Rich Koz’s “Svengoolie” comedy and horror programming block airs Saturday nights. Photo courtesy of MeTV
NEW YORK, September 29 (UPI) — Rich Koz says he’s flattered and even a bit overwhelmed at times by the size of the multi-generational fandom dedicated to Svengooliethe weekly horror and comedy programming block it has hosted for more than four decades.
“It’s something I never imagined would happen in my life,” Koz told UPI in a phone interview Wednesday. “But it’s really very flattering and very rewarding. The fact that people love what we do across the country is something that means a lot to me.”
Koz began providing comedy and commentary before, after, and between classic horror movies and low-budget cult films on local television in Chicago in 1979. But SvengoolieThe viewership of expanded when it premiered on MeTV across the United States in 2011.
Several Svengoolie Facebook groups invite fans to bond around the show, champion their favorite horror movies and what they snack on during Svengoolie.
“It’s kind of become a national event every Saturday,” the 70-year-old laughed.
“All with people picking appropriate snacks to match the movie is something I never would have thought of – sure, but it’s great to see the comments come through [social media]reminds me of a lot of times on the radio where you would get more direct feedback from people listening on the phone.”
While the program is primarily intended to entertain, Koz said it also helps keep the spirit of early cinematic treasures alive from a historical perspective.
“It shows what could be done at the time. Some of the special effects from that period were really groundbreaking and amazing,” he said.
Koz noted the use of shadow in black-and-white films to create suspense, and the elaborate and practical sets that filmmakers built and used before green screen and computer technology, as other reasons for study old movies.
“If you love horror, you need to know the basis from which all of these films are derived – the set of original films from Universal [library] which started the whole horror trend,” he said, referring to the studio famous for publishing iconic spooky tales about Dracula, Frankenstein, the Wolfman and the Mummy.
“Before we started showing these Universal movies, a lot of them hadn’t even been on free-to-air TV for about 20 years. There’s a whole audience that’s never really seen them unless they go online, rent them or buy the DVDs. We’ve made it more easily accessible to people.”
Most movies shown on Svengoolie aren’t as graphically gruesome as those released in recent years, meaning family members of all ages can enjoy them together.
“I’ve had people come to me when we do [public] appearances and say, ‘I watched you when I was a kid and now I watch you with my kids.’ And it’s really flattering to me that this is a show that whole families will watch together,” Koz said. “I don’t think there are too many shows like this.”
Svengoolie’s Halloween BOOnanza kicks off with the primetime special, Unencrypted Svengooliefollowed by a screening of the 1975 anthology horror film, Trilogy of TerrorSaturday evening.
“There are things in there that are a bit more violent and adult situations,” Koz said, explaining that there will be a warning about it before it starts so parents can get the kids out. children in the room if they deem it inappropriate.
“That’s one of the reasons I’m here too, because I’m kind of a safety valve. When it gets really tense you have some scary stuff and then it comes to me and we sort of lighten up. the atmosphere.”
Saturdays Unencrypted Svengoolie is Koz’s first primetime special.
“It’s kind of an adventure, as well as being a bit biographical. It’s like a documentary, but there are some similarities to the regular show throughout the story,” he said. he declares.
“You’ll learn more about my career from the past, but there’s also a storyline where I wander around trying to collect some artifacts of my career from various locations around the Chicago area and we end up at the big Svengoolie Day being held in the suburb that we always mention – Berwyn, Ill. It’s very cool.”
Koz teased that there will be a big announcement at the end of the special, but promises it won’t be that he’s retiring.
“I’ve always said that as long as my health holds up and I’m having a good time doing the show – okay, it’s work, but it’s also fun – I’ll keep doing it.” he declared. .
“I became an overnight success after about 43 years, so I can attribute that to MeTV and that’s pretty cool. At this point, I’d be stupid to retire.”