Real name: Ernie Anderson
Years active: 1963-1966, Ohio
We’ve mentioned large Charles and weathermen aplenty, but now we must pierce the veil back to Ohio’s first real horror host, Ghoulardi. In real life, Ghoulardi was Ernie Anderson, jazz fan and television worker.
Right from the start, Anderson was different. Instead a mad scientist or ghoul (name notwithstanding) Anderson played Ghoulardi as a kind of beatnik jokester. He played music or all types, from jazz to rock during the show. He frequently made jokes about Parma, Ohio, and polka. He would blow up model cars viewers sent to the station. The man was wild and it is clear that his influence is still being felt today.
He was so wild, in fact, that it may have led to his decision to leave. He constantly butted heads with station owners over content. Inspired by former costar Tim Conway, Anderson left for Hollywood in 1966. Weatherman Bob Wells stepped in to fill his shows and the rest you know.
Ghoulardi was, despite his brief time on the air, a mainstay in Cleveland popular culture. Ohio native Drew Carrey often sported a Ghoulardi sweatshirt on his program, but the man’s act is what continues to live on through horror hosts today.
Shock Theater began on WJW-8 in 1963 and lasted until 1966. Ernie Anderson passed away in 1997, but there is an annual celebration, “Ghoulardifest” held in his honor.