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October 19, 2007 5:01 AM   Subscribe

The stalled documentary American Scary may never see a DVD player, but that doesn't stop you from celebrating the lost art of the late night horror host. Vampira, Zacherley, Ghoulardi, Morgus, Sinister Seymour, Svengoolie, Doctor Madblood, Elvira, Joe Bob, and many more are all on the tubes. Who was your favorite?
posted by Roman Graves (28 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Fritz the Nite Owl, from Columbus, Ohio.

Nice guy, too.
posted by jpburns at 5:16 AM on October 19, 2007

Ghoulardi from Cleveland, but before my time. His son is the director P. T. Anderson.
posted by Falconetti at 5:20 AM on October 19, 2007

posted by DU at 5:30 AM on October 19, 2007

Count Floyd.
posted by davelog at 5:32 AM on October 19, 2007

Dr. Shock.

And bubbles!
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:54 AM on October 19, 2007

Forgot the link: Dr. Shock.
posted by SPUTNIK at 5:58 AM on October 19, 2007

TooLoose NoNeck. But seriously, who can hold a candle to Count Floyd?
posted by MikeMc at 6:25 AM on October 19, 2007

I liked Elvira for an ...well, two... obvious reasons.
posted by thanotopsis at 6:30 AM on October 19, 2007

Chilly Billy Cardille. He had a bit part in George Romero's "Night of the Living Dead" and his daughter Lori Cardille, was the lead in "Day of the Dead." We would huddle around the black and white TV sitting on pillows in a converted basement rec-room, hoping "please, please, don't let this one end with an ominous question mark." We especially liked the ones where it was finally discovered that the monsters could be killed by throwing a glass of water on them.
posted by StickyCarpet at 6:33 AM on October 19, 2007

We especially liked the ones where it was finally discovered that the monsters could be killed by throwing a glass of water on them.

Ah, those wacky old b-movies...of course, modern audiences are much too sophisticated for stuff like that!
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:39 AM on October 19, 2007

When I was a kid near Detroit it always Sir Graves Ghastly [warning: annoying sound]. Even as kids we knew he was kind of an ass, but he showed a lot of the classic Universal Studios Monster Movies. I cut my teeth as a horror movie fan with Sir Graves. He was on in the afternoons on the weekends. Later it was The Ghoul [warning: possibly really annoying sound]. He used to blow stuff up, which was appealing to me at the time.

On kind of a related note: this post reminded me of Bill Kennedy, who used to wear loud sport coats and show lots of movies starring people like John Wayne, Richard Widmark, Errol Flynn etc. Lots of happy memories watching those with my dad. It seems like he showed Robin Hood or Captain Blood every month. I'm not sure what genre of movie host Bill Kennedy would fall into. Obnoxious ex-Hollywood Insider / Raconteur?
posted by marxchivist at 7:03 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dr Paul Bearer!
WTOG Channel 44, Tampa-St Petersburg, Florida.

Read about him here.
posted by willmize at 7:03 AM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

Dammit, willmize, I came in here to mention Dr. Paul Bearer. Many were the hours we'd while away watching "Creature Feature" on channel 44.
posted by jquinby at 7:12 AM on October 19, 2007

Ashley Ghastly! Scroll down, beware of eyes bleeding from site.
posted by mygothlaundry at 7:18 AM on October 19, 2007

When I was a kid in Cleveland (early '80s), The Ghoul was the man. My parents tried to tell me he was just a ripoff of Ghoulardi, who I of course had never heard of, and of course I thought they were simply ancient haters -- um, even though, of course, they were completely correct. By the early '90s, The Ghoul had migrated to the sticks of Ohio (maybe Akron?), as I discovered when dating a girl from, like, the sticks of Ohio. I'm sorry to report that he was -- to a teenager -- kind of lame, even if he'd blued up his act a little for late night TV (in Cleveland, his show had run on Saturday afternoons).
posted by kittens for breakfast at 7:30 AM on October 19, 2007

In the D.C. area, Count Gore DeVol is still active.
posted by doctorschlock at 8:11 AM on October 19, 2007

Definitely Joe Bob Briggs. He's a sexy Texan best.
posted by Brittanie at 8:33 AM on October 19, 2007

Horror Incorporated out of Minneapolis in the Seventies. Hosted by none other than Count Dracula himself.

