"Tooonight, we're going to have A TERRRRIBLE time! Boo ha ha ha ha,"
January 15, 2002 1:42 PM   Subscribe

"Tooonight, we're going to have A TERRRRIBLE time! Boo ha ha ha ha," Sammy Terry used to say, and he was usually right, because he'd then show a movie like "The Monolith Monsters" or "The Tingler." Unless you grew up in Southern Indiana, you probably never heard of Sammy Terry. He was the local host of all B-horror movies, like Elvira only cornier (if that's possible!). His "cohost" was a rubber spider, dangling on a string. And his costume included dishwasher gloves (look closely at the picture). Of course, this being the Internet, someone has a created a Sammy Terry fan site: here. Did anyone else grow up with wacky local shows? I'm not even gonna talk about "Cowboy Bob" and "Janie."
posted by grumblebee (33 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Sorry if the link doesn't work (geocities acting weird). You can get there by going to the second link and then going to the gallery.
posted by grumblebee at 1:47 PM on January 15, 2002

Sounds like Chilly Willy from Pittsburgh, who, I imagine, has long ago retired. Search as I may, I can only find passing references to him on the web.
posted by m@ at 1:56 PM on January 15, 2002

You killed it, grumblebee.

"Sorry, this site is temporarily unavailable!
The web site you are trying to access has exceeded its allocated data transfer. "

Another GeoCities site bites the dust, courtesy of MeFi.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 1:57 PM on January 15, 2002

If you're from Omaha, Nebraska, you've probably heard of Dr. San Guinary
posted by almostcool at 1:58 PM on January 15, 2002

in chicago, we have this very odd local access show. i'm not sure what it's called. it has a fat businessman who apparently deals in cars of some sort, and he is surrounded by not-generally-attractive women wearing shear pantyhose in a yellow-and-red one-piece bathing suit. also, with feathers on their head. they don't do anything functional; they simply stand next to the fat businessman. it's very surreal.
posted by moz at 2:02 PM on January 15, 2002

Ooooh - the tingler. I can't believe once upon a time I squealed in fear from that lobster looking thing. That's what slumber parties and third grade girls will get you.

We had Butch and Ben McCain here. Not nearly as wacky as your man sammy, but definitely local flavor.
posted by domino at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2002

We watched Captain Mitch in Sacramento. A bit less talented than Krusty the Klown.
posted by culberjo at 2:03 PM on January 15, 2002

Are you kidding? The one, the only Ghoulardi (aka Ernie Anderson). In Cleveland, in 1963, ten-year-old boys worshipped Ghoulardi as a virtual god. If Ghoulardi had told us all to jump into Lake Erie naked in the middle of winter, we would have gladly gone and done so. Now, Ghoulardi's son, Paul Anderson, is a big-time Hollywood film director, having done that Dirk Diggler pic with Marky Mark, and "Magnolia" with the raining frogs.
posted by Faze at 2:06 PM on January 15, 2002 [1 favorite]

I remember the Ghoul from Detroit. He was hilarious!
posted by MaddCutty at 2:14 PM on January 15, 2002

The Ghoul from Detroit was a self-conscious "tribute" to (and rip-off of) Ghoulardi. Not to say anything against the Ghoul (or the Son of Ghoul, currently on air in Cleveland). While the Ghoul does an okay Ghoulardi impression, and his heart is certainly in the right place, he cannot match the genuine suavity and native wit of Ernie Anderson. Those of you who loved and enjoyed the Ghoul got only the slightest flavor of the magnificence of Ghoulardi.
posted by Faze at 2:18 PM on January 15, 2002

Oh man, I miss Sammy Terry! Actually staying awake for Sammy Terry was a childhood-long goal in my neighborhood, and those who managed the feat were greeted with awe. I only managed to stay awake to catch him twice, and both times ended up sitting through... THE BLOB!!!!

