Bob Carter, "Sammy Terry" creator, dies at 83

Bob Carter as Sammy Terry

Nightmare Theater went off the air in the 1980s, but thousands of Hoosiers are talking about its star today on our Facebook page.

Bob Carter, also known as Sammy Terry, has died at the age of 83.

Carter created the character of "Sammy Terry" in the 1960s for a late-night horror movie show on channel 4.

For 37 years (1962 to 1989), Sammy Terry climbed out of a coffin on Nightmare Theater wearing a cape and skull cap. His evil chuckle earned the adoration of fans.

Now Hoosiers are recalling one of the brightest stars from the early days of local television.

Think back to what it was like - a coffin slowly opening, a creepy character rising from the grave with a signature greeting. To generations of people in Indianapolis. this was a Friday night ritual, and Sammy Terry was a tradition.

Sammy Terry was a survivor. Creator Bob Carter started with a 13-week contract and stayed on the air for nearly 30 years. A decade ago, he talked about the joy of his television career.

"I don't miss the work. I miss the entertaining. Once you're a ham, you're a ham!" he said.

Carter kept the character alive after television canceled him, appearing in commercials and at private events several times a year. Even now, Sammy Terry will live on in Bob's family.

"I just refer to it as Sammy Terry's castle. We're in the dungeon here of Sammy Terry's castle," explained Bob's son Mark Carter, who has taken over the role. Mark uses many of the original props that made Sammy Terry famous.

"This is the original Skully that was used on the set and has been preserved ever since," said Mark.

He also has "George the spider," the sidekick that his dad carried in his make-up case. There's also one of the original coffins used to open the show, preserving the legacy made his father a local icon.

"He was horror without being horrible. It was fun, but yet scary. People would cry, then they would laugh," said Mark.

Mark, dubbed "Ghoulsby," was also on the show, which aired horror films from the 1930s and 40s.

Through it all, the man himself was laughing. Bob Carter's real vocation was as a businessman, running a family music store on Shadeland Ave. for 35 years, where he offered piano lessons, repaired band instruments and sold sheet music. He was an active supporter of the Special Olympics.

But he will be remembered for his avocation, something that he shared with so many in central Indaina every weekend.

"Television in Indiana and the US and the world has been and always will be a wonderful experience, so I hope hat you sleep well and have pleasant nightmares!"

The public visitation Is Friday, July 5th From 4pm to 8pm at Singleton Mortuary On Madison Avenue.

Bob Carter's funeral will be private.

Sammy Terry Nightmares


Robert Carter profile (from American Senior Communities)