Exactly one year ago, Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-in appeared to be on the fast track to stardom. I’d just attended his studio Open House (Part 1 of 3 covered HERE) that previous September and watched the former DJ- turned-horror host surrounded by his adoring fans – an impressive legion (or pack, if you will) that had grown steadily in the few short years since his character’s inception. It was a night I’d never forget. As we gathered near, Mac grabbed a loud speaker and proudly announced that 2011 would see his show go “international” as the crowd went wild. One didn’t feel the need to consult with Madame Nina’ in forecasting the success of Wolfman Mac.
Ever since Vampira cooed to her pet spider, “Rolo,” and the great Zacherly whispered “my dear” to an invisible paramour just outside the camera’s reach, sidekicks have been a common feature of horror hosted shows.
These companions are often as colorful and diverse as their host creators. Some are the skeletal variety such as Svengoolie’s Tombstone or Wolfman Mac’s conniving Boney Bob. Others are even more bizarre and imaginative such as Doktor Goulfinger’s Count Zygote (the world’s first horror host fan), Ms Monster’s..”ahem”.. melons “Tit & Tat,” or even a coy houseplant whom Mr. Lobo affectionately refers to as “Miss Mittens.”
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.
Wolfman Mac has the honor of being the first local horror host I’d ever watched after Svengoolie. Last January I was thumbing through YouTube clips when I stumbled upon “Wolfman Mac’s Chiller Drive-in.” Although Mac is a fellow Midwesterner (Michigan), it was the other Dave in Rhode Island who had access to his show via a cable channel called RTV (Retro Television). I asked him to send me some copies and he was happy to oblige.