Dave F: Over a decade before the Svengoolies would become synonymous with Chicago horror hosting, the Windy City’s very first host was a “near-sighted madman” named Marvin! Former Ventriloquist, Terry Bennett, was working for Chicago channel, WBKB, in 1957 when the station received the infamous “Shock Theatre Package” of films. It was Terry, himself, who created the character of “Marvin” and urged television management to allow him to present these films to a Chicago audience.
It’s been awhile since I have had fun…I mean fun like a kid. As adults we become pre-occupied with things such as working, paying bills, raising a family, etc. Not that these are bad things but in the process, we forget how to have fun like we did when we were kids. I think that is why I like being a monster fan so much…you can do all of the important and responsible things in life and yet still be a kid! Who can forget the excitement as a child on Christmas Eve. Family get-togethers that then led to a sleepless night, in anticipation of Santa’s annual visit. This followed by the nervous excitement of walking down the stairs to see if the big guy brought us everything that we had asked for. These times were magical and that is the first thing to go in adults…the magic.
The Daves were honored to see us mentioned this morning in Svengoolie’s blog. Read on…
Living in Rhode Island, we have never really had our own horror host. The horror hosts I have seen over the years for the most part have been because of cable television and recorded shows that people have sent me. Thankfully though, the closest horror host we do have is also one of the most popular…Penny Dreadful from Massachusetts. Penny has been the subject of multiple blogs on our site and my co-blogger Dave Fuentes has an article coming out on her in the spring issue of SCARY MONSTERS MAGAZINE. Her show, SHILLING SHOCKERS, can be seen locally on cable access as well as on internet channels like THE MONSTER CHANNEL and ALTERNATE REALITIES TV.
Last weekend I embarked on a journey back to Kenosha, Wisconsin to attend Dr. Destruction’s Sidekick Reunion Party. Joining me was Illinois Public Access host, Count Gregula, along with his wife – The Countess. Kenosha is about 2 hours from my Chicago suburban home and I certainly didn’t mind the company. We chatted about a range of topics, most of which revolved around the upcoming Horrorhound convention which is a major event in the horror hosting world. Countess, for her part, was snoozing in the back seat reserving her strength for the big event.
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.