|Born||January 23, 1949|
Euclid, Ohio, U.S.
|Died||April 1, 2019 70) (aged|
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Alma mater||Bowling Green State University|
Ronald D. Sweed (January 23, 1949 – April 1, 2019) was an American entertainer and author, known for his late-night television horror host character "The Ghoul".
Sweed was born on January 23, 1949 in Euclid, Ohio.His mother is Irene Barnard. His father was Robert Sweed. He grew up in Cleveland. In an interview with his mother, Metro Times reporter Anita Schmaltz asked, "Did you ever expect to give birth to a Ghoul?" She responded, "Ron was very different right from the time he came out of the chute." Sweed was 3 or 4 when he went to downtown Cleveland with his grandfather to see Santa Claus and buy him a Christmas present. He picked out a puppet. When Sweed was 8 or 9, he was given marionettes. Sweed would put on shows for the neighborhood kids with the marionettes. His fourth grade teacher at one time could not keep his attention. Every Wednesday Sweed would put on a show for the class with his Jerry Mahoney dummy.
Euclid is a city in Cuyahoga County, Ohio, United States. It is an inner ring suburb of Cleveland. As of the 2010 census, the city had a total population of 48,920. In 2009, Euclid celebrated its bicentennial.
The Detroit Metro Times is an alternative weekly located in Detroit, Michigan. It is the largest circulating weekly newspaper in the metro Detroit area.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, Father Christmas, or simply Santa, is a legendary figure originating in Western Christian culture who is said to bring gifts to the homes of well-behaved children on Christmas Eve and the early morning hours of Christmas Day. The modern Santa Claus grew out of traditions surrounding the historical Saint Nicholas, the British figure of Father Christmas and the Dutch figure of Sinterklaas. Some maintain Santa Claus also absorbed elements of the Germanic god Wodan, who was associated with the pagan midwinter event of Yule and led the Wild Hunt, a ghostly procession through the sky.
In 1963, 13-year-old Sweed and his friends went to an afternoon matinee of “Dr. Silkini and his live stage show of horrors, on stage in person, the Frankenstein monster, Dracula, King Kong and 45 horror movies”.On the way home, he found a gorilla suit in an open trunk of Silkini's. He wore the gorilla suit to a live appearance by Ghoulardi, a popular Cleveland television personality played by Ernie Anderson on WJW. Ghoulardi took note of the costume and brought Sweed on stage, and over the next few weeks, Sweed became Anderson's production assistant.
Ghoulardi was a fictional character invented and portrayed by voice announcer, actor and disc jockey Ernie Anderson as the horror host of Shock Theater at WJW-TV, Channel 8 in Cleveland, Ohio, from January 13, 1963, through December 16, 1966. Shock Theater featured grade-"B" science fiction films and horror films, aired in a Friday late-night time slot. At the peak of Ghoulardi's popularity, the character also hosted the Saturday afternoon Masterpiece Theater, and the weekday children's program Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.
Ernest Earle Anderson was an American radio and television personality, horror host, and announcer.
WJW, virtual and VHF digital channel 8, is a Fox-affiliated television station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Its second digital subchannel serves as an owned-and-operated station of the classic TV network Antenna TV. The station is owned by the Tribune Broadcasting subsidiary of the Tribune Media Company. WJW's studios are located on Dick Goddard Way just northeast of downtown Cleveland near the shore of Lake Erie, and its transmitter is located in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio.
After Anderson left Cleveland for Los Angeles in 1966, Sweed left for Bowling Green State University, but continued to help with the production of the Hoolihan and Big Chuck show, which was Ghoulardi's replacement on WJW.
Los Angeles, officially the City of Los Angeles and often known by its initials L.A., is the most populous city in California, the second most populous city in the United States, after New York City, and the third most populous city in North America. With an estimated population of four million, Los Angeles is the cultural, financial, and commercial center of Southern California. The city is known for its Mediterranean climate, ethnic diversity, Hollywood and the entertainment industry, and its sprawling metropolis. Los Angeles is the largest city on the West Coast of North America.
