I enjoyed your site, but thought I would see something about Shrimpenstein. It was on KHJ channel 9 in LA from January 1967 to sometime in 1968.
The hosts were Gene Moss (Dr. Von Schtick) and Jim Thurman (voices). Shrimpenstein was a miniature Frankenstein monster (a ventriloquist dummy who was "created" when jellybeans were thrown into the Monster Machine - no, I did not make this up).
The show was in color, and I still have my Shrimpenstein Value stamps and a 45 rpm record of the opening theme sung by Gene Moss in a bad Boris Karloff imitation.
Moss and Thurman wrote the Roger Ramjet cartoons and did advertising campaigns, mostly for radio. Moss later did voice-overs for LA's channel 2 news and Disney/Touchstone pictures previews.
Thurman also wrote and did voices for Sesame Street. Shrimpenstein was funny and irreverent which probably led to its downfall, as they made fun of the sponsors (McDonalds) and the cartoons on the show (the very limited animation Marvel superheroes). We made audio tapes but I have no idea where they are today.
- Sincerely, Mike G
My cousin and I were both big Shrimpenstien fans and lived not far from the KHJ Channel 9 Studios on Melrose so we decided to go visit. There was a guard at the gate on the west entrance to the studio and the he wasn't at all interested in helping us visit our friends.
The lady behind the glass in the lobby was equally unhelpful, so being resourceful 10 year olds we went to the unmanned gate on the east side of the studio, crawled underneath it and walked around to the back of the building and into the first open door.
Inside we found ourselves on the Shrimpenstein set! Sitting on a counter in front of the lab was Shrimpenstein himself. We both took turns making Shrimpenstein talk, imitating his voice and generally having the time of our lives until someone came on set and asked us what we were doing there. It was none other than Dr. Von Schtick, Gene Moss himself. I can't remember what we told him but I do remember that he showed us around the set and gave us autographed pictures before we crawled back under the gate to where we had left our bikes.
We went back once or twice and would watch as long as they would let us, fetching water or whatever anybody needed just for the chance to hang out with our pals. Eventually one of us let it slip what we had been up to and our parents banned us from ever sneaking into KHJ again.
Eric Smith writes: Hi, TVparty! I found your information on Shrimpenstein very valuable. I haven't had a chance to see many of the shows, (just the one on YouTube currently,) but I'm definitely a fan. I recently created and blogged an illustration of Shrimpy and Dr. Von Schtick and thought I would let you know, in case you'd like to add it to your Shrimpenstein page. I'm attaching it to this email.
The original blog post is here with desktop wallpaper and the original sketch. Thanks for the excellent website. Keep it up!
I remember this show quite well. There were a few other characters besides von Schtick and Shrimpenstein. There was Wilfred the Weenie Wolf, who did the spots for Hormel Wieners, one of the shows sponsors.
Wilfred was just a hand, wearing a rubber werewolf glove. He lived in a box, like Thing from 'The Addams Family.' Then there were the Tijuana Bats, bat puppets that lip-synched current popular songs. I also remember a character similar White Fang from the Soupy Sales Show (furry arm, off-camera voice) but can't remember the name.
- yours sincerely, Tabonga
The Shrimpenstein series with Gene Moss and Jim Thurman had that zany little puppet that was built by renowned artiste Wah Chang.
Chang was responsible for all sorts of stuff, not the least, the props, weapons, etc in the original Star Trek. Moss and Thurmon later went on (well, not much later) to do a short - lived Johnny Carson-esque talk show on KHJ as well as writing AND voicing the cult favorite Roger Ramjet.
- Robert Hill
Always nice to remember old favorites. The RealLittlePartiGirl site has some things on Shrimpie as well. Gene and Jim were fired from Shrimpenstein and replaced by KHJ announcer, Wayne Thomas, for a few months preceding Shrimp's demise. Wayne-o just didn't have it!
They did do the late night talk show thing during the summer of '67... it was called "The Moss & Thurman Show OR The Thurman & Moss Show OR The OR Show". They had a 3-piece combo, headed by Stan Worth (along with Whitey Mitchell on bass and Allan Goodman on drums).
They had screwy guests (I think Brother Theodore may have been on), as well as an actual notable person from time to time. It was on Monday through Thursday at 10:00 pm on Channel 9. They had a studio audience, first come first serve, and the audience members would bring big poster signs. It was silly and fun... you might say nifty.
Thereafter Gene and Jim concentrated on their advertising career for awhile ... Der Weinerschnizel is my personal favorite (Der Weinerschnitzel, weinerschnitzel, dis must be the place. Just Drive right in and put a great big hot dog in your face). We'd watch out for various commercials they'd be in or do the voice of (Gene's Coffeemate "Rounds out the flavor of a good cup of coffee" -- the square cup morphing to round, and Jim as the VandeKamp's Fisherman, all decked out in yellow slicker).
As has been noted, they started doing voices on Sesame Street, and Jim eventually became a writer for the Electric Company and, I believe, won an Emmy. Most recently (although it has been awhile) I picked up their voices on MathNet on PBS.
- Ann R.
The zany comedy team of Gene Moss and Jim Thurman put the "Shrimpenstein" show on the map, but they were not the creators of the character Shrimpenstein or the show.
I, Mike Dormer, being of semi-sound mind, dreamed up the little squirt while seated at my stylish plastic kitchen table in the mid-sixties in Ocean Beach, California.
Lee teacher, my creative cohort at the time and I have the copyright as proof. Our pal at Capitol Records, producer/packager Fred Rice, suggested that we cook up some cute monster characters for merchandising, and when he saw Shrimpy, the fuse was lit. Fred, Lee, and I honed him visually, then we took the idea to KHJ and pitched the "suits" there on a TV show.
Teacher and I had been doing rock radio promo stuff at the station with a guy named Don Berrigan, so we had an "in." KHJ bought the idea and we started to knit the show together. Fred had worked with Moss and Thurman before on record albums, so they were plugged in as actors. Teacher and I became instant TV writers.
The Shrimpenstein puppet was cleverly crafted by noted sculptor and puppetmeister, Wah Chang. I designed the Shrimpy set and all the goofy machines used on the show, and our crackerjack stage crew built every thing in record time. Teacher and I wrote the Shrimpenstein theme song lyrics.
- Mike Dormer
LOCAL KID SHOWS
Gene Moss, comic/character actor, mimic, scriptwriter and puppeteer who hosted one of Los Angeles' most popular kids TV comedy shows, "Shrimpenstein," has died.
Mr. Moss hosted "Shrimpenstein" weekday evenings on KJH (now KCAL) Ch. 9 during the late 1960's. Co-starring in the series was comedy scribe Jim Thurman (who would go on to greater fame as one of the writers on "Mash").
Moss' Dr. Von Schtick was pelted with cream pies, dealt with smart-alecky
monster puppets and made references to the Marvel Superheroes cartoons
that he screened on his show as "another Marvel mediocrity" or "one
of those TV cartoons that doesn't move."
The quality of the video that survived is not great, but it's all there is!
Gene Moss recorded an album called 'Dracula's Greatest Hits.'
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