Rudy Panucci On Pop Culture

Sunday Evening Video: Prehistoric Svengoolie

This week our Sunday Evening Video jumps back to 1982 for a look at famed Horror Host, Svengoolie back in his early days when he was still known as “Son of Svengoolie.” Rich Koz would go on to great fame almost thirty years after this when the show finally went national. (the drawing of Svengoolie at right is by PopCult buddy and “world’s greatest artist,” Mitch O’Connell)

This is the (mostly) complete broadcast of Sven’s Summer Special, a “Friday Night Fright” edition of Son of Svengoolie, with the 1931 film Frankenstein being the main attraction, as broadcast on WFLD Channel 32, Chicago.

The recording cuts at at the end of the movie, so we miss the last segment with Svengoolie, and some commercials, but otherwise it’s the way Svengoolie looked back in the 80s. This extended video clip includes all the local and national commercials, plus all the skits and song parodies from the original broadcast…well, except for the very end.

Rich Koz took over hosting the Svengoolie show from the original Svengoolie, Jerry Bishop, when the show was revived in 1979 after its original run from 1970 to 1973. Because he was such a fan of the original show, Bishop dubbed Koz “Son of Svengoolie” as he took over for the revived show that ran from 1979 to 1986, when the show was canceled once again by WFLD. (Thanks to Svengoolie himself for the correction on that!)

In 1994 the show was revived by Koz at WCIU in Chicago, and at that point Bishop told Koz that he was “all grown up” and should drop “Son of” from the name of the show. Svengoolie reached new heights when it was picked up for national broadcast by METV in 2011. Just a couple of weeks ago a repeat of the episode where they showed the movie, Munster Go Home, became the highest-rated episode of any program in the history of METV. Our video this week lets you seen Svengoolie’s humble beginnings, way back when.

This program comes to us courtesty of The Museum of Classic Chicago Television, whose primary mission is the preservation and display of off-air, early home videotape recordings (70s and early 80s, primarily) recorded off of any and all Chicago TV channels; footage which would likely be lost if not sought out and preserved digitally. You can find their video library on YouTube on on the Fuzzy Memories Roku app.


  1. Rich Koz

    Slight correction- I was named Son of Svengoolie by the original ,Jerry G. Bishop, when he came up with the idea of me being his successor. Thanks!

    • rudy panucci

      Thanks so much for pointing that out. I’m a big fan of your show!

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