Watson Davis was born in 1913 and worked in the entertainment industry all his life. At 13 he was a Malco Theatres usher. He went on to run one of their theatres and then went on to be their Advertising Director.
Turned out that he was gifted at it.
His best gimmick was “Sivad”—Davis spelled backwards.
Sivad was a countryfied vampire who campily introduced the Friday night horror films and made jokes about the films during commercial breaks. Sivad was Monster of Ceremonies on “Fantastic Features” on WHBQ channel 13 in Memphis from 1962-1972. The show eventually became "Fantastic Double Features".
Episodes opened with a horse drawn hearse driving through the foggy woods of Overton Park. The vampire exiting the hearse and was about to unload his coffin when the camera cuts to Sivad saying, “Good Eeeeeeevening.” After which it was camp and corny jokes and puns all the way.
The character and his show were highly succesful, having once sold over 30,000 tickets for a one day appearance at the fairgrounds (Breaking the Beatles attendance record in 1966). He made numerous personal appearances, especially for Malco openings of new horror films.
A couple of great features on Davis and Sivad pre and post-retirement:
Davis passed away at age 92 in 2005.
Five years after his death an appreciation society called “The Sivad Squad” organized a celebration of Memphis’ King of Horror Hosts entitled Sivads of March, proving the lasting impact of the vampire host.
Sivad’s motto was
“Love & Curses”
Sivad produced a 45 single entitled "Sivad Burries Rock and Roll" and the B-Side of it was called "Dickey Drakeller". I've only been able to find a video of the single--the B-Side shall have to remain a mystery for now...
Being that Davis has been dead for many years, it's neat to see that his legacy lives on with the following folks...
Just A few Horror Hosts inspired by Sivad:
Well that's all for our 4th day of the Countdown to Halloween,
tune in tomorrow for another installment in the Hosts with the Most!