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!
I was thrilled when I heard the news that Svengoolie will be appearing at this year’s G-FEST in Chicago! For those less savvy in the Godzilla world, “G-FEST” is short for Godzilla Festival and for fans of Godzilla, Gamera, Ultraman, or any other facet of Kaiju (Japanese giant monster) cinema, this is the event for which we revolve our calendar around. As a life long fan of Godzilla, I was happy when my 6 year old son, Alex, took to the Big G. We attended our first G-FEST in 2004 and I haven’t missed one since!
Last September, we reported how lost episodes of Chicago’s “Screaming Yellow Theater,” featuring the original Jerry G. Bishop Svengoolie, were unearthed and digitally preserved by the efforts of Rick Klein and The Museum of Classic Chicago Television! For myself and many it was a rare chance to see the predecessor of the horror host I’d grown up with, The Son of Svengoolie (Rich Koz), now simply Svengoolie.
Well, gang, this is our final post regarding the Ohio 2012 Horrorhound Weekend before we aim our focus at future events! As mentioned prior to this gathering, David and I were asked by Jason Hignite to participate in this year’s Horror Host Hall of Fame ceremony by doing an induction of our own. Not for a specific host, but for a unique package of films that lead to their proliferation.
It was a beautiful sunny day in Chicago when I arrived at DePaul University to see a Q&A session with national horror host and broadcaster, Rich Koz/Svengoolie! While I’ve seen him at various appearances this would mark the first time I would catch him without his familiar make-up and, rather than greet fans, get to see him discuss his vast career.
In the earlier days of this site, I attended The 2010 Chicago Wizard Con (story HERE) and was not a happy camper. Granted the intense crowds did give me a bit of satisfaction knowing that, in the 15 years since I’d quit collecting comics, us geeks had clearly inherited the earth. Unfortunately, this was tempered by my perception of us fans being treated like cattle along with having to deal with their pampered celebrities. This is the first year I attended C2E2 (Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo) and it was a last minute decision. Still recovering from Horrorhound (and, yes, we still have much more to discuss regarding that event) I had requested my C2E2 Press Pass late in the game and was surprised when it arrived last week. The event was HUGE and took place at The McCormick Place in Chicago.
This past Saturday, the FIRST major Svengoolie appearance of 2012 was “out of the gate!” Yes, I’m one of those lucky fans from Chicago who not only is able to STILL enjoy his childhood host as an adult, but saw him proliferate this past year by going national. Since TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES is a horror host friendly site, created by two childhood fans of Sven, its become a great excuse to stalk the man’s appearances without raising two many eyebrows (except on Facebook where I seem to get called out on it all the time).
The other day I was at work perusing Facebook during my, ahem, lunch break when a post written on Svengoolie’s wall caught my attention. The negative comment was regarding Sven showing non horror related shows like tonight’s DUCK SOUP as well as suggesting that he change the name of his program to “The Abbott & Costello Show.” Apparently the writer, who felt the need to publicly chide Sven as opposed to sending him a direct complaint (which he would have responded to), had a TV black-out the previous weeks when he aired HOUSE OF FRANKENSTEIN, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, and THE DEADLY MANTIS.
While Vampira & Zacherley are often thought of as the “mother and father” of all horror hosts, many prominent Midwestern hosts can credit their true lineage to Cleveland’s Ghoulardi. Never taking himself nor his film presentations seriously, radio announcer/disc jockey Ernie Anderson would create an irreverent template of wit and sarcasm many hosts still use today.
National Horror Host, Svengoolie, made his annual holiday appearance at the “Comic Collector” in North Riverside, Illinois this past Friday and marked the occasion with an ALL-NEW Sventa Claus suit! The Comic Collector has been a popular location for many Chicagoans to get their comic book fix for over a quarter of a century and its owners, Rich and Regina Lukes, have been Svengoolie fans for just as long!
I had just seen Svengoolie the night before at Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo (see story HERE) but couldn’t pass up another chance to do so the next day at a local grocery store called Ultra Foods. My reasoning was simple; this past month I’d put in a lot of mileage to see the national host at various locations throughout the Chicagoland (and beyond) area. How could I NOT see him when he was appearing ten minutes from where I live? So, despite the fact that my Facebook friends are starting to accuse me of stalking the poor fellow, off I went!
