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Cleveland's Ghoulardi went  
By jordanssb on Apr 03, 2014 01:28 AM
Cleveland's Ghoulardi went on the air 50 years ago and cast his spell over the city

Those great Browns teams. The Rock 'n' Roll Capital, when it was more a reality than a catchphrase. Those old black and white photos of smokestack lightning in a boomtown.

Yet our most glorious hero was an anti hero. A devious ghoul who rose up in the middle of the night tipsy, no less to cast a spell over the city.

He ruled through mayhem and mockery. He turned followers into zombies. And he altered the gene pool, leaving a legion of freaky followers to continue in his wake.

Hey, groop, blow off some boom booms for the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ghoulardi.

The late night horror host hit the airwaves in January 1963. For three wild and woolly years, he notched unprecedented ratings, spawned a Ghoulardi mania and warped the minds of generations of musicians, filmmakers and trash culture enthusiasts.

He also caused a lotta Patrick Kane Red Jersey trouble, ovah dey.

Teary lookbacks? Are you kidding?

We shall honor the legendary late night horror host in the spirit he would've wanted.

We will "stay sick and turn blue."

"The station had Ernie under contract, and they had to pay him anyway," says "Big Chuck" Schodowski, who got his start working on Ghoulardi's show, which ran from 1963 to 1966 on WJW. "So they said, 'You gotta do www.hockeyblackhawksshop.com/patrick_sharp_jersey.html this.' "

Anderson had worked at the station as a movie host with Tim Conway. The show, "Ernie's Place," ended when Conway left for Hollywood to pursue acting.

"Basically, Ernie would play the host, and I would come on as a different guest every show because we couldn't get any real guests," says Conway by phone from Los Angeles. "One day, I was matador, a boxer, a Cleveland Indian. We had skits and I'd try to have lines, but Ernie didn't work like that. He couldn't remember lines. .

"That lasted about two weeks," says Schodowski. "Then he started pushing and pushing it further and further."

It started with the show's opening sequence.

Anderson, who liked to get his drink on, would watch it while nursing a martini in a bar next door called Seagram's. He'd tear out at the last second, often slapping on his fake beard as he ran down the hallway of the station.

"He did whatever he wanted," says Schodowski. "He didn't just play movies like the other hosts of his day."

Indeed. Ghoulardi often appeared in them, thanks to a camera trick that superimposed him over the film.

He interrupted them with sound effects and firecrackers. And he punctuated them with off kilter tunes such as and "Papa Oom Mow Mow."

Anderson developed his own spiel, a lexicon of Beatnik babble that included phrases like "purple knif" or "cool it with da boom booms."

But more than that, he unleashed that www.hockeyblackhawksshop.com/patrick_kane_jersey.html attitude.

"He thought the movies were awful," says Schodowski. "So he'd tell viewers 'Hey, groop, these movies are so bad, don't waste your time.

At the show's peak, Ghoulardi scored 70 percent of the late night audience. Yes, this was pre cable niche America, but it remains an unheard of feat in TV.

The Cleveland Police Department even attributed a 35 percent decline in juvenile crime to the show.

"Ghoulardi hit at the right time in every sense," says Feran. "Culturally, it was a Patrick Sharp Red Jersey year before the Beatles and the British Invasion, and there was a lull in music."

Ghoulardi hit in the middle of a snowstorm.

"The show premiered amid the coldest winter we'd experienced," says Feran. "So you had people trapped in their homes watching Ghoulardi."

(Of course, the always irreverent Anderson saw that as the real reason for the drop in crime outside: "Nobody likes to steal the car in a blizzard," he said.)
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