Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Turning Blue, Folks

Especially if you're an adult, there are a few cultural touchstones that are universal in Northeast Ohio...and many of them revolve around local television.

At some point, just about everyone in this region has been touched by what you could call the "Ghoulardi Franchise".

If you weren't old enough to remember Ernie Anderson's iconic 1960's "Ghoulardi" character on WJW/8 (then the market's CBS affiliate), you certainly knew, and probably watched, his direct successors with late night comedy surrounding bad movies - "Hoolihan and Big Chuck", or "Big Chuck and Lil' John"...the latter show only recently off the air at what's now "Fox 8".

Others wanted to be the "new" Ghoulardi, or perform in his honor - production assistant Ron Sweed ("The Ghoul", WKBF and WCLQ/61, WBNX/55), and Canton's Keven Scarpino ("The Son of Ghoul", WOAC/67 and as far as we know, still somewhere in the lineup of WAOH-LP/29-W35AX "Retro TV").

But everyone...was looking up at Ernie, who eventually left Cleveland to become the Big Voice of ABC-TV in Hollywood ("The Luuuuuuuuuuuv Boat") and to make more money in one year than your Primary Editorial Voice(tm) has made his entire life...with THAT voice.

It says a lot about a guy when three different operations followed in his footsteps four decades after he hung up the fright wig.

Anyway, this explainer comes as there's word that a new documentary is about to focus on Ernie Anderson's days as "Ghoulardi" on local TV.

The University of Akron's Dr. Phil Hoffman passes along word that his "Turn Blue: The Short Life of Ghoulardi" program now has air dates later this month on local public TV outlet Western Reserve PBS (WNEO/45 Alliance-WEAO/49 Akron):

Tuesday, October 27 - 9 PM
Wednesday, October 28 - 2 AM
Saturday, October 31 - 4 PM

It'll also air on Western Reserve's "Fusion" local arts channel (45.2/49.2 over air, check your local digital cable lineup) on Thursday, October 29 at 9 PM and Saturday, October 31 at 7:30 PM.

Dr. Phil (not the bald, rotund guy on syndicated TV, but the long-time local TV and radio type) tells us that "Turn Blue" gets its initial bow at a convention inspired by Anderson's career - "Ghoulardifest" - Friday, October 23 at 7:45 PM...repeating each day of the convention through the 25th.

And since this indeed the YouTube age, here's a clip from the show:

Phil also passes along a link to the "production blog" for the show...here...

And we're proud to say that Phil Hoffman is an OMW Reader, and proud of it.

In the Bio section of his site, we're one of four sites listed as his favorite links...two of them are linked to the University of Akron's "ZTV" media operation, where he is general manager, and one is the Pandora online music service...


andrew727 said...

Most of us who were kids or teenagers of the 1960’s grew up with Ghoulardi. The firecrackers exploding models, the ‘turn blue’ and his sound effects during a movie were legend. In my experience was the old man gumming to the tune of ‘Ba-Ba-Who-Mau, Mau’, or something like that. My older brother and myself would tease my younger (he was about four at the time) brother with ‘Ba-Ba-Who-Mau, Mau’, sending him to the ceiling or into hiding - he hated that, but it was done in humor - however, it worked every time!-) In any case, I miss the old black and white horror movies, the Bowery Boys and all that stuff. Loved the Manners Ghoul shakes!-) By the way, I used to occasionally have lunch with Dorothy Fuldheim in her office at WEWS TV 5 next to the reception area - in person, she was not a scary woman…actually pretty nice!-)

- Andrew Boggs, MALL727.net -

Tim Lones said...

I've been in contact with Mr. Hoffman throughout the process of the making of this special. It was definitely a labor of love and a lot of effort went into this. It should be a major hit in Northeast Ohio.

As far as Ghoulardi, when he was first on, I was very young..He kind of scared me.LOL..I do appreciate now what was saved of his show, and also Local TV in that era..Too little of it has been saved..Am always hoping more will be found out there..