The Following highlights were “transcrammed” from the 2019 Flashback Weekend panel celebrating 40 years of Rich Koz’s Svengoolie. The event began with a video presentation narrated by the original Svengoolie – the late Jerry G. Bishop. The panel was moderated by WGN Radio’s Nick Digilio and proved an entertaining 90 minutes – with a few surprises!
We’d no sooner taken our seats in a special area located on the second floor of The Museum of Broadcast Communication, when we were back up on our feet cheering the arrival of Svengoolie. The man of the hour, Rich Koz, was celebrating his 35th anniversary as Chicago’s (and now the majority of this country’s) TV horror host and the room was chock full of devout fans and prominent citizens eager to participate in this one of a kind event. It was a serious affair that might otherwise seem in direct contrast to a career built on never taking himself too seriously though, in this case, well-deserved.
Last weekend I went to see national horror host, Svengoolie, at a Chicago store called Cook Brothers (“We stack em Deep and Sell em Cheap!”). Though not as remarkable as his previous appearance at The Squared Circle, it did represent a bit of a milestone for me. Since discovering that he’d return to the airwaves in 2003, this would mark my 35th time seeing him (either as Svengoolie or Rich Koz) at a public event.
It’s after 1am and I’ve just returned from one VERY memorable evening. I attended Elgin, Illinois’ “Nightmare on Chicago Street” which I can say with 100% sincerity was the most satisfying Halloween season event I’ve attended to date! There will be MUCH more on that in future posts. Not only was the event loads of fun, it was downright historic for us Svengoolie fans. After 40 plus years, and a Rich Koz make-over, the original Svengoolie coffin is going into a much-deserved retirement. TONIGHT its successor was finally revealed…
One of the most surprising moments at Svengoolie’s recent appearance at G-FEST was when a long-time Svengoolie fan named Tony Kapsis shared some vintage items from one of Jerry G. Bishop’s public appearances in the early 1970’s.
While Vampira & Zacherley are often thought of as the “mother and father” of all horror hosts, many prominent Midwestern hosts can credit their true lineage to Cleveland’s Ghoulardi. Never taking himself nor his film presentations seriously, radio announcer/disc jockey Ernie Anderson would create an irreverent template of wit and sarcasm many hosts still use today.