published Friday, February 11th, 2011

Shockley hoping to ease pain of others

Losing a child is every parent's worst nightmare. Not being able to afford to have the child buried can only make an already difficult situation worse.

Tony Shockley went through such a situation in December after his 27-year-old son died, and he wants to do something to prevent others from dealing with a situation that he said he has not fully recovered from.

On Saturday night, Shockley, with the help of family and friends, will host the Christopher Shockley Memorial Benefit Concert at the American Legion in East Ridge. Performing with be Journey tribute band Chain Reaction.

"They sell out Branson every year," Shockley said. "They are friends of mine, and I really appreciate them doing this."

Shockley said his son's funeral was the toughest thing he's ever had to deal with for several reasons.

"My kid died of an overdose. He didn't have any insurance. I was literally standing in the parking lot at the funeral home trying to come up with enough money to get a hole dug. The funeral home and the gravesite people all want their money, and I don't blame them. I just didn't have it."

On top of that, Shockley said, he then watched as friends of his son showed up for the funeral messed up on drugs.

"One we even had to lead out to his car because he couldn't stand," Shockley said. "It was heartbreaking."

Money raised at the benefit will go to families who can't afford to bury a loved one, Shockley said.

"Having to run around borrowing money the night before the funeral just to get the people to dig the grave so we could bury him was emotionally too much," he said. "A parent should be with his family, grieving at a time like that." A fund has been established at SunTrust Bank in East Ridge.

* Flash, flash, flash.

On Saturday, Shock Theatre fans will be able to watch a special edition of the new version of the show starring Jack Gray, Eric Scealf and Constance Burymore as Dr. Shock, Dirge and Nurse Goodbody, respectively.

Old-timers will remember that Dr. Shock and his puppet sidekick, Dingbat, would introduce a horror film each week and then add some funny chatter during commercial breaks. The new show will follow the same format. The film being shown on Saturday is "Pumpkin Head," and it will be repeated at 5, 7 and 9 p.m. on ThisTV, a subchannel of WTVC, which aired the original show nearly 40 years ago.

A new opening theme song has been recorded, according to Gray, featuring the Shock Theatre Orchestra. Members of that group are Gray, Scealf, Jo Whitaker, Carlie Shelton and Dare McCullough.

ThisTV can be seen on channel 9.2 for over-the-air viewers and on Comcast channel 208, EPB channel 169 and Charter channel 174.

* WDOD-FM is no longer 96.5 The Mountain and is now Hits 96, according to a news release.

General manager Bernie Barker said, "Hits 96 is not about a lot of change. It's about a new download with some tweaks. The new logo is more about today. We feel the new look and the tweaked sound of Hits 96 clearly reflects the hit-music radio station that it is."

Contact Barry Courter at bcourter@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6354.

about Barry Courter...

Barry Courter is staff reporter and columnist for the Times Free Press. He started his journalism career at the Chattanooga News-Free Press in 1987. He covers primarily entertainment and events for ChattanoogaNow, as well as feature stories for the Life section. Born in Lafayette, Ind., Barry has lived in Chattanooga since 1968. He graduated from Notre Dame High School and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga with a degree in broadcast journalism. He previously was ...

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