Bowling Green State University (BGSU) is a large, primarily residential, public research university located in Bowling Green, Ohio, United States. The 1,338-acre (541.5 ha) main academic and residential campus is located 15 miles (24 km) south of Toledo, Ohio. The University has nationally recognized programs and research facilities in the natural and social sciences, education, arts, business, health and wellness, humanities and applied technologies. The institution was granted a charter in 1910 as a normal school, specializing in teacher training and education, as part of the Lowry Normal School Bill that authorized two new normal schools in the state of Ohio. Over the university's history, it developed from a small rural normal school into a comprehensive public university.
In 1970, Sweed approached Ernie Anderson with a proposal to revive Anderson's "Ghoulardi" character. Anderson was not interested, but gave Sweed his blessing to revive the character on his own. With that blessing, Sweed took "The Ghoul" to Cleveland's Kaiser Broadcasting station WKBF-TV in 1971.Though it started as a tribute to Ghoulardi, Sweed soon developed his own eye-catching gags and energetic style. Known for his zany, early-adolescent humor (particularly surrounding his abuse of a rubber frog named "Froggy," his well-known penchant for blowing up model ships and aircraft with firecrackers, and his habitual smearing of Cheez Whiz over everything in sight), late night monster movies were a unique experience for Cleveland viewers in the 1970s. Catch phrases included "zingy-zingy," "Overdey!" and "stay sick, turn blue".
The Kaiser Broadcasting Corp. owned and operated broadcast television and radio stations in the United States from 1958 to 1977.
WKBF-TV, UHF analog channel 61, was an independent television station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, United States. The station was owned as a joint venture between Kaiser Broadcasting, Frank V. Mavec and Associates and, later, Field Communications. WKBF is perhaps the least remembered for its position in television history, although many nationally recognized broadcast professionals began their career at the station. The station operated from studio facilities located on St. Clair Avenue in Euclid. WKBF's microwave studio-transmitter link (STL) was assigned the microwave license of KZM-32.
The Ghoul would typically take an unbelievably bad horror movie and dump in sound bites at appropriate moments, using audio clips from novelty records, George Carlin, Firesign Theater and rock albums of the '60s and early '70s. And whenever a character took a drink of something on-screen, The Ghoul would supply a good, loud belch.
George Denis Patrick Carlin was an American stand-up comedian, actor, author, and social critic. He was known for his black comedy and reflections on politics, the English language, psychology, religion, and various taboo subjects. He and his "seven dirty words" comedy routine were central to the 1978 U.S. Supreme Court case F.C.C. v. Pacifica Foundation, in which a 5–4 decision affirmed the government's power to regulate indecent material on the public airwaves. Widely regarded as one of the most important and influential stand-up comics of all time, Carlin was dubbed by one newspaper to be "the dean of counterculture comedians".
"Shooting from no-budget studio sets, the Ghoul inserted his own dialogue and sound effects over insufferably bad B movies, blew up food, model cars and figurines with firecrackers, and produced strangely compelling, culturally relevant skits and parodies. The show was destructive and childish enough for little kids, subversive and timely enough for young adults."
Later in the 1970s, Kaiser Broadcasting syndicated The Ghoul Show to Detroit, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Los Angeles.It bombed in Chicago (where Sweed had the thankless task of replacing the popular Svengoolie) and in Boston, but was huge in Detroit at WKBD TV-50, and enjoyed varying degrees of success in the other markets. Despite the show's popularity, Kaiser eventually canceled it in 1975 amid complaints from parents about the content of some of Sweed's skits, as well as the permanent closure of WKBF by Kaiser itself. But The Ghoul resurfaced in 1976 on independent Detroit station WXON TV-20, and on WKBF's successor station, WCLQ TV-61. Meanwhile, Kaiser Broadcasting 's successor, Field Communications bought back Horror Film Features by airing Son of Svengoolie on Chicago's WFLD on June 16, 1979. As a result, Sweed never appeared on air in Chicago again.
Sweed was on and off the air in Cleveland and Detroit for over three decades, at times even branching out into radio and the internet.The Ghoul returned to Cleveland TV in 1998 on WBNX-TV Channel 55 where he remained for the next six years airing on Friday, then later Sunday nights. He also did a Saturday night request show on classic rock station WNCX FM 98.5 during the same time period.
