7/1/2013 Original 'Sammy Terry' dies at the age of 83 Both father, son brought spooktacular shows to New Castle
Robert Carter, the creator of Sammy Terry. Carter in his famous "Sammy Terry" costume.
By DARREL RADFORD email@example.com
Robert Carter -- the man with the ominous laugh who became a Hoosier television icon as "Sammy Terry" during the 1960s and 1970s -- has died.
The 83-year-old Carter -- who brought his spooktacular act to New Castle on occasion -- passed away peacefully in his sleep Sunday, according to his son, Mark Carter.
The elder Carter became a television fixture on WTTV Channel 4, in the 1960s and 1970s with the character he created. Sammy Terry's name was a play on words, taken from "cemetery."
Carter's portrayal of Sammy Terry came at a time when the still relatively new medium of television offered a means for classic films to generate revenue. When WTTV purchased a set of films from a "shock theater" package, Carter was chosen as the off-camera narrative host of the program.
But over time, the popularity of Carter's voice-overs inspired the development of Sammy Terry as an on-air personality -- a cloaked, pale-faced ghoul who rose from his coffin on Friday nights.
It was horror without the gore as Sammy Terry used story-telling skills to spur the imagination.
"When Sammy was speaking, you felt as if he could be in the very same room or just outside your window," Mark Carter said recently of his dad. "You almost wet your pants and you end up laughing. That is when horror is fun."
The elder Carter would introduce short films on what became known as "Sammy Terry's Nightmare Theatre" and occasionally offer humorous remarks about the films scheduled that evening.
In the past couple of years, the younger Carter has revived his dad's Sammy Terry role, bringing a show to the W.G. Smith Building here in 2010 that drew more than 300 people. He also performed in Muncie as well as the Indiana State Fair among other Hoosier locations.
The younger Carter has been assisted by a local resident, Melodie (Scrogham) Donovan, a Blue River Valley graduate and former member of the Mount Summit Christian Church.
A native of Decatur, Ill., the elder Carter had majored in radio and television and obtained a master's degree from Syracuse University.
The public is invited to the Robert Carter visitation at Singleton Mortuary in Indianapolis on Friday. Those interested in attending may visit www.sammyterrynightmares.com for details and times.
Posted: Tuesday, July 2, 2013
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at Halloween time about 5 years ago I met Sammy Terry at Smith Auditorium. had my picture taken with him and got his autograph