Friday, January 09, 2009

Celebration Day

It's ironic that while one of Umlaut's Guitar Gods passed away earlier this week, another of his Guitar Gods celebrates his birthday today... Zoso is 65 years old!? Wow..

However, soon after I started typing about Zoso's birthday, I found out that Bob Wilkins had passed away.

Fuck... FUCK.

Bob Wilkins is a legend to all Geeks who grew up in The Bay Area during the 70's. He hosted the iconic Saturday night show Creature Features on Channel 2 from 1971-79. On Creature Features, Wilkins presented Horror and Science Fiction movies (both good and bad ones... usually the latter..) while puffing on his trademark cigar. I specifically remember The Day Of The Triffids scaring the shit out of me as a young lad; imagine watching Horror and Sci-Fi movies by yourself in a darkened family room while your family slept upstairs. Life defining stuff, man.

During commercial breaks Wilkins would impart Sci-Fi and Horror trivia with his droll sense of humor and announce any local Sci-Fi or Horror events. He also interviewed guests such as Ray Harryhausen, Christopher Lee, William Shatner, Boris Karloff, and Leonard Nimoy on the show. Staying up late.. watching scary and exciting movies.. seeing some of your Sci-Fi / Horror heroes when they visited The Bay Area. Life defining stuff, man.

For a couple of years in the late-70's, Wilkins also hosted an afternoon Science Fiction kids show as his alter ego Captain Cosmic with his sidekick Robot 2T2 (Well, this was at the height of Star Wars Mania!). As Captain Cosmic, Wilkins introduced us to classic cheesy Sci-Fi such as Ultraman, Starblazers, and Umlaut's favorite: Johnny Sokko & His Flying Robot! Umlaut would rush home or over to a friend's house after school to watch Captain Cosmic. Life defining stuff, man.

It's interesting to note that at about the same time Wilkins left Creature Features and Captain Cosmic behind, Umlaut was starting to fully embrace his Music Geek ways... Cause and effect? Perhaps..

Anyway, I had a certain Zoso song in mind while typing about his birthday... but I suppose it fits Mr. Wilkins' passing as well. So, with that song playing in my head, I say Happy Birthday Zoso.. and Rest In Peace Mr. Wilkins and THANK YOU.

"We're gonna dance and sing in celebration, we're in the promised land.."

Bob Wilkins - 1932-2009

It was cool that Mr. Wilkins' old Bay Area station KTVU covered his passing, both online and during their news broadcast. Click HERE for their obituary.