterVision “Phantasm II” Host Segs Part 2 1998

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Chuck Conry

Chuck Conry has been doing this for ten years! He does reviews, podcasts, and makes indie movies. The jury may still be out on if he does any of those things well.