Sunday, October 17, 2010

Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride

Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride is a book published by Gray & Company in 1997. I finished reading it couple of months ago and I gotta say that I really enjoyed it. If you're a fan of Ghoulardi or horror hosts in general, I highly recommend this book. You can read a sample chapter here.

Below is the original press release.

Why is a local late-night horror-movie host who went off the air more than 30 years ago still such a big deal in Cleveland?

If you were watching TV in Northeast Ohio in the early 1960s, you definitely remember him: Ernie Anderson ruled the local airwaves as Ghoulardi from 1963 to 1966, when his outrageous show was not to be missed on Friday nights.

If you live in Northeast Ohio today, you hear about him still: Anderson's January, 1997 obituary was a front-page item in The Plain Dealer and the Beacon Journal; Ghoulardi tee-shirts and other memorabilia have remained hot-selling items (actor Drew Carey regularly flaunts a Ghoulardi sweatshirt on his hit television show); Ghoulardi tribute shows still air on the radio; and recently more than 10,000 people turned out for a Ghoulardi convention.

Authors sought the secret of the legend's longevity
Two observers who have been impressed by the longevity of Ghoulardi mania are television writers Tom Feran and R. D. Heldenfels. Spurred on initially by the public interest in Anderson's recent death, Feran and Heldenfels decided to dig into the legend of Ghoulardi and, for the first time, tell the whole story of the show and its unusual creator. The result of their collaboration is a book: Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride.

More than a nostalgia trip
The book is more than a nostalgia trip. (Neither writer considered himself a Ghoulardi fan before undertaking the project.) Feran and Heldenfels wanted to get the real facts behind a story that has been treated as myth almost from the day it began unfolding. By exhaustively interviewing remaining eyewitnesses, tracking down and transcribing rare film footage, and reviewing many secondary sources, the two have completed a fascinating story that until now had been made up of many—often contradictory—pieces, and almost as many gaps.

Enough details to inform even the most devoted fan
For Ghoulardi fans, this is easily the most comprehensive collection of information about the show that has ever been available. The text starts with Ernie Anderson's early days as a radio announcer and chronicles his groundbreaking television show's unlikely beginnings, extraordinarily swift success, explosion into full-fledged Ghoulardimania, and nearly as rapid demise. It winds up with a study of post-Ghoulardi developments on Cleveland's late-night airwaves and in Anderson's own Hollywood career, and of the Ghoulardi character's lasting influence on Clevelanders. (Just think of Paaarma!)

The authors have compiled a rich assortment of supporting material, including 165 rare black-and-white photographs (some of which have never been seen by the general public), film stills, show transcripts, and first-person interviews.

Among the many people interviewed extensively for the book are actors Tim Conway and Jack Riley (both close friends of Ernie Anderson's from his Cleveland days), “Big Chuck” Schodowski and Ron “The Ghoul” Sweed (both collaborators on the Ghoulardi show), and Anderson's son, Paul Anderson (director of Boogie Nights, a recently released hollywood film).

About the Authors
Tom Feran has been a writer and editor for the Cleveland Plain Dealer since 1982. He was named Best Columnist in Ohio in 2007 by the Society of Professional Journalists, and is former president of the Television Critics Association of North America. His work has appeared in publications including Ohio, Cleveland and DirecTV Magazine, and he has been a regular pseudonymous contributor to the tabloid Weekly World News. He is author with R.D. Heldenfels of Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride and "Cleveland TV Memories." He was co-author with John Gorman of Gorman's memoir The Buzzard: Inside the Glory Days of WMMS and Cleveland Rock Radio, and with Chuck Schodowski of the memoir Big Chuck! He is a graduate of Harvard College, where he was president and editor of the Lampoon, and of Cleveland St. Ignatius High School. He and his wife are the parents of two daughters and two sons.

Rich Heldenfels is the Television Writer for the Akron Beacon Journal.

Price and Availability
Ghoulardi: Inside Cleveland TV's Wildest Ride ($17.95; Softcover; 176 pages ; 160 black-and-white photographs) is available at Northeast Ohio book stores, and online from

This year's Ghoulardifest will be October 22, 23, 24, 2010

In Parma

UAW Local 1005 Hall
5615 Chevrolet Blvd.
Parma, Ohio 44130

A Fun Filled Weekend of
Nostalgia - Sci-Fi - Horror - Comedy
Continuous Entertainment
and Local Celebrities All Weekend

Friday, October, 22nd / 5:00pm - 9:00pm
Saturday, October, 23rd / 10:00am - 6:00pm
Sunday, October, 24nd / 11:00am - 5:00pm


Adults: $15.00 per day
3 day pass still only $30.00
Children up to 12 years old FREE (When accompanied by an adult)

Ernie Anderson voices this 1982 promo for a Saturday night double header of "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island", both starring Loni Anderson.

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