Horror sites and blogs such as this are known for celebrating the Halloween season by highlighting its movies, actors, attractions, and horror hosts. Few, however, ever really get down to the ground level of Halloween – that is trick-or-treating! While it can be traced to other parts of the world, the tradition really took off in this country during the 1950′s. By the time I was old enough to start knocking on neighborhood doors and ask the question that would invariably lead to a bag full of candy, it was over 20 years later and firmly established as a holiday tradition.
ROCK N SHOCK 2011 brought together various cast members from the 80′s slasher franchise A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET. The most noteworthy of these was Robert Englund who has appeared many times in my native Chicago at the FLASHBACK WEEKEND conventions. Despite this fact, I had never formally met him. I’m not exactly sure why that was, but I suppose it might have been that I was never a huge fan of those films. I know this is probably coming across as horror blasphemy right now but, “back in the day,” I preferred my horror deadly serious and didn’t care for the clever puns and humorous turn the series would end up taking.
This past week, I had the unique opportunity to experience two zoo Halloween attractions located over a thousand miles from each other. Both Daves are volunteer docents (from the Greek word “to teach”) at their respective zoos and enjoy sharing their important conservation messages with thier guests. I have been affiliated with Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo for over 13 years (both as employee and volunteer) and David Albaugh joined his zoo (Roger Williams Park in Rhode Island) earlier this year. Before I continue, let me state that this is NOT a compare/contrast piece. Each year, numerous guests at the zoo will say things to me like, “Your zoo is better than mine,” “My zoo is better than yours,” etc. The truth is, all Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) accredited zoos are not in competition with one another. In fact, it is quite the contrary. These non-profit organizations all work together for the singular purpose of doing important conservation research around the world (which most of the public is unaware of ) while also educating and connecting their visitors with nature during their recreational visits.
Recently, I joked with friends that this Halloween season I’d be like a Grateful Dead “Deadhead” or Jimmy Buffett “Parrot head” and follow the Horror Host Svengoolie around wherever he goes. Throughout this latest Svengoolie “tour,” I’ve made it as far north as J.J. Blinkers near the Wisconsin border and all the way out to The Amhurst Asylum in Valparaiso, Indiana with the month not even half over. I do have to say that of all these wonderful venues, NONE were as beautiful as Long Grove, Illinois where Sven appeared last Saturday at a new 365 day Halloween store – “Harper’s Hollow!”
Last Sunday, I grabbed the kids and headed over to the town made infamous by the Svengoolies – Berwyn, Illinois – to observe a rather unusual event. The Annual “Houby” parade has taken place for over forty years now and, along with the National horror host, has become a local Berwyn tradition! For those scratching their heads wondering what a “Houby” is, it is the Czechoslovakian word for “mushroom.” Yes, you are reading this correctly, the entire parade is dedicated to mushrooms! Mushrooms and truffles are to the Czechs’ what the tomato is to the Italians. It is a big part of their culture and it should also be noted that other “Houby” events take place throughout the year in other places throughout the United States.
While it was the National Horror Host, Svengoolie, who is indirectly responsible for bringing the Daves together as friends, it has always been our stance that TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES was really the bastard child of the 2010 Vampira Tribute and SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE. In reality, the two are complimentary of each other. Within the pulpy pages of the world’s only “REAL Monsters Magazine,” classic monsters as well as Horror Hosts have always been featured side-by-side. And why shouldn’t they be? For many of us adult Monster kids, it was the classic commercial hosts who introduced us to all the greats be it Godzilla, The Universal Monsters, the films of Hammer Studios, the wonderful “B” movies of Roger Corman, as well as those from directors who were slightly…ahem…less gifted.
This past weekend, fans of the original Jerry G. Bishop Svengoolie had reason to cheer! The work of this classic host who was recently entered into “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” Horror Host Hall of Fame and spotlighted on this site early last month (which you can see HERE) had a short run in Chicago and, with the exception of various clips offered via AMERICAN SCARY and YouTube, very little else surviving.
Thanks to the efforts of Rick Klein – President and Chief Curator of The Museum of Classic Chicago Television, three COMPLETE “Screaming Yellow Theater” shows have been discovered, digitally restored, and available for public viewing via the Fuzzy Memories TV site TODAY!