The same year, Sweed co-authored (with Mike Olszewski) The Ghoul (S)crapbook ( ISBN 978-1886228221), a book collecting memories, on-set photographs, transcripts, correspondence, and memos from his years on the air. Said Robert St Mary, a Detroit journalist and author of The Orbit Magazine Anthology: Re-Entry: “Ron understood that times had changed from the beatnik version of Ernie. It was spectacle. It was blowing stuff up. He was using the crazy hip lingo that Ernie had, and tweaking it a bit more.”
In 2015, Sweed appeared at the Redford Theatre. It would be his final appearance there as he was scheduled to perform there in October 2018, but due to health problems, it was canceled.In an October 2017 interview with Metro Times Jarrett Koral, he stated how he gets ready for a show: "smoke a good kielbasa," further remarking that "smoking a kielbasa will take you to places Steppenwolf never imagined on his magic carpet ride." For a boost of instant insanity? "Snort a couple blobs of Cheez Whiz."
The Ghoul was well known enough in the Cleveland and Detroit markets that some of his catch phrases ("Overdey!", "Hey group!", "Scratch glass, turn blue", "Stay sick, climb walls", "Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy!", "Holy Parma", "Amrap" and Froggy's "Hiya gang, hiya hiya hiya!") are still widely recognized among the children of the 1970s.
An interesting side element is that the aforementioned rubber toy referred to simply as "Froggy" (and much abused by the Ghoul) was a toy dating from 1948 by a company named Rempel and featured often in comedic skits on the 1955 television show Andy's Gang where he was named Froggy the Gremlin. The Ghoul's oft-uttered catch phrases "Hiya, gang. Hiya, hiya, hiya" and "Pluck your magic twanger, Froggy" originate from that earlier show.
On March 5, 2016, Sweed was presented with a Certificate of Recognition by Cleveland mayor Frank G. Jackson to commemorate the 45th anniversary of his debut on Cleveland TV, and to honor his continuing popularity in the city.
Sweed sued Keven Scarpino, a.k.a. the Son of Ghoul, in 1987 for infringing upon The Ghoul's character, but eventually lost the case. The judge ruled that no infringement occurred, as most horror show hosts portrayed the same basic character, a ghoulish individual who pranced about in costume, performed comedy routines, and showed horror movies.
Sweed met his first wife, Barbara J. King, when she was seventeen, and she was eighteen when they married. They were married for fourteen years. King and Sweed remained friends.He met Mary Therese Matousek in 1988. Sweed later married Matousek around 1993 as they were married for twenty-six years.
Sweed died on April 1, 2019, five months after suffering a massive heart attack. He had undergone triple bypass surgery on November 7, 2018.
Thomas Daniel "Tim" Conway is an American actor, writer, director, and comedian. He portrayed the inept Ensign Parker in the 1960s World War II situation comedy McHale's Navy, co-starred on the 1970s variety and sketch comedy program The Carol Burnett Show, starred as the title character in the Dorf series of comedy films, and provided the voice of Barnacle Boy in the animated series SpongeBob SquarePants.
WUAB, virtual channel 43, is a CW-affiliated television station serving Cleveland, Ohio, United States that is licensed to Lorain. The station is owned by Gray Television, as part of a duopoly with Shaker Heights-licensed CBS affiliate WOIO. The two stations share studios on the ground floor of the Reserve Square building in Downtown Cleveland, and transmitter facilities in the West Creek Reservation in Parma.
Svengoolie is a hosted horror movie show in the U.S. The show's title is taken from the name of the character host. The show is a long-running local program in the Chicago area and in recent years expanded nationally, airing Saturday nights on MeTV.
WQHS-DT, virtual channel 61, is a Univision owned-and-operated television station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, United States. Owned by the Univision Local Media subsidiary of Univision Communications, it is the only full-power Spanish-language television station in the state of Ohio. WQHS-DT's studios and transmitter are located on West Ridgewood Drive in suburban Parma.
