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.”
On Friday, October 19th, I was joined by my friend and Terror Dave Girl Friday (the 13th), Elizabeth Ocon, along with my son, Alex, to get our first glimpse at Brookfield Zoo’s 2012 “Creatures of the night!”
Horror Host, Svengoolie, was slated to arrive at 7pm but, by 6:30, there was already a long line winding around the zoo’s Discovery Center to see him. Svengoolie never disappoints when it comes to drawing large crowds at Brookfield Zoo! I remember at last year’s event (covered HERE) the line wrapped around the bison yard and eventually had to get cut off. In an effort to accomodate all of the eager fans, no pictures were permitted, just autographs. It didn’t seem to damper anyones mood and many found clever ways to snap pictures with him anyway while Sven added his own humorous touches.
I’m still sitting on a few stories from Svengoolie’s October appearances but, to be frank, I’m having a hard time putting them together in lieu of the his recent cardiac event. Most were already written and I just have to throw them all together and “publish” but even that sends a lump in my throat and desire to flee the computer.
Last month we did a post on the amazing shirt designs of Chicago artist, Jeff Carlson (visit his store HERE)! As mentioned, I’d been an admirer of his work for years via the Svengoolie YAHOO group. Jeff has graciously allowed us to share some of those pictures right here! Check em out…
With respect to religion and politics, the subject of “cats and dogs” can be equally divisive. It seems like most animal lovers will declare their allegiance to either one or the other. Maybe it’s the Libran in me, but I actually like both species. I also enjoy listening to both The Beatles AND Rolling Stones while considering myself a fan of “Star Wars” as well as “The Lord of the Rings” trilogies. Call me wishy-washy, but I think life’s more enjoyable when you aren’t an “all or nothing” kind of a person. Regarding the topic of pets; at this point in my life, I’m the proud owner of a beautiful tuxedo kitty named Felix. However, having had a loyal canine in my childhood, there are many times when I find myself longing for “man’s best friend.”
Special thanks to guest writer, Joan Yingst, and event photos courtesy of Jim Roche.
I’ve been a Svengoolie fan ever since he started as “The Son of…” back in 1979 when I was 12 years old. I never missed an episode if I could help it. Flash forward thirty three years later, and I am still watching him. Sure, there was a lull during that time when Sven was off the air, but I never forgot him during those lost years.
Whenever national Horror Host, Svengoolie, makes a public appearance, I try to not only attend the event but also linger whenever possible (remember, “linger” sounds better than “stalking”). Though his average guest turn out is so large that it affords me little time to actually interact with the host, there are definite benefits to just “hanging around.”