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Jerry G. Bishop - The original Svengoolie

The time has come for scary things,
like monsters, ghosts and vampire wings.
With horrible movies all drippy and drooly,
and horrible hosts like me......

In honor of Son of Svengoolie's 30th Anniversary, It is only befitting to take a trip (and I do mean a "Trip") way back in time and explore Svengoolie's roots with the original Sven, played masterfully by Jerry G. Bishop. Here are some very rare clips from the original "Screaming Yellow Theatre" with Bishop as Svengoolie. Also included is the complete list of movies shown on "S.Y.T." and some rare photos. Screaming Yellow Theatre ran on WFLD-TV from 1970-1973.

Below are some "Groovy" original "Screaming Yellow Theatre" video clips featuring Jerry G. Bishop not seen in almost 40 years!

The Svengoolie family legacy began on Sept 18th, 1970 in Chicago IL. A fellow by the name of Jerry G. Bishop, did voice-over work and hosted a cheap movie show called "Dialing for Dollars" for a small independant UHF station called WFLD. The station ran Horror movies on Saturday nights during a program they called "Screaming Yellow Theatre". On the first "Screaming Yellow Theatre" show Bishop was asked to do the voice-over for, "Ghosts on the Loose", a 1943 film starring Bela Lugosi, he did his best imitation of the "Dracula" star. In the weeks that followed, Bishop continued to imitate Lugosi, so the accent stuck. Bishop called his character "Svengoolie", a play on the name "Svengali". Calls soon started to pour into the station wanting to hear (and see) more of this guy. Soon the station added slides of Bishop dressed up as Svengoolie. The demand for Svengoolie was too great to ignore, so eventually it evolved into "live" video taped segments and skits.
some text reprinted from the great website "Horror of the Svengoolies"

As his popularity soared, celebrities who were in town visiting or performing asked to be a guest on the show. Soon many shows would open with a "celebrity coffin opener", who would sign his guest book and then pry his coffin open. Some of the more well known were Gabe Kaplan (Welcome Back Kotter), Jay North (Dennis the Menace), Neil Sedaka, Barry Manilow, Morey Amsterdam, Liz Torres, Bette Midler (did you know one of her back-up singers at the time was Katey Sagal from "Married, with Children" fame)and one strange guest, Jerry G. Bishop himself! The running gag throughout most of the show's run was that Jerry and Svengoolie were NOT the same person! The show would close with Svengoolie lying back into his coffin while being pelted by rubber chickens. Svens coffin evolved from a plain wooden coffin in the beginning, to a more elaborate psychedelic looking coffin that had his image ablazed upon it.
some text reprinted from the great website "Horror of the Svengoolies"

Svengoolie could be seen doing parody bits such as Svengoolie Street, in which one episode he pointed out how a noose is shaped like the letter O, and then there was Mad Man Sven, a shady car salesman, The Galloping Ghoulmet, a cooking show with recipes only a true ghoul could enjoy, and of course the many products offered by his company S.T.D. ( Sham, Trickery and deceit). Sven would also break out in song, either playing his acoustic guitar, or playing his piano, and what hilarious songs they were. Bishop also hosted the local portion of the Jerry Lewis Labor day telethon and even went so far as to take a call from "Svengoolie" himself, who urged viewers to call in and pledge for the MDA. Of course, Bishop had pre-recorded Sven's portion of the call.
some text reprinted from the great website "Horror of the Svengoolies"

Svengoolie also had some ghoulish friends! Mainly Zelda, who was a talking skull with a crazy wig and a rough screeching voice. Then there was Durwood the ventriloquist dummy. A lot of the atmosphere, soundbites, props and song parodies seen on the "Son of" , such as BERWYN?! and the rubber chickens, originated on Svengoolie's Screaming Yellow Theater show, whom Rich (Son of Svengoolie) Koz was a part of at one time. Screaming Yellow Theater was cancelled in 1973. The show was abruptly replaced by a "new" horror show and host called "The Ghoul" based out of Cleveland. It lasted only 6 months. Bishop and Koz worked for WMAQ for a time, and then in 1978, Bishop moved to L.A. and now owns several restaurants. The cancelation of Screaming Yellow Theater was sad time for Chicagoland ghouls, but not for long ........ 6 years later, came a guy known as Rich Koz and "The Son of Svengoolie!
some text reprinted from the great website "Horror of the Svengoolies"

Much of the info on this page is from the great book "From Shock Theater to Svengoolie" published by Lake Claremont press