This is the labor of love for Klein who began the museum in 2007. In the four short years of its existence, it has amassed a treasure trove of classic Chicago TV footage as well as the largest online archive of Rich Koz/Son of Svengoolie clips. Many are available on YouTube (1100 according to Klein) with MANY more on the site itself.
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES, as you may know, is a horror host friendly site. Both Daves are grown up fans of Son of Svengoolie and, since early last year, have been enamored with the work of many hosts we scarcely knew existed. Jerry G. Bishop’s Svengoolie was a bit before our time but we salute the predecessor of our current Sven and are thrilled to have an opportunity to see complete examples of his work.
The work of Mr Klein and others around the country who selflessly work to preserve the work of their local classic TV hosts is a true gift! This being said, I’ve gone on long enough…
The time has come for scary things…like monsters, ghosts, and vampire wings…With horrible movies all drippy and drooly…and horrible hosts like me, Svengoolie!!!
SEE the Jerry G. Bishop Svengoolie shows HERE!
By: Jamie Lee Cortese
Horror hosts can truly pop up anywhere. A fan of horror hosts would probably expect to see them on the guest list for a convention, would not be too shocked to see them appearing at a haunted house or other horror-themed attraction, and would only be mildly surprised to see one in another’s show.
Last year, I must admit that I was very surprised when I found out that Svengoolie would be appearing at a western-themed event: The Little Boots Rodeo in Elk Grove Village, Illinois.
Upon Sven’s arrival that day, he and the mayor of Elk Grove Village faced off in a mechanical bull-riding contest. Some rooted for Sven, some for the mayor, but all were definitely having fun! The mayor ended up falling off of his bucking bronco, and for a moment it looked like Svengoolie was the winner; then, however, some good-natured “protests” began, with the mayor pointing out that Sven had held onto the bull with both hands, instead of just one, but the validity of Mr. Goolie’s extra “edge” being questioned by the fact that he was holding a rubber chicken in that hand. The eventual “final call” was hard to discern (I remember someone calling it a tie), but according to Mr. Goolie himself, the mayor apparently won.
After the daring duel, Sven made his way over to the table that had been set up for him, where a line of fans waiting to meet him face-to-face was already forming. Meeting Svengoolie was, of course, fun, exciting, and definitely a highlight of last year’s event! Although there were certainly so many attractions set up that day, it was just that: One day, which left hardly enough time to see and experience anywhere near all of them. The weather didn’t help much, either; it was a clear, bright, sunny day, but it was hot! Of course, this was completely out of the Rodeo’s control, and most people dressed for the weather. But even as all of us fans took the term literally and fanned ourselves (and sometimes each other) while waiting in line, the heat suddenly seemed much less intense as we all realized: Svengoolie must be roasting!
Despite the heat, however, everyone I saw that day was having a good time, including Sven! Maybe all of his “fans” cooled him off! (Yes, I know, that was horrible––– please stop throwing the rubber chickens!)
This year, The Little Boots Rodeo was expanded to a two-day event (instead of just one), held on June 25 and 26. Many attractions and events that made the previous summer’s Rodeo so much fun returned (thankfully, the heat and humidity did not), including Sven, who was slated to appear both days that weekend. He and the mayor had arranged a rematch, although not on the two mechanical bucking broncos that had also returned this year. Instead, they would face off in a… duck race!
The way this worked was that each human contestant was given a live duck to hold in his or her hands, then assigned to one of four lanes that stretched across a tank of water that was probably only about a foot deep. When the supervisor/referee sounded, appropriately enough, a duck call, they would release the ducks, and the fast fowl would then half swim, half fly across the pool. The first one across the finish line, of course, was the winner. The ducks were then collected and returned to their holding area. The actual length of each race was only a few short seconds, so you could literally blink and completely miss it.
Just before their big competition, Sven and the mayor made some introductory remarks. Svengoolie’s comments were particularly witty and certainly pleased and entertained the crowd.
“You know, I’m most of the time used to chickens, so I’m not real well acquainted with ducks. But you know what, if I lose, you can put it on my bill!” he quipped. “No money down!” he continued. “You ever watch Me-TV? We have shows with Jack Webb.” He probably could’ve gone on like that forever (and we all would have stayed without a second thought), but after the joke about Jack Webb, he sighed, “Okay…” and handed the microphone over to the mayor.
