It was just after 3pm last Saturday when my friend, Steve Gill, and I began plowing through a juggernaut of fans (and even fans dressed like Marvel’s Juggernaut) in an effort to get to “Table 12.” C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) is a popular annual/weekend event here in the city and this was clearly their “prime time.” It was little wonder that it took us over ten minutes to navigate a single aisle.
Of course it also didn’t help that I was stopping every few yards to take pictures of costumed fans either but I’ll cover that portion of the event in an upcoming post. Today I’m going to cut right to the chase and focus on my main objective for being there…the return of Svengoolie! And, while conventional wisdom states one should always save the best for last, I have no desire in prolonging what we fans have waited long enough for as it is.
I was attending a Brookfield Chapter AAZK (American Association of Zoo Keepers) meeting at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo late last year when the subject of our annual Vital Grounds spaghetti dinner/fundraiser came up. As they’ve been doing this event for several years now, they’ve pretty much got it all down to a science (food, auction items, ticket info, etc).
There was one aspect of the occasion, however, that wasn’t quite so clear…namely the entertainment. For the past several years, Chicago-gone-national horror host, Svengoolie, had been their featured guest which guaranteed a strong turn-out & much-needed funds for the cause. However, with Sven’s health scare in November that was no longer a certainty. Everyone at the table turned and looked at me…
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.
Hard to believe, but we’re now heading into the final week before the March Horrorhound Weekend in Cincinnati! It’s a bittersweet event for me as this is my fourth straight year attending this event and had always been done so with friends while, this time, I’m the lone Terror Dave. That should not imply that I won’t still have a blast nor be surrounded by friends and I’m looking forward to seeing many of them. Especially my pal, Brian Maze, who will be making regular appearances on this site and I think is one great guy!
Anybody who knows me, and has followed this blog for any length of time, knows that I have a deep love and commitment to Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo. As an animal lover, I strongly believe in the conservation endeavors that mine and all AZA (Association of Zoos & Aquariums) accredited institutions perform as well as their work in educating and ingratiating the public to nature during their recreational visits. It may seem that nature loving and the horror genre are like “night and day,” interest-wise, but here in Chicago my worlds have been known to collide with the presence of our local-gone-national horror host, Svengoolie!
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…
We Terror Daves were alarmed today regarding the news of our friend, Rich Koz a.k.a. Svengoolie (news story HERE). Not only is Sven a beloved figure in my native Chicago, he is the very reason this blog was possible in the first place. Back in September of 2009, a message from a Rhode Island fan (who’d grown up with Koz as The Son of Svengoolie when his show aired via a Boston channel) sent a message to the Svengoolie YAHOO forum asking if anyone in Chicago would send him new Svengoolie shows (this was before he’d go national). Although I’d seen and ignored countless versions of this message for years I decided to contact this one and, thus, met the other Terror Dave, David Albaugh. Albaugh and I soon became best of friends and our mutual love of Svengoolie, coupled with a curiosity about horror hosting in general, led to the creation of this blog.
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.
It’s after 1am and I’ve just returned from one VERY memorable evening. I attended Elgin, Illinois’ “Nightmare on Chicago Street” which I can say with 100% sincerity was the most satisfying Halloween season event I’ve attended to date! There will be MUCH more on that in future posts. Not only was the event loads of fun, it was downright historic for us Svengoolie fans. After 40 plus years, and a Rich Koz make-over, the original Svengoolie coffin is going into a much-deserved retirement. TONIGHT its successor was finally revealed…
G-FEST (Godzilla Festival) is the quintessential celebration of Godzilla and all his fellow Kaiju (Japanese Monsters). I’ve been a fan of Godzilla and Gamera ever since I was a kid. Growing up in the 1970′s, it was via shows like Creature Features or The Son of Svengoolie to bring those movies to me. People who did not grow up with a horror host usually have a hard time understanding why some of us adult fans get so weepy with adulation at the mere mention of our childhood ghoul. Well, when you’re a “monster kid,” surrounded by more “normal” kids who want to play baseball or watch The Dukes of Hazard, the person faithfully delivering your favorite films becomes more than just a TV star, he becomes your idol…one of Godzilla proportions. In my case it also helped that I found my host’s corny humor hilarious and his less than stellar singing voice pitch perfect.
