Bruce Gantenbein, Known to KCRG Viewers As Dr. Morbius, Passes Away

Bruce Gantenbein of Iowa City, as "Dr. Morbius", host of KCRG-TV9's "Saturday Nightmare" program. August, 1986.


By Aaron Hepker

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Bruce Gantenbein, better known to KCRG-TV9 viewers as “Dr. Morbius,” passed away Friday, August 9, at the age of 61. Bruce hosted the popular “Saturday Nightmare” program on KCRG-TV9 in the late 1980s.

Read his full obituary, here.

Bruce was born September 3, 1951, in Muscatine, Iowa. He graduated from Muscatine High School in 1970, where he was captain of the Muskies basketball team his senior year. He attended Cornell College from 1970-71 and Iowa State University from 1971-1972. He moved to Iowa City in 1973 and lived there until his death.

A lifelong entertainer, Bruce performed professionally as a singer and guitarist in several bands, including Gambler, Cabala, the Uptown Serenaders, McCandless and Gantenbein, Kelly and the Komb-Overs, and Last Chance. In addition, he performed as a solo act under the names of “Bruk Gant” and, more recently, “Big Bruce.”

He also performed as a stand-up comic throughout the Midwest, and was a regular at Penguins Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids. However, he may be best known to Eastern Iowans as “Dr. Morbius,” host of KCRG’s “Saturday Nightmares” television show. He also won two “Addy” awards from the Cedar Rapids Advertising Federation for the show.

Entertainment was not his only career. He worked for the City of Iowa City for a number of years, and eventually became an officer with the Iowa City Police Department, where he worked from 1978-1980. He attended the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy in 1979, where he was vice president of his class. Following that, he began work at the University of Iowa, becoming a campus police officer in 1990 and later a security officer with the UI Department of Public Safety. He retired from the UI in 2011.

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