Vintage video clips provided by The Museum of Classic Chicago Television

Aired on WFLD-TV 32 1970-1973

Historical Note: Certain shows are numbered due to information on available tape. Early Shows were just stills with voice overs and were never accounted for.
Painstakingly compiled by Keith Smith in 1992. Thanks Keith!
Original TV guide ads & covers provided by Kent R. Daluga & Rick Thomas

Date Time/Show#/ Movie

09-18-70 10:30p Ghosts on the Loose
09-25-70 " Corridors of Blood
10-02-70 " Black Dragons
10-09-70 " Haunted Strangler
10-16-70 " Spooks Run Wild

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

10-23-70 " Diabolical Dr.Z
10-30-70 " College Girl Murders
11-06-70 " Bucket of Blood
11-13-70 " Invisible Ghost
11-20-70 " Voodoo Man
11-27-70 " Strangler of the Tower
12-04-70 " Blood of Dracula
12-11-70 " Frankenstein's Daughter+I was a Teenage Frankenstein

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

12-18-70 " Horrors of the Black Museum
01-08-71 " Diabolical Dr.Z
01-15-71 " College Girl Murders
01-22-71 " Strangler of the Tower
01-29-71 " Slaughter of the Vampires
02-05-71 " Dead Eyes of London

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

02-12-71 " Horrors of the Black Museum
02-19-71 " Frankenstein's Daughter
02-26-71 " The Mad Executioner's
03-05-71 " Horrors of the Black Museum
03-12-71 " Spooks Run Wild
03-19-71 " Invisible Ghosts
03-26-71 " How to make a Monster
04-02-71 " The Undead

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

04-09-71 " Corridors of Blood
04-16-71 " Horror Castle
04-23-71 " The Night has Eyes
04-30-71 " College Girl Murders
05-07-71 " Four Skulls Of Johnathan Drake
05-14-71 " Terror is a Man + Blood of Dracula
05-21-71 " Revenge of the Zombies + Haunted Strangler
05-28-71 " Bucket of Blood

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

06-04-71 " Lady of Vengeance + I was a Teenage Werewolf
06-11-71 " Sinister Monk + Spooks Run Wild
06-18-71 " Hunchback of Soho + Invisible Ghosts
06-25-71 " Dead Eyes of London + Bowery at Midnight
07-02-71 " Mad Executioner's
07-09-71 " Dark Waters
07-16-71 " Back from the Dead
07-23-71 " Dante's Inferno

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

07-30-71 " I was a Teenage Frankenstein
08-06-71 " Horrors of the Black Museum
08-13-71 " Voodoo Woman
08-20-71 " Fiend without a Face
08-27-71 " Horror Castle
09-03-71 " Corpse Vanishes
09-10-71 " Beast with Five Fingers
09-17-71 " Teenage Zombies
09-24-71 " The Ape Man
10-01-71 " Vampire Bat
10-08-71 10:30p/12:30a Fright + Passport for a Corpse

Photo courtesy Rick Thomas

10-15-71 " Daughter of Dr.Jeckyl + Honeymoon of Horror
10-22-71 " Testament of Dr.Mabuse + House of the Black Death
10-29-71 " Wasp Woman + How to Make A Monster
11-05-71 " Castle of Terror + The Limping Man
11-12-71 " Bride of the Beast + Zig Zag
11-19-71 " Corpse Vanishes + Hypnotic Eye
11-26-71 " The Disembodied + Invisible Dr.Mabuse
12-03-71 " Secret of Dr.Mabuse + The Undead
12-10-71 " Four Skulls of Johnathan Drake + Lady of Vengeance

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

12-17-71 " I was a Teenage Werewolf + Revenge of the Zombies
12-22-71 #27 Generic Commercial 12-22-71
12-22-71 #29 Generic Commercial 12-22-71
12-22-71 #32 Generic Commercial 12-22-71
12-24-71 " Tower of London
12-31-71 " Hands of a Stranger
01-07-72 " Zig Zag + Stranger of the Tower
01-14-72 " Tomb of Torture + Terror is a Man
01-21-72 " Tower of London + Dark Waters

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

01-25-72 break 2 January 25,1972 Larry Loujack ( show # 1)
01-28-72 " Back from the Dead + The Screaming Skull
01-28-72 re-edit vol. 2, 1:13:02 slate=break 2 Rec & Play=1-28-72 Norman Mark( show # 1)
02-04-72 " She Demons + Testament of Dr.Mabuse
02-11-72 " Brain That Wouldn't Die + Haunted Strangler
02-18-72 " 5.Valley of the Zombies + Neanderthal Man
02-18-72 re-edit vol. 2, 1:13:41 slate=2-18-72 Weird Lady ( show # 1)
02-26-72 " 6.Return From The Past + Woman Who Came Back
03-03-72 " 7.Return From The Past + Woman Who Came Back

