- He’s been at it for over forty years. I was eight years old when I first started watching Rich Koz as the Son of Svengoolie back on WFLD TV Chicago. I’m now 50 and still watching him on MeTV! He may have changed stations and dropped the “Son of” moniker, but he’s still presenting movies on commercial TV, and that is nothing short of astonishing.
2. Nearly ten of those years have been on National TV. I remember shortly after Svengoolie went national in 2012 bumping into another horror host legend, Count Gore de Vol at a local horror event. We talked for a bit and mentioned Sven going national. “No horror host lasts more than a year or two on National TV,” he said. Now here we are in 2021 and Svengoolie is still going strong (if not stronger) on national television. Incidentally, I should mention that Count Gore is no stranger to the Rondos either having won “Favorite Horror Host” 2009.
3. He talks the talk… and walks the walk. When it comes to classic horror, Svengoolie not only finds himself in the role of an entertainer but an educator as well. One of the best parts of his show is when he takes the time to discuss the film’s behind-the-scenes information and the actors. It gives viewers a greater appreciation for the film and the industry at that time. That’s because Rich Koz is a true fan of classic horror. And how many younger generations have now been exposed to the Universal classic monsters thanks to him?
4. He’s kept horror hosting alive. Thanks to local television stations being swallowed up by corporations, professional horror hosting was all but extinct by the 1990s. The aforementioned WFLD-TV would become FOX and have no use for local talent. While keeping the character alive via public appearances, Rich Koz would return to commercial television in 1995 thanks to a new local channel. During the bleakest period in horror host history, Sven would not only survive but thrive thanks to his hard work and struggling through less than ideal time slots.
5. He’s Rondo’s answer to Katherine Hepburn. As of this date, Svengoolie has won an astounding TEN Rondo Awards – Nine for “Favorite Horror Host” and another for “Top Live Event” a.k.a. his 40th Anniversary celebration at the Museum of Broadcast Communications (which was covered HERE). That’s not including his numerous other awards such as four local Emmys and becoming a Silver Circle Inductee. Folks, if that doesn’t spell Lifetime Achievement, then I don’t know what does.
6. Impact on the horror community. While paving the way for more horror hosts (including a return stint of Mystery Science Theater on Netflix and Joe Bob Briggs via Shudder) MeTV has shown even more confidence in the art of hosting with their new morning cartoon show – Tune in with Me. He’s been parodied in the TV show, GLEE, and mentioned in Netflix’s Sabrina the Teenage Witch. He’s even made it into comics (more on that later).
7. Commands HUGE turnouts at events. I’ve personally done over 100 Svengoolie appearances, most covered on this site, and feel I’m something of an authority as to how successful they are. Even before going national, he commanded huge crowds with lines that often needed to be cut – even after extending his appearance time.
8. We hate to name-drop, but… After going national, Svengoolie garnered legions of new fans including a slew of celebrities. Mark Hamill, Gilbert Gottfried, David Dasmalchian, and Paul Sorvino are just a few of the fan/friends Svengoolie’s gained over the years. Even Lady Gaga was spotted wearing his sweatshirt in an Instagram post. While listening to Gilbert Gottfried’s Amazing Colossal Podcast, effects genius Rick Baker said during his interview that while attending the New York Comic-Con, he was most excited about meeting Svengoolie.
9. Officially part of the DC Universe. In 2019, Svengoolie debuted in the pages of DC Comics, meeting all the major characters!
10. Pandemic entertainment. While all of us have been affected in some way by Covid-19, the entertainment Industry was downright crippled. Only recently did theaters open up in New York City (at a smaller capacity) but many shows experienced production delays. Unable to return to the station, Svengoolie would be undeterred reaching his fans – creating a remote makeshift studio. The result was new movie presentations during a time when many of us really needed them. Kudos to Rich Koz and the entire Svengoolie crew!
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is my case for nominating Rich Koz Svengoolie as the next “Monster Kid of the Year.” Voting takes place throughout the month of March 2021 and you can access your ballot HERE. Special thanks to Nicholas Cara for allowing me to share his image and inspiring me to write this post.