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‘Cock-a-doodle-dick-shit!’ The outtakes of Ernie Anderson, a.k.a. Ghoulardi
10.14.2014
11:47 am

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Ernie Anderson


 
Last year we related the saga of Cleveland’s favorite local TV host, Ernie Anderson, more commonly known as Ghoulardi. Anderson’s character Ghoulardi hosted a Friday late-night horror movie show from 1963 to 1966 on WJW-TV, Cleveland’s channel 8. His schtick was strongly Beatnik-derived, and he has remained a hero to the residents of Northeast Ohio ever since, a group that includes the Cramps, who spent time in Akron before breaking it wider in NYC and adopted Ghoulardi’s motto “Stay Sick!” as their very own. You can find out more about Ghoulardi in Tom Feran’s book Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV’s Wildest Ride. (The greatest legacy of Anderson, who died in 1997, may well be his famous son, the director Paul Thomas Anderson.)

After Anderson fled Cleveland for Los Angeles, he became “the voice of prime time ABC” for much of the 1970s and 1980s. On this visit to the set of Late Night with David Letterman in 1983, Anderson demonstrated the artistry of the network promo voiceover. As such, anyone who was a kid during the late 1970s and after probably remembers Anderson’s voice urging you to tune in to The Love Boat, Hart to Hart, Happy Days, Eight Is Enough, and whatever else ABC wanted you to watch. When Anderson was doing the fake promos (requested by his fans—the man had a lot of fans) on Letterman, you could see a little bit of his method, holding his hand up slightly and barking “Ah-gee-wa-wa!” as vocal prep to get in the right frame of mind. After a flub, he admits that “I swear a lot.”
 

Anderson on Letterman displaying his craft
 
Here’s the proof of that assertion. Dana Gould mentioned these outtakes on his podcast (episode “Son of Halloweenery”), and I found them so funny I just had to pass them on. Someone collected about ten minutes of a charismatic and professional TV announcer Ernie Anderson losing his shit over and over and over again, and it’s every bit as priceless as you might imagine….. Anderson has particular trouble with the word frighteningly, which is ironic considering his Ghoulardi alter ego. Among the things Anderson spits out in a fit of pique: “You’ll see an American gladiator’s son walk his AHHH SHIT!” “You’ll have to put some sound effects in there or some fucking pig whistles, I don’t know.” “Aaaaand you’ll meet our special guest fuckit balls tits!” and “It’s all a fuckin’ kiss my ass mish-mash….”

You’ll have to discover the rest on your own!
 

 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Stay sick: Cleveland’s legendary 1960s horror host ‘Ghoulardi’ is Paul Thomas Anderson’s father
08.15.2013
09:28 am

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Television

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The Cramps
Paul Thomas Anderson
Ghoulardi

Ghoulardi
 
In the city of Cleveland, people of a certain age get all misty-eyed when the name “Ghoulardi” is uttered in their presence. He was a mysterious, anarchic, goofy “degenerate” Beatnik character who hosted a Friday late-night horror movie show from 1963 to 1966 on WJW-TV, Cleveland’s channel 8. Ghoulardi was more daffy than scary. You can see traces of Lenny Bruce, Soupy Sales and Ernie Kovacs in his shtick—the Bruce influence is evident in Ghoulardi’s slogan, which was “Stay Sick!”, whereas the Kovacs influence was demonstrated by Ghoulardi actually appearing in the monster movies thanks to a camera trick that superimposed him over the film chain. He would also use sound effects, shoot off fireworks and employ his own soundtracks for comic effect, often “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” by The Rivingtons. The Soupy Sales influence came with the general anarchy on the live TV set and Ghoulardi’s jabberwocky catchphrases like “Cool it with da boom-booms!” and “Turn blue!” There might have been a soupçon of Ed “Big Daddy” Roth in the mix, too.

Many of Ghoulardi’s baby boomer fans might be only dimly aware that Ghoulardi—real name Ernie Anderson—was also the father of some big-shot director who’s been making waves in Hollywood lately, P.T. Anderson or something like that? That’s right, Paul Thomas Anderson’s production company is called “The Ghoulardi Film Company” in honor of his father. Ernie Anderson died in 1997 and the movie Boogie Nights is dedicated to his memory.
 

 
Given how fondly his fans remember his show, Ghoulardi’s tenure in Cleveland was surprisingly brief—but this was an era in which television dominated everything (and with far fewer distractions). Ghoulardi was a huge influence on The Cramps, so much so that they titled their 1990 Stay Sick album in homage to him. When Anderson died, they dedicated their 1997 album, Big Beat From Badsville to the memory of Ghoulardi. David Thomas of Pere Ubu once complained that The Cramps were “so thoroughly co-optive of the Ghoulardi persona that when they first appeared in the 1970s, Clevelanders of the generation were fairly dismissive,” but from the vantage point of 2013, as John Petkovic wrote earlier this year in The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ghoulardi (and his rock and roll progeny) “altered the gene pool, leaving a legion of freaky followers to continue in his wake.”

Ernie Anderson left Cleveland for the warmer climes of Los Angeles, where he became a respected voice-over artist and more or less the voice of the ABC television network. In 1983 he demonstrated some of his voice-over artistry on Late Night with David Letterman.

This November 1 marks the start of the three-day Ghoulardifest in Cleveland to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the show.

Catch some of Ghoulardi’s comedy stylings from 1963. Only 18 minutes of his programs actually survived. In this clip he opens up his mailbag, a format that Letterman himself would later make hay with. Ghoulardi gets away with an “racy” joke about poker that wouldn’t make an 11-year-old blink today.
 

 
After the jump, the Emmy-winning Ghoulardi documentary, ‘Turn Blue: The Short Life of Ghoulardi’

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment