Dear Mr. Bowman,
A lot of this is just reminiscing for myself, but I wanted to share.
In 1971, The Bowman Body hit the airwaves from WXEX TV8 on Shock Theatre. I was 7 years old. I don't recall exactly when I started to be able old enough to watch Bowman Body on Shock Theatre but at some point in my childhood I did.
It was absolute torture to try to stay awake long enough to see the show. It must have aired @ midnight. As I recall it was AFTER the eyewitness news and AFTER Soul Train. Then IF .. IF ... IF .. I was still awake I would be able to see Bowman open the coffin and dangle his tennis shoe over the side.
From Rob Martenis
Back in the mid 1970's WCVE the Richmond PBS TV station held an annual fund raising auction telethon and one night Bowman Body was the celebrity that was hawking the station and its items.
At the time I was a student at the Univ. of Richmond and lived at home with my parents. I came home one evening and they were watching the telethon and told me that Bowman Body's ratty tennis shoes were being auctioned off. I bid, I won and since we were close to the station my sister and I went down to the studio to get them. At first he was reluctant to give them up, but he did so and the presentation was done on the air including him signing them.
The rest of the night he was in socks.
As a 12 year old kid in 1970 I was ate up with monsters and ghosts. I enjoyed Shock Theatre and the Bowman Body when I first saw him that year in June. Sometime around the last week of October I found out Shock Theatre was going to air "A Special Halloween Shock Double Feature" Saturday night at 11:30 October 31st. I was excited, mainly because it was 2 treats for me......I got to listen to the first 30 minutes of Richmond Revisited on WLEE 1480 AM radio and then to watch the Bowman Body. I could never find any newspaper ads for the event so maybe it was a last minute decision by the powers that be at WXEX (just a guess).
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Anyway, it aired and I got to record the audio (terrible though it sounded) I know the first feature was The Mummy but for the life of me I can't remember the second feature. My recording has Bowman Body with a little assistant named Barkley and they both read the names of people who wrote in with many many requests for his appearance. (BARKLEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!...IF YOU'RE OUT THERE LET US KNOW SO WE CAN FILL THIS VOID)
Bowman also mentioned the wild time he had at the Halloween frolic in Colonial Heights early that week and ended the night by saying Shock Theatre would return in November 1970. It leaves fond memories of those days gone by and it's great to finally have a well made documentary on this piece of Petersburg-Richmond broadcast history. ---Wayne Lumpkin
Bowman Body with Wayne Lumpkin Sept. 1976
I know for a fact that many times I could not stay awake and would end up be awoken and told to go to bed because I had gone to sleep on the couch watching your show. However for all the times I did stay awake and did see the whole show, it impressed upon me . . . that quirky humor is hilarious ! You were so fun to watch and listen to.
I know that I watched (or tried to watch) The Shock Theatre show for years as a child. It remains one of my favorite memories as a child and one of my favorite T.V. shows to this day.
I later moved away from the Petersburg/Richmond viewing area and was no longer able to view the entertaining shows. I have however have been able to see the taped shows excerpts from "Cobweb Theater". They are also immensely entertaining.
Watching your show, "Shock Theatre" also opened my eyes up to watching and seeking out other "horror movie hosts". There were so many wonderful Local Television Station talents out there ... with homemade studio horror host shows back in the 1970s 1980s. I'm glad that people have made tapes of their own and posted them on the internet for all of us to enjoy.
Thank you so much for your work as Bowman Body. You are a local treasure!
Thanks again - Your Fan, Gar The Ghoul
P.S.: I have become a free internet horror host show as well (with a huge nod to your influence on me as child). I have a facebook page up with photos of me in makeup/costume on my hand made set.
From Ed Jones
This picture, submitted by Ed Jones, is of the Bowman Body at a holiday parade in Lawrenceville, Virginia around 1975. His sister, Debbie Jones, stands on the right next to Bowman Body in this photo. Ed adds, "I think it's funny that the Winter Wonderland sign was torn for some reason."
From Clinker Moss
Clinker Moss sent us this snap shot of the Bowman Body at one of his famed charity basketball games with the WLEE "Freakish Five." The Five would travel to local high schools and take on faculty daring enough to grapple with broadcast industry professionals. No date or location was provided with the photo.
Kimberly Clarke Huff
T. Bradley Tucker
"The Santa Claus Effect"
As Bill mentions in the Hi There Horror Movie Fans documentary, one of the unexpected effects of his public appearances is that kids would want to sit on his knee as though he was Santa Claus. He says he wore out the knees in several pants that way. Generally the kids were small, but as you can see (left/right) it wasn't just elementary school tykes who had a seat.
Mark Sykes (left)
Casey Bowman Miles
No matter how big a Bowman Body fan you are, you will always be second fiddle to Casey Bowman Miles. While Casey is technically Bill's granddaughter, she calls him "Daddy" and he has raised her from infancy.
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From Ken Meyri
I watched your show in Charlottesville way back when. Enjoyed (except for some of the movies) but wasn't a fanatic. Formed a chess club for little kids in Crozet & when time to hand out trophy’s had the brilliant idea to see if you could do it on your show. My estimation of WVIR and you soared when the answer was yes. That's nothing compared to my amazement at how you handled the kids. Most of those kids have children of their own older than they were then now. Yet every one of them still list that day as a high point of their childhood.
For my part, aside from becoming a big fan, I got a life lesson on the value of professionalism. Your goofy little show gave me no hint of either the value of a true pro or how well you ply your craft. Reminiscing with one of my sons and some of his friends from those old days and you came up. I know I thanked you profusely back then, but I wanted to remind you of just one of the reasons you're loved by so many.
From Linwood Greer
In 1975 or '76 I was playing with a "new grass" group called Nobody's Reel and we were booked for a Halloween job at a long gone Mexican joint called C.C. Chicano's in Richmond's northside. Unbeknownst to us, they had booked Bowman to be the M.C. and during the last set "The Body" and I performed a hot rendition of "Dueling Kazoos". This was a high point in my musical career. Thank you Bowman Body.
From Greg Fuller
Dear Mr. Bowman,
Hey Bill, Greg Fuller here, Prince and Esther ' son. I remember riding bicycles over To Your House AND Being Scared To Knock On The door. You came out and gave us signed posters and we were elated. Sure wish I still had mine! Keep doing your thing! Forever Fan, Greg