Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for bad movies and for movie host shows. The bad movie subculture and the realm of movie hosts have always walked hand in hand with many movie hosts even appearing in various schlock film classics during their careers. Here is a salute to some of the most influential figures who made hosting bad and/or weird movies the time-honored American folk art it is today.
7. MAD MARVIN (Real name: Terry Bennett)
Program: Shock Theatre
Run: 1957 – 1959
Home Base: Chicago
Comment: Long before Jerry Bishop’s more well-known host Svengoolie and his even more famous “son” played by Rich Koz, Mad Marvin brought late-night b-movie fun to the Windy City. Marvin was a mad beatnik and was described in contemporary accounts as ” a combination of Charles Addams, Ernie Kovacs and Jack Paar.” Bennett’s program was so popular in Chicago that celebrities like Continue reading
From January of 1963 to December of 1966 Ernie Anderson, AKA Ghoulardi, ruled the Friday night airwaves in Cleveland with his b-movie show. To give you an idea of how popular his show was, Ghoulardi did what some of the top entertainers of their day consistently failed to do – HE BEAT JOHNNY CARSON’S TONIGHT SHOW IN THE RATINGS! Carson may have owned the rest of the country, but on Friday nights in Cleveland and vicinity Ghoulardi was the REAL king.
Ghoulardi, along with Vampira and Zacherley, is part of the Holy Trinity (or Trimurti if you prefer) of the early b-movie show hosts who proved so popular they ensured that the American folk art of hosting Grade Z films would not be just a passing fad. Those three pioneers (if you’re from Chicago you can add Mad Marvin) became pop culture icons and helped demonstrate how much fun bad movie culture can be.
In Ghoulardi’s case his catch-phrases like “Stay sick” and “Ova dey!” were the “Hikeeba!” of their day. Anderson’s look was iconic, too, and his green lab coat predated Doctor Madblood’s and Trace Continue reading