The second and final stop of Svengoolie’s 2013 “Sventa Claus” appearances…
The next weekend, Svengoolie would return, this time appearing at Alternative Reality Comics in Mt Greenwood: a shop owned by a man named Tim Davis. Davis is pals with my fellow Goolie, Brian Bernardoni, and it’s his store window that hosts Brian’s amazing Svengoolie coffin & props when not being utilized for Brian’s Halloween yard haunt (and you can check out that fantastic set-up by clicking HERE). At last our mutual idol would get to see Brian’s great work in person which I know had always been a dream of Brians. It also gave the world another opportunity to meet Sventa Claus…the first ever outside of Comic Collector.
Well my friends, it’s that time of year when we celebrate family traditions, gathering with friends, gift giving…and Svengoolie! Yes, leave it to our national TV horror host to throw conventional holiday wisdom down the chimney and make the yuletide season friendly for us horror fans (who, contrary to Andy Williams, consider October to be the “most wonderful time of year”) as well! A few years back, Sven adopted the persona of “Sventa Claus” which, in Chicago, has become something of a holiday tradition in and of itself.
Conclusion to the 2013 Nightmare on Chicago Street…
Feeling a bit awkward, I made my way up the stage and starting snapping photos of Svengoolie addressing The Nightmare on Chicago Street crowd. I later learned there were nearly 7,000 people out there which, had I known at the time, would have me a nervous wreck! Elizabeth Haney was determined to capture a Sven’s eye view of things and the last thing I wanted to do was let her down. Seeing the immense crowd really brought home the full power Svengoolie had on my fellow fans. Sven cracked a joke about it being so cold he was glad he had his iphone because he’s “freezing his apps off” and the conest began…
Nightmare on Chicago Street continues…
Shortly after Svengoolie had finished being interviewed by some local students of Elgin, I headed to the back room to say hello. There wasn’t enough time to corral Nightmare on Chicago Street’s most influential women, Elizabeth Haney and Alice Moring. for a picture but I did make sure it happened afterwards…lest they regret issuing me my press pass.
On the evening of Saturday October 26th, 2013 I arrived in Elgin, Illinois for their amazing “Nightmare on Chicago Street!” The previous year I’d shown little restraint in talking up this occasion; gushing about it being the BEST Halloween event I’d ever attended. In that regard I make no apologies and stand behind my hyperbole. It was not only fantastic from a horror/Svengoolie fan’s perspective, but from a Terror Dave one as well. In fact, in many ways, it was something of a game changer.
Terror from Beyond the Daves is pleased to announce the return of The Horror Host Report! Yes, back when this blog was relatively new we set out to do what no one else had…create an all-inclusive weekly update of what the world’s horror hosts (commercial TV, public access, internet) were up to. It proved to be one of our most popular features and both Terror Daves enjoyed working with all the hosts immensely. Through the report, many of the participants also became personal friends and we had nothing but positive experiences with them during its nearly three-year run.
The last time I’d been to the Santa’s Village theme park (located over an hour north of me in Dundee, Illinois) I was about five years old. To be honest, I don’t remember much about that visit and didn’t even know the place still existed. That was until my recent visit to the Volo Auto Museum where Svengoolie’s assistant, Jim Roche, mentioned it as a stop during the host’s numerous Halloween season of appearances. Needless to say, I immediately gave it a high Terror Dave priority…if for no other reason the novelty of it.
Svengoolie’s Volo Auto Museum appearance took place exactly a week after I’d seen him at The Squared Circle Restaurant (covered HERE). I’d spent the days in between on a zoo related trip in North Carolina but what better way to round off a vacation than in the company of my favorite celebrity? Volo is one of Illinois’ best kept secrets and home to famous cars seen both on the small and large screens (and a place I’ve covered before, right HERE).
Not long ago, I took the kids to see Svengoolie at a Chicago theme park called Santa’s Village (story to be covered in a future post). After the appearance ended, I decided to expand on the night’s theme by stopping off at my friend, Brian Bernardoni’s place. The kids (tired and wet from standing in line at Santa’s Village), tolerated the pit stop though I could tell they were irked. By the time the night was over, however, Brian would have successfully turned those frowns upside down by providing them with a welcome finale! Like myself, Brian’s a huge fan of Svengoolie and, like many other fellow Goolies, expresses his fandom in his own creative way.
On Saturday, September 20th, I picked up John (a Brookfield Zoo keeper pal of mine) and headed up to The Squared Circle in Lincoln Park. Local fans of national horror host, Svengoolie, know this Chicago restaurant is not only owned by the beautiful pro wrestler, Lisa Marie Varon, but also home to the official “Svengoolie burger.” I think I’ve pretty much made it clear that his last visit there was the BEST Svengoolie public appearance EVER and folks, I oughta know. Even as far as a month before the big day was slated, I found myself smiling just thinking about it.
Tragedy, however, has no sense of timing.
