Tom Savini on Livewire, 1982

Nickelodeon’s Livewire was a talk show for kids that ran from 1980 to 1985. I haven’t seen it before, and unfortunately I can’t find an episode list online (not even on IMDb). But I’ve been going through the clips available on YouTube, and I’m impressed.

Savini is charming and giddy as he talks about “splatter films” being “on the way out” and demonstrates some of his special makeup effects. Creepshow was about to hit theaters, and he names “fluffy,” the nickname for the crate monster, his masterpiece. He also says that, among the films he’s been involved with, the controversial Maniac (1980) is his least favorite, and generally tries to separate himself from the ultra-violent genre he pioneered. (Read a 1980 interview with Savini here.)

Even if you’re not a horror fan, listen to the intelligent, searching questions the kids ask him, and ask yourself if it would be possible to produce a talk show for teens and preteens today in which kids are trusted to ask maverick adult guests articulate questions on live TV. (The Ramones, R.E.M., and The Psychedelic Furs all performed on the show and answered audience questions.) Not to mention the fact that every movie Savini had done to this point was rated R or unrated (now NC-17).

The level of respect kids got during this time—a level of respect we demanded—will not be seen again.

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