Horror Host Retrospective: Count Gore de Vol

Count Gore de Vol/M.T. Graves

Real name: Dick Dyszel
Years active: 1971-present, Kentucky, Washington, D.C., nationwide, and Internet

It is not unheard of for a horror host to change his or her name or move to a different market, but Dick Dyszel did the most and the most drastic, and he did the biggest one first. To begin, he was simply M.T. Graves, a vampire out of Paducah, Kentucky. Night of Terror was respectable, but hardly unique. It began in 1971 and ended in 1972.

Horror hosts, for the most part, were regulated to one area. A few managed to syndicate themselves, but in the 1970s, the syndication market was not an tenth of what it is today. Undaunted, Dyszel had relocated to Washington D.C. and was running two shows at once. Between Baltimore and the capital, fans could tune in to watch the newly christened Count Gore de Vol on Creature Feature, while D.C. residents could watch Saturday Chiller.

From his base in Washington, Count Gore skewered politics in-between bits. The Count also had a bevy of beauties on his show, including Countess von Stauffenberger, as played by writer Eleanor Herman. When both shows were finally cancelled, that seemingly put a stake through Creature Feature’s heart. Despite a few holiday revivals, it seemed to be over, but then the Internet came along.

In 1998, Count Gore de Vol became the first horror host to produce online content, and he is still broadcasting today. The Count Gore website is a true multimedia site, with not only films, but articles contributed from other horror hosts as well. It is impossible to say what the future holds for anyone, but it appear that the Count drew first blood across the Internet, thus opening the veins and way for many others to follow.

Besides his hosting duties, Dyszel was also Bozo the Clown briefly, as well as kid show host Captain 20 on WDCA.

Night of Terror began in 1971 on WDXR-29 in Paducah, Kentucky and lasted until 1972. Creature Feature ran in syndication in both Baltimore and Washington, D.C. from 1973 until 1979, with a small revival in 1984 until 1987. Saturday Chiller ran simultaneously from 1973 until 1987 on WDCA-20, Washington D.C. Creature Feature: The Weekly Web Program began on the Internet in 1998 and still runs today.  Count Gore de Vol can be reached through his website.

“May all your blood be warm!”

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