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Related: American culture - horror cinema

Spook Along With Zacherley (1960) - Zacherley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The TV horror boom

The TV horror boom officially began in 1958, with the release of the Shock movie package from Universal studios. Along with the unleashed horrors came their hosts. But a full four years before the explosion, shock waves were coming from the studios of KABC in Los Angeles, CA, where the impossibly waspwaisted Vampira greeted her weekly audience with a bloodcurdling shriek. "Screaming relaxes me so," she would moan with a seductive smile.

Maila Nurmi brewed up Vampira out of elements of Charles Addams, screen glamour queens and bondage magazines. Adding to the startling visual a sophisticated graveyard humor, the effect was immediate. Within weeks, Vampira was gaining national attention in the pages of Life and Newsweek magazines. Her fame burned bright, but briefly. Her show was on the air for little more than a year. But in Vampira, Maila Nurmi created the first truly iconic TV horror movie host.

Outside the world of Vampira, the artistically inclined Maila gravitated to the counter culture, sharing time with the likes of James Dean, Orson Welles, Marlon Brando, Elvis Presley, Stanley Kubrick... and Ed Wood. In 1956, she revived the Vampira look for her appearance in Wood's transcendently dreadful Plan Nine From Outer Space. And though her life has more in common with Kerouac than Karloff, the role solidified her association with 50s horror. --http://www.americanscary.com/bios.html [Jun 2005]

American Scary is a look at the nation's tradition of horror hosting, from Ghoulardi to Ghoul-A-Go-Go. Follow this American folk art form from its glamorous beginnings, through repeated waves of popularity, to its scrappy resurgence and survival in the age of cable access and the Internet.

Everywhere we go, the people we meet remember their local hosts fondly: from Bob Wilkins and John Stanley in the San Francisco Bay area, Zacherley in New York, Chicago's Svengoolie, to Sir Cecil Creepe in Nashville. --http://www.americanscary.com/index.html [Jun 2005]

Trailer here.

American Scary is a look at the nation's tradition of horror hosting, from Ghoulardi to Ghoul-A-Go-Go. Follow this American folk art form from its glamorous beginnings, through repeated waves of popularity, to its scrappy resurgence and survival in the age of cable access and the Internet. --http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0371530 [Jun 2005]

Vampira (Maila Nurmi)

Maila Nurmi as Vampira

Maila Nurmi
Actress Maila Nurmi (born December 21, 1921 in Petsamo, Finland) portrayed "Vampira" in many shows, and starred in Ed Wood's Plan 9 From Outer Space.

She unsuccessfully sued Elvira for stealing her act. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vampira [Jun 2005]

Plan 9 from Outer Space (1957)
Plan 9 from Outer Space is a 1957 Ed Wood science fiction horror movie. It was originally titled Grave Robbers from Outer Space, but it was renamed because that title was considered to be "sacrilegious" by its religious funders. It is widely regarded as one of the worst movies ever made. The movie earned Wood a post-humous Golden Turkey Award. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plan_9_From_Outer_Space [Jun 2005]

see also: television - horror - vampire

John Zacherle

John Zacherle
John Zacherle (born September 27, 1918, he is sometimes credited as John Zacherley) is a U.S. television host and voice actor known for his long career hosting television broadcasts of horror movies in Philadelphia and New York City in the 1950s and 1960s. Best known for his character "Rowland/Zacherley", he also did voice work for movies, and recorded the top ten song novelty rock and roll song "Dinner With Drac" in 1958. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Zacherle [Jun 2005]

see also: television - horror - The Cramps

Ghoulardi and the Cramps


Ghoulardi was the irreverent movie host on a show entitled "Shock Theater" on Cleveland, Ohio's Channel 8 from 1963 to 1966. Ghoulardi was played by Ernie Anderson who later went on to wider fame as the "voice" of the ABC network. Shock Theater and Ghoulardi were immensely popular and helped launch a series of spin-off movie hosts still going to this day. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ghoulardi [Apr 2005]

The Cramps
Once upon a time, Lux Interior was born in Akron, Ohio....a desolate industrialized part of America. Little Lux was heavily into EC comics, b-movies, TV and radio - especially the radio DJ the 'Mad Daddy' who introduced Lux to early rock n roll. He played an eclectic mixture of R&B, Doo Wop, crazed rock'n'roll and novelty songs. Also there was the Ohio character of Ghoulardi, a TV horror host. Some of Ghoulardi's catch phrases stayed with Lux and the Cramps...."Stay Sick!" "Turn Blue!" and "Purple Knif" (...which is fink spelled backwards.)

