We’d no sooner taken our seats in a special area located on the second floor of The Museum of Broadcast Communication, when we were back up on our feet cheering the arrival of Svengoolie. The man of the hour, Rich Koz, was celebrating his 35th anniversary as Chicago’s (and now the majority of this country’s) TV horror host and the room was chock full of devout fans and prominent citizens eager to participate in this one of a kind event. It was a serious affair that might otherwise seem in direct contrast to a career built on never taking himself too seriously though, in this case, well-deserved.
The official Rich Koz Svengoolie Day for both the State of Illinois as well as the City of Chicago took place just two days ago; October 31, 2014. Halloween is always a busy day for the horror host on any given year but, in lieu of its unique circumstances, this one was particularly demanding. With a schedule loaded with numerous activities at various different locations, the Svengoolie camp had enough on their plates without having a fanboy like myself tagging along. Therefore we Terror Daves were VERY fortunate to have the whole day archived by Sven’s assistant, and our friend, Jim Roche, who granted us permission to share them with you.
As you’re going through these photos, try and remember that this was all taken on a SINGLE day! Of course this wasn’t just any day…it was Svengoolie Day!
Happy Halloween and, if you live in the State of Illinois, Happy Svengoolie Day! Since hearing the news back in April that October 31, 2014 would not only mark my favorite holiday but also its merging with my favorite horror host, it seemed just too good to be true. Thanks to my formidable fellow fan, Brian Bernardoni, as well as Representative Kay Hatcher, the seemingly impossible has become reality and here we are. Sven will be busier than ever starting with an appearance on the You & Me This Morning Show on Chicago’s WCIU, various bumper spots throughout today’s MeTV programming, a radio appearance on Chicago’s WGN Radio, and stopping off at The United Center to help kick off The Chicago Bulls home opener. On behalf of The Terror Daves, we would like to congratulate our friend, Rich Koz, on this momentous occasion!
The Museum of Broadcast Communications lies near the foot of Chicago’s Marina Towers which, so far as this night was concerned, was not without its irony. Back when I was growing up in the ’70s and ’80s, it was home to our favored UHF station, WFLD Channel 32. Whenever I was home sick from school it provided a welcome alternative to the soap opera-soaked major networks by offering much more satisfying shows such as Tennessee Tuxedo, The Munsters, and Banana Splits.
Of course those programs would only tie me over until the weekend when Channel 32 would unleash its REAL entertainment. On Saturday nights I’d drop a blanket in front of the family television set and prepare for two hours of monsters, air-popped popcorn, and guaranteed laughs via my favorite horror host, Son of Svengoolie. Yes, despite the constant struggle with our TV antennae in an effort to minimize the often snowy reception, my memories of those nights remain crystal clear.
(NOTE: Coverage of Svengoolie’s Flashback Weekend talk show with Robert Englund (in full Freddy make-up) will be posted on Halloween in celebration of the holiday as well “Svengoolie Day” in Illinois. For the next two weeks we’ll lead into the big day with posts on his “35th Anniversary Celebration” at the Museum of Broadcast Communications as well as the Nightmare on Chicago Street in Elgin)
For me, Halloween usually kicks off after I first spy the seasonal “Monster” cereals back on the store shelves. Shamefully, I still haven’t had a chance to grab them, though I did get a more direct introduction to the holiday courtesy of national horror host, Svengoolie. The appearance took place at Siegel’s Cottonwood Farms in Joliet, Illinois and the last time I saw him in that area was over two years ago during a Slammers game on a blistering hot evening (which I covered both in Scary Monsters Magazine and HERE). On this late September day the temps were much more forgiving though the clouds looked a bit ominous. I told myself it was just part of the Halloween “ambiance” and decided at the last minute to head over.
Svengoolie, Lisa Maria Varon, and the MeTV crew (with “me” tagging along) exited the main hall before heading up several flights of stairs towards the celebrity lounge. Upon reaching the top, we walked along a balcony which offered a bird’s eye view of C2E2 – And what a sight it was! Thousands of fans looking like busy ants and only moments after I’d been one of them. It was both awesome and humbling at the same time.
Svengoolie had been at C2E2 well before his signing time but with a mission. Certain events such as these warrant the host bringing along his entourage which includes a camera crew. These are the makings of his “Svengoolie on the Road” segments which always start with a cartoon Sven getting run over by a hearse. Somehow we intersected at the booth of the former pro-wrestler and current WWE commentator, Jerry”The King” Lawler though, at this time, His Majesty was away on break. Jim Roche, Svengoolie’s assistant, gave me a quick greeting but I could tell he was in the zone and in full business mode. This is my cue that while I’m permitted to stay close, I’d best stand out of the way. With but few moments to greet Sven, they quickly ventured back out into the crowd.