Also, Timothy D. Kehr used to host late night horror movies in the Eighties and Nineties. He had been a mover and a shaker in the Twin Cities garage music scene in the 60s, and was one of the people responsible for the hit song "Liar, Liar" by The Castaways.
posted by Astro Zombie at 8:41 AM on October 19, 2007

There is a pretty comprehensive list of all these guys here. In Augusta, GA, the local horror host was Count Justin Sane (scroll down). It turns out he was pretty scary in real life. I actually had an autographed publicity shot like the ones in the linked articles; I have no idea what happened to it in the thirty some-odd years since I got it at a Boy Scout Jamboree.
posted by TedW at 9:50 AM on October 19, 2007

Sorry to steal your thunder, jquinby, but we can share our unnatural love for Dr Paul together.
My autographed and inscribed photo of him is one of my greatest treasures.
He was probably bemused a 30 year old man would write to him and ask for one.
posted by willmize at 9:52 AM on October 19, 2007

Zacherley was and is the best-- and has been an old friend for years. (I watched him TV in Philly years before I met him in the early 80s) He still lives up in the West 90s in New York, and is a relatively healthy and happy 89 years old!

For those not in the NYC or Philly area, Zach pretty much invented the genre, for TV anyway, when he started as "Roland" back in the late fifties for the ABC affiliate in Philadelphia. Soon he was just Zacherley (his real name (minus the 'Y'). During the show, which consisted of some so-bad-they're-funny old 40s horror flicks, he'd come on and do various antics in his "dungeon", usually speaking to the invisible Igor, or more often his "wife" inside the coffin on set, or electrocuting some gooey stuff or wierd creature or toy or dissecting a "brain" (he used a head of cauliflower).

Zach would sometimes appear for a few seconds in the middle of commercials too, and mock those in the spot, with a quick quip or strange look -- a practice which didn't last for long, since he'd piss off the sponsor! He quickly became a huge TV personality and soon went to NYC and became quite a cult figure by hosting "Shick Theater". He later did quite a bit of FM radio hosting for WPLJ and WCBS in NY and others in the 70s, and did a few minor film roles here and there. There's a few "cool ghoul" compilations still out there, and they still are pretty funny.
posted by Seekerofsplendor at 9:59 AM on October 19, 2007

Count Floyd was the scariest. Aaaaaooooowwwwwwwww.
posted by strangeleftydoublethink at 11:54 AM on October 19, 2007

American Scary is a lot of fun, if you can see a screening of it. Here's hoping they finally get a distribution deal!
posted by kimota at 11:58 AM on October 19, 2007

Professor Griffin's Midnight Shadow Show was carrying on the tradition on cable access here in Austin, TX for many years. He's recently moved on to Fangoria TV.

Seth Lazarus is another cable access regular here and puts on an excellent show with The Keepout Lounge.

Cable access is one of the only places left where you can find horror hosts. The regular networks are becoming too centralized to support local programming like I loved growing up.
posted by apiaryist at 11:58 AM on October 19, 2007

I am privileged to be two-degrees of separation from 'Sinister' Seymour, thanks to this guy. I remember asking him once "who in the L.A. media could possibly be cooler than "Sweet" Dick Whittington?" and he just said "Seymour" and I understood. Elvira originated (from one of Seymour's co-writer/producers) as essentially Seymour with boobies. MST3K owes their existence to all these local yokels, but Seymour maybe most of all; he hit the perfect tone. But then, no other local market but L.A. could have generated the perfect cynicism.
posted by wendell at 4:44 PM on October 19, 2007 [1 favorite]

The Bowman Body will always be my favorite, but I'll never turn down a viewing of an old episode of Dr. Gruesome's Movie Morgue.
posted by gargoyle93 at 9:00 PM on October 19, 2007

I had a crush on Joe Bob. I met him at a midnight showing of Basket Case 2 and got an autograph read, "To a real drive-in kind of girl... Joe Bob." Sigh. He was dreamy.

I also watched USA Up All Night With Rhonda Shear at some point during puberty when I lived out in the sticks.
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 9:32 AM on October 21, 2007

Oh, and I'm a day late and a dollar short, but wanted to give mention to my second favorite late night host,

Commander USA.

Ooooooh yeah.


A GeoCities Site, sorry..

A Fan Club? With a card?
posted by willmize at 5:25 AM on October 23, 2007

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