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The Ghoulardi Legend

A new era in Cleveland television began on a cold Ohio night in January, 1963 back when everything on TV was in black and white. Ernie Anderson came on the air as the host of a late night horror movie presented as Shock Theater. The movie was … The show lasted until 1966 when Ernie Anderson left for fame and fortune in Hollywood. He became the voice of the ABC network. Although his voice could be heard doing promos for the “Love Boat” and miniseries like “Winds of War,” he was seldom seen. He showed up on a few PM Magazine segments and on the Carol Burnett show with his old friend Tim Conway. Ernie Anderson and Tim Conway recorded two comedy albums for Liberty Records titled “Are We On?” and “Bull!” Ernie was the straight man interviewing Tim as various characters.

After Ghoulardi left the Cleveland airwaves, he was replaced by Big Chuck Schodowski, formerly known as handsome, debonair, downstairs neighbor, Jerry Kreegle on Parma Place. Big Chuck was joined by Bob Wells, formerly known as Houlihan the Weather Man. The Houlihan and Big Chuck Show began. After Houlihan left the show to pursue religious programming and a role in “Summer Rental” with John Candy, he was replaced by Lil’ John Rinaldi a local jeweler who had appeared in skits with Big Chuck and Houlihan. Their show continued until June of this year when Big Chuck decided to retire. It was the end of an era in Cleveland.

In the 70s, Ron Sweed created a character based on Ghoulardi and called himself the Ghoul. Ron Sweed was discovered by Ghoulardi when he showed up at one of Ghoulardi’s personal appearances in a gorilla suit. He has been on and off the airwaves in Cleveland and Detroit and is currently doing his show as a web cast. Super Host, the Cool Ghoul, and the Son of Ghoul have also been on in the Cleveland area. The Son of Ghoul is the only remaining local horror host on TV.

After Ernie Anderson died in February, 1997, the first GhoulardiFest was held in October of that year in his honor. The second GhoulardiFest was held in 1998. The third GhoulardiFest was held this past weekend. If you missed it, don’t worry, you can still get Ghoulardi T-Shirts like this black and orange number for Halloween! Help keep the legend alive!

This Ghoulardi website was created almost ten years ago in November of 1997. If you would like to know more, you can read the book “Inside Cleveland Television’s Wildest Ride” by Tom Ferran and R. D. Heldenfels.