Coverage of the 2013 Flashback Weekend concludes…
Don and Bunny Urban and I found ourselves some seats in the room designated for Flashback Weekend’s annual costume contest. Per the custom at Flashback, it would be hosted by Svengoolie who always adds his own brand of humor to enhance the entire event. Soon we were rejoined by Bill and Joan Yingst and sat together in a row that could have been marked, “Reserved for Sven’s Goolies.”
Photo courtesy of Maze Studio
Flashback Weekend Continues. NOTE: This post written before the events of Friday September 20th, 2013…
Joined by my friends, Bill and Joan Yingst, we walked around the convention hall of Flashback Weekend commenting on the various dealers and their home-made horror products. In lieu of my recent (and numerous) summer convention visits, I thought I’d pretty much seen everything but Flashback did manage to surprise me none the less. Items such as customized Boba Fett/Evel Kinievel figures are things you definitely don’t see every day…but should at least once in your lifetime!
The seeds of this event were actually sewn during Svengoolie’s appearance at “The Squared Circle” (covered HERE). I mentioned in that post meeting a couple of zoo keepers from The Lincoln Park Zoo; one of whom, Marisa, had arrived with local Chicago Red-eye writer, Elliott Serano. Elliott’s a fellow Svengoolie fan and had just written a big story on the host. He’d brought Marisa along that night so she could sign folks up for her zoo’s AAZK Chapter’s (American Association of Zoo Keepers) “Bowling for Rhinos” with Sven as one of their celebrity guests. Svengoolie has graciously assisted my own Brookfield Zoo AAZK chapter with our annual Vital Grounds fundraiser (providing opportunities for the New England Terror Dave, David Albaugh, to meet him as covered HERE and HERE) and accepted her invitation…even if appearing only as his mild-mannered alter ego, Rich Koz.
By now most of us have had a chance to see national commercial TV horror host, Svengoolie’s, new coffin which debuted last Saturday on MeTV. My kids and I actually turned it into an event as we prepared snacks and camped out in front of the television set…not unlike when I was a kid and my mother brought my brother and I our glasses for his “Son of” 3D airing of Revenge of the Creature. My fellow Goolies and I kept in touch via Facebook; enjoying a cyber huddle before (and after) the big moment arrived. Indeed, the show had barely begun before Social media became flooded with viewer feedback and public reaction to the new coffin created by Acme Design.
After nearly a year since national horror host, Svengoolie, was presented with the prototype for his new coffin (seen HERE) the big night has finally arrived! During tonight’s presentation of The Mad Ghoul (check your local MeTV listings) Svengoolie will reveal the amazing creation of Ryan Guenther and Acme Design! And if you thiought the prototype was fantastic, you’re gonna love the finished product! Thanks to Sven’s assistant, Jim Roche, we’ll be posting detailed shots of it tomorrow (for the benefit of those who don’t get MeTV and tune in tonight) while pointing out a few details some may have missed during the broadcast.
(Gene Simmons at Fright Night Continues)
The door opened and we were escorted into a large ballroom full of empty chairs facing an almost equally vacant stage. There stood Gene Simmons in front of a long table, arms folded. He was clad in a dark blazer, button down shirt and jeans while wearing sun glasses. With his head tilted up, it almost looked like he was trying to recreate the Sphinx cover from the KISS Hot in the Shade album.
Making the journey towards him in silence was nerve wracking enough before Simmons started snapping at the crew member accompanying us. “You DO realize that at the rate you’re moving we’ll be getting through about sixteen people per hour, don’t you? You HAVE done this before, correct?”
Unlike the last few years, 2013′s March Horrorhound Weekend featured only a sparse number of horror hosts which, in many ways, seemed like a “last stand.” After the Vampira Tribute in 2010, Jason Hignite continued the Horrorhound Weekend/Horror Host tradition with a Zacherley Tribute in 2011 along with “inducting” at least ten horror hosts into the Ripley’s Believe it or Not, Horror Host Hall of Fame. The tradition of choosing ten random hosts for induction would continue in 2012 and, despite the lower turn-out, took place again this year.
Terror from Beyond the Daves would like to extend a very special “Get Well” card to our dear friend, Rich Koz/Svengoolie. Svengoolie is well loved and respected; not just by us Daves and horror fans, but by a WIDE range of broadcasting professionals, TV historians, and a few notable celebrities as well. This has been especially true now that he’s gone national and caught the attention of such genre legends as Mark Hamill and Robert Englund!
Alex and I quickly navigated through crowds of monsters and maniacs as we made our way from Svengoolie’s signing to the The Nightmare on Chicago Street’s main stage. I’d forgotten my map but one needed only a pair of working ears to determine which way to go. Echoing throughout the event was the featured band, “Hairbanger’s Ball” performing 1980′s rock hits. It wasn’t long until I was reunited with my friends amid a cover of Warrant’s “Cherry Pie.”