Written by Dr. Jose
In case you needed another reminder of why the ’80s was the coolest decade ever, I present: Tom Savini playing with his gruesome props on Nickelodeon.
With only a handful of films under his belt at the time, Savini was making the rounds through the talk show circuit, showcasing his effects work for the yet-to-be-released Creepshow, when he happened to stop by the Nickelodeon show Livewire. The show – which covered all sorts of current events and entertainment topics, and guest starred popular bands and actors of the time – ran from 1980 to 1985, and was hosted by Fred Newman, the guy who would later go on to voice Skeeter and Mr. Dink from the Nickelodeon show Doug.
Despite its brief length, Savini’s segment is full of great behind-the-scenes tidbits. We get to see The Creep (which Savini lovingly nicknamed ‘Raoul’) in full, unobscured glory – sans tattered shawl – and learn that it took 11 people(!) to operate the life-sized puppet. Tom also divulges some of his special effects secrets: the trick to making Nathan Grantham’s corpse look so rotted? Rice Krispies.
Perhaps the wildest part of the whole thing is that the audience is made up solely of tweens and young teenagers! There’s even a little Q&A towards the end of the show where the kids get to ask Savini anything they want. Their questions are delightfully thorough, causing Tom to reveal that Creepshow is his favorite work (as it contains all of his “masterpieces”) and Maniac as his least favorite (it’s too grim and depressing, even for Savini). He even mentions (albeit curtly) his time as a photographer in Vietnam and how the horrors he witnessed influenced his work.
Everything about the clip – from the free-spirited nature of kids bygone television fare, to Savini’s handmade practical effects – is a nostalgic gut-punch. But there’s little time to be wistful when Tom pulls out Adrienne Barbeau’s decapitated head and the youngsters in the audience start howling.
Thanks to halloweenguy1031 for uploading and preserving these great videos.