LIFESTYLE

Where are they now? Fritz the Nite Owl

Beth Stallings

In the '80s, Frederick "Fritz" Peerenboom kept insomniacs company in the wee hours of the night with "Nite Owl Theatre" on WBNS. The kooky pundit was profiled in a 1983 feature that cast the self-proclaimed "crappy little nothing 10-cent movie host" as the city's most recognizable personality. Fritz the Nite Owl can't believe people still want to hear his off-the-cuff commentary.

When we revived the show in 2010, I wished I could still look like I did in 1974. But other than that, it was easy, fun and like I had just done the last one yesterday. Dino [Tripodis, of Sunny 95] along with the late, great Andyman of CD101 and Mike McGraner decided they wanted to do a documentary on me. I said, "No, no, no. Who's going to be interested in that?" But my family and a few friends talked me into it. Then Mike discovered a lot of people were doing things like I was doing on "Night Owl Theatre" on Channel 10-play the movie, host talks, commercials and so forth-only on the Internet. They wanted to revive the show. My reaction was the same. "Who's going to really care about this? That was 20 years ago." They talked me into it again. The first one was scheduled to be shown on the Internet and big screen at the Grandview Theater. I was expecting 20 people to be there. The theater was sold out.

We're now at Gateway theater on campus. People who were 11, 15, 20 [years old] and used to watch me, they'll come and bring their kids and say this is what I watched on Friday nights. It's very gratifying. I knew people were entertained by it; it just didn't strike me that it would resonate that personally. In the meantime, I currently have 10 granddaughters, six great-grandchildren. The older ones, yes, they come to the shows. That they do. -As told to Beth Stallings