Tag Archives: Ghoulardi

SEVEN MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE HOSTS LEADING TO MST3K

Mad Marvin

Mad Marvin

Regular readers of Balladeer’s Blog are familiar with my fondness for bad movies and for movie host shows. 

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. This list features hosts who had crossover appeal into the culture at large or broke ground in the “so bad it’s good” element.

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 Sammy Davis, Jr, Jerry Lewis and Burt Lancaster made guest appearances. Terry’s wife Joy appeared on the show as “Dear”, and also joined him in co-hosting the Mad Marvin spin-off show The Shocktail Party.
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THE SEVEN MOST INFLUENTIAL MOVIE HOSTS: 1954 – 1987

Mad Marvin

Mad Marvin

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

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MOVIE HOSTS: CHRISTOPHER COFFIN (1961? – 1967)

 Christopher Coffin, AKA Reed Pasternak AKA Reed Farrell, deserves to be mentioned with the biggest names in the history of B- Movie Hosts. As you can see in the photo at left Coffin hosted his movies from a wheelchair and when you combine that with his wry, erudite sense of humor and his aristocratic manner I think the best way to describe him would be as a combination of Sheridan Whitehead in The Man Who Came To Dinner and Ghoulardi.  Or maybe I should  make that  a pre- Ghoulardi version of Ghoulardi, depending on what year you accept for CC’s premier.

I want to address the ongoing debate over exactly what year his program debuted. The advocates of a Continue reading

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MOVIE HOSTS: GHOULARDI

 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

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MOVIE HOSTS: MOONA LISA

 My fellow movie host geeks and I need to seriously scour the world to find some better photographs of this lady. Moona Lisa (Lisa Clark in real life) was an active movie host for twelve years beginning in 1963. Though Moona Lisa is most often associated with San Diego’s Science Fiction Theater, her longest-lasting show, she also hosted Moona’s Midnight Madness in St Louis for over a year and for eighteen months had even stepped in to replace Continue reading

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ELVIRA AND WOLFMAN MAC TONIGHT

 Well, it’s the weekend, which of course turns one’s thoughts to Movie Hosts and B-Movies. I like to let people who are into these types of shows know what flicks are being shown this week. Elvira’s Movie Macabre, which to remind people, features recently-made episodes, not reruns of her 1980’s run with the show, is presenting the original Night of the Living Dead. As always, part of the fun with this flick is the way special effects have definitely passed it by, and another part of the fun is Continue reading

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MORE SON OF SVENGOOLIE

 For more bits from Rich Koz, the Babe Ruth of the old-time movie hosts, let’s move to his (and his predecessor’s) running jokes about Berwyn, a Polish American community near Chicago. In the 1960’s Cleveland’s late night movie host Ghoulardi poked fun at the Polish suburb of Parma. In the early 1970’s the original Svengoolie used Chicago’s equivalent of Parma, Berwyn, as the butt of frequent jokes. The mere mention of the name would prompt the sound byte of a disbelieving voice quipping “BURRRRR-wiiin?” Son of Svengoolie continued the tradition.

Here are  Continue reading

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