“I’m always glad to get down with Svengoolie, and we’ll see who the real man is today with the ducks! So Svengoolie, we’ll go Round Two!” He and Svengoolie shook hands, and received their designated ducks.
“The more you splash them, the faster they go,” one announcer hinted.
Finally, it was time for the moment of truth! At the sound of the duck call, the ducks were released, and off they went! It was definitely a very close call, but there could still be little doubt that Svengoolie’s duck had come out ahead by just a fraction of a bill. Just like the previous year, both Sven and the mayor were very good sports, and the ducks were surprisingly cooperative. I saw a few races before Sven had arrived, and was genuinely impressed by the ducks’ good behavior: There were no attempts to bite their handlers, whether supervisors or contestants, and they remained calm and relatively still while being held; so much so that even the youngest of cowpokes could hold them safely and securely without worry of injury or accidentally allowing the birds to fly off into the clouds. The dexterous ducks also never attempted to “fly the coop” during or after any of the races I witnessed.
Svengoolie’s table and tent were thankfully set up in the shade, and he made his way over there to sign autographs and take pictures soon after the big race had concluded. Of course, a line was already forming. Waiting in line can actually be quite fun if you take the time to take in your surroundings, especially the people waiting in line with you. It’s always fun for my family and me to overhear fan’s stories about Svengoolie, and since The Little Boots Rodeo attracts so many, shall we say, “little boots”, we heard more stories than at most other appearances as so many enthusiastic parents excitedly explained to their little buckaroos just whom they were waiting in line to see. Some told tales about growing up watching Screaming Yellow Theater and/or Son of Svengoolie, while some attempted to help them comprehend that they were going to meet the man they watch on TV every week. It was also amusing when, while waiting in line once more on Sunday morning, two men behind us became deeply involved in a conversation/debate with each other about the history of Sven, what years each incarnation aired on television, and whether he was a ghoul, a vampire, or something else entirely.
My family did actually visit him both days that weekend, and on Sunday, in a rare and unusual occurrence, the length of the line actually seemed to alternate from growing exponentially to suddenly stopping. Strangely enough, it stopped shortly after we arrived in line (maybe word spread that I was there…), leaving only the two aforementioned men locked in intense discussion waiting patiently behind us.
For some reason, it still throws me for a loop whenever Svengoolie recognizes me in line. According to my parents, it surprised the two men behind us as well. At any rate, due to the sudden halt in the growth of the line, we were able to chat with Svengoolie for a little bit longer than usual, which was a nice and unexpected treat. Thank you again, Mr. Goolie, for my family’s and my day!
After meeting Svengoolie each morning, we were able to trail blaze through the rest of the rodeo. Now, The Little Boots Rodeo is primarily geared toward just that: Those with little boots. On the upside, there are practically endless activities for the junior sheriffs to participate in, including a cowpoke costume contest, but rest assured, there’s still plenty to do for those of us with bigger boot sizes.
Of course, there are various vendors selling a wide variety of items. If you don’t prefer to shop around, there are also the aforementioned duck races and mechanical bucking broncos. However, a bit of warning for fully-grown cowpokes who have a hankering for trying their luck on this last one: Sure, it may be wild enough to successfully buck a rustler who’s knee-high to a grasshopper to the inflated terrain below, but for pretty much anyone who’s tall enough to not need help saddling up for the challenge, it’s not much more than a nice ride found inside your friendly neighborhood mall.
If you want to sit down and rest your tired dogs for a bit while still having a Western experience, there is also a horse-drawn covered wagon at the edge of the grounds that periodically departs and takes passengers on a leisurely ride along a few local roads before returning to the Rodeo once again to reload.
For something a little more interactive, cowpokes of all ages and boot sizes can go into the petting zoo. It had many of the typical animals one would expect to see at such an attraction: Chickens, goats, etc. There were a few llamas, one of whom was very quick to grab any and all food, and who startled many people, from small children to their parents. There was also a very docile donkey, as well as a spunky young one.