Ivy was born and raised in Sacramento, California and was the youngest of three children. Ivy's course in life was set when she bought her first record, Sheb Wooley's "Purple People Eater". She was fanatically obsessed with primal rock n roll and loved the instrumentalists Link Wray and Duane Eddy and surf bands. She taught herself guitar as she listened to old records, watching b-movies and horror movies....much like Lux Interior who eventually found himself in Sacramento.....

He picked up Ivy hitch-hiking around 1972 (or did they meet in an art class? )-- and they have been inseparable ever since. The records they voraciously collected would be the basis of the band they would be forming. They survived by selling "illegal stuff", second-hand clothes on market stalls and taking part time jobs that would never last long....eventually they moved to Ohio. Lux first adopted the name of Raven Beauty, and then Vip Vop, but settled on Lux Interior --from a Cleveland car advertisement which was illustrating the latest features! Ivy's name came to her in a dream....Poison Ivy Rorschach. Lux and Ivy decided to move to N.Y.C. in 1975 to begin their musical career. A lot of revolutionary bands were playing at the time: the Heartbreakers, Television, Dead Boys, Ramones, Suicide, Talking Heads, and Blondie. Lux met Bryan Gregory as they both worked in a record store, and quickly became friends. Bryan quickly bought a cheap guitar--not realizing Ivy was the guitarist! Since no one was willing to play bass, they became the first rockabilly-influenced band in history with no bass player! --http://members.shaw.ca/thecramps/bio.html [Apr 2005]

I noticed your last album was dedicated to GoulardiÖHe just past away, right?

Lux: Yup.

Out here Zacherly is pretty much THE Horror Host. Can you explain to our readers the difference between the two, I donít think most people are too familiar with the horror hosts and that whole phenomenon.

Lux: They were different people, Zacharly and Goulardi. To say they were just Horror Hosts, they were much more than that, they were somewhere between a horror host and Hitler. Goulardi, he was just way out of control, always causing trouble, always in trouble but he was so powerful that he could get away with it. Kind of like Elvis Presley shaking his hips on television, he was so powerful he could get away with it, everyone was upset about it but they couldnít do anything about it because it was bringing in too much money. When Goulardi was on TV in the 60ís crime just plummeted because no one was out, they were all watching Goulardi. He was just a totally rebellious character. A good model for young people and was one of the forerunners of what later became youth counterculture type thing.

They had a lot of audiences based on television more than letís say the movies themselves.

Lux: Yeah,oh yeah. The movies were, of course those movies were great and everything and thatís part of it, but the part where they played music it was like a party, just the chance to go nuts, the music like Goulardi played "Poppa Ooh Mao Mao" by the Revingtons, wild great rockíníroll records that he played during the time that he was on. He would blow up things. He was just a role model.

Have you seen any tapes of Zacharlyís show that he had in the 60ís with the house and the Standells and the Young Lions, they always used to play. I used to live near there when I was little.

Lux: Yeah, Iíve never seen Zacharly, Iíve seen the video tape of Zacherly introducing trailers and stuff which is great. I never saw his show but Iím always a big fan of Zacherly in the monster magazines. He was just an amazing. I think that Goulardi and Zacherly were probably really the best ones. Iíve always loved Goulardi and as a matter of fact we often play his hit single.

Our band did "Coolest little monster" with Zacherly on the B side of one of our singles. He got a new record deal so he redid that song. He originally was going to sing it with us but he couldnít do it because of his contract, he was still signing by contract so he let us take from the original record the intro and the middle so on our record itís him doing the introÖ.We see him all the time. Have you ever gone to the Chiller Theatre conventions. --http://www.gravyzine.com/LuxInteriorInterview.html [Apr 2005]

Ernie Anderson was born Nov. 12, 1923 in Lynn, Massachusetts. He began working in radio at Burlington, Vermont's WSKI-AM in 1946. He met Tim Conway at WHK-AM in Cleveland and began writing with him. They were hired by Cleveland's WJW-TV in 1961 where they created "Ernie's Place", a daytime show of movies and comedy sketches. He created the beatnik character "Ghoulardi" for himself, wearing a lab coat, fright wig, fake goatee beard and moustache and became popular introducing WJW-TV's Friday night horror movie show "Shock Theater". Rose Marie, best known as "Sally" on The Dick Van Dyke Show, recommended him to Steve Allen who recruited him for his own show. He had many run-ins with his management in Cleveland and moved to California full time in 1966. He appeared in two episodes of Conway's TV series, "Rango" in 1967 and then formed a comedy act with his old friend. More television followed and in 1970 he revived the Ghoulardi character for the Cleveland TV station, WBMX-TV. He was hired as 'the voice of ABC' in the late '70s where he continued to work well into the '80s. He died of cancer on 6 February 1997. --http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0026700/bio [Apr 2005]

Ernie Anderson / Ghoulardi: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0026700/bio

John Zacherle: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0951650/

see also: The Cramps

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