- BESTOINK DOOLEY
- (George Ellis)
- See See George Ellis' Internet Movie Database credits.
- Read a March 2006 blog entry about Bestoink Dooley on the
Mike Durrett Confidential site --
a fan's memories of the character, his shows, and the man behind the host, George Ellis. Don't miss the scan of a flyer
from Bestoink's personal appearance at a drive-in!
- Search for Bestoink Dooley
video clips on YouTube.
- See the Atlanta Film Forum data on the
Cinema Treasures movie theater reference site.
- The Big Movie Shocker
- Friday night at 11:20 / 11:30; rerun Saturday morning for a short time
- WAGA-TV, Channel 5 (Atlanta, Georgia)
- Late 50s to late 60s or early 70s
- Friday Night Fright
- Friday night at ?
- WAGA-TV, Channel 5 (Atlanta, Georgia)
- ?? - ??
- The Big Movie Shocker (13-week retrospective)
- Friday night (?)
- WAGA-TV, Channel 5 (Atlanta, Georgia)
- c. 1975
- Dooley & Co. (kid's show)
- Weekdays at 4:30 pm
- WAGA-TV, Channel 5 (Atlanta, Georgia)
- ?? - ??
- E-gorespondent Mike Harbold remembers:
I am looking for info on a horror host from Atlanta, Ga. circa
aprox. late 50's to late 60's early 70's.
His name was Bestoink Dooley, real name, George Ellis.
George was reportedly very much involved in the business of
bringing "art" film to the Atlanta scene.
The show that he hosted was known as The Big Movie Shocker and
was shown at 11:30 pm Friday nights, right after the late news on
WAGA, channel 5 and, for a short time, reran on Saturday
I was introduced to many first rate horror films during
those prepubescent years, including all the old Universal
Bestoink, due perhaps to the fact that he truly appreciated these
films, would not overdub or otherwise tamper with these
masterpieces but would save his highjinks for the beginning of
the show and during commercial breaks.
I have no memorabilia, or anything other that the warmly
remembered times spent at sleep overs with my best friend of late
childhood and the glow of the old B/W set, late into the night.
Please use this small bit of info as you choose. I hope that it
will draw out more info from others and perhaps even some
memorabilia. Since this was long before home video, I am fairly
sure that there would be no tapes available, but who knows?
I wouldn't have even suspected that such a Website existed
before I found this one!"
- In 1965, George Ellis starred as "middle-aged copy boy
Bestoink Dooley" in a low-budget "Bigfoot" horror flick,
Demon Hunter (aka Legend of Blood Mountain),
filmed at Stone Mountain Memorial Park near Atlanta.
Demon Hunter has been released on VHS by Camp Video.
It is apparently out of print but occasionally shows up
in eBay (online auctions).
- E-gorespondent "ksmf" remembered that
George Ellis opened a underground film theater in Atlanta, the Film Forum,
which showed Andy Warhol's black and white short and long films
among many other art films and underground classics, and that
he was also in a movie (see note above) and a Gunsmoke episode.
- Bestoink's fan Fred Fournier recalls:
I ran across your web site while Googling "George Ellis" also known as Bestoink Dooley.
My name is Fred B. Fournier and I now live in Marin County, California.
I had the pleasure of working with George Ellis in Atlanta, GA in the 60's at an Industrial Design firm named Dimension Incorporated.
Dimension Incorporated was founded by two older ID classmates of mine at Georgia Tech.
When I came on board in 1962 George Ellis was the company sales representative calling on prospective clients in
the Atlanta area. and on Friday nights he was hosting the Friday Night Frights horror movies on WAGA-TV as Bestoink Dooley.
I took over George's sales rep. job in 1964 when he started making his own horror movie The Legend of Blood Mountain,
aka Demon Hunter.
[NOTE: the movie is identical to the TV show from the basic plot, setting and main characters to the
narration by Waylon Jennings.
Ellis' character, saloon-keeper / rival bootlegger "Jake Rainey," evolved into the TV show's "Boss Hogg."
My wife and I had a bit part in that movie in a beach party dancing scene.
Also in that beach party scene was a Georgia beauty named Marianne Gordon.
That same year (1965) Marianne had a speaking part in a real Hollywood beach party movie entitled
How to Stuff a Wild Bikini and then, a few years later, a part in Rosemary's Baby as Rosemary's girlfriend,
and then a stint on the Hee Haw TV show, and later married Kenny Rogers.
Also in the Legend movie with a major role was Erin Fleming, who later became Groucho Marx's infamous companion.
What is really amazing is that Legend of Blood Mountain was one of the top ten highest grossing films of 1965 by grossing $1,200,000.
Sound of Music was number 1 in 1965 and grossed $163,000,000.
Legend must have played at a hell of a lot of drive-in theaters that year!
In 1975 George Ellis starred in Moonrunners, written & directed by Gy Waldron who four years later
turned the movie's premise into the TV show The Dukes of Hazzard.
- Richard Moore recalls Bestoink's special qualities:
What made George Ellis such a wonderful monster movie host was that he was a lovable old ham with a great sense of humor.