Ah yes, there were a great many animals to interact with at the petting zoo, including…
And before you ask: No, we were not allowed to pet the tiger! (Cue Svengoolie sound effect: “Oh, darn!”) When I first heard them interrupt the country music that set the atmosphere during the entire event (or, at least, for as long as we were there) to announce that there was a real, live tiger in the petting zoo, I thought for sure that they were joking. Although curiosity quickly got the better of me and had me making a beeline for the attraction in question, I figured I’d see a person in some sort of amusing tiger costume, or perhaps a tiny cub held by a professional handler in the same way that you might see a lizard, snake, or small alligator at a zoo. What I found once I arrived there, however, was nothing of the sort.
Quite frankly, I was surprised that more people weren’t coming over to see the tiger. Perhaps it was because there were just so many other things to do.
For those who want to watch more animal races, at set times during the day, “Hot Dog Pig Races” were held. This is a slight misnomer, however, as at certain points during the series of races, the contestants would be Dachshund hounds instead. Each race had a “theme”, such as “celebrities” or “superheroes”, and the racers were given appropriate nicknames, as well as a colored flag on their backs to help you keep track of your favorite contestant. For instance, during the “celebrity” race, two of the pigs were dubbed “Kevin Bacon” and “Jerry Swinefeld”; during the “superhero” race (done by the dogs), one racer’s designated secret identity was “Underdog”.
One of my personal favorite parts of the event (besides, of course, meeting Sven) was Professor Grifter’s Traveling Medicine Show. Basically, it was a magic show with a Western theme; he would “demonstrate” how one of his many elixirs worked through magic tricks. I have to admit that I had seen some of the tricks before at other magic shows performing at community events, but quite a few were new to me as well. He did have a unique spin on the act by masking it as a “medicine show”, his accompanying shtick was, as would be expected of a magician, corny yet still very funny, and he performed all of the tricks adeptly and without a hitch.
After select shows, he would showcase a bonus “flea circus”, with such flea talent as Fleavil Kenevil (the daredevil flea) and Herculfleas (the strongest flea in the world). At one point during the show, Professor Grifter announced that Hercufleas would now carry a rubber chicken up a rubber band. (Ironic, seeing as how Svengoolie was there…)
Professor Grifter and his medicine show and flea circus were, admittedly, kind of hard to ignore, as the performer had a pretty loud microphone that he was consistently shouting into, allowing his voice to be heard throughout the grounds of the Rodeo.
My final verdict on the Little Boots Rodeo? While it may not keep the entire family occupied for the whole day, it is definitely worth a stop for anyone in the area! As the name suggests, the “little boots” in your roundup gang will probably find the most to do, as the majority of the activities are tailored specifically towards the younger set of cowpokes, but those of us who have long outgrown our “little boots” can certainly find plenty to do (after you meet Svengoolie, of course)!
In 1970, the original Svengoolie hit the Chicago airwaves and the Windy city hasn’t been the same since! The vampire hippy, with his quick wit, rubber chickens, and hilarious commercial/song parodies made for a night of side-splitting entertainment in a region that had been starved of a horror host since Shock Theatre (Marvin’s) departure a decade before.
By Shaun “Genghis” Kangas
Last week Saturday , June 18th, I drove 2 hours and 45 minutes from Lake Mills, WI to Oak Lawn, IL .When I heard that Svengoolie and Pro-Wrestling legends Bret Hart and Mick Foley were all gonna be at the same Pro-wrestling event, I had to go! I want to publicly say who ever hooked up Pro-wrestling event with a Svengoolie appearance is a GENIUS!
I have been a wrestling fan for years, since I was five. Later on in life, after my days of playing in my band, I got involved with wrestling promotion. I did it for 2 1/2 years helping the NAWF and NWA Wisconsin wrestling promotions in Green Bay, Madison, Milwaukee and Rockford areas. I have been a Svengoolie fan for years, also since age five. Not a week goes by when I don’t watch his show, even if it is a replay, I don’t care, I love horror films….and Svengoolie!
It was an adventure for my girlfriend Idella and I, since I-90 was all under construction……it is summer after all, but once we got closer there was just limited construction! Using our trusty Garmin with the excellent British women’s voice guiding our way we found the Oak Lawn Pavillion quite easy.
The place is a huge sports complex where the community can go to work out, play basketball, and play indoor vollyball leagues, …but this weekend they are holding Dream Night X !! ( I should clear up that X means 10 here, ten years of PCW’s wrestling showcase in the Chicago area).
