L.A. had Elvira, Chicago had Svengoolie. Radio announcer Jerry G. Bishop donned a long green wig, sunglasses and ghoulish makeup to become the wisecracking hippie horror host Svengoolie. He hosted “The Screaming Yellow Theater”, which originated on WFLD-Channel 32 in 1970 and ran til 1973. The guitar strumming Svengoolie performed skits and told bad jokes in between segments of grade C and D horror movies. Some of Sven’s skits included Carbon Monoxide Speedway and Svengoolie Street (clip below).
The show began each week with a guest coffin opener freeing Sven from his tomb. Local celebs like White Sox players usually did the deed, but even Bette Midler and Barry Manilow pried open Sven’s coffin on their way to fame. And Sven got away with lots of double entendres considering the show ran in the early 1970s. Sven sometimes “choked his chicken" (one of the omnipresent rubber chickens thrown around the set) and once brought on stripper Tempest Storm to introduce the evening’s film. Such R-rated shenanigans surely went over the heads of the 10 year olds watching, but gave their parents a chuckle.
Mad Man Sven's Used Cars
Rich Koz played the Son of Svengoolie on Creature Features in the early 1980s, resurrecting some of the old gags and adding plenty of new ones. Koz still portrays Svengoolie on WCIU-TV in Chitown.
Say it with me now--BER-WYN!!! (a much maligned Chicago suburb that served as the butt of many a Svengoolie joke )
Putting on the Boot