As Mac attended to his grateful fans, he would occasionally stop what he was doing to make announcements. This not only fired up the guests but also made it abundantly clear who “The Chiller Drive-In’s” top dog really was.
Throughout the course of the evening, I was fortunate to inspire two Wolfman Mac “shout-outs.” When we first met up with Mac he thanked us for making the journey and asked how long we had been on the road. After I told him he grabbed the megaphone and yelled, “Listen up wolf pack! Our friend Dave here drove up all the way from Chicago! Four and half hours to see us!!!” My face turned scarlet as the onlookers cheered.
The girls were elated to finally meet their favorite celebrity. While posing next to Boney Bob, I asked Mac if he wouldn’t mind doing his Boney Bob voice for them. He happily obliged and it wasn’t until about a half hour later I realized my error. The girl’s looked at me confused and said, “Wolfman Mac is Boney Bob?” (Doh!) “Uh…yeah,” I quickly backpedaled, “But only when the real one isn’t around.”Mac was great with the kids and, after posing for a few pictures, became very serious. He grabbed a small book that was sitting amongst his myriad of artifacts and said, “I want to share something with you that I don’t normally let folks see. This is my personal scrapbook.” After he began flipping through the pages, the gathering group began laughing. From his “baby” photos and on through college, normal photos were enhanced with the addition of the cut-out visage of a noticeably “adult” Wolfman Mac.
Prior to getting our turn at meeting Mac a second time, a fan had him sign a copy of the latest issue of “Scary Monsters Magazine.” After he turned to me I informed him that I had been given confirmation from the magazine’s editor, Dennis Druktenis, that the story and interview I had done on Mac over the summer was to be published in the next issue – January 2011. He immediately grabbed the megaphone and gave another “shout out” alerting fans to this fact.
I soon felt a tap on the back of my shoulder and, after turning around, was face to face with one of the show’s supporting cast members, Morbid Melvin. “I know who you are!” he said. I happily took photos with one of my favorite characters on the show.
Later, the girls and I sat back in a booth located in the “The Chiller Drive-in” concession set, enjoying some of the tasty treats put out for the guests. Mac had left the projector room but soon returned along with another, rather interesting, cast member. In walked a hulking creature that was, literally, spewing smoke from his maw. The character was “Oscar the Ogre” and, I didn’t know it at the time, was being maneuvered by its creator – a certain Dave Ivey.
Dave Ivey has actually played multiple roles on the show, both on camera and off. Aside from Oscar the Ogre, he also plays one of the most hilarious characters ever to grace any show, “The Milkman.” This would-be super villain threatened Boney Bob during Mac’s presentation of EVIL BRAIN FROM OUTER SPACE. While Boney Bob laments about becoming a super hero, he is accosted by The Milkman and his band of thugs. “Get him boys!” hisses The Milkman, “let’s show him just how intolerant lactose can be!”
The true talents of Mr. Ivey, however, lie with his ability at making unique and amazing props. Many of the foam sculpts and puppets created for “The Chiller Drive-In”, as well as the impressive demon sculpture highlighting the entrance to Erebus itself, were created by Dave Ivey.
I had actually seen Mr. Ivey before at the Horrorhound Convention last March. On that occasion, however, he was wearing another of his other creations – the mad scientist from television’s “Robot Chicken.” Mr. Ivey used to work with the legendary Ohio horror host, The Ghoul (Ron Sweed), who as mentioned in a previous entry enjoyed success on Michigan airwaves as well. Ivey has kept The Ghoul’s spirit alive at “The Chiller Drive-in” by creating the “Son of Froggy” suit worn by cast member Mike Murphy. For those unaware of the connection, The Ghoul was famous for tormenting a rubber frog on his show (along with routinely blowing up model kits) leading to his own costumed mascot, Froggy (played by Dave Ivey).
Mr. Ivey has worked alongside Bruce Campbell as well as Ted & Sam Raimi. Vicki Vanderkolk told me that at the Horrorhound Convention, mask making icon, Don Post Jr, referred to Ivey as a “Fucking Genius.” I really hope that I can formally meet Mr. Ivey (hopefully as The Milkman”) and shake his hand. He has truly added a lot to the success of “Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive in.”
As we walked back to our car, ready to embark on the long drive home, my eldest daughter (who detests car rides even for short distances) exclaimed, “That was SO worth it!” She was right, too. While I had already been a fan of the show I walked away with a whole new respect for it after attending this Open House. I later wrote Vicki and thanked her for her assistance in arriving and for the work she, as well as her fellow team members, do. “The Chiller Drive-In” is interwoven with so much local history and respect from its creative team its future success is all but assured. Proof of this was revealed in one of Mac’s final megaphone shout outs. “Three years ago I was filming in my basement,” said Mac. “Now we’re seen nationwide and next year will be going International.”
Our modest host wasn’t making this announcement to brag. Rather, he was using it as an opportunity to thank the devoted fans who have supported his work these last few years. This night dedicated for his beloved “wolf pack” and, by opening his home and going out his way to make us all feel so welcome, Mac showed that he wasn’t just a good horror host, but a phenomenal host in its classic definition as well.