By John Saleeby
October 1, 2008
He terrified me. Morgus was the Curse Of My New Orleans Childhood - A Mad Scientist who performed unspeakable experiments in his laboratory deep in the French Quarter with the demented aid of Chopsley, his hulking assistant, and Eric, a skull with the supernatural power of speech. Morgus had an IQ of 300, was the descendant of the builder of the first Egyptian Pyramid, and authored the scientific tomes "Hope For The Dead" and "Molecules I Have Known". Yes, Einstein discovered The Speed Of Light but it took a fiend like Morgus to know The Speed Of Dark! His Existence tortured me, Eric haunts my dreams to this very day, and when I learned that my own Father was aquainted with Chopsley I knew that The Blood Of The Damned was a a'flowin' in me veins.
Morgus didn't exist in Reality but he wasn't just another creation of Hollywood, either. No, Morgus was something entirely new and unprecedented from the Fifties, an age of seemingly infinite cultural innovations - Morgus was a HORROR HOST.
The History of The Horror Host and his impact on American Popular Culture has yet to be examined. Somebody get to work on that, I'm busy writing another stupid article for Acid Logic. On what? Oh, yeah - Horror Hosts. The first known practitioner of the fine art of dressing up in a Halloween costume and doing little skits during the commercial breaks of a scarey motion picture was Vampira in Los Angeles from 1954 to 1955. I'm sure you remember Vampira in Tim Burton's "Ed Wood" - Hubba Hubba! Unless you're gay, then you remember . . . No, not Johnny Depp! I was gonna say Sarah Jessica Parker! Aw, no wonder they kicked Vampira off of the air after only one year.
Even though Vampira was the first Horror Host she didn't show actual Horror Movies - In the Fifties they didn't show those on TV because it was still the Fifties and they wanted to save something to keep Baby Boomers entertained into the Sixties. But then Elvis happened and guys turning into Monsters suddenly seemed rather cute and harmless. What finally let The Cat People out of the bag was when some genius put "King Kong" on TV and America suddenly remembered how fun it is to look at a screen and go running fown the street screaming "LAWD HAVE MUSSY!!!" Horror was suddenly in demand and in 1957 a bunch of Horror Movies were compiled into the "Shock" syndication package followed by the "Son Of Shock" collection in '58. This series was a tremendous sensation in part because the package included a brilliant promo kit instructing each station on how to develop it's very own Host to introduce each show. Just as a coupla decades later every American City had it's own Punk Band, in the late Fifties even friggin' Pittsburgh had it's own Horror Host to thrill local Hipsters. Hey, now we know who to blame all those shitty bands on! Just wait til Iggy hears about this! Redeemed at last!
The list of Horror Hosts is long and loopy - Doctor Creep, Vegas Vampire, Super Host, Zacherly, Gregory Grave, Ghoulardi (Played by Ernie Anderson, whose son Paul Thomas Directed "Boogie Nights" and "There Will Be Milkshake"), Chilly Billy (Dude had a bit part in "NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD"!!! GO PITTSBURGH!!!), and . . .
MORGUS!!! The diabolical freak appeared on WWL-TV in 1959 and scared me so much I still can't remember a single one of the movies that he showed. Morgus was portrayed by actor Sid Noel and Chopsley was played by some guy who was in the same National Guard unit as my Dad. I don't know whose skull was used to create Eric but I'm sure he was one hell of a creepy bastard. And just to inflict further pain and suffering, they actually produced a Morgus MOVIE - "The Wacky World Of Morgus"! Have I ever seen it? Shit, ain't it bad enough I've seen "I Know Who Killed Me"? What else do you people want from me? I was in The Army, you know!
Morgus gets all the blame for how my Life has turned out. Once you've gone down the crapper as a Stand Up Comic and an Opera Singer you spend a lot of time watching Television - Anything to put off getting a job at Domino's Pizza, right? So one night I turned on my TV set - Okay, my Parent's TV set - and THERE HE WAS just like when I was a little kid - MORGUS! In 2005 they brought him back on Cox Cable!
And then I knew . . . I was meant to be a Horror Host.
As a child I was far too in awe of Morgus to even imagine emulating him. But in my early teenage years WGNO-TV had a Horror Host named Guru S. Malady who was considered to be quite the cut up by me and my dorky adolescent cronies. Guru was a Manson style Freak character created by Rock DJ Dan Milham. During the Katrina mess I saw Milham doing weather reports and was depressed by what a geezer he (And therefore, ME) had turned out to be. Didn't give a Rat's Ass about My Hometown, but Dan Milham - BUMMER! I don't remember much about the Guru show today but I'll never be able to get his theme song out of my head -
If you knew Guru like I knew Guru
Oh! Oh! Oh, what a Guru!
A not too neat thing, a not too sweet thing
Probably never did a great thing
He's a nasty son of a gun
Being ugly is his idea of having fun
If you knew Guru like I knew Guru
Oh! Oh! What a Guru!
You crooned that to the tune of some old song - "The House Of The Rising Sun", I think.
I was inspired! A guy I had once inadvertantly witnessed throwing a hooker into the trunk of his car was now managing the local Fox affiliate and as soon as I walked into his office he jumped up and started yelling that I could have whatever I wanted. Ten minutes later I walked out with a free "Family Guy" t shirt and a deal to be the station's new Horror Host.
SATURDAY NIGHT AT MIDNIGHT
"THE LATE NIGHT MONSTER SHOW
SCHIZO AND COLOSTOMO"
I starred as Schizo, a psychopathically derived criminal sadist with uncontrolable psycho sexual urges to inflict pain. Colostomo was a ventriloquist dummy made out of a Mister Potatohead doll inside a colostomy bag. Colostomo was a shit bag possessed by a demon from the lowest depths of Hell who was always after Schizo to gain favor wirh Satan with terrible acts of bloodshed and mayhem. Pretty grim stuff but Colostomo was also pretty fast with the wisecracks about the Grade Z Horror Movies.
Saturday night I showed up at the studio with my Mister Potatohead colostomy bag attached to my stomach and when the TV crew - A disapointingly "sensible" bunch of guys - demanded to know "What's the deal?" I put my well practiced ventriloquist skills to work by making Colostomo say "Why are you wasting my time with this stupid Zombie movie when we could be down in the basement cutting some teenager's legs off and eating them?" Now, I'm not stupid - I was ready for these guys to demand what was so funny about a demonic colostomy bag that wanted to cut a teenager's legs off and eat them. Unfortunately nobody said anything about killing anybody, the only thing they had to say about my ventiloquism act was "Your lips moved! Your lips moved! We could see your lips!" to which I graciously explained "Yes, but when it's a ventriloquist doll made out of a colostomy bag the trick is to make it talk without moving your bowels! HAW HAW HAW!!" and they beat the hell out of me.
I've been working at Domino's Pizza ever since.
But, enough about me, let's get back to "Children Of Satan" before I fall asleep . . .
What do you think? Leave your comments on the Guestbook!
John Saleeby wrote
for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up
comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines Schmuck.com,
Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication
now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org