the ghoulardi mug
Manners restaurants gave away mugs with their milkshakes. Cool tankard mugs with clear plastic bottom.
Now that I’m older I can afford to replace my childhood memories courtesy of eBay. So I did. Twice! That’s right, I bought two of them. I gave one to The Rabbi*. Made his day.
For those of you who didn’t grow up in Cleveland way back when, Ghoulardi hosted Shock Theater late Friday nights on WJW-TV Channel 8 from 1963-1966. He also hosted Masterpiece Theater Saturday afternoons. I watched both of them.
He played horror and sci-fi films. Really cheap black and white ones. Psychotronic cinema as they say. I loved this show as did all my friends. This waaaay before Elvira Mistress of the Dark. This was the 60s!
During the movies he hosted skits and stunts. He made fun of Parma and Oxnard. He blew up model cars with firecrackers and wore wacky costumes and wigs. Above all, he was a hipster in Cleveland. What more could a kid ask for? I was 10-13 when he was on the air. Why do you think I still wear white socks every day and hold a fondness for polka deep in my heart? GHOULARDI!
Eventually his pal Tim Conway lured him to California where he settled into doing voice over work. Lots and lots of it. You’ve heard him. He was ABC’s main announcer for years. Ernie died of cancer in 1997. I found out about it in the credits of the Drew Carey Show (another die-hard Clevelander).