The early Nickelodeon talk show “Live Wire,” hosted by Mark Cordray and later Fred Newman, ran for five years, serving as a bit of a kids’ equivalent to a standard daytime talk show by exposing kids to new news, bands, performers or authors of which they may not have been aware. (Among the bands that the show featured were the likes of Twisted Sister, R.E.M., The Ramones, The Psychedelic Furs, Afrika Bambaata and The Sugarhill Gang, a pretty damn impressive roster for a kid’s show in any age.) It was one of the highest-rated shows of the infant network that had just launched in 1979, but due to its ephemeral nature, it’s never re-run, and is little-seen today.
There’s rarely much call for us here at Daily Grindhouse to point out a 15-minute segment from an early ‘80s Nickelodeon talk show, but the clip below from 1982 is a fantastic reason to make an exception. The guest in this segment is Tom Savini, introduced as the effects artist behind “DAWN OF THE DEAD, MANIAC and FRIDAY THE 13th,” a trilogy of films that, no doubt, the pre-teen-to-teen audience has probably not much opportunity to see.
Savini, fresh off the set of CREEPSHOW, brings some of his toys along, including several CREEPSHOW pieces. He’s also great with the young audience, carefully explaining the difference between effects and real life and talking excitedly about moving from gore to monster movies. (“Splatter films are on the way out,” he claims.) He’s also remarkably candid about his work on MANIAC.
Tragically, the segment cuts off before Savini exits (I’d love to see the whole segment), but it’s still a great look at not only Savini, but how maturely that “Live Wire” treated its audience. It’s been sitting around on YouTube since 2009, but has only racked up a few thousand views – a figure that seems criminally low for such a fascinating piece of cult film history. Go ahead and click above, so we can at least get that number into five figures.