Ted Peshak

Ted Peshak

LAKE FOREST, IL-Theodore Joseph "Ted" Peshak, who worked as a director for Glenview, Ill.-based Coronet Instructional Films, died here of colon cancer Oct. 9. He was 87. MSTies will remember him as the director of the shorts APPRECIATING YOUR PARENTS (seen in episode 320- THE UNEARTHLY) and WHAT TO DO ON A DATE (seen in episode 503- SWAMP DIAMONDS).

A native of Plymouth, Iowa, he worked on his family's farm as a young man and first got noticed for his writing ability in the Boy Scouts. He studied journalism at the University of Iowa, and was working at an Iowa newspaper when World War II broke out. He served, mostly stateside, in the Army Signal Corps as a photographer, and then was tapped to attend the Army motion-picture college. After graduating, he made a number of training films.

After the War he joined Coronet, making films that were seen by millions of young people from the late 1940s into the 1960s. In addition to the two titles featured on MST3K, his work included classics of the genre such as "Shy Guy" (1947), featuring future "Bewitched" star Dick York; "Are You Popular?" (1947); "How Do You Know It's Love" (1950); "How Billy Keeps Clean" (1951) and "Choosing Your Marriage Partner" (1952).

He often recruited family members and neighbors in his home town of Libertyville, Ill., to appear: That's his son Gayle "Skip" Peshak as Tommy in APPRECIATING YOUR PARENTS.

In the late 1950s, he struck out on his own, creating Peshak Films, a successful industrial films company that did work for a number of national clients, including McDonald's restaurants. In his later life, he became a successful real estate developer in suburban Chicago.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Margaret; his sons Gary, Martin and Gayle; a sister; two grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.