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!