One of the most rewarding aspects of stalking National Horror Host, Svengoolie, is that (despite his hectic summer & fall schedule of appearances) he somehow manages to do new things each year! And if there’s one thing we obsessive fans love, it’s diversity! Another hidden benefit of Sven-Surveillance is that it succeeds in bringing you to places you might never consider visiting otherwise. Such was the case with Sven’s recent visit to The Volo Auto Museum.
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is pleased to announce the re-release of the quintessential guide to Chicago horror hosts and horror programming – “Chicago TV Horror Movie Shows: From Shock Theatre to Svengoolie!” I remember buying this book at “Horrorbles” in Berrrr-wyn, Illinois during its first release. As a die-hard Rich Koz/Svengoolie fan, I was elated to see his visage on the cover of a book. It seems so odd now but, when I look back, I actually used to feel isolated in my fandom of him. Thanks to the Internet and the Svengoolie YAHOO forum I soon discovered that I was far from alone. And, thanks to THIS book, it filled in a lot of Svengoolie-gaps in information that I had been unaware of…
One of the most surprising moments at Svengoolie’s recent appearance at G-FEST (story HERE) was when a long-time Svengoolie fan named Tony Kapsis shared some vintage items from one of Jerry G. Bishop’s public appearances in the early 1970′s.
I hadn’t seen Horror Host, Svengoolie, descend upon Berwyn (a town he’s helped make famous) since he Grand Marshalled their “Houby Parade” last October (story HERE). I can’t recall the last time I’d seen him at their local treasure, “Horrorbles,” but I DO know that it was some time before I became a “Terror Dave.” It couldn’t happen too much for me, as the two seem made for each other. Not only because the Horror themed store is the official supplier of Sven’s rubber chickens but because they are both hallowed horror institutions of Chicagoland.
Less than 48 hours after seeing Svengoolie at the “Joliet Slammers” game (story featured HERE), I found myself headed out to see him yet again. This time the location was Northwest of Chicago in the rural town of Lake in the Hills, Illinois and the occasion was their annual “Rockin’ Ribfest.” Although the terrible heat and humidity that had plagued his baseball game appearance had since dropped, they had still managed to drain me. Therefore, despite my reputation on Facebook as being a certifiable “Svengoolie Stalker” (a title I wear like a geek badge of honor), I have to confess that I was ready to forgo this outing in favor of a day of rest. Fortunately, my 14 year old son, Alex, had just returned from a month long trip to Colorado the day before and had no intention of missing a chance to see his favorite host along with a slab of BBQ ribs.
As Chicago was amidst one of its worst heat waves to date; with temperatures hitting the triple digits several days in a row, the last thing I wanted to do was go to a baseball game. I’m by no means a sports fan and the last time I went to any such event was probably about 20 years ago. I’m not sure of the circumstances, but you can bet it involved me being dragged there. This however, was no ordinary game. Taking place far from Chicago’s “US Cellular” & “Wrigley Fields,” in the town of Joliet, Illinois, is a lesser known stadium called “Silver Cross Field.” On this Friday night, it would boast a “Fright Night” horror theme while featuring, as its guest of honor, National Horror Host, Svengoolie! In a situation such as this, I was much more eager to indulge in “America’s favorite pastime.”
Recently we shared some pictures taken by Svengoolie fan, Jerry Victory, while visiting the host at The Little Boots Rodeo. Jerry also had the privilege of addressing Elvira: Mistress of the Dark during a recent appearance on The Stephanie Miller Show. Svengoolie and Elvira met at The Flashback Weekend convention in 2008. See that clip below… and she had this to say…
National Horror Host Svengoolie has been doing a whirlwind tour of summer appearances which included at stop at The Little Boots Rodeo in Elk Grove Village! I was attending Monsterbash that weekend and asked our dear friend, Jamie Lee Cortese, to cover this event with the same amazing detail she did for us last year (relive that great experience by clicking HERE). I did end up making it to his appearance that Sunday after all but, as I was fatigued from travel and the blistering heat, would be far less effective at handling this event like Jamie can. She attended both days with her amazing family and I can’t wait to hear the full story coming soon!