DINNER WITH SVENGOOLIE!
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is pleased to welcome Mary a.k.a “BlueCat” as our guest writer for today’s post! Blue Cat has been essential to Svengoolie fandom by spending the last several years moderating the official Svengoolie YAHOO group, without which David Albaugh and I would never have met. You can read the details regarding that in our past blog THE NEW ENGLAND DIARIES PART 1. Blue Cat was also present during White Castle’s special “Dinner with Svengoolie” contest that took place last month and delighted both Daves by agreeing to share her story. So grab a “slider,” and get cozy!
Let me begin by introducing myself; I’m known to most as BlueCat, the owner/operator of the SvengoolieWeb and Stooge-a-Palooza YAHOO Groups. I’ve been a fan of Svengoolie since before the “Son of Svengoolie” was even a glimmer in his ol’ dad’s eye, which gives you an immediate idea of my advanced age…in other words, this cat’s probably on at least her fifth life by now. I know I burned one in an instant about 6 years ago, but that’s another story.
My real life could hardly be more far removed from the horror/comedy/TV world. My time (or at least 40 hours of it every week) is spent at a high-energy physics laboratory, as an executive administrative assistant to two assistant directors; one a physicist and the other a compliance specialist. At any rate, one day I stumbled onto a website called the SvengoolieWeb back in late 2001 or early 2002. There was a message board there, where you could actually ask questions and get answers about the Svengoolie show, which at the time, was being bounced around to different time slots, and I thought ‘hallelujah – I’ve finally found some people like me who want to keep track of their favorite Goolie!’ Prior to this, you’d have to be lucky enough to catch a tidbit in some newspaper article or a mention on the radio to stay on top of his career.
I joined, and then found my way to the Yahoo Group operated by the same fan who had created the SvengoolieWeb. By early 2003, when Rich was given a weekly, two-hour Three Stooges program, there was no shutting me up! I love Svengoolie, but I’m no horror aficionado like so many people on the Yahoo Group. There are many movies I simply tolerate because of the Svengoolie treatment they receive. Old time comedy teams, however, are right up my alley. Time flies when you’re having fun, and eventually I was made moderator, in a time when it seemed like everyone was being made moderator on those groups. Well, I outlasted them all, and finally, after a somewhat unusual and mysterious exchange of correspondences, in the summer of 2007, the original owner handed over the keys to me and left the groups entirely.
With Rich’s permission, I took over the two groups, and created a short-lived website of my own, which gave me some much needed website building skills, but it also coincided with WCIU finally giving Sven his own site within their website, so I let that one go after a couple of years. I’ve been fortunate to have met Rich and/or Svengoolie a number of times over the years, and find him to be a terrific sport with all his fans, and a very warm and genuine individual.
The contest was advertised as “Win a romantic dinner for 2 at White Castle” hosted by Svengoolie. Twenty people would be chosen randomly from entries received, and they and a guest would be invited to an undisclosed White Castle for this event. Well, we got our invitation late in the week and found out that the event was being held in Griffith Indiana. We arrived to find heart-shaped doilies on all the windows and doors, tables decorated with flowers, candle light, and real red or white table cloths. More and more of us arrived, and although I’m not sure we quite hit the 40 who were invited, we were close. We were told that there were just over 960 individual entries.
The people of White Castle were extremely friendly and seemed truly happy to be hosting this extravaganza. I learned that they treat Valentine’s Day each year in much the same way as they did this evening, but without the Goolie, of course. Who knew?
It began a little slow prior to the arrival of the entourage, but once they arrived, and the burgers started to grill, it turned into quite a clever and fun event. We found it amusing that we had to sign a release form (insert your own White Castle joke here), but it’s a sign of the times, I guess. We all had our dinner, with combinations offered on a specially printed menu, and served table-side by a very attentive wait staff. I’ve never had better tasting, hotter White Castle burgers and fries in all my life. Presentation apparently IS a big part of the enjoyment of a meal!
Then it was time for the man in the hat to arrive. He made his grand entrance and then began to work the room. There was a fellow there named Glen who was trying to celebrate his birthday quietly, but his wife was going to have none of that; she had called the studio without his knowledge to let them know, and he was appropriately embarrassed by the attention they gave him. I believe they had driven the farthest to this event – 85 miles one way from Waukegan, IL.
A young high school student was the closest we came to having a groupie in the crowd. Her outfit mimicked his, but she stopped before getting to the black make-up. She was an enthusiastic participant in the trivia contest, and had really done her Svengoolie homework. Later on, I found out that she had recently interviewed Rich for a high school paper she was writing. I believe we had a ringer in our midst!
When Sven got around to my table, I noticed his road-weary “appearance chicken” and we discussed the finer points of purchasing and keeping rubber chickens, and I asked him how he was planning to celebrate his upcoming birthday (March 12th). He’s a busy Goolie, and will have his nose to the grindstone, and since I’ll be sitting under a palm tree in the Caribbean that day, I told him I’d have an umbrella drink in his honor!
The folks at White Castle were quite happy with Svengoolie and this event, and mentioned wanting to do more of this kind of thing in the future. It was a clever idea and a fun evening!