The Horrifying Hatted Head of My Horror Host

It’s surprising upon putting pencil to paper that I realized I never had drawn Chicago’s very own creature feature host: Svengoolie prior.

Svengoolie, like many young Chicagoans before me, introduced generations to classic (and not-so-classic) horror and reeled many into the art of the late night “Creature Feature”. Taking over the titular role in the late 1970s from Jerry G. Bishop, Svengoolie was more than just a horror host. Every Saturday night in the 1990s I parked myself in front of the television and watched Sven’s alter ego (Rich Koz) host Stooge-a-Palooza followed by Svengoolie.

His wacky humor was always comforting when showing a more scary feature but also synced up with the more campy silly movies. He was a bonding agent between my mom and myself as well, as she often recalled soaking up classic monsters via Bishop’s Svengoolie in the late 60’s and 70’s.

For me, Svengoolie always was. As natural as the sunset or rain. And he’s been a local legend in Chicago’s history. If you knew Svengoolie, you were from here. It’s been over a decade since he’s gone national, but he hasn’t lost his luster. I’m glad we aren’t selfish when it comes to Sven, as the horror host is an endangered species. I’ve recently wondered what will happen when Rich Koz retires. Which he’s hinted at numerous times recently. I truly hope someone worthy in his eyes picks up the mantle, as I’d despise the American tradition of the late night Creature Feature tumbling to its death like King Kong.

So I put pencil to paper (as well as ink and color) to create my take on a Svengoolie piece. I combined several of my older “pen and ink” monster pieces into his hat. I put this together as an 18×24 canvas piece and shipped it, along with a short heartfelt note, to Svengoolie’s production studio with the hopes of him simply seeing it.

I’ll keep an eye out if it ends up featured in someway on his weekly show; and I’ll update this post if it indeed does.

UPDATE (10/02): IT INDEED DID.

This aired on October 1st’s episode featuring “Trilogy of Terror” starring Karen Black.

Pretty awesome way to kick off the Halloween season. When it comes to my art, I like bringing things full circle. Sitting in front of a television on Saturday nights watching this man present horror films that shaped my interests as a child, and then seeing something like this…paying respect in my own way and for it be be acknowledged on the show I grew up watching? That’s what it’s all about. Bucket list checked off. I can die happy now.

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