Good times, man. Good times. *sniff*
posted by headspace at 2:19 PM on January 15, 2002

The Uncle Floyd Show New Jersey local programming at it's worst. His nephew, Jimmy Vivino, is the guitarist in the Max Weinberg 7 though, so talent must be in the genes.
posted by remlapm at 2:23 PM on January 15, 2002

Zacherley!...who may have been the first. The best baby sitting jobs I ever got were with the couple who'd let me watch Zacherley's movie to the end even though they'd gotten home early. To this day, I can't take a cleaver to a head of cauliflower without going zacherley on it . Thanks for the fond memories, grumblebee!
posted by realjanetkagan at 2:25 PM on January 15, 2002

If you're a baby boomer that grew up in LA, here is a treasure-trove of ALL the cheesy local kid TV personalities. . .my fave for pure low-grade silliness is Shrimpenstien. . .it's hard to believe that people got paid for this, even though the pay could not have been great. (I was a guest on Skpper Frank several times. . . . .I guess that dates me)
posted by Danf at 2:39 PM on January 15, 2002

Oh my god, Sammy Terry. When I was about four, my mom let me stay up and watch him and then sleep in her bedroom so I wouldn't freak out in the middle of the night.

posted by blissbat at 2:43 PM on January 15, 2002

Ghoulardi it is. Not only bad movies, but Ernie Kovacs-inspired blackout sketches, heavily made-up people filmed upside-down lip-synching to doo-wop (gotta love those hyphens) and Big Chuck and Houlihan starring in "Parma Place", replete with white socks and accordians.

About 15 years ago, I started seeing Houlihan starring in infomercials plugging Plain English Bibles. Oh, how the mighty are fallen.
posted by skyscraper at 2:48 PM on January 15, 2002

Heh. "Fantasy Madness" on the community channel at Harron Cablevision in Massachusetts. Bad handycam work by teenagers who taped kitchen knives to bmx bikes and dueled in a parking lots across the Upper Cape. Setting yourself on fire for the love of art hasn't been the same since.
posted by kahboom at 2:55 PM on January 15, 2002

Dammit, Danf, you beat me to it! Local Legends is a great site run by a terrific lady...Tisha Parti. I grew up watching Larry "Sinister Seymour" Vincent, I think I still have his autograph somewhere. I used to *beg* my stern Italian grandma to let me watch "Shrimpenstein" (it came on during dinner).
posted by MrBaliHai at 2:58 PM on January 15, 2002

My native land is full of local "flavor". We had Ramblin Rod for the kiddies, your standard morning cartoon show with a 'smile contest' and some old cartoons and Chuck E. Cheese came with his entourage (Jasper T Jowls!) and wished happy birthday to those with birthdays and Ramblin Rod ended every show sailing away on his little (pushed on wheels by interns) tugboat. He contributes vaguely to the character of Krusty The Klown.

It turns out that my father in law's uncle is Uncle Murph of San Diego kiddieshow fame, but I'll be damned if I can find him anywhere.

At the risk of going a bit off topic, I'll introduce the not so kid friendly Portland Public Access show that caused a lot of uproar awhile back. It's wacky, and it's local, and how can you resist all those happy doodles?
posted by verso at 3:01 PM on January 15, 2002

MrBaliHai. . .sorry but I HAD to do a Shrimpenstein search . .I can't think of anything cheesier ever on TV unless it's Lloyd Thaxton (who I cannot find a link for). . .or Dick Lane and Roller Derby.
posted by Danf at 3:05 PM on January 15, 2002

If you lived in Madison, Wis. during the 1970s, were about 12 years old and lived for old horror movies you were watching Lenny's Inferno on Friday nights at midnight. It was sponsored by American TV (it's owner was Lenny Mattioli) and hosted by the black-clad Mr. Mephisto, with his co-host The Voice in the Box -- basically a small black box that sat on Mephisto's desk and made wisecracks. Instead of commercial breaks Mr. Mephisto would do live commercials for stereos sold by American TV (boy, they knew their demographic -- my friends and I drooled over them) and he and The Voice in the Box would do some comedy bits. I wish I could say who played Mephisto and when the show met its demise, but I have no idea. Still, when I think about Mephisto now the memory spurs the taste and smell of greasy, buttery popcorn washed down with Coke poured from a glass quart bottle. And "Night on Bald Mountain" by Moussorgski will always just be the Lenny's Inferno theme to me.

A younger child of the 1960s, (like me) enjoyed Circus 3 every day at 4 p.m., hosted by ventriloquist Howie Olson and his dummy, Cowboy Eddie. Kids sat in the audience, sucking down McDonald's milk shakes (regardless of whether there was actually any shake left in the cup) and watch Howie and Eddie do their thing, interrupted by Warner Brothers cartoons. During that time I lived a few houses away from Howie and he never seemed to be nice to the kids, especially if they accidentally stepped on his lawn. Go figure. Doggedly, I was still a fan and always wished I could be a kid in the crowd with a free frosty milkshake.
posted by schmedeman at 3:15 PM on January 15, 2002

Ghoulardi had a short run in Cleveland (2-3 years), but had a fairly long run as an announcer in Hollywood (I know he was the voice of "America's Funniest Home Videos").