PCW has a loyal audience, and when I mean loyal, I mean 1000 to 1500 people packed in to the core! It is a rock concert atmosphere and the crowd is “live” tonight for sure. Idella and I were directed by a PCW polo shirted man to the entrance where he said, “If you want to get in line for Bret Hart you better get in line now, he is only signing for 2 hours.” I looked at this line, and seriously… 3/4 of this crowd is in line to meet WWE Legends Bret Hart and Mick Foley. The line is like seeing Santa Claus at the mall the day before Christmas! AS IT SHOULD BE! It is really rare to get a chance to meet these wrestlers.
So Idella and I make our way to find seats, which was easy since …3/4 of the crowd is in line to meet two WWE legends! PCW fans are all ages and it is a great turn out I must say. This is when we had our “Ya know you’re from Wisconsin “moment, I went up to the concession stand and ask where the beer stand was, the woman behind the counter looked at me funny and said, ” I’m sorry we can’t serve beer or any alcohol here. PCW is a family event.” This is the first Indy Wrestling show I have been to in my life that didn’t serve beer! I return to Idella and told her there was no beer stand, to have her respond in shock, ” What?!!! There is no beer stand! Every show we go to has beer! ….ohhh… oh-no.” So we spotted the table where Svengoolie would be signing, which stated he would start signing at 6pm, so we found seats close by.
Prior to the event I e-mailed ten short questions to Svengoolie( Rich Koz) to let some of his new National fans out there know now that he is a big wrestling fan! Here is that short interview:
SHAUN: What was your first wrestling event?
SVENGOOLIE: My first wrestling event would have been an AWA card at the old International Amphitheater in Chicago-with Mad Dog Vachon taking on the champ, Verne Gagne!
SHAUN: Who is your Favorite Wrestler?
SVENGOOLIE: Stone Cold Steve Austin-one of a kind.
SHAUN: What is your Favorite Wrestling Move or Finishing Move
SVENGOOLIE: The figure four leg lock.
SHAUN: What horror movies have wrestling in them?
SVENGOOLIE: I think mostly Santo movies- but “Ready to Rumble” qualifies as “horror”…
SHAUN: If you were a wrestler, what would your name be?
SVENGOOLIE: One of my (Ahem) creative friends used to call me “Stone Koz” – I think I should be the Human Sleeper Hold, since some of the movies I’ve shown have definitely put people to sleep…
SHAUN: What would your entrance music be coming down the ramp to meet your opponent?
SVENGOOLIE: The Sven Theme, possibly in a slightly different arrangement….
SHAUN: How Many WWE events have you been to over the years?
SVENGOOLIE: Wow- hard to count-been going to various events- house shows and Pay-Per-Views- since they were coming to town at the UIC Pavilion. It’s got to be numbered in the dozens.
SHAUN: What is your Favorite Match of All-Time?…I know, that is a hard one….
SVENGOOLIE: I like different matches for different reasons- Steamboat/ Macho Man, Undertaker/ Shaun Michaels, Rock/ Austin…sometimes it’s the athleticism, sometimes it’s the story….
SHAUN: Your friends with Jerry Lawler, is there any other wrestlers you are friends with?
SVENGOOLIE: Does ring announcer Justin Roberts count? Honky Tonk Man is a Sven friend, and several are acquaintances…hoping to add Mick Foley!!
SHAUN: Are you nervous ring announcing the main event tonight? You sing every episode of your show; will you be honoring us tonight by singing our National Anthem?
SVENGOOLIE: I’m just nervous about getting the names right, and doing a good job. I WILL NOT sing the national anthem….or even the Berwyn anthem.
SHAUN: I want to say thanks to Svengoolie for answering these questions! He had a super busy schedule this past week with the TV Museum of Broadcasting event, and well….the guy has a job and he is a hard worker. He took the time for this Super fan, and I think that is awesome. Now back to the event….
By 6pm they announced the event would be starting via a very LOUD P.A. system! To tell the truth, I could not make out anything they said all night. A young woman sang the national anthem and, right after she finished, the matches began. At this time I saw Svengoolie make it to his small signing table in a dark corner of the pavilion.
At 6:30, Idella and I got in line. What was funny was everyone is in a line to meet someone and there is wrestling going on, so everyone is in line watching the match, and then they realize the line has moved! This, unfortunately, made all the lines even longer.
