Your Horror-Movie Host

This is a companion thread to “Your Kiddie Show Host,” currently crashing to the bottom of the MPSIMS page. Figured I’d better start it because as many of us are as attached to the local television personalities of our childhood years who exposed us to The Wolf Man and Attack of the Fifty Foot Woman as to those who shared Our Gang with us.

Okay, me first. Return with me now to those stirring days of yesteryear: Cleveland, Ohio, in the mid-1960s. 11:30 Friday nights, just after the local news, on WJW-Channel Eight, the local CBS affiliate.

Ghoulardi was the man. The Man. He wore a moplike fright wig, Snidely Whiplash moustache, and goatee, and mocked the city of Parma, a west Cleveland suburb with a large Polish-American population. One of his running humor pieces was “Parma Place,” a parody of the priemtime soap opera Peyton Place. Lots of jokes about kielbasa, Cheez Whiz, bowling shirts, plastic flamingo and chrome-ball lawn ornaments. Send a car model that you’d lovingly slaved over to Ghoulardi, and if you’re lucky, he’ll blow it up with firecrackers ON THE AIR! “Happy Birthday to you…Stay sick and turn blue…and always remember…Ghoulardi hates you!” Ghoulardi was the brainchild of Ernie Anderson, who later moved to L.A. and became the announcer’s voice on the Carol Burnett Show.

Unfortunately, Ghoulardi went off the air in 1966, when I was five and deemed too young to stay up to watch monster movies. I cut my teeth on Big Chuck and Houlihan.

Chuck was a tall, good-looking actor who’d performed in Ghoulardi’s comedy sketches. Houlihan was the Channel Eight weatherman. They had a variety of second bananas, including the dwarf Little John. One of the running sketches was “The Kielbasa Kid,” in which Chuck was a Lone-Ranger type cowboy who carried Polish sausage in his gun-holster. One of the odder skits was “Soul Man,” which involved mild-mannered Ed Tarboosh, a Polish-American businessman, who stepped into a phone booth and swallowed “soul pills,” which turned him into a muscular black man with a huge Afro and a Superman costume.

Who did you have? Did they ignore the movie as much as MY guys did, preferring to indulge in bizarre local ethnic humor?

It would have to be Count Floyd from Second City Television.
“Ooooooh, boys and gerils…that is some sa-pooky stuff.”

I don’t recall much about him, but here in the Detroit, MI viewing area, we had Count Scary. He was just about the least scary guy you could hope to encounter. He dressed as a vampire - a slightly overwieght and kind of on the short side vampire. He also hosted hallowe’en specials, did commercials, and did public appearances.

We can’t forget her, queen of vamp!! She has a Web site here:

I could cross-post with the kiddie show thread but won’t- Growing up in DC, we had Captain Twenty who, in addition to being the host for the kiddie shows (like WOW!), moonlighted as Count Gore De Vol on the weekends for Creature Feature. I remember one episode where he had Eggbert, the High-Diving Egg (an egg w/a face drawn on that he pushed off a mock diving board and went kersplat) and Tommy the Weighlifting Tomato (a tomato that he piled weights on til it smooshed). More inf on him is here.

I loved Son of Svengoolie. He was on Channel 32 in Chicago and he played all the cheesy scary movies. He had some pretty funny bits right after commericals before they got back to the movie. Come to think of it, I think he kind of resembled Slash from Guns and Roses.

Dr. Paul Bearer, I think his name was. God, I haven’t thought of this guy in ages. Now I’m wondering what happened to him. I used to LOOVE those awful horror movies when I was a kid.

“Son of Svengoolie” from Chicago…I used to watch him when I was about 9-10. He used to be on the channel that eventually became the FOX network. I still have a autographed card from him somewhere

In L.A. in the '60s and ‘70s, it was Seymour, first on channel 9 at night, then on channel 5 in the afternoons. He used to cut in odd bits from other movies into the horror movies and was pretty funny, as I recall. His daughters went to my grade school, and he’d show up on parents’ days in costume, which was pretty cool :slight_smile:


For me, it was Big Chuck and Houlihan followups Big Chuck and Little John, still on WJW Saturday nights at 11:30. I think I watched them nearly every Saturday night through the 7th and 8th grades (1981-83). Amazingly, these two are still on the air.

“Big Chuck” is the same guy as Uke mentions, Chuck Schodowski, who started at WJW as an engineer and eventually became (and remains) a producer/director. “Little John” is John Rinaldi, who took over for Houlihan in 1979. He’s a local businessman who owns a jewelry business, and has since become a local advertising staple. The names are especially appropriate, since Chuck is 6’1", and John is 4’3". You can see a picture of the two of them at the WJW website at:

Another Ghoulardi fan checking in. I stumbled across this very cool Ghoulardi site while looking for Ghoulardi T-shirts. (Drew Carey occasionally wears one on his show and I was jealous - even if I had managed to hang on to my original “Turn Blue” sweatshirt, I don’t think it would fit, since it was like size 6x.) I got interested in the music played on the show and ended up searching for and buying a CD of Jungle Exotica (it has “Pigmeat” by Bunny Sticks and the Kingtones). It’s fabulous.

