The Scary Tale of Shock Theatre continues....
Bob Olson, who was largely responsible for local programming on Channel 13, put a new 'Shock Theatre' on the fast track in September of 1964.
To secure the perfect 'horror host,' Olson didn't have to cast his net very far...he tapped veteran Channel 13 announcer Paul Reynolds.
Channel 13's 'Do It All' Guy
"Bob Olson summoned me to his office and announced I was going to host 'Shock Theatre'" recalled Reynolds in an interview for WTVT's 25th anniversary. "Bob wasn't much help. He simply handed me an old University of Tampa football uniform with a '13' on it and a Frankenstein mask, and said 'Paul, you're a teenage ghoul.' From that, I made Shock's personality, which is basically an exaggeration of my personal frustrations. For instance, a mother who always wanted the room cleaned...a nosy neighbor next door who thought he could meddle in my affairs...and a general mistrust of all authority figures."
Paul Reynolds becomes 'Shock Armstrong'
The crew provided a suitably trashed bedroom set. "Maybe that's why the kids identified with Shock so fast," suggested Reynolds. "He doesn't clean his room." Indeed, young people made up most of Shock's audience. "This wasn't supposed to be a kids' show!" stated a 'shocked' Reynolds.