Atlanta was a city that appreciated its local celebrities and Bestoink Dooley was very popular.
George Ellis was also very well known to the art theater types and old movie fans because he had a theater ,,,,
that showed the old classics like Casablanca and the latest subtitled Swedish films.
He was there just about every time I went by, selling tickets and greeting everyone with that booming voice.
He also was a regular on the local theater circuit.
I recall seeing him in a "Theater Under the Stars" production of "Oliver" that had Vincent Price starring as Fagin.
Ellis played the part of the blustering man [the parish beadle, "Mr. Bumble"] whom Oliver asked, "May I have some more, sir?"
As soon as Ellis entered the scene, there was a burst of applause all around the theater,
and then a rush of whispers as those who recognized Bestoink Dooley explained the applause to neighbors.
It was funny and Ellis clearly was having a great time.
He appeared in several movies, most if not all made in Georgia.
The best that I have seen is Moonrunners,
which was filmed in the North Georgia mountains and was the forerunner to The Dukes of Hazard but not played for laughs.
Another great old ham, Arthur Hunnicutt, had one of his last roles as Uncle Jesse,
and Robert Mitchum's son James was also in the cast.
I think this was the movie that the writer Paul Hemphill visited the location shooting and wrote a piece on it.
It's in one of his collections, perhaps "The Good Old Boys."
I lost track of George Ellis, but I recall hearing of his death at far too early an age years ago.
- Cynthia G. Brundage sent her fond memories of Bestoink:
It must have been 1960 because I was around 8, when Bestoink Dooley was the
main attraction at my elementary school's (Elm Street School, Newnan, GA) Halloween Carnival!
I adored him...but I was also scared of him!
I wouldn't go talk to him (to my everlasting sorrow!) but I remember standing behind my father and peeking at him!
There was the same booming voice and muwaaaaahhh haaa haaa kind of laugh!
And he wore the squirting flower on his lapel along with his trademark muffler scarf!
And that wild fringe of hair... man, he was something!
Around 1975, I had graduated from college and was living in Tallahasse when WAGA did a special retrospective and had Bestoink back on
hosting Big Movie Shocker for a 13 week run.
Watching then brought back all those thrilling late nights sitting wrapped up in a blanket in front of the
old black and white and peeking through my fingers at Boris Karloff and other guys too scary to watch without digit protection!
Thank God for Bestoink Dooley... kids today don't know what real fun is!
I never forgot him... in fact, I named my Scottie after him and he's the only Bestoink Dooley on Dogster.com!
- Tom Cox of Anniston, Alabama writes:
I remember this character!
He also appeared on Big Movie Shocker as
Bestoink's "country cousin" Nurkney Dooley.
When his film Legend Of Blood Mountain
(which I've not seen since) was released,
he made a personal appearance in my hometown
(Annniston, Alabama, approximately 90 miles west of Atlanta) at the theatre.
I remember my best friend and myself talking with him briefly,
and believe I also received a postcard sized picture (B&W) that
he autographed, but sadly I have lost it over the years.
WAGA came to my town via a new offering, Cablevision!
Few in my community had it yet as it was costly, but it offered nine
channels from Birmingham and Atlanta,
rather than the three we were accustomed to.
My family was slow to join the bandwagon, and I recall many
Friday nights spent at my friend's house or at my grandmother's
just to see Big Movie Shocker.
- From Mark Hendrix:
I was looking at the site again and thought I would check and see if there was
anything about Bestoink Dooley and was happily surprised to see some.
Here is what I remember about him;
We had just moved to Atlanta from Miami in 1961 and I was in the third grade.
I was not able to stay up late until a couple of years later when I convinced my parents
to let me stay up on a Friday night to watch a horror show I had heard my friends talk about.
It was hosted by Bestoink Dooley and I remember his deep voice and outfit quite clearly.
He was quite funny and he showed all my favorite horror movies,
so from that night on I was up late on Friday nights watching the show.
I remember the tv station going off the air afterwards and seeing the national anthem...
then static until the morning.
It was a wonderful time in my life.
I remember when the show finally went off the air and I had seen
him somewhere and he said he would be returning to do the show again but it never happened.
George Ellis was a fixture around the Atlanta area with his theatres and
occasionally would turn up on TV or I would see him at a show and
as soon as I heard his voice I knew it was Bestoink.
I believe he passed away a few years ago, though I am not sure of it.
I am very lucky to have grown up when I did and because of people like Charlie Baxter (M.T. Graves)
and George Ellis, I have some wonderful memories of staying up late and watching what are
still to this day my favorite movies.
- E-gorespondent Bob Chapelle writes:
Now there is a name one wouldn't soon forget.
As a kid growing up in Marietta, Georgia, during the 50's and 60's, we LIVED for Friday nights and
The Big Movie Shocker with host, Bestoink Dooley.
I think a big part of my love for old sci-fi and horror movies grew from those repeated viewings.
If we had only had VCRs back then!
Bestoink, aka George Ellis, was not what I would call a typical "Horror Show" host.
He didn't wear scary makeup or have a hunchback sidekick.
Instead, he would come out wearing his derby and usually some kind of scarf and jacket ....