I’m surprised you didn’t mention The Ghoul, Uke. He was the best of the Ghoulardi imitators. Whenever he showed a Gamera movie, he’d dress up in his cardboard “turtle suit,” complete with fireworks shooting out the back, and roller skate around the set. He always said Gamera had “rockets in his pockets” - which inspired the song by Devo (also originally from Ohio).

When I moved to Bloomington, Indiana, the ghost host there was a fat little old man in bad makeup who called himself “Sammy Terry.” I’m afraid I had to have the name 'splained to me.

BTW, offers sets of Monster and Horror cards. They have a “Dr. Paul Bearer” set and the TV Horror Host Legends set includes Svengouli (Chicago) and Son of Ghoul (Canton, OH), but alas, no Ghoulardi.

Stay Sick! Turn Blue! Scratch Glass!

THE original horror host was Zacherley, whose name was, I believe, John Zacherle. He managed to make himself look a lot like Ln Chaney’s Phantom of the Opera, but for real. He was a host on one of the major New York markets circa 1960 (It might have been the Late Show – I don’t know, I was too young). He subsequently showed up as host of Chiller Theater on indfependent station WPIX out of New York. Since then he’s had at least one video of his own (Zacherley’s Horrible Horror – which I highly recommend if you can find it.) and has appeared or provided the voice for a lot of random small-budget horror films (He’s the voice of the monster Aylmer in “Brain Damage”).

Zacherle used to “cut himself into” the movies he showed (rather than being a constant commenting presence a la MST3K). For instance, when showing “The Neanderthal Man” two men hear a growl coming from the direction their campsite. Cut to Zacherley at the campfre with a cup in his hand. “Arrrgh! This is the worst coffee I’ve ever had! Look over there, you’ll see a Kitty Cat.” Cut back to the movie, with its fake saber-tooth tiger.

He also had opening and closing and commercial blackout segments, f course, but it was those cut-ins that MADE his show.

In central Virginia it was “The Bowman Body”.


In Nashville on WSM-TV, channle 4 in the early 70’s when I was a tot, it was Sir Cecil Creape.

Asey: Yep, The Ghoul was more of my generation (early 1970s on) than Ghoulardi was…played by Ron Sweed, he wore the same fright-wig, moustache and goatee, but personalized the outfit with a pair of Rayban sunglasses with one lens out, giving him a sort of popeyed look. He maintained the Pole-and-Parma teasing, teaching his viewers how to pan-fry pink plasic flamingos and mocking wearers of white socks. Like Zacherley, he interjected commentary into bad movies, although he kept it to audio…usually swiping stuff from comedy albums.

Cal: Grateful Dead buffs can hear Zacherley on Dick’s Picks Volume Four, the February 1970 concert at the Fillmore East…Zach intros the band, and trades a few quips with Bob Weir.

In Pittsburgh it was “Chilly Billy” Cardille who hosted Chiller Theatre…They must not have had a very big budget because they showed some of the cheesiest horror flicks ever made…They probably got paid to show them

Funny, I posted my horror movie host on the kiddie show host thread, which I guess was a hijack…but it was Dr. Paul Bearer on WTOG Channel 44 Tampa/St. Pete…may he rest in peace (for real…we lost him a few years ago.)

Our local one, on the ABC affiliate out of Traverse City, MI, was Count Zappula. He had a little dog named Igor, showed very cheesy horror movies and did live, narrated commercials that were hilarious (or at least struck me so as a kid).

Also got The Ghoul out of Detroit. He ruled!

Catrandom is right on! Seymour was terrific (KHJ Fright Night and then KTLA Monster Rally). He was a skinny guy in a fedora and cape that bad-mouthed the “films” he hosted (the movies were real stinkers). Snuck in clips and was always looking for a way to get out of seeing the movie (“If I were you, I’d take a sleeping pill now”). What a nut.

And luckily, Son of Svengoolie, played by local TV personality Rich Koz, is back in Chicago on WCIU channel 26! God, I loved watching Svengoolie on Saturday afternoons when I was a kid. Goffy skits, and even more than that, I was able to see all of the old underappreciated great horror movies: The Last Man on Earth, Man With the X-Ray Eyes, The Raven (with Karloff, Price and Lorre - still one of the funniest movies ever made).

Of course, it must be mentioned that there was actually a Svengoolie even before the Son. Svengoolie’s show (also on WFLD in Chicago) ran during the ealry 70’s as a late night horror showcase (called, for some reason, "Screaming Yellow Theater). In fact, Jay Johnstone and Pat Kelly, both on the White Sox at the time, were invited to be one the show (which was live). Svengoolie was going to burst out of a coffin and squirt them with a water gun. Johnstone thought that sounded boring, so he got a hammer and nails and nailed the coffin shut. The show opened to Johnstone and Kelly greeting the audience as a pounding noise emenates from the coffin. God, I miss the old cheap UHF WFLD sometimes…