I got a note from a reader the other day asking about my inspiration for the former horror show host Count Eyegore in HAIR TRIGGER.
She naturally assumed the character had been inspired by Sir Graves Ghastly who hosted a show on Detroit television. While there are aspects of Sir Graves in the character, he is actually based on Cleveland horror host Ghoulardi–who was a huge influence on me when I first arrived in Southwestern Ontario in the mid-60s.
Ghoulardi was a beatnik-type who graced channel 8 every Friday night. He was a strange mixture of hip and schtick. Most of the films he showed were bargain basement garbage, which he was always quick to point out.
After leaving Cleveland in 1966 Ghoulardi, whose real name was Ernie Anderson, settled in Los Angeles and went on to a long career as a voice actor. It is his voice you hear on the loudspeakers in the final moments of CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND.
Among the writers who worked on the show was Tim Conway, who later rose to fame on the CAROL BURNETT SHOW.
Another interesting fact about Ghoulardi is that his son is acclaimed film director Philip Thomas Anderson (MAGNOLIA, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, THE MASTER), who named his production entity The Ghoulardi Film Company.