Ghoulardi - Madcap beatnik with a mustache and
goatee who hosted Shock Theater, a horror show based in Cleveland on station WJW-TV
Channel 8 from 1963-66.
Ghoulardi was played by Ernie Anderson, a former deejay who
reveled in putting down his Friday night late movies (calling
them "Bombs"). In fact, Ghoulardi at times edited himself into a
movie scene so he could be part of the action, like running from
monsters or interacting with the cast of a Flash Gordon serial.
Ghoulardi's vocabulary included zany phrases like:
- "Knif" (Fink spelled backwards) -"All the world's a purple knif"
- "Stay sick"
- "Turn blue"
- "You wouldn't believe!"
- "Cool it with the boom-booms."
Ghoulardi became so popular that he also hosted the afternoon program
Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy featuring comedy shorts every weekday at 5:00
P.M. and on April 13, 1963, the station gave him a second weekly movie show,
Masterpiece Theater at 6:00 p. m. Saturday.
Because of Ghoulardi's fame, Cleveland Police reported crime on Friday night
was far lower that any other night of the week with juvenile crime dropping some
thirty-five percent during the show's broadcast.
A typical letter to Ghoulardi read "You're awful! I don't know how my little
girl can like you so much" or "We love you. You're so different. Drop dead!"
In 1966, Ernie Anderson quit his Ghoulardi gig and headed to Hollywood to
work with his friend Tim Conway (of MCHALE'S NAVY fame).
Ernie later became an announcer for the ABC network and soon his vocal style
was familiar to millions of viewers. You see, Ernie (a.k.a. "Ghoulardi") was the
man who popularized the catchphrase "The Lu-u-uhv Boat."
TRIVIA NOTE: In homage to Ghoulardi, Cleveland native Drew Carey wore a
Ghoulardi T-shirt on his ABC sitcom THE DREW CAREY SHOW. Ernie Anderson
(a.k.a. "Ghoulardi") died on February 6, 1997.
The history of the "Ghoulardi" phenomenon is chronicled in the book "Ghoulardi:
Inside Cleveland's TV Wildest Ride" written by Tom Feran and R.D. Heldenfels,
who are both TV critics for the Akron Beacon Journal.
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