WKNR – branded ESPN 850 WKNR – is a commercial sports radio station licensed to Cleveland, Ohio, serving Greater Cleveland. Owned by Good Karma Brands, WKNR is one of two Cleveland affiliates for ESPN Radio; together, WKNR and sister station WWGK comprise a local sports radio duopoly known as ESPN Cleveland. WKNR itself also serves as: a co-flagship station for the Cleveland Browns Radio Network; the Cleveland affiliate for the Ohio State IMG Sports Network; and the radio home of Je'Rod Cherry and Tony Grossi. The WKNR studios are located in the Galleria at Erieview in Downtown Cleveland, while the station transmitter resides in the Cleveland suburb of North Royalton. In addition to a standard analog transmission, WKNR is available online.
Charles "Big Chuck" Schodowski and "Lil' John" Rinaldi – together commonly known as Big Chuck and Lil' John – are a duo of entertainers who served as late-night horror hosts of The Big Chuck and Lil' John Show on television station WJW in Cleveland, Ohio from 1979 to 2007. In addition to hosting a movie with a live audience, they also performed original sketch comedy routines. At the end of each sketch was a very distinctive laugh voiced by comedian/actor Jay Lawrence, who was a disc jockey for KYW radio in Cleveland during the early 1960s.
A horror host is a person who acts as the host or presenter of a program where horror films and low-budget B movies are shown on television or the internet. Usually the host assumes a horror-themed persona, often a campy or humorous one. Generally there are breaks in the film where the host comments on various aspects of the movie. Many horror host shows also include skits involving the hosts themselves, sometimes with a sidekick or other supporting characters. Some better-known horror hosts include Vampira, Zacherley, Ghoulardi, Sinister Seymour, Dr. Creep, The Ghoul, The Cool Ghoul, Svengoolie, and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark.
Froggy the Gremlin was a character created by Smilin' Ed McConnell and brought to radio in the 1940s and television in 1950s on the Smilin' Ed's Gang show, and later Andy's Gang TV show, hosted by actor Andy Devine after McConnell's death.
Robert D. "Bob" Wells, known as Bob "Hoolihan" Wells, is an American former television and radio personality and actor, who is best known to Cleveland, Ohio television viewers for his appearances on the then-CBS affiliate WJW TV Channel 8 during the 1960s and 1970s as "Hoolihan the Weatherman" and one-half of the Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show movie hosting team. Wells and partner Charles "Big Chuck" Schodowski replaced the former movie host, Ernie Anderson aka "Ghoulardi," in 1966 when Anderson left for Los Angeles to pursue a free-lance announcing and acting career.
A ghoul is an evil spirit from Arabian folklore.
Doug Adair is an American television news anchor and journalist who has worked in the Cleveland, Columbus, and Dayton, Ohio markets.
The Son of Ghoul is a horror host played by Keven Scarpino, appearing on The Son of Ghoul Show based in Akron, Ohio, where a B movie is presented along with comedy sketches.
Andy's Gang was a children's television program broadcast on NBC from August 20, 1955, to December 31, 1960, hosted by the actor Andy Devine. It was the successor to the radio and television program Smilin' Ed McConnell and His Buster Brown Gang. Devine took over the television program when McConnell died suddenly of a heart attack in 1954. Devine inherited a number of characters from the earlier show and the sponsor, Buster Brown shoes.
The Cool Ghoul of northeastern Ohio was played by George Cavender. The show was popular in the 1970s, and 80’s and 90’s appearing on several stations in the area. The first was WJAN-TV 17 in Canton, Ohio, WOAC-TV 67 and in Cleveland on WOIO-TV 19.
Wolfman Mac's Chiller Drive-In is a "horror host" series hosted by "Wolfman" Mac Kelly, which aired Saturday nights at 10 pm from March 14, 2008 to October 29, 2011 on various local television stations in Detroit and on the Retro Television Network nationally. The show typically features vintage sci-fi and horror films like "Nosferatu", "Teenage Zombies", "Night of the Living Dead", enhanced with retro commercials, nostalgic clips, and skits. Each episode is recorded at Erebus Haunted Attraction in Pontiac, MI.