Entertainment/culture Television

A Detroit icon has passed away


This one will probably not mean much to those who don’t have a Detroit connection (such as, like me, having been born there and spent the first 26 years of my life in southeast Michigan), and it will probably mean nothing at all to my cadre of international readers, but it saddens me nonetheless to have discovered this bit of news via my sister.

Lawson Deming, the man who played Sir Graves Ghastly for so many years, died on April 24, just one day after his 94th birthday.

For Detroiters of a certain age, who grew up from the 1960’s to the early 1980’s, Saturday at 1 PM was the time that the cheesy horror music played, the mists swirled around the graveyard, and the coffin opened to reveal your congenial vampire host, Sir Graves Ghastly, who invariably urged the viewer to “turn out the lights…pull down the shades…draw the drapes” and told you that “you will watch the movie and you will enjoy it” before rolling the old horror or monster movie chosen for this week (or, as the show often joked, “dug up“), and who invariably closed the show with his exhortation, “Happy hauntings!” before the credits rolled. In between, there were amusingly low-budget sketches, such as Sir Graves serenading his own hand to a creepy tune, the “Glob” (in reality, Deming’s mouth shot upside down with eyes and a nose painted on his chin) singing various songs, the ever-popular skeleton dance, or visits to the Art Ghoulery, where horror drawings from children were displayed.

Was it low budget? Sure. Was it often silly? Definitely. I even realized that as a kid. But it was addictively watchable and almost always entertaining. Sadly, Sir Graves never appeared in markets other than Detroit and, for a time, Cleveland, and Washington, DC., but then it just wouldn’t have been the same show if it hadn’t remained a local oddity. In any case, they just don’t make TV shows like that any more. I’ll leave it to the reader to decide whether this is a good thing or not.

Rest in peace, Sir Graves. Those of you who knew and loved Sir Graves can, if you choose, light a virtual candle for him.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

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