Best Bets: Mr. Moribund brings horror, hijinks to Milford

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W.J. Walton is living out a childhood dream.

As a kid, he loved old horror movies and the hosts who would introduce the films on TV. Now, he’s become one of them of sorts.

A few times a year at the Riverfront Theater in Milford, Mr. Walton becomes Mr. Moribund. He and his band of zany characters get together for a movie and a show. And it’s gotten more popular each time out.

For the 10th time since 2015, Mr. Moribund’s Theatre of Terror will feature the 1956 Universal Pictures classic “The Mole People” today and Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m., complete with live music, comedy, costume competition and more fun.

A volunteer with Second Street Players since 2006, the theater company started discussing putting a movie projector and screen in the Riverfront in 2011.

“I have both been longtime fan of “Rocky Horror (Picture Show)” and the audience participation element of it. But also since my childhood, I was a fan of the classic horror movie hosts. You know, the guys that would show the classic Universal (Pictures) monsters and all the other great horror movies,” Mr. Walton said.

“They would basically watch along with you and make their stupid jokes and all that kind of stuff. I was very young — too young to be watching the movies really. I was fascinated with the hosts myself, and I always saw that as just a possibility. If I had a dream job, it would be that. It’d be something very silly like a horror host and that idea just kind of sprung into my head. If we’re going to show movies, we should show some of the classics and maybe I could get up there and try to host some of them.”

He pitched the idea to the board and they loved the idea. The projector and screen didn’t come to pass until 2015 but they had an opening in October of that year and they gave his Mr. Moribund show a shot.

The first film was “The Tingler,” the 1959 Vincent Price film about a scientist who discovers a parasite in human beings, called a “tingler,” which feeds on fear.

“I said ‘Thank you for trusting me and I’m sure that you won’t be disappointed.’ And they weren’t disappointed at all. They were very happy with it. We pulled in more people than the regular movies do and they have practically begged me to do it ever since,” Mr. Walton said.

His character Mr. Moribund is reminiscent of TV horror hosts such as Dr. Shock in Philadelphia, Zacherley in New York and Svengoolie, who still shows movies Saturday nights on MeTV.

According to his official biography, Mr. Moribund is a graduate of the Dwight Frye High School class of 1931, and a dropout of Humpherey Hunchback’s School for Horror Hosts By Mail. He enjoys coffee, 80s hardcore punk and long walks in the fog by the swamp.

The name of the high school is a reference to the character actor in several Universal horror classics, who played Renfield in “Dracula” and Fritz in “Frankenstein.”

Mr. Moribund is joined on stage by such characters as Cadavera The Clown, who was discovered in the TV studio’s basement after being trapped there for over a decade when her children’s show was canceled; Daffodil, a monster created from spare parts that Mr. Moribund had laying around the laboratory; and Lady Lacrimose, Mr. Moribund’s high school nemesis and rival horror host, whose show was canceled after a terrible flame war with the writers — with actual flame.

“The show is like being in a movie studio during a showing of one of these horror movies. We take breaks during the movie and do one of our skits and then go back to the movie. It’s a lot of fun,” Mr. Walton said.

After the COVID break, Mr. Moribund was back at Riverfront in July showing the Godzilla film “Destroy All Monsters.” Those shows broke the record for attendance.

Mr. Walton has been delighted with the response to his shows.

“I don’t know if the audience has quite the same appreciation for these movies as I do. They might laugh at them a bit more than I do. But I think it’s more than that now. We’ve made it almost like a party and I think that’s really what’s attracted people,” he said.

Along with the usual foolishness, Saturday night will be Scout Night at Mr. Moribund’s Theatre of Terror.

Scouts from any organization who come to the show on Saturday will be able to earn an official Moribund Scout Fun Badge.

“We have a friend, who just kind of stuck it out there as an idea after our summer show. She said we should have a Scout night. She said ‘My mom makes patches. She has a patch machine that embroiders patches. Why don’t you design a patch for us?’ And I doodled just a little Mr. Moribund Fun Badge for the Scouts and any Scouts that come in — Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts — Scouts from any kind of Scouting program. If you come in, there’s $2 fee to pay for the patch to cover the cost of the patch. And if you sit through the whole movie, you get to have a Mr. Moribund Fun Patch. I’m really excited about that. I just love that idea so much,” he said.

