The crowd hushed as WGN Radio personality, Nick Digiglio, took the platform. For as long as I’ve been attending Flashback Weekend it’s been his job to introduce Chicago’s local-gone-national TV horror host, Svengoolie, to the audience before the annual costume contest begins. It’s a fitting role for Digiglio as they’re genuine pals and Sven’s been a guest on his program numerous times. Whether delving into the illustrious career of his alter ego, Rich Koz, or dishing on their favorite horror films, it’s always a treat for us listeners. On this occasion, however, it was a one-man show as Sven replaced him on stage. The crowd broke into applause and for good reason. For us seasoned attendees, we knew we were in for an hour of imaginative costumes coupled with Svengoolie’s quick wit and banter.
I’m pleased to welcome my friend, Nicholas Cara, to Terror Daves. Nick is a devout Svengoolie fan and the accomplished author who penned the highly entertaining Grey Ghost books. Today, however, he just wants to get something off his chest…
I have a confession horror fans, I’m a wimp. There is no way around it, when it comes to the world of horror I’m a chicken, a wuss, a scaredy-cat, a namby-pamby lily-livered yellow bellied wimp. But you know what? That’s okay.
Will you ever see me in a theater watching a new horror flick? Nope. Renting a tape (kids, ask your parents) of the newest or even a dated 1980’s slasher flick? No chance. I mean most show’s on television today tiptoe the line once saved for the strongest R rated Jason or Freddy movies and I’m happy to usually be in control of the remote control safely on my couch which for us wimps is a great feeling.
It’s time for another KILLER review from Terror from beyond the Daves! As many of you know, I’m a “Jason – not a “Dave,” but get deputized everytime an Indie horror film comes his way. Today’s film – Killing Poe, however, doesn’t feel much like an Independent film at all. With a reported $2.5 million dollar budget, I think it safely broke the ceiling of most of the ones I’ve seen but let’s review…
Flying in with his red-nosed, rubber chicken, Sventa Claus dropped in on Fantasy Costumes last weekend to greet fans. I’d seen him there last October in his less festive, Svengoolie, persona and it was notable for attracting a large turnout despite inclement weather. In contrast, this December day was sunny and in the 60’s proving once again that, so far as the weather goes, Chicago’s always riding the Bi-Polar Express. This would mark the horror host’s final 2017 appearance and third as Sventa. Unable to attend the previous two, I made it a point to rearrange my schedule for this one. And so, with a camera strap around my neck and a poster tube under each arm, I made my way to Fantasy Costumes a.k.a. my 82nd Svengoolie appearance!
Last Saturday I was sitting at my work desk while gazing at the tempest outside. Since it was the weekend, I had the whole office to myself and decided to turn off the main lights in favor of a small one hanging over my computer. With the dark clouds and rain pounding on my window, it seemed to make the otherwise chaotic place cozier; something you could never accomplish during normal business hours. With Halloween only a couple weeks away, we Chicagoans can be sure of two things; the weather will be erratic and our local/national TV horror host, Svengoolie, will be amidst a busy schedule of appearances. In fact, it almost seemed like this year’s list of events rivaled that of his ultra-busy 2012. I’d covered almost all of those and remember being thoroughly exhausted by the time it was over. This year, however, my “Svengoolie-stalking” activities were clearly lacking as my schedule never seemed to be in sync with his. On this rainy day, however, he was slated to make two appearances with one starting just when my shift ended. I decided it was high time I broke out of my Svenertia. and braved the elements to see him at Fantasy Costumes – the largest costume shop in the windy city!
I purchased my ticket for the MST3K “Watch out for Snakes!” tour about ten minutes after they’d gone on sale. At the time, my trip to New England was winding down and I remember feeling grateful to have something new to look forward to. In addition to the general admission tickets, fans could also choose between two types of VIP passes. After reviewing the details, I opted for the cheaper one…and the operative word here, folks, is cheaper not cheap. When the big day finally arrived, my friend Nikki and I battled Windy City construction before settling in at a parking garage near Chicago’s Vic Theater. Although the garage itself looked as if it were being held together by spit and gum, it was a pretty neat part of the city that I’d never been to before.
As soon as I arrived for Day Two of the Chicago Comics & Entertainment Expo (C2E2), I made a mad dash to the autograph section while dodging hundreds of attendees. National MeTV horror host, Svengoolie, was signing at Table #25 and, per his producer/assistant Jim Roche, I was to meet the crew just prior to his 11 am appearance. Seconds after reaching the spot, I got swept up by the host’s television crew who’d been right behind me. For the last five years, I’ve been one of the luckiest Svengoolie fans around. Despite his growing popularity and adding a bevy of celebrity admirers to his fan base each year, he and his talented team have always been very gracious to us Daves and allowing close access to many of his key appearances. I get to play Jimmy Olsen to his Superman while offering some assistance whenever needed. C2E2 is one of those “all hands on deck” type of events where this often comes into play. Svengoolie always commands a huge line of fans but, at this convention, it would continuously grow the entire weekend if given the chance. While his Director, Chris Faulkner, and assistant director, Kevin Reisberg, are out gathering footage for the show, Jim has the arduous task of maintaining the crowd without being distracted. So it’s the perfect trade-off, I offer an extra set of hands and, in turn, get front row coverage of the host. It probably also helps that I’m built like a bar bouncer and can offer an air of “protection” should things get rowdy though, thankfully, that’s never happened at any of the Svengoolie appearances I’ve ever attended (and, for the record, this one was #76).