Dog-gone but never forgotten: Whatever Happened to Wolfman Mac?
Exactly one year ago, Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-in appeared to be on the fast track to stardom. I’d just attended his studio Open House (Part 1 of 3 covered HERE) that previous September and watched the former DJ- turned-horror host surrounded by his adoring fans – an impressive legion (or pack, if you will) that had grown steadily in the few short years since his character’s inception. It was a night I’d never forget. As we gathered near, Mac grabbed a loud speaker and proudly announced that 2011 would see his show go “international” as the crowd went wild. One didn’t feel the need to consult with Madame Nina’ in forecasting the success of Wolfman Mac.
As his merchandise & marketing went full swing, a brand new season of shows and characters were being debuted. Mac was surrounded by talented crew member’s that boasted ties to Ohio’s The Ghoul, as well as the very gates of Sir Graves Ghastly himself. There was something almost prophetic in the air that night as it appeared one generation of horror hosts was passing down its blessings to another.
A few months later, Wolfman Mac would grace the cover of Scary Monster Magazine along with an article inside written by myself. My first real article for my favorite “REAL” monster mag conveyed both mine as well as my children’s fervor for Michigan’s new host. This was a bold move at this pre-TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES time for a Chicagoan firmly residing in Svengoolie territory. If committing Heresy amongst my fellow Sven fans was of concern, however, it was quickly squelched when I saw the smiles on my daughter’s faces whenever Mac appeared on the screen.
Wolfman Mac boasted hilarious writing (courtesy of the talented Raymond Dean Vanderkolk), great characters (many created with the aid of the legendary Dave Ivey), Boney Bob (the nefarious sidekick everyone loved to hate), and a LIVELY host. It was the perfect blend of nostalgia and laughs that illustrated exactly what we loved about the horror hosts we grew up with. Children were transfixed, while adults welcomed the dingy drive-in like an old, lost friend. Surely only a bazooka-sized silver bullet could stop the enigmatic Wolfman Mac’s rise.
Unfortunately, 2011 would prove to be anything but a promise fulfilled. Horrorhound Weekend 2011 saw the first indication of trouble as the return gathering of hosts saw members of The Chiller Drive-in, sans Wolfman Mac. His absence was palpable and this soon followed with the defection of many of his talented cast mates.
Show business is a tough industry. Becoming a successful, commercial horror host is even more daunting (just ask Elvira: Mistress of the Dark these days). RTV, a cable station featuring vintage Television shows and who’d also been providing air space for The Chiller Drive-in, began losing its markets to its main competitor – MeTV. I can honestly say that Wolfman Mac was on the minds of both David and myself a LOT this past year.
This is simply “life” and, God knows, I and many of our readers will attest that 2011 was challenging for a LOT of us. Even my own home, once a haven of comfort to me, began crumbling from within this past year. The jobless rate is high along with prices of food and gas. Those that are “lucky” to have jobs see most of their hard earned money whisked away within a day or two after payday – while having to work more hours and twice as hard to make up for the lost jobs their company’s can’t afford to replace.
Wolfman Mac is NOT a failure, nor is this post designed to be his epitaph. Rather this is an open appeal to Wolfman Mac and his Chiller Drive-in to NOT GIVE UP. We believe in your show but it is even more important that you never stop believing in yourselves. Your show was absolutely worthy of success and we are hopeful that someday a savvy, commercial TV station will see that themselves. We, in our limited capacity will do whatever you’d like to help get the word out. We encourage you to not be afraid to ask your fans for assistance either. I’m sure I speak for many of us when I say that we are willing to help you any that way we can – be it writing letters to stations, attending fund raisers for the show, etc.
I am comforted by Mac’s own words, as he recently stated to me that he has NO desire to put Wolfman Mac out to pasture (or should I say “put to sleep?”). Mac states that he has continued to contact stations around the country in the hopes of finding his show a new home. He also says that he is gathering new writers in the hopes of creating a whole new season of The Chiller Drive-in. On-line fans can also continue to see Mac’s past work on The Monster Channel, Monday’s at 8pm. According to Mac, he is “moving forward, full steam.”
He is also currently doing weekly webcasts. “It’s called Rockin’ Roots Revival,” says Mac. ‘It features rockabilly, psychobilly, surf and horror rock bands. We’re just in our 3rd week, it’s a work in progress!”
We wish Mac luck on ALL his endeavors and and look forward to the day when we all hear his signature “Howl” before introducing us to an all-new show. Mac urges his devoted “Wolf Pack” to (despite the lull) “not give up.” We would like to offer the same advice to him. At the end of my Scary Monsters Magazine piece I stated that while my family will always love Svengoolie, “Wolfman Mac’s howls” will echo our halls for years to come. I can only hope that this will be true. Mac, we fans are patiently waiting for our “Leader of the Pack” to return.