127 - ghoulardifest

28 – Ghoulardi Fest – Cleveland – October 23, 2009

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AUTHOR’S NOTE: There is an updated 2013 Review here – http://ohiofestivals.net/ghoulardifest-cleveland/

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I headed to, possibly, my last festival of the year, only to be guided by the faint rainbow that fell here.

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Very faint.

And as the leaves began to change and fall, bringing in the Halloween season, Cleveland set itself for some local television nostalgia with a fictional character and TV host of the 60’s…

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Ghoulardi.

Ghoulardi, invented by Ernie Anderson, was the late night host of “Shock Theater” on Cleveland’s WJW – Channel 8 (from 1963-66). He presented B-horror films, often joking about how bad they were, and kept a rather hip persona. Other characters would become locally famous, like….
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…Bob “Hoolihan the Weatherman” Wells, who later hosted the “Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show” along with…

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…”Big Chuck” Schodowski (left). Big Chuck and “Little John” Rinaldi (right) would then host the “Big Chuck and Lil’ John Show. “
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These personalities were the perfect opportunity for Clevelanders to revel in local comic genius of the past 40 years. For others, a little like myself, it was the perfect opportunity to revel in the Halloween spirit that many revelers brought with them.
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Because, you see, the festival wasn’t ONLY about the Ghoulardi history or the Big Chuck and Little John skits, each ending with that crazy laugh. It was a PART of it, sure, and there was a side room dedicated for that. Couch interviews were done with various people involved in the history. And there was a theater used to show all the skits and clips. Perfect for the nostalgic revelers.

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But there were others present for various reasons. In the conference center of a hotel in Cleveland, tables lined the walls and made a row or so inbetween.
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The most obvious reason to have a booth was to sell merchandise…a very varied selection of merchandise…

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…magazines and games to fit the Halloween mood…

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…including one featuring Traci Lords…

…hung bears…

…coffin plaques…

…boney stuff…

…and cryptic stuff.

There were also autographs to be had by the personalities seen above. The “Grandfather of Rock and Roll Photography,” George Shuba, who had some great shots of rock stars and personalities of the 50’s and 60’s, was also present with prints made from the original negatives.

Shuba and a poster of some prints

But there was even other stuff. One booth had a woman promoting a German composer who made scary music, whether for haunted house ambiance or a horror film score ( such as The Dead Matter). Another promoted Ray Basham’s new film “Hilly-Bob Zombie.”
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Before actually entering the festival, a local chapter of Starfleet (Star Trek), the USS LAGRANGE, had a table set up for those who wished to know more about their club based out of Cuyahoga Falls.
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Here is their ship (both envisioned and actual).

There were even hissing cockroaches I got to pet.

And cookies…

…yummy Ghoulardi Cookies…

…which I washed my hands before eating…

…because cockroaches are still cockroaches.

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