By the time I got up to Svengoolie, only ten minutes had past. This line was moving! I paid $10 to get my picture taken with Sven and approached the table to give him a good hardy hand shake. At this time I personally thanked him for the interview and we had a nice discussion as he signed a free autograph for me. I did the classic wrestling pose for the picture, and Svengoolie did his classic pose. It was weird that we didn’t say anything and just looked at the camera and did these poses at the same time and then went back to talking. I thanked him and let the next fans go.
What I thought was the back of the line had grown to the same amount of fans when I got in line. 200-300 fans met with Svengoolie from 6pm-7:15pm, and then Sven ran to a door where Mick Foley was watching the action from backstage. That is when all the fans in this area noticed and began wildly taking pictures! Idella and I made our way to our seats and watched the wrestling matches while all of this was going on. We watched 5 matches in one hour and had four sodas between the both of us. I have to say that the PCW fans know who to cheer for and have their favorites, which is great, most indie promotions struggle to get a following.
A short intermission was announced to set up the cage for the cage matches. PCW promoted there would be a six-man cage match as the main event, and Svengoolie would be announcing that event, so we moved closer to the ring. This is where things changed. There was to only be one cage match, but Svengoolie would still be announcing the main event. They started the cage match after a 30 minute intermission. The cage match was now four tag teams battling each other, it was complete mayhem. Highlights included: wrestlers thrown into the cage, a no parking sign was used over a man’s head, a man’s face was rubbed into the fence, and a strange array of weapons were used! Great entertainment for the kids!
After the cage match winners were announced, they took down the cage, which took about twenty minutes. At this point, it has been 3 plus hours in a place that doesn’t have ceiling fans, floor fans, or even a door open. It smelled GREAT! It must be noted that after awhile my date and I can smell the man sitting next to us in the hot humid pavilion. With a 1000 plus people, could someone turn on a fan! Open a door?… Anything?!?!?!
It was at this time that Mick Foley came out . Mick greeted the audience, and went into stories of wresting in the Chicago area. He then introduced Bret “The Hitman” Hart out to the ring, where both talked about being the General Managers of WWE RAW, and the years of coming to wrestle for the fans in the Chicago area. I never thought in a million years I would be ten feet away from Bret Hart and Mick Foley in the ring, but it happened that night! As I watched these two legends converse over old matches, who do I spot in the rafters watching? SVENGOOLIE! He is there above the ring glued to these two legends like everyone in that arena that night – the true wrestling fan that he is. The WWE legends left the ring and a quick tag team match for the PCW tag championships took place.
After that, Svengoolie was brought out to his signature music. He entered the ring, greeted everyone, thanked them for coming out and talked about just recently reaching 32 years of Svengoolie. He got a huge “pop”- a term used in the wrestling business for a quick reaction from the crowd, when he brought up the 32 years of being Sven. He then announced the rules for the main event, and introduced all six wrestlers. The match was a six man tornado elimination match, with the last two going into a last man standing match for the PCW Championship. Got that? If you are not a wrestling fan that sounded crazy didn’t it? Well, I was lost on the rules too, I mean completely lost. Right after all the wrestlers came out, Svengoolie exited the ring, sat ring side, and the match began to total craziness as six men started fighting.
Svengoolie raised the hand of the winner after one of the craziest matches I’d ever witnessed. Soon we were on our way out into the hot summer night (fresh air), and back on our road trip to Wisconsin. It truly was a dream night! I never thought I would get to see Svengoolie with some Wrestling Legends, but here is my cheesy line…..Dreams do come true!
Looking back while writing this, I totally believe this was one of the highlights of my summer!!! I really appreciate TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES for allowing me to cover this event for their site, the PCW for holding the event itself, but most of all Svengoolie for the interview and his kind words! I wouldn’t be surprised that in the near future you see Svengooile in one of those quick camera shots where celebrities are at WWE RAW sitting ringside.
For TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES, I’m Shaun “Genghis” Kangas….
