This beautiful redhead is Stella, aka the Maneater from Manayunk (a section of Philadelphia), as portrayed by the talented Karen Scioli. There are plenty of color photos of Stella out there but I think this b&w pic best captures her spirit. Karen Scioli wrote most of her material herself, in the style of Rich Koz, and was a stand-up comic before becoming a movie hostess.
People who like my bad movie reviews tend to like practicioners of the American folk-art of movie hosting and Karen Scioli was one of the best. And with all due respect to Elvira, as a lifelong breast man I believe Stella was the REAL “hostess with the mostest”. Saturday Night Dead aired from 1984 to 1990 on Saturday nights from 1AM to 3AM and Stella was often billed as “The woman keeping Philadelphia and New Jersey UP on Saturday nights.”
Just the facts: Stella hosted her drecky horror flicks from her “Haunted Condo” in Manayunk, where she had a living bed called (surprisingly) “Bed” (no relation to Death Bed, one of the flicks in my Bad Movie section), a green, hairy projectionist named Iggy as well as butlers named Sceeves (1984-1986) and Hives (1986-1990). The condo was also equipped with a dungeon (for Iggy), an enchanted jacuzzi and a torture salon. Stella gave Ben Franklin his first hickey, owned Bela Lugosi’s discarded dental floss and her favorite Halloween activity was bobbing for piranha.
Scioli’s irreverent attitude was best summed up by a remark she made in 1987 when Stan Gibelli was named her new producer and she applauded the arrival of a producer who “finally is as tasteless as myself.” The movie hostess also recalled how she would get fan mail from men who proposed marriage, wanted to replace Bed as her human furniture or become her slave. “It’s a rough life”, she reflected philosophically.
Stella was like a combination of both Patsy and Edina on Absolutely Fabulous and like those two flashy and trashy icons became a role model for drag queens. Karen Scioli even got her own chicken dish, called Stella’s Breast at the Monster Inn, a gay-oriented restaurant. The Philadelphia Gay News (the sister publication of the Philadelphia Morose News) called Stella “a mad, campy blessing from Heaven.”
One of the many highlights of Stella’s reign over the late-night airwaves was when Philadelphia’s original movie host from the 1950s, John Zacherle, appeared with Stella on one espisode repeating his role as Roland. That was the ghoulish character he reprised as the better-known Zacherley (sic) the Cool Ghoul when he left the Philly market for New York decades ago.
Stella doesn’t have as large a Youtube presence as the original Svengoolie, Son of Svengoolie and Dr Madblood, but a four-hour selection of her comedy sketches on Saturday Night Dead is available here:
And for more articles on movie hosts click here – https://glitternight.com/category/movie-hosts/