COLDWATER – The season of “Scary” begins at Tibbits with a bit of nostalgia and a classic American Halloween tradition when Tibbits Entertainment Series presents Dr. Scream’s Spook Show on Saturday, October 1. Comedy magician Keith Stickley, also known as Dr. Scream, revives the classic formula which combines a live comedy magic show, a few ghosts, and a 1950s cult horror film.
Once a staple of urban neighborhood movie palaces in the 1940s through the mid-1960s, the Spook Show was a hilarious and slightly macabre evening of magic, comedy, and campy horror films featuring the highlight "Blackout Sequence" - a bit where in the darkness of the theater, patrons actually see glowing ghosts materialize out of thin air and SWEAR they can hear, feel, and see "spirits" frolicking all around them in their seats!
For decades, traveling "Ghost Masters," magicians presenting this unique form of show, crisscrossed the country presenting an old-time spooky and funny evening. Stickley has spent the last ten years extensively researching, studying, and recreating this largely forgotten form of entertainment, and even learned the secrets of the craft from the very few still living Ghost Masters of yesteryear who toured for years in the 1950s and 1960s with their own shows.
The evening’s show consists of three parts; The Spooky Magic Show, where "Ghost Master" Dr. Scream presents 45 minutes of hilarious and spooky magic and illusions; The Blackout, where ghosts materialize throughout the theatre, spirits fly over the heads of the audience, skeletons tap dance and tell funny jokes, and audiences swear they are surrounded by apparitions; and The Feature Film, House on Haunted Hill starring Vincent Price!
Stickley re-created his first Spook Show in 2003 as a special presentation for the International Association of Haunted Attractions at their annual conference and trade show in Las Vegas, NV. It was a HUGE hit! Spook Show legend Phil Morris who was known as "Dr. Evil" was in attendance and was very impressed with the accuracy and authenticity of the Spook Show revival. "For not having been around in the era of the Spook Show, and only reading and researching it, you really got it RIGHT! How fun!” said Morris.
Many in town remember when Tibbits was a movie theatre and featured everything from serials and news reels to feature films. Christine Delaney, executive director of the theatre says she’s not sure whether the Spook Show made its way to Tibbits prior to this, but it’s very likely. She adds, “It’s fun and different and something nostalgic to share with your kids or grandkids.”
Dr. Scream’s Spook Show is clean family fun, but due to the nature of the content, it is not recommended for patrons under 12 years of age. The production includes a Halloween-themed magic and illusion show with audience participation, and comical yet macabre undertones. The blackout sequence where ghosts and spirits actually fly over the heads of theatre patrons is probably too intense for younger children, as is the vintage feature horror film.
The show at Tibbits begins at 8 pm. Tickets are $13 each and available on line atwww.Tibbits.org, or at the office at 93 West Chicago Street. Tibbits Opera House is located at 14 South Hanchett Street in downtown Coldwater. For more information call 517-278-6029.
In keeping with the theme, the month of October at Tibbits also includes an art exhibit called “Bare Bones and a Full Moon”; the Community Theatre performance of “Rehearsal for Murder” on October 6, 7, 8; and the Tibbits Young Audiences production of “Monster Hunters” featuring a cast of 55 third through eighth graders on Oct. 27, 28, 29.