Monday, September 30, 2013
Friday, September 27, 2013
Thursday, September 26, 2013
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Tuesday, September 24, 2013
Monday, September 23, 2013
Friday, September 20, 2013
Thursday, September 19, 2013
Wednesday, September 18, 2013
And if it was, say, a Friday night in the early '70s? My choice was to tune in to Screaming Yellow Theater on WFLD.
Sure, the initial attraction was the movies, a mixed bag of '40s and '50s B-grade (or lower) horror and sci-fi flicks, but that's not why I tuned in week after week. I tuned in for the man who appeared just before and after the commercial breaks. The man in the long green wig, sunglasses (worn at night) and striped bellbottoms. The man who did little skis, told jokes and, inevitably, got hit by a rain of rubber chickens.
I tuned in for Svengoolie.
Upon the news of his passing this past Sunday of a heart attack at the age of 77, one of the websites for a local network affiliate said his real name was Jerry G. Bishop, but that wasn't true--his real name was Jerry Ghan, who worked in radio and TV for decades as Jerry G. Bishop (or, when he was a DJ in the '60s, just Jerry G.). He was originally from Chicago, but also worked in Cleveland pre-Svengoolie and San Diego post-Svengoolie.
But what we in the Windy City remember him best for is, of course, the shtick he did around awful movies like The Bride and the Beast and Death Curse of Tartu. His humor never seemed mean or overly adult, but something kids could take one meaning from and adults another. And, given how bad most of the movies were, he made them watchable.
He did something else as well. He inspired an interest in watching movies on a regular basis and, along with Creature Feature over on WGN, began my cinematic education at a very early age.
He also inspired a young college student, who went on to work for Mr. Bishop as a writer and, a few years later, as his replacement--Rich Koz, the current Svengoolie, who has written his own touching tribute to his friend and mentor.
His run as the original Sven lasted a relatively short time--only three years--but his impact is still felt today, in Chicago and, thanks to ME-TV, well beyond.
Rest in peace, Jerry G., and flights of rubber chickens wing thee to thy rest.
Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Monday, September 16, 2013
Friday, September 13, 2013
Thursday, September 12, 2013
Not so this year, though. All the Walgreens locations I go to (and there are many) have had candy out forever (makes one wonder how many chemical preservatives are pumped into that candy corn), but still have school supplies where witches, skeletons and Jack O'Lanterns should be.
But at least the Walgreens at Clark & Monroe had these two cute Pez dispensers. That's a start.