COLONIAL HEIGHTS, Va. (WRIC) — With Halloween quickly approaching, longtime Channel 8 viewers are remembering the late-night horror movie show “Shock Theatre.”

The wildly popular show dominated television screens across Central Virginia on WRIC, formerly WXEX.

The show initially aired in 1970 for the weeklong “Horror Film Festival,” and eventually ran until 1976. The show rebranded and eventually moved to two more markets.

The man in front of the lens was Bill Bowman, who hosted the show as ‘The Bowman Body.’

Bowman’s popularity reached far beyond state lines. He had fans in the Richmond community, Washington D.C. and even North Carolina.

“To get to the point where people recognize you, it was flattering,” he said.

The show was full of improv skits meant for humor.

“It was just a lot of fun. I really enjoyed it,” Bowman said.

The Friday-night show’s ratings beat Johnny Carson’s late-night talk-show ratings on Saturdays. At the time, however, Bowman didn’t know how much of an impact he had made.

“I never dreamed that would happen. I don’t think the station ever dreamed that would happen either,” he added, laughing.

Bowman remembered one of his silliest and unexpected moments while filming. Bob Travis was on set with him to promote a local basketball team, and they were tossing the ball back and forth.

“The basketball rolled across the floor pass the camera operator. [The] camera operator thought we needed it, so he picked it up and threw it back at us,” he said. “I looked up, the ball was about a half inch from my nose, it proceeded to hit me and knocked me and the set and the coffin over the back of the set.”

His wife, Octavia, battled Alzheimer’s for seven years. The community had rallied around their family to help out. She died in 2021.

Bowman’s family still needs support as he experiences his own health challenges.

According to Bowman’s granddaughter Casey, he recovered from COVID-19 in the summer. He also had spinal surgery, was diagnosed with melanoma and needs help with house repairs.

Bowman has made countless public appearances, and was the subject of two documentaries. He continues to entertain fans while hosting a radio show on WHAP as a guest.