Fritz the Nite Owl, whose real name is Frederick Peerenboom, has stepped foot onto the Ohio Theatre stage more times than he can remember, but said the feeling is always the same.
“I’m no stranger, I’ve been on that stage many times,” Peerenboomsaid. “But every time is like the first time. You walk out on that stage and you look out at that big, beautiful theater and you see that audience there and it’s still a charge. It’s electrifying to go out there, to be on that stage in that theater.”
The 78-year-old, Emmy Award-winning, local TV and radio personality will have the chance to feel that charge again Friday night, when he hosts the “Fright Nite Friday” double feature at the43rd Annual CAPA Summer Movie Series at 7:30 p.m.
Peerenboom is best known for hosting “Nite Owl Theatre,” a WBNS-10TV, late night movie showcase, featuring classic horror and sci-fifilms, which ran from 1974-1991. However, he has also been an emcee, done radio work, voice over in commercials and had a jazz review column.
Hosting “Fright Nite Friday,” Peerenboom will be presenting and talking about two classic horror films, similar to his work on “Nite OwlTheatre,” however he said it differs greatly.
“It’s quite a bit different in the sense that on “Nite Owl Theater,” I’m on screen and I introduced the movie, and it runs and I come back and talk about the movie a little more and then commercials,” he said. “Where as here, I’ll walk out on stage, I’ll do five minutes of background on the movie and it will be the movie uninterrupted. At intermission I’ll be out in the lobby meeting with people and signing pictures and taking pictures. Before the second features starts I’ll go out again on the stage and do about five minutes and talk about the second feature. And after the movies, as the people are leaving, I’ll chat and meet the people and it’s just a very gratifying and exciting thing to do.”
Peerenboom will be introducing “Son of Dracula” (1943) and “The Black Cat” (1934,) and said he has been a fan of both classics.
“On ‘Nite Owl (Theatre’) we showed both of those as part of our regular chiller features, both are very good movies,”Peerenboom said. “(They have) held up well over the years. I’ve enjoyed both of them many times, and I never get tired of seeing them again, they hold up well.”
When it comes to pairing the Nite Owl himself with horror movies, it was a no-brainer for CAPA publicist RolandaCopley.
“We love having Fritz be a part of the CAPA Summer Movie Series,” Copley said in an email. “Classic horror films and Fritz have been the perfect combination in Columbus for many years, so bringing his expertise and charm to the OhioTheatre is slam dunk for all, especially the patrons.”
Such a slam dunk, that this is the third year Peerenboom has hosted a night during the series.
“I must’ve been doing something right because this is the third time they’ve had me back,” he said. “So that’s very gratifying and I’m just glad that they like what I do and ask me back.”
Although Peerenboom will only host Friday, he recommends seeing the entire CAPA Summer Movie Series
“The Summer Movie Series at the Ohio Theatre is for anybody who is interested in the great movies of all times. They have the musicals, the westerns, the dramas and also the chillers,” he said. “If you are at all a fan of great movies, it’s just an incredible way to spend the night. You can’t go wrong with the Ohio Theatre’s movie series whether I’m there or not.”
The Ohio Theatre is located at 39 E. State St. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and screening begins at 7:30 p.m. General admission tickets are $4 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or the day of the show at the CAPA Ticket Center.