He kinda favored Zero Mostel.
Whether that's good or not, I can't say.
Another TV show that use to come on Saturday afternoons was called Science Fiction Theater.
It showed 50's Sci-Fi movies like Attack of the 50-foot Woman, but it didn't have a host.
Looking back, I think that's what made The Big Movie Shocker so special.
Not the movies so much as having them introduced each week but none other than Bestoink Dooley!
- Dooley-appreciative show fan Dan Henderson writes:
Being from Atlanta, I too remember Bestoink Dooley.
We were lucky to have him.
As someone else mentioned, he wasn't a ghoulish wannabe.
He had his own style, with a deep voice somewhat like the Great Gildersleeve.
I remember his first episode on Big Movie Shocker.
The scene opened on a cardboard box.
It wasn't until the third or fourth commercial break that he reluctantly emerged from the box.
This was typical of his minimalist humor.
On another occasion he was in the rafters of the studio, refusing to come down.
It seems that he refused to say the title of the film, The Monster from Green Hell.
Finally he agreed to say the first part of the title, then held up a cardboard sign with "HELL"
scrawled on it!
Later he was involved in the Atlanta "art film" scene, operating The Film Forum
where I first saw the work of Fellini and many others.
There was a foretaste of this when he showed Black Orpheus on Big Movie Shocker!
Of course I saw him almost every week, taking tickets at the Forum in the early 70's,
but I also saw him as Bestoink at the Buckhead Theater in 1960 or so, hosting a showing of Journey to the Center of the Earth.
It was PANDEMONIUM when he walked out on stage!
Those were the days.
Thanks for the site!
(Incredible artwork! Check it out! E-gor)
P.S. Check out my site if you have a minute. It's the present day work of a Monster Kid:
- In February 2008 one of Bestoink's relatives found this site and started E-goresponding! :
Im enjoying reading your website!
A friend of mine recently brought up "Bestoink," asking where George got that name -
(he was my father-in-law).
I thought Id have a look on the internet to see what all was out there on him and came across your site.
I do have more info/pics of him, if youd like them for the site, let me know, and Ill be glad to send to you..
Of course I responded E-gorly, and she answered generously:
Thanks, and take care,
Great to hear from you! You're doing a lot of interesting stuff,
Wish I had time to do more fun things like that!
,,,, I do have some pics of George, one especially good one taken at the wedding,
and some from the last incarnation of the Film Forum at Ansley.
They were in negotiations for the theater in Little Five Points when he died.
God bless him, he loved everything about theater except for the part where you have to actually take money from people for seeing it... :)
Well, thanks again for writing, and as soon as I gather what I have,
I'll let you know and we can arrange logistics.
Her next note came bearing wonderful gifts! :
Here's a couple of things I grabbed so far.
One is a portrait of George in 1981 at our wedding, and the other is a flyer from the FilmForum in '78..
I found some more stuff on the web,
one is a really good promo picture of him as Bestoink (see my note about this below -- E-gor).
I'll keep looking, and think I'll also e-mail Michael (his son) and see what he still has of George's.
He founded and runs a wildlife rescue foundation in Atlanta now.
It always surprises me how much like George he looks.. :)
Vickie sent me this link to the promo picture of Bestoink she mentioned:
Bestoink Dooley photo on flickr
It turned out to be an incredible autographed color fan post card of Bestoink from the collection of Dennis Whitefield, who displays a very large collection of interesting images in his
Whitefield's photos account at flickr --
lots of shots of classic movie theaters in the part of the country he lives in, period portraits of iconic movie stars, and lots more!
I couldn't find his e-mail address, and as I was puzzling over how to get in touch with him, I received a note from Dennis about the photo! :
I like your site,
you can use this black & white photo, provided you link it back to my site.
If you're a Dooley fan, be sure to check out Dennis' original COLOR photo in his Flickr gallery, it's a beauty,
and a terrific collectible for horror host fans.
The description of the photo on Flickr says the back of the phote reads:
As a kid growing up in Decatur GA, I was always sending off for photos of movie stars, TV stars and even local TV stars,
I always watched the Friday night Big Movie Shocker movies, and they were great,
and George Ellis aka Bestoink Dooley was a very good host for those type movies,
So I sent off to WAGA-TV5 for a photo and sure enough, I received an autographed picture!
Join Atlanta's favorite satirist, Bestoink Dooley, Fridays at 11:30 pm for Channel Five's Big Movie Shocker.
And a must for the younger set is DOOLEY & CO. featuring Bestoink, the Three Stooges and Morgus the Magnificent Weatherman,
weekdays at 4:30 pm on WAGA-TV
genial host of
The Big Movie Shocker on
WAGA-TV, Atlanta GA.
Click image to see a b&w scan of the original color photo this portrait was cropped from, courtesy of Dennis Whitefield --
and see the signed original photo in color at
Whitefield's photos on flickr!
George Ellis out of makeup, later in life.
Photo courtesy of Vickie Ellis (taken at her wedding in 1981.)
Click image for larger view.
See a 1978 Film Forum flyer, courtesy of Vickie Ellis.
See a Big Movie Shocker ad from Atlanta TV listings.