The Ghoul (aka Ron Sweed) used to work as one of Ghoulardi's assistants (as did Big Chuck). I know that The Ghoul asked for (and received) Ernie's blessing to start The Ghoul.

Does anyone know - was Ghoulardi "the first" (or one of the first) in this genre? He was on in Cleveland 1964-1966
posted by xena at 3:23 PM on January 15, 2002

Augusta, Georgia...the 70's:

First, it's Trooper Terry Time!

We also had 'Shock Theater'on Friday nights, but I think everyone had that, right?
posted by troybob at 3:23 PM on January 15, 2002


Don't forget "Mush Mouth" Mariano Pacetti and the pizza eating contests on Houlihan & Big Chuck.

The 70's were a great time for kitsch horror theatre and comedy in Cleveland. Houlihan & Big Chuck on Friday nights, The Ghoul on Saturday night.
posted by xena at 3:28 PM on January 15, 2002

Here in Chicago we had "Son of Svenghoulie." He was supposed to be some sort of pseudo-vampire, but he mostly came off as a wash-up. Which is what he inteded, I think. He was a long-running Friday-nighter on local Fox affiliate channel 32.
posted by me3dia at 3:52 PM on January 15, 2002

In Philly we had Dr. Shock.

This summer my brother and I took our kids to the old neighborhoods this summer, and at Pat's Steaks there was an autographed photo of Dr. Shock eating a cheese wit' that brought back many great memories of youth.
posted by kickerofelves at 3:53 PM on January 15, 2002

When i was a kid, the two things that scared me to death were Sammy Terry and Noble Roman's Pizza Monster.

After doing a quick web search, I found out that the Library Lady off of Cowboy Bob's Corral works at my university's library. I think I might have to track her down tomorrow.

Great post grumblebee.
posted by ttrendel at 4:24 PM on January 15, 2002

Wallace and Ladmo. If you grew up in Phoenix during the 60s, 70s, or 80s and didn't watch W&L, you were mental. Alice Cooper had his performing debut on this show. Stephen Spielberg (then an Arcadia High School student) had his movie broadcast debut on this show.
posted by tpoh.org at 4:30 PM on January 15, 2002

In Chicago, when I was very little I watched the Svengoolie show that was hosted by what I remember being a Hippie Ghoul
that did stoned monster jokes. A few years later the Son of Svengoolie showed up and I watched constantly. It went off
the air again, but returned on anouther channel about 8 years ago. I don't watch much anymore, but I am happy it is
posted by thirteen at 4:31 PM on January 15, 2002

Ahh, Me3dia beat me to it. Was Creature Features national?
posted by thirteen at 4:32 PM on January 15, 2002

In Columbus, Ohio, it was Fritz the Night Owl.

Incidently, Ernie Anderson, AKA Ghoulardi was a television announcer, perhaps best known for saying “The Love Boat...” on ABC promos...
posted by jpburns at 6:45 PM on January 15, 2002

Philadelphia was a great town for hosts of all types; We started out with "Roland" - who was Zacherley, in his first incarnation as a horror host.

He was followed, a decade later, by Joe Zawislak, who played "Dr. Shock", an admitted Zacerley imitator (with Zac's permission, BTW.) He ran for ten years in the shame show - under several different names (Scream In, Mad Theater, Horror Theater), until his untimely demise in 1979 of a heart attack.

Five years later, we recieved our last (so far) of our horror hosts with "Stella", who was trying to do sort of an South Philly italian princess take on Elvira. She managed to get away with it for 6 years.

On the Kids front, Philadelphia was the host for Captain Noah (1967-1994), Sally Starr (Late 50's - mid sixties), Pixanne (Late 50's - early sixties) and Gene London (Late sixties - mid seventies).

A strange program, for who knows who, was 'Chief Halftown'. It started running in 1953, and kept running up through the nineties, and it starred the same guy throughout. Essentially, he would have some rather untalented kids on (brassy 5 year old girls belting out showtunes, whole tap dancing classes, etc.) and pretend he was Ed Sullivan in warpaint.
posted by Perigee at 8:39 AM on January 16, 2002

If you grew up in the Toronto area in the 70s-80s then you may remember (or you may *not* want to remember) the Uncle Bobby show. (photo reference here)

He was basically a creepy old man with puppets... traumatizing stuff for a little kid.
posted by quietfish at 9:37 AM on January 16, 2002

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