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Saturdays With Svengoolie

Rich Koz as "Son of Svengoolie"
**This post is part of Me-TV’s Summer of Classic TV Blogathon hosted by the Classic TV Blog Association. Go to to view more posts in this blogathon. You can also go to to learn more about Me-TV and view its summer line-up of classic TV shows.**

We briefly break from our look at Marlene Dietrich to discuss horror films and their hosts.  The idea of the hosted horror film has been around for decades through Vampira, Elvira, and the various Creature Features on local television.  As a kid, my horror host was Joe Bob Briggs, and I actually teared up the day I heard he was cancelled.  Thankfully, 2013 brought a new host into my life courtesy of MeTV: Svengoolie.  Let’s discuss this horror host, the films he features, and why there needs to be series’ like this on every channel!

My first Svengoolie movie was The Invisible Woman, a campy 1940s take on The Invisible Man.  I had little idea what the movie was, and really just thought it was a showing of an old movie on a local station.  When they cut to commercial and I saw a man dressed in grease paint telling corny jokes, being pelted with rubber chickens, and discussing the film, I was hooked.  I’m a sucker for the blend of horror trivia, a love for classic horror films, and the ability to temper the frights with knowledge and Svengoolie has all of that.

son of svengoolie!

According to Wikipedia, Svengoolie has gone through several format changes and hosts since its inception in the 1970s; it wasn’t until 1979 that current host Rich Koz took on the role of the loveable horror host and he’s been there ever since.  Yes, he’s not nearly as salacious or wry as other hosts like Elvira (who also does a horror movie feature on another channel, but her constant interruptions during the feature grate on my nerves), but he adds a lot of heart and a return to a simpler time.  He makes you feel as if you are gathered around the television on a dark night during your childhood, and while you might be scared for the film he’ll pop up with a pun or a chicken joke to make you smile.  There’s just something about sitting  down for a horror film with a guy who knows his stuff, but who also enjoys the scares that’s familiar and fun.

The series has quite the list of features for a show that started out playing on one channel.  On a given night you can see a film from the Hammer horror franchise, television movies of classic shows (this week’s feature is the movie spin-off of The Munsters, Munsters Go Home), or the Universal classic horror films.  Gaining the Universal films was a coup for the show back in 2006 and in the time I’ve watched Svengoolie I was lucky enough to see two takes on The Invisible Man – as well as the original – and a Creature From the Black Lagoon sequel.  If you really want to get into classic films, but only enjoy the horror genre, you definitely need to settle down and take in some Svengoolie.

Svengoolie airs on MeTV every Saturday night at 10pm Pacific



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Kristen Lopez View All

A freelance film critic whose work fuels the Rotten Tomatoes meter. I've been published on The Hollywood Reporter, Remezcla, and The Daily Beast. I've been featured in the L.A. Times. I currently run two podcasts, Citizen Dame and Ticklish Business.

14 thoughts on “Saturdays With Svengoolie Leave a comment

  1. Kristen, SATURDAYS WITH SVENGOOLIE is like a trip down memory lane, reminding me, too, of horror hosts I watched when I was a kid in North Carolina (principally Dr. Paul Bearer in High Point and Dr. Evil in Charlotte). It’s also the only venue to watch some of these delightful horror films, which rarely make it on TCM and are “too old” for most TV station and cable channels. This was a nice selection for the Me-TB Blogathon!

    • Thanks, I was happy to gush about my love for it. I don’t understand why more local stations don’t do stuff like this because I feel it wold be relatively easy to put on.

  2. I enjoyed your overview of Svengoolie. I actually caught his show for the first time ever recently when I caught I Saw What You Did on Me-TV a weekend or two ago. It definitely made me flashback to the 80s, where we had Elvira for awhile, and then the locally-produced Dr. Gruesome’s Movie Morgue. I feel like I should watch this stuff on an old 13″ black & white TV, though, instead of on modern, fancy equipment.

    • Haha, I too was there for I Saw What You Did (boy, was that a clunker). I used to have a tiny television in color and I agree that HD is the wrong format to watch Sven on. Thanks for reading!

  3. Kristen, my husband and I get a kick out of Svengoolie, too! (We’re also glad he’s recovered from his heart issues!). His goofy jokes always crack us up (“Berwyn?! 🙂 We’re also pleased that he got the use of the Universal vault to enjoy such classics as THE GHOST BREAKERS. Thanks for your fond, funny show!

  4. What makes Sven work is that Rich Koz knows his stuff, and presents it in a laid-back, slightly self-mocking manner while never undermining the integrity of the movies he shows. (Because let’s be honest: The Invisible Woman is a bow-wow.) I’ve never been afraid to tell people that I’ve learned more from Svengoolie than I have from Robert “Bobby Osbo” Osborne, who always comes across a little too dry and serious for me.

    (Sorry about the stuff people threw at me just now cluttering up your blog, btw.)

    • Haha, I love both Sven and Bob equally although you’re right that Svengoolie is great for injecting history and humor in a laid-back manner. I think watching Sven could get young kids into classic film, although I don’t have a young kid to test that theory on lol.

  5. I too love Svengoolie–reminds me of of the horror movie hosts I grew up watching too. I grew up watching TV from Cleveland OH–so I was spoiled watching Hoolihan & Big Chuck (followed by Big Chuck & Little John), Super Host, and even The Ghoul (a deriviative of Ghoulardi–movie host from before my era). I’m so glad Svengoolie is still doing what so many of us love to watch! Thanks for writing this post and reminding me about his value.

    • What fascinates me is the countless different regional hosts that have been mentioned. I don’t know if Sacramento had one, but I should look into it. Thanks for reading!

  6. I was a little late getting here, but I’m glad now (Do you hear me? GLAD!!!)

    Ever since MeTV went national, I’ve been wondering just how Svengoolie has been coming across to the whole US&A.

    Here in Chicago, we have a long tradition in the horror-hosting field, and at age 62 I’m just old enough to be in on the ground floor (“Marvin” on channel 7’s SHOCK THEATRE back in the ’50s).

    When the first Sven (Jerry G. Bishop) came on in the early ’70s, he established the format of (mostly bad) movies, music, and satire; he was a hit until a change of management knocked him off ch32 in favor of a less popular import.

    A few years later, after Jerry G went west, Rich Koz (who’d been writing bits for the show) took over as Son Of Svengoolie and built his own following forthwith.

    Alas, another change of management and Son Of Sven was gone from ch32 – and not long thereafter so was Rich Koz –

    – until the new management at ch26 brought him back as the newly “grown-up” Svengoolie, and he’s ben holding forth ever since.

    And now Svengoolie belongs to the Nation.

    Chicago couldn’t be prouder.
    (Well, maybe about that President guy …)

    • Mike, thanks so much for your comment! I’ve been hoping a native from Sven’s neck of the woods would drop by as I’m sure you guys have a stronger connection to him than the rest of the country. I hope that Sven continues to inspire horror lovers and maybe inspire networks to bring back horror hosts in general. You’re lucky to have been flush for choice! Hope to have you stop by more often/

  7. Pls show more classics like ..The
    Beast from 20000 fathoms. First man in outer space ..Relic..Invaders from Mars
    It the terror from beyond space ..etc etc.

    ics like …

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