With Halloween arriving Oct. 31, we’re thinking about a nearly extinct TV staple: namely, heavily made-up, spooky-looking hosts (and hostesses) of local, late-night TV shows that screened grade-Z horror films. Take these five cool ghouls:
SVENGOOLIE The Chicago-based weirdo (played by Rich Koz) is still on the air, with his local show now syndicated on MeTV (Optimum Ch. 33), airing Saturdays at 10 p.m.
ZACHERLEY New York’s own: the vampirish alter-ego of radio and TV personality John Zacherle, best known for hosting WPIX/11’s “Chiller Theatre” and his annual Halloween specials.
ELVIRA, MISTRESS OF THE DARK Perhaps the most ubiquitous of them all, Cassandra Peterson created the beehived, Goth-ish host of Los Angeles’ “Movie Macabre” in 1981, parlaying the character into movies, video games and many appearances on “The Tonight Show.”
COUNT FLOYD On “SCTV,” Joe Flaherty played this meta character, the host of “Monster Chiller Horror Theatre,” a parody of TV horror programs.
VAMPIRA Three decades before Elvira surfaced, former model Maila Nurmi played the glamorous ghoul (extremely Morticia-ish) on Los Angeles’ KABC-TV.