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New Releases: Icky Twerp Edition


The Fort Worth Round-Up produced many exciting new discoveries for TAMI, from promotional films like "Fort Worth: The Unexpected City" to this home movie of Arthur Penn's Bonnie and Clyde (1967) shooting in Venus. One set of films that Team TAMI was particularly eager to get its hands on, however, was the Bill Camfield Collection. After reviewing hours of footage, we are thrilled to finally share these incredible films featuring one of Fort Worth's favorite television personalities.

William "Bill" Camfield began his career in show business in 1949, when he started writing for and acting in a locally produced television show, Hometown Harmony. Later promoted to Radio-TV Director, Camfield produced and starred in several more shows over the next five years, including Let's Go Shopping, Billboard, and Meet the Candidate. In 1954, he went to work for the newly formed independent television station KFJZ-TV Channel 11 as a writer-at-large and performer. (The channel is now known as KTVT, Fort Worth's CBS affiliate.) It was during this time that he created his most popular characters.

Nightmare was a weekly horror film series broadcast on KFJZ-TV from 1957 to 1959 and 1962 to 1964. Outside of its weekly appearances, it also occasionally ran as a Halloween special into the 1970s. As the show's ghoulish host, Gorgon, Camfield possessed free reign to write and produce the show. This episode likely represents the show's final weekly broadcast in 1959. In the footage, Gorgon shows off some of the macabre mementos he keeps in his trophy room.

Undoubtedly part of the reason Nightmare first went off the air was due to Camfield's growing commitment to the weekday children's show Slam-Bang Theatre. As the show's host, Icky Twerp, Camfield introduced cartoons and Three Stooges segments and performed in countless comedy skits. The character gained legendary status in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, with Slam-Bang Theatre remaining on the air from 1959 to 1972. Of the three series of sketches featured in our collection, this one is likely our favorite. It not only showcases the kind of silly slapstick that was typical of the program but also plays with broadcasting technology.

In 1965, the Three Stooges invited Camfield, along with several other children's show hosts from across the country, to act in the trio's sixth and final feature film, The Outlaws Is Coming. Camfield played notorious frontiersman Wyatt Earp. This edited promotional film gives a behind-the-scenes look at Camfield's motion picture debut, from a cast party in the Hollywood hills to filming on set with the Three Stooges, Adam West, and Nancy Kovak.

Check out the entire collection here!



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