Ernie Anderson, also known as Ghoulardi, hosted a local Cleveland
late-night horror movie program called Shock Theater
. Anderson died of cancer in 1997.
He was one of the first horror movie hosts in the country.
His character was a hipster, unlike the horror character prototype. Ghoulardi’s costume was a long lab coat
covered with “slogan” buttons, horn-rimmed sunglasses
with a missing lens, a fake Van Dyke beard and moustache, and various messy, awkwardly-perched fright wigs.
Unlike most movie hosts of the day, he would openly mock the B-movies he hosted. "This movie is so bad, you should just go to bed." During chase scenes, he would insert footage of himself running away or model cars being exploded
He openly mocked the residents of Parma
, a suburban working class bedroom community that was heavily populated by Eastern European immigrants and their descendants. He ridiculed Parma residents for their taste in music (polka) and their "white socks" sensibility.
Another of his favorite targets was venerable Cleveland news personality Dorothy Fuldheim
("Dorothy, Baby!"), whom Anderson said actually didn't mind at all - "she knew what I was doing".
His irreverent humor finally got him kicked off of Cleveland television in 1966. He moved to Los Angeles
and made a name for himself as a voice talent, doing voiceovers for ABC and ABC shows shows like Roots
and The Love Boat
.His son is famous too.
Ghoulardi's Shock Theater contained examples of:
- Beatnik: Ghoulardi wore a beatnik-esque costume and used "hip" talk, which differentiated him from other television personalities at the time.
- Butt Monkey: Parma, where everyone wore white socks, ate kielbasa, listened to polka music, and had pink flamingos on their lawn.
- Catch Phrase: "Hey Group!", "Stay sick!", "Turn blue!", "Remember...Oxnard!", "Cool it with the boom-booms!", "Ova dey..." and "Par-ma?".
- Cool Pet: Ghoulardi had a pet crow named Oxnard.
- Cool Shades: His were invariably missing one lens.
- Shout-Out: Cleveland native Drew Carey wore several Ghoulardi shirts on The Drew Carey Show.
- On Food Network's The Great Food Truck Race, the "Grill 'em All" food truck has an "I (heart) Ghoulardi" bumper sticker above its service window.
- Smoking Is Cool: Ghoulardi frequently smoked on the air. Did we mention that Ernie Anderson died of cancer in 1997? Because he did.
- Stuff Blowing Up: Viewers would send in toys, model cars, and various other things to be blown up on the air.
- Third-Person Person: Lots of the time.
- Throw It In: Much if not most of Ghoulardi's show was improvised.