National horror host, Svengoolie, has been a staple of the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) for the past seven years and I’ve faithfully seen him at each one. This year would be no exception, though his role would expand to an additional session on Friday’s opening day. In addition to greeting fans again on Saturday, he’d also be the subject of a “Svengoolie Spotlight” panel – another Svengoolie/C2E2 first. His crew graciously allowed me to hang with them both days in an example of mutualism at its best – I get the inside scoop & photos and they get an extra set of hands and guy built like a bouncer while he’s on the floor. The biggest challenge is just keeping up with them!
Friday, April 6, 2018, 10:15am – My daughters, Leia and Jade, and I arrive at McCormick Place just after the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) begins. This year they had security checkpoints set up like the ones they have at airports which created some delay. While approaching the metal detectors, I notice a Wonder Woman cosplayer in front of me holding a sword and a guy behind me with a laser gun. I swear this is the only Security Screen in history where folks walk in proudly brandishing weapons!
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.
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!
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).
There was still sunlight when I arrived at the Elgin Safe Zone for their annual Nightmare on Chicago Street this past Saturday evening. This year I’d be attending alone as most of my friends were back home watching the Chicago Cubs play in a historic baseball game that would see them heading to the World Series for the first time in over seventy years. Under those circumstances, their absence was understandable…and what better reason to skip a zombie Apocalypse than for the possibility of watching Hell freeze over instead? In my world, however, the Nightmare on Chicago Street IS the World Series and there was no place I’d rather be.