Ghoulardi was the persona invented and portrayed by Ernie Anderson as the horror host of late night Shock Theater at WJW-TV, Channel 8, in Cleveland, Ohio from January 13, 1963 through December 16, 1966. Ghoulardi’s name was the thought up by restaurateur Ralph Gulko.
Ghoulardi’s Shock Theater featured B-grade science fiction movies and horror movies late on Friday nights. But once Ghoulardi got popular enough, Anderson was able to host the Saturday afternoon Masterpiece Theater, and the weekday children’s program Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy.
Ghoulardi was one of the more influential horror hosts due to his innovative style and flare. Fans may remember his wild costume – Ghoulardi wore his long lab coat covered with slogan buttons, horn-rimmed sunglasses with a missing lens, a fake beard and moustache, and various messy wigs.
During movie breaks, Anderson addressed the camera live in a part-Beat, part-ethnic accented commentary, which was jam packed full of catchphrases like, “Hey, group!,” “Stay sick, knif” (“fink”), “Cool it,” “Turn blue” and “Ova-dey.” As a fan of jazz and blues, Anderson also played jazz and rhythm and blues songs during his live performance. He regularly played the Rivingtons’ “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” over a clip of a toothless old man gurning. But if it wasn’t jazz, peculiar rock and roll tunes were playing.
Fans loved Ghoulardi for being a fun and unique hipster, for making fun of the movies he hosted (sometimes even adding his own image into climatic scenes), for his humor, for his taste is music and for representing multiple ethic groups.