This year’s Indianapolis HorrorHound Weekend was noteworthy for featuring multiple events centered around the art of horror hosting. Perhaps the most significant of these was the addition of horror hosts to an actual “Hall of Fame” sponsored by “Ripley’s Believe It or Not.”
I’ve been a horror host fan for as long as I can remember. Thanks to syndication in the early 80’s, I was able to get my first glimpse of a host via the Son Of Svengoolie from Chicago (playing out of a station in Boston). I soon also became aware of Elvira: Mistress of the Dark but, during this period, this could only be accomplished late at night, weather permitting. On the rare event those rabbit ear antennas did draw the original Movie Macabre the picture was extremely snowy and virtually unwatchable (though I STILL did). With the introduction of cable television, I was finally able to enjoy such hosts as Grampa on TBS’s Super Scary Saturday, Commander USA on the USA Network, and Morgus The Magnificent on WPIX.
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.”