Marvin (the Near-Sighted Madman) was a TV horror host, played by Terry Bennett, who originally appeared on Chicago's WBKB between 1957 and 1959. The first Shock Theater host out of Chicago, Bennett was a well known face to TV viewers in the city because of his week-day morning children show the Jobblewocky Place.
However on December the 7th 1957, at 10pm Bennett appeared on TV screens as his character Marvin, a deranged beatnik type, with turtle-neck sweater, jacket and thick rimmed jam-jar classes. The very epitome of what became the accepted parody of the jazz bar loving beatniks. An image thateven to this day is recognised in pop culture. Marvin spoke with a slow purposeful voice, in some ways an imitation of the infamously oddball Peter Lorre and the character of Renfield from the original 1931 Dracula movie.
Marvin's assistant was his wife, known only as Dear, her face rarely seen as she has her back to the camera or obscured in some way, he would perform gruesome experiments on her. Dear was played by Bennett’s real life wife Joy Bennett. Bennett would play Marvin mostly for laughs but every now and then would try to scare his audience. The Shock Theater he presented became so popular that the station produced a spin-off show that ran directly after called The Shocktale Party. Presented as a demented wrap party to the earlier show, guests included classic horror characters like Orville the hunchback and Shorty the Frankenstein monster, as well as the live band the Deadbeats. The band would often accompany Marvin while did musical parody numbers or beat style poetry readings. The shows finally ended in August 1959.