Horror Host Retrospective: Son of Svengoolie

Svengoolie/Son of Svengoolie

Real name: Rich Koz
Years active: 1979-present, Chicago and nationwide

As mentioned before, few horror hosts have legacies. Svengoolie and his son are one of them. Rich Koz started as a fan of original Svengoolie Jerry Bishop. He started by submitting ideas and writing letters. Bishop liked the young man’s approach and soon hired him for Screaming Yellow Theater. When the show was cancelled, Bishop and Koz went into the radio business, hosting a morning show on WMAQ Chicago.

In 1979, Koz decided to try his hand at hosting. Getting permission from Bishop, Koz made his debut as the Son of Svengoolie, hosting the revived show until 1986 when WFLD was bought by FOX and cancelled.

Koz continued to host, mostly as an afternoon kid show host of the Koz Zone, but in 1994 Svengoolie returned. He dropped the ‘son’ part, but the overall character was pretty much the same as Bishop’s portrayal. The jokes involving rubber chickens were kept, as were the references to Berwyn. Song parodies and the occasional guest also show up as well.

One thing of note is the films. Whereas most hosts have to make due with public domain offerings, Svengoolie is the only nationwide hosts to feature the Universal/Hammer catalogue. He continues the big broadcast even to this day, so be sure to clear the airwaves.

Son of Svengoolie began in 1979 on WFLD-32 in Chicago and lasted until 1986. It was brought back in December 1994 on WCIU-26, this time renamed as Svengoolie. In 2011 the program was picked up ME-TV and syndicated across America. Svengoolie can be reached through his website.