Saturday, October 16, 2010

Crypt of the Horror Hosts

So tonight I thought I'd feature a few more horror hosts of years gone by. I have a lot of favorites out there, but I don't have a lot to say about some of them. Either their story is the standard one (station personnel press-ganged into putting on the ghoul make-up) or I don't know a lot about them. One drawback to armchair research on local TV personalities is that they're very fondly remembered by a very small group of people, and sometimes there's not much easily-accessible information. There's only so many hours in the day, as well, and sometimes I don't care enough to dig, or haven't gotten around to it yet. That doesn't mean they're not worth taking a gander at, though, so here's a small sampling of what I consider to be the best of the rest: the guys who aren't horror hosting giants, but who put on interesting shows nonetheless...

The Host and Ronald

These guys worked out of Wichita, Kansas, where their show was on the air in various incarnations from the late 50s to the mid-90s! I've only recently discovered these guys, and as yet I know little or nothing about them. But that's insane longevity for a horror host, and I love their schtick as seen in this clip from their first series, Nightmare:

(I'm with The Host here, by the way: Lon Chaney Jr. was a lump.)

More hosting goodness, after the jump...

Sammy Terry

Most of my favorite horror hosts played the role for laughs, but Indianapolis' Sammy Terry was a creepshow unto himself. His show ran from the early 60s to the late 80s, and he made appearances and did annual Halloween specials well into the Noughts. Another guy I haven't read much about, but he had a great schtick...

Horror Inc.

And finally we come to this. I know that Horror, Inc. was done in Minnesota, and that it's had a couple of different incarnations over the years. The original was done in the 70s, and hosted by a guy going by the name of "TV's Count Dracula." Which is hysterical, but I've never found any footage of him.

Luckily, however, there's lots of footage from the resurrected Horror Inc that was done around the turn of the century. This version was hosted by a lounge lizard type named Uncle Ghoulie, his chronically-depressed butler Carbunkle, his goth-girl niece 13, and a guy in a gorilla suit. This version of the show stands out from the horror host pack for its large cast (the largest I've seen outside of Madblood), its attempts at telling stories (always appreciated), and by its relatively late production. A horror host show produced by an actual commercial television station in the 21st Century?! Unheard-Of! You can find many, many episodes of this incarnation of Horror Inc over at the YouTube. I've watched them all. But then again, I am insane. For those of you still in possession of most of your sanity, however, I'll just be presenting their episode devoted to The Crawling Hand...

And there's more out there, including two horror hosting giants: Count Gore de Vol and Svengoolie. But they're legends, and deserve their own post(s). Plus, they're both still active, and that's where I'll be moving next: the horror hosts of today!


  1. ...until he said his name out loud, I didn't get why there would be a horror host named "Sammy Terry."

  2. I didn't get it even AFTER hearing it spoken aloud. Not for many moons...

  3. Mark, is this your Minnesota "TV's Count Dracula" at the link below?

    Digging Sammy Terry, btw!

  4. Thanks, Gary! It sounds to me like the guy in that article is actually the second host of Horror Incorporated, which means I'll have to do some digging on the show sometime to figure out its actual history.

    And, yeah: Sammy Terry was pretty awesome.