An interview with the syndicated horror host The Ghoul aka Ron Sweed. The interview was recorded at the Motor City Comic Con in April 2008.
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Welcome to The Witch’s Hat, I am your host Root Rot. On today’s post The Witch’s Hat spotlight’s my favorite horror host, The Ghoul.
Author: Root Rot
In the early 80′s every Friday night the sounds of “It’s the madman of late night TV, your King your leader, The Ghoul! so Plunk your magic twanger, Froggy because it’s time for GHOUL POWER!!!! Overday!” would blare from my television. From the age of 7 to 11, The Ghoul Show was my Friday nights entertainment. The first time I met The Ghoul aka Ron Sweed was in 2001. I’ve had the pleasure of numerous interaction with Sweed at comic book and horror convention. Where most celebrities at those type of conventions are standoffish with fans unless you’re buying their shitty swag or paying $20 for their autograph, Sweed is quite the opposite. I’ve never witnessed The Ghoul turn down a fans request for autographs, picture, or in my case an interview that I did for The Midnight Podcast. Sweed’s loyalty toward his fans may come from his humble horror host roots. As a teen in Cleveland during the mid 60′s, Sweed worked for his mentor Ernie Anderson on the show Shock Theater. Anderson portrayed a character named Ghoulardi hosting B horror movies. On Shock Theater Sweed would sometime dress like a gorilla on the air, but Sweed mostly did task behind the scenes. Ernie Anderson quit the horror host gig to work on other projects. According to Sweed, Anderson gave his blessing allowing Sweed to use the likeness of the Ghoulardi character. Sweed quickly created his vision of a horror host themed show and simply called it The Ghoul Show. Sweed’s wacky show consisted of, blowing stuff up with a M-80′s, fighting with The Ghoul’s nemesis Froggy, making fun of local celebrities and other crazy skits. The Ghoul’s crazy stunts occurred during breaks from the featured horror movie which were usually horrible public domain films. Dressed in long lab coat covered in buttons, sunglasses with a missing lens, a fake Van Dyke style beard and a crazy wig Sweed’s Ghoul character was almost a spitting image of Anderson’s Ghoulardi character. The Ghoul Show was syndicated and was a hit in Detroit until Channel 50 canceled his show in the late 70′s. The Ghoul Show came back to Detroit in the 80′s on channel 61 and then channel 20. Those were the times I remember as a kid. Then just like that, The Ghoul disappeared. Oddly I don’t remember him leaving. In 2001 I saw The Ghoul’s face on the cover of a local paper. The article in the paper stated that The Ghoul Show was on the air in Cleveland and Sweed had ambitions on making a come back in Detroit . After reading the article I was excited and my fascination for The Ghoul was re-sparked. Sweed’s attempt to re-launch The Ghoul Show in Detroit failed. He did a few stand alone episodes , but The Ghoul Show didn’t catch on. The younger viewing demographic that Sweed had capitalized on in the 70′s and yearly 80′s were now desensitized by new mediums such cable television and the internet. The crazy skits performed by Sweed on The Ghoul Show could not compete with likes of MTV’s Jackass. Sadly, fans in the Detroit area are still waiting for the third coming of The Ghoul Show. The most publicized controversy surrounding Sweed is the legal action he took against a fellow horror host named Son of Ghoul for character infringement. Sweed eventually lost his case in 1987. Some of Sweed’s peers view him as a poor sport from the stigma of the lawsuit against Son of Ghoul and Sweed’s unfavorable opinions of current horror host. I have spoken to other horror host and asked them their thoughts on The Ghoul. Some host think he’s pioneer and others think he’s a jerk. I think Ron Sweed is a man trying to make a living doing what he loves. I believe Sweed’s only mistake was attempting to enforce an unwritten code of ethics amongst his fellow horror host when Sweed himself capitalized on Ernie Anderson’s popular Ghoulardi character. Whether Sweed’s is in his Ghoul garb or himself, Ron Sweed aka The Ghoul is class act which deserves more recognition in the horror community. So turn blue, stay sick, and climb walls.
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