In a recent interview with Akron, Ohio, author David Giffels (interview post coming soon!), I was introduced to the 1960s local TV celebrity, Ghoulardi (played by Ernie Anderson). Ghoulardi was the late-night horror host of Shock Theater on Cleveland station WJW-TV.


According to David (and many others), Ghoulardi’s brand of irreverent humor helped shape Cleveland’s quirky sense of humor that continues today.

Who shaped your town’s brand of funny?

From an article celebrating 50 years since the ghoul’s first TV appearance, by John Petkovic on

He [Ghoulardi] ruled through mayhem and mockery. He turned followers into zombies. And he altered the gene pool, leaving a legion of freaky followers to continue in his wake.

Hey, groop, blow off some boom-booms for the 50th anniversary of the arrival of Ghoulardi.

6 thoughts on “Rust Belt Funny

  1. cool to hear about influential people of yesteryear. I wish we had ppl like that today…campy fun the best we have is A Prarie Home Companion-such a bad name and some good npr shows but radio is dead save for the sports talk radio but now they are all formatted real personalities like Mike Francesa are fading fast.


  2. I’m with you, yeah–authentic, raw funny guys (and girls) are rare now. Everybody’s so polished. Lots of people (who maybe would have been listening to cool local radio or watching cool local TV a couple decades ago) are listening to podcasts now, but I haven’t got around to that much yet. You?


  3. I grew up in Akron, OH, and have a vague memory of Ghoulardi. I was a bit young for his show, but my big brother was a fan. By the time I was old enough for scary movies, it was Big Chuck & Hoolihan (spelling?). They had very cheesy humor, but I loved them! 😆


  4. Welcome, fellow OH native! I had forgotten Big Chuck and Houlihan, Northeast Ohio classics. Thank you for jogging a funny memory! Remember the high-pitched laugh at the end of every skit? I just checked out their old skits on youtube–some of which we wouldn’t consider politically correct today, but pretty funny.


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