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Former WGN-TV anchor, ‘Creature Features’ host Marty McNeeley dead at 86

Marty McNeeley

Marty McNeeley

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Updated: April 17, 2013 6:03AM



Marty McNeeley, a former WGN-TV late-night news anchor who hosted the station’s “Creature Features” movies, has died, the station reported.

Mr. McNeeley died Sunday at his home in, Middletown, N.J. He was 86.

He died of Alzheimer’s disease, the station said.

Mr. McNeeley worked for Channel 9 in the 1970s and 1980s in news and as a staff announcer. He hosted the late-night news program “Night Beat,” which was broadcast after midnight and featured Dave Brubeck’s “Take Five” as its theme music.

In a Chicago Sun-Times interview in 2004 after the death of a colleague, Mr. McNeeley said, “Like most staff announcers, you’re sort of anonymous to the public unless you’re fortunate enough to have your own show.”

Indeed, one of his signature roles was as the anonymous and sinister voice who read the poem that opened each weekly edition of “Creature Features,” Channel 9’s old series of Saturday night horror movies:

Gruesome ghouls and grisly ghosts

Wretched souls and cursed hosts

Vampires bite and villains creep

Demons scream and shadows sleep

Blood runs cold in every man

Fog rolls in and coffins slam

Mortals quake and full moon rise

Creatures haunt and terrorize.

“Great guy,” WGN reporter Dean Richards told the station’s viewers. “I sure remember watching him on TV.”

“We remember Marty well and all looked up to him,” WGN news anchor Steve Sanders said.

Mr. McNeeley was born in Youngstown, Ohio. He also worked in radio and TV in Cleveland and Detroit and, after leaving Chicago, worked for ABC Radio in New York.

He is survived by his wife of 30 years, Susan Petix McNeeley; sons Marty, David and Douglas; a daughter, Jane; two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, according to the John F. Pfleger Funeral Home in Middletown, which is handling funeral arrangements.



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