Doors to the weekend shows open at 7 p.m., when visitors will find a macabre art show. There will also be a raffle with all proceeds going to Cyndi Lauper’s True Colors charity, which helps provide resources for LGBTQ homeless teens.

Tickets are $5 and will only be sold at the door. The Riverfront Theater is at 2 S. Walnut St., Milford.

‘Legally Blonde Jr.’

Milton Theatre students will have Milton thinking pink when they present their production of “Legally Blonde Jr.” on Saturday, at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 3 and 7:30 p.m.

Based on the hit movie starring Reese Witherspoon, the musical follows the adventures of a sorority girl named Elle Woods – a Gemini with a double Capricorn moon – who tries to win her ex-boyfriend back by earning a Harvard law degree.

She seems to have it all: good looks, a relationship with the “campus catch,” and great taste in clothes. However, her life is turned upside-down when her boyfriend, Warner, dumps her in an attempt to start getting “serious” about his future and attend Harvard Law.

Determined to win him back, Elle uses a lot of hard work and some charm to get into Harvard Law so she can prove to Warner that she’s serious enough for him. Once at school, she is challenged by her peers, professors, and her ex, but with the help of some new friends, Elle realizes her potential and sets out to prove herself to the world.

It features Julia Graveit as Elle Woods, Carter Huffman as Emmett Forrest, Hadyn Carter-Hansen as Paulette, Mason Schulenburg as Professor Callahan, Haley Cummins as Vivienne Kensington, Nolan Wright as Kyle/Dewey, Katey Megginson as Margot and Harper Jane Gooddog as Bruiser Woods.

Tickets are $12-$15. Purchase them atMiltonTheatre.com, via phone by calling 302-684-3038 or at the box office at 110 Union St.

‘Our Town’ in Salisbury

Salisbury University’s Bobbi Biron Theatre Program inaugurates its 2021-22 season with a production of Thornton Wilder’s critically acclaimed “Our Town” through Sunday.

Directed by Matt Saltzberg, curtain is 7:30 p.m., 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Described by award-winning playwright Edward Albee as “the greatest American play ever written,” “Our Town” presents the small town of Grover’s Corners in three acts: “Daily Life,” “Love and Marriage” and “Death and Eternity.”

Narrated by the Stage Manager and performed with minimal props and sets, the play depicts the simple daily lives of the Webb and Gibbs families as their children fall in love, marry and eventually — in one of the most famous scenes in American theatre — die.

The cast includes Jake Nail as the Stage Manager, Megan Bradley as Emily and Samson Rivers as George. Additional cast members are Meghan Baker, Alyssa Chiarelli, Madeleine Davis, Daelyn Funk, Caleb Graham, Jayce Jenkins, Camille Jones, Destin Mabbyalas, Jacob Rudland, Sarah Sheppard, Zoey Stewart and Spencer Tilghman.

Sponsored by the Music, Theatre and Dance Department, admission is $15; $10 for seniors age 62-plus and SU faculty, staff and alumni; $5 for non-SU students; $3 for SU students with Gull Card. For tickets, visit the online ticket office at https://salisbury.universitytickets.com/.

All attendees at SU events are required to wear a mask while in the audience, regardless of vaccination status. Attendees may be asked to leave an event for non-compliance.

Attendees also must complete an online COVID-19 screening on the day of their visit, prior to coming to the SU campus, here.

Those planning to park on campus must register in advance for a free parking pass here.

For more information call 410-543-6385 or visit here.

Draper collection

The Delaware Public Archives recently announced the digital release of “The Abram H. Draper Collection.” This collection consists of 34 pieces of correspondence including letters and poetry from Sgt. Abram H. Draper to his wife Anna M. Wiley Draper during the American Civil War.

The content ranges from detailed descriptions of Sgt. Draper’s time while on guard and picket duty to everyday details of the life of a Union soldier in the United States Army from 1861-1863.

The collection also includes correspondence to and from members of Sgt. Draper’s extended family, as well as letters and documents to Anna notifying her of his death on January 22, 1863 from typhoid fever at Camp Gilpins, Virginia.

The Abram H. Draper Collection may be accessed virtually here or by calling 302-744-5000 to schedule a visit to review the physical document collection at the Delaware Public Archives.

Now showing

New this weekend in theaters is the remake of the sci-film “Dune” and the animated “Ron’s Gone Wrong.”