Known for: A Sacramento television staple for 16 years, Wilkins hosted "Seven Arts Theatre," then later "Creature Features," where he would introduce a horror or science fiction movie, show half of it, then would interview stars in that genre during intermission.
Background: In the early 1960s, Wilkins worked for KCRA-TV Channel 3, writing and producing commercials. In 1966, he was offered his own show at 11:30 p.m. Saturdays. Eschewing a ghoulish outfit, Wilkins wore a a conservative suit and tie, sat in a rocking chair, wore horn-rimmed glasses and smoked his trademark large cigar. He became a pop culture fixture, especially after his "Creature Features" show debuted in 1971 on KTVU-TV Channel 2 in the Bay Area. That year, his local show moved from Channel 3 to KTXL-TV Channel 40, where it ran until 1982. Christopher Lee, William Shatner, Mark Hamill and Boris Karloff were some of the stars who appeared on his show.
A highlight: Speaking about why his show gained an early audience, Wilkins told The Bee in 2001, "There were no videotapes, no VCR machines. If you wanted to see an old movie, you had to be in front of the television at a particular time. And that made it more special."
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.