This year’s Indianapolis HorrorHound Weekend was noteworthy for featuring multiple events centered around the art of horror hosting. Perhaps the most significant of these was the addition of horror hosts to an actual “Hall of Fame” sponsored by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.“
HorrorHound events organizer, Jason Hignite, oversaw this ceremony and his devotion to horror hosts can not be overstated. Any horror host able to look outside their own personal interests can not deny that his making one of the country’s largest horror conventions a venue for them to not only feel welcome, but also an opportunity to share their work with a larger audience, has helped rejuvenate this nearly extinct art. It has also encouraged younger fans to appreciate the work of commercial hosts from a bygone era, as well as introduce those of us who did grow up with a host to become acquainted with some of the other personalities our fellow fans were watching across the country. Perhaps none of the host-related events at HorrorHound best illustrated this than the Hall of Fame Inductions.
Mr. Hignite also works with a sister website of HorrorHound called G.O.T.H.I.C. (Gathering of Television Horror Hosts – Internet – Cinema). Though no official plaque design has been created for the awards, G.O.T.H.I.C. will be holding a contest for this express purpose and we’ll definitely keep you posted on how to get involved with that. Once created, the awards will see their way to their proud owners while those who have passed away will have their awards housed at Ripley’s.
This year, thirteen horror hosts were to have the honor of being the FIRST Inductees to the Horror Host Hall of Fame. They are Vampira (Maila Nurmi), Zacherley/Roland (John Zacherle), Marvin (Terry Bennett), Sammy Terry (Bob Carter), The Cool Ghoul (Dick Von Hoene), Dr. Morgus the Magnificent (Sid Noel), M.T. Graves (Charlie Baxter), Count Gore deVol (Dick Dyszel), Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson), Sir Graves Ghastly (Lawson J. Deming), The Bowman Body (Bill Bowman), Svengoolie (Jerry G. Bishop), and the recently deceased Dr. Creep (Barry Hobart) in one of the evenings most emotional moments.
The first host inducted was, appropriately enough, the very first horror host. Ms Monster had the honor of inducting Vampira whom she described as “The first mythological creature of the Atomic Age.” Maila Nurmi’s Vampira began hosting in 1954 and, last year, was the subject of her own HorrorHound Tribute (covered in greater detail HERE). A few years later, hosts would be popping up across the country! This was due to the “Shock” movie package – a collection of over 50 classic monster movies given to 142 media markets across the country.
The addition of a horror host was something that could benefit the station on two major points; for one thing, nervous TV execs weren’t sure how these movies would play to a general audience (this was the 50′s/60′s after all). Not wanting to literally scare their viewers away, a comical host might help alleviate anxiety a bit by providing some cheesy laughs. Hosts could also serve to help fill up some time on movies that ran shorter than their program slots provided.
As a result, the late 50′s/early 60′s saw some memorable, classic horror hosts enter American popular culture. These men and women were professional broadcasters who, by exercising their versatility, afforded them a bit of job security along with a relatively cheap method for promoting these old films.
Cinema Insomnia’s Mr. Lobo (who had the privilege of inducting Count Gore de Vol) also pointed out that the “Shock” package of films weren’t alone in creating a legion of hosts. “The Creature Feature” package brought about some of the most legendary names (such as Bob Wilkins in California) as well as happy monster memories for young fans like myself across the country who saw these films both with, and without, a host.
Because these hosts were fairly isolated, it is unlikely that anyone (outside of a horror host buff) would be familiar with everyone inducted at this ceremony. Even many of the presenters themselves, inducting individuals clearly before their time, had only a vague understanding of whom they were honoring.
TERROR FROM BEYOND THE DAVES isn’t going to pretend to be any more savvy…and we’re certainly not going to pretend to be older. We would, however, like to offer a special post to each of the inductees and, when possible, gain the perspective of an actual fan of the host’s as well. Anyone reading who may have their own memories of the aforementioned classic hosts, please contact either Dave via our contact link.
Count Gore De Vol, like Vampira, was covered in more detail in an earlier piece which you can read HERE . The remaining inductees, however, will be given spotlights in the coming weeks. When possible we will share pictures, clips, and fan anecdotes. We’d like as many folks as possible to contribute so PLEASE send those memories and help us give these Horror Hosts the tributes they deserve!
* Basement Boy is not only a Horror Host but, as you can see, a talented Graphic Designer! If you are in need of a branding campaign, promotional posters, business cards, assorted graphics for your host shows (need a fake beer label or custom packaging for a fictional product?) please contact him at BasementBoyDC@gmail.com!