During last October’s amazing “Nightmare on Chicago Street” event (see first of several blogs detailing that experience HERE), I was introduced to the great Elizabeth Haney via our mutual pal, Rich Koz/Svengoolie. Since that time, Elizabeth and I have become good friends and she is a genuinely wonderful person who also has a knack for working at the coolest places. I’d first seen her years before working at “Horrorbles” in Berrrr-wyn, though we’d never actually spoken during that time. She’s now employed with Acme Design inc. a.k.a. the talented folks responsible for creating Svengoolie’s new coffin! The prototype for this new slice of Horror Host History was unveiled at the aforementioned event.
About a month later, Elizabeth invited me to visit Acme Design Inc. and not only get a small tour, but also a behind-the-scenes look at Sven’s new coffin. For a life-long fan of the Chicago-gone-national host, it was a dream come true! Acme was founded by Clint Borucki who began the company over twenty years ago in Carol Stream, Illinois out of his garage. It began with building furniture but quickly expanded to model making. Soon the business ran exclusively on model making, props, and prototypes and, in 2001, moved to Elgin. Via their small but extremely talented crew of six craftsmen as well as state of the art 3D technology, Acme’s work is nothing short of spectacular!
I drove up on a Saturday morning and was semi-disappointed to arrive at a small, rather generic looking building that appeared to be anything but remarkable.
I wondered if I arrived too early as I didn’t see any cars parked in the lot and quietly walked up to the front door to get a peek inside. It took my brain a few moments to register what my eyes were seeing but, moments later, I was gazing into the eyes of a life-size ALIEN statue. Later, I would learn that this was an original H.R. Geiger mold from 1979’s ALIEN. As a huge fan of ALIEN and ALIENS, it was an honor just being in its presence!
Soon after knocking on the door, I was granted admittance by Clint himself. He was very nice but also pretty busy and quickly attended to his next project while I took in all the amazing surroundings and waited for Elizabeth. Soon the legendary Ms Haney arrived and was joined by Ryan Guenther, the coffin’s talented designer/creator, who was also kind enough to meet me on a Saturday. I really appreciated it especially since, let’s face it, nobody wants to visit their job on the weekends no matter how cool the place is. Within moments I was standing before the new prototype that sent Svengoolie fans into a frenzy just a month before.
The amount of detail and special features that the finished coffin will offer is mind boggling. I’d love to list some of these tidbits, however, they are not my secrets to share. Out of respect for Svengoolie, we’ll let him divulge all those bells & whistles. I’ll wait until sometime after that before sharing that aspect of today’s visit. In the mean time, let me give you a glimpse at what fantastic goodies are packed inside that small building…nothing short of a Geek Valhalla!