Monster of the Day #1684

In Chicago, independent powerhouse WGN had Creature Features, the late night class monster movie slot showcasing the classic Universals. The far cheaper UHF station, WFLD, had the Saturday afternoon Screaming Yellow Theater. This is where the young Ken was introduced to schlock, like Attack of the Giant Leeches or The Screaming Skull.

In 1971–when I was about eight, so this stuff really shaped me–as I vividly recall, a voiceover announcer joined the show, a fellow named Svengoolie. I was highly excited when they eventually announced that we should soon SEE Svengoolie on the show. Sadly (and believe me, I felt rooked), when this did finally happen, it was via a pretty small series of stock photo shots. Here we learned at least that Svengoolie was definitely on the hippy-ish side.

Eventually they again announced that Svengoolie would soon be appearing ‘live,’ and sure enough, he eventually did. His weird mix of Borscht Belt shtick and Chicago in-jokes (“BER–WIN!!”) was a truly formative experience for yours truly. In 1973, tragically, the station was sold and the new owners decided to trade their local host for the syndicated The Ghoul from Cleveland. The guy who played Svengoolie, Jerry G Bishop, would leave for literally sunnier climes (San Diego), and just the end was written.


  • bgbear_rnh

    A little influence from “Children Shouldn’t Play with Dead Things” ?

  • Flangepart

    Ah, the original Sven! A friend loaned me a tape of his work…funny guy. You often hear his crew breaking up at his ad-libs. Always a good sign, that. His guests often seemed like thay were having a blast being there…ya gotta wonder what went on off camera!
    Well, we know who’s up next, Ken. Check out the recent interview Rich Koz did on Gilbert Gottfrieds Amazing Colossal Podcast!

  • Eric Hinkle

    Doesn’t look like much of a horror host. Though some people seem to find hippies plenty scary, so maybe it’s just me.

  • Gamera977

    I dunno, I find those pants rather terrifying.