(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.
Not long ago, during my post on Jim Cornette’s appearance at The Squared Circle with Svengoolie, I mentioned something really amazing that happened later at the event that I couldn’t go into any detail about at the time. Well, it’s now official and I’m happy to report that October 31st, 2014 will officially be Rich Koz Svengoolie Day in Illinois!
With just a few days recovery from mine and the other Terror Dave’s vacation/road trip, it was time to resume my favorite Chicago past time…keeping up with national horror host, Svengoolie! We enjoyed seeing him at Brookfield Zoo for my AAZK Chapter’s annual Vital Grounds fundraiser (which David covered HERE) and were honored when he agreed to also have dinner with us the following evening (this time as mild-mannered Rich Koz) along with Jim Roche at The Squared Circle restaurant.
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.