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

1:15:25 slate=break 1 Rec & Play=March 3,1972 Return From The Past ( show # 1)
03-10-72 " Frankenstein's Daughter + Man That Wouldn't Die
03-17-72 " Dead Eyes Of London + She Devil
03-24-72 " Beast With Five Fingers + Dante's Inferno
03-31-72 " Corridors of Blood + Slaughter of the Vampires
04-07-72 " Fright + How to Make A Monster
04-14-72 " Horrors of the Black Museum + Wasp Woman
04-21-72 " Daughter of Dr.Jeckyl + Bucket of Blood
04-28-72 " Circus of Horrors + I was a Teenage Frankenstein
05-05-72 " Passport for a Corpse + Ape Man
05-12-72 " Zig Zag + Curse of the Stone Hand
05-19-72 " Black Sunday + Macabre

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

05-26-72 " Castle of Terror + Headless Ghost
06-02-72 " Bride and the Beast + Crawling Eye
06-09-72 " Disembodied + Honeymoon of Horror
06-16-72 " Death Curse of Tartu + The Undead
06-23-72 " Voodoo Man + Hypnotic Eye
06-30-72 " I Was A Teenage Werewolf + Hands of a Stranger
07-07-72 " Spooks Run Wild + College Girl Murders
07-14-72 " Buried Alive + Ghosts on the Loose

Photo courtesy Rick Thomas

07-21-72 " Brain Machine + Four Skulls of Johnathan Drake
07-28-72 " Revenge of the Zombies + Black Dragons
08-04-72 " Crow Hollow + From Hell It Came
08-11-72 " Mad Executioner + Invisible Ghost
08-18-72 " Lady of Vengeance + Bowery at Midnight
08-25-72 " Terror is A Man + Voodoo Man
09-01-72 " Fiend Without a Face + Curse of the Faceless Man

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

09-08-72 " Invisible Dr.Mabuse + Vampire Bat
09-15-72 " Deathray Mirror of Dr.Mabuse
09-22-72 " Corpse Vanishes + Screaming Skull
09-29-72 " House of the Black Death + Teenage Zombies
10-06-72 " Back From The Dead + She Demons
10-13-72 " Terror in the Crypt + Valley of the Zombies
10-20-72 " Manster + Night Has Eyes

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

10-27-72 " Invisible Creature + Slaughter of the Vampires
11-03-72 " Brain That Wouldn't Die + Snow Creature
11-10-72 " 43.Blancheville Monster + How to Make A Monster
11-17-72 " 44.Night Tide + Blood of Dracula
11-24-72 " 45.Nylon Noose + She Creature
12-01-72 " Night of the Living Dead + Vampire Bat
12-08-72 " Horrible Dr.Hitchcock + Circus of Horrors
12-15-72 " Man That Wouldn't Die + Carnival of Souls
12-22-72 " Black Sunday + It, Terror Beneath the Sea
12-29-72 " Return From the Past + Testament of Dr.Mabuse
01-05-73 " Ape Man + She Devil
01-12-73 " Daughter of Dr.Jeckyl + Tower of London
01-19-73 " Corpse Vanishes + Beast With Five Fingers
01-26-73 " Woman Who Came Back + Brain Machine
02-02-73 " Four Skulls of Johnathan Drake + Dark Waters
02-09-73 " Blood Rose + Macabre

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

02-16-73 " Frankenstein's Daughter + Wasp Woman
02-23-73 " Disembodied + I was a Teenage Frankenstein
03-02-73 " Beast of the Dead + Invisible Creature
03-09-73 " Tower of London + The Undead
03-16-73 " Torture Chamber of Dr.Sadism
03-23-73 " Phantom of the Opera + Headless Ghost
03-30-73 " Tomb of the Living Dead + Hypnotic Eye

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

04-06-73 " Creatures Revenge + I was a Teenage Werewolf
04-13-73 " Invisible Dr.Mabuse + Screaming Skull
04-20-73 " Deathray Mirror of Dr.Mabuse + Voodoo Woman
04-27-73 " Testament of Dr.Mabuse + Horrors of the Black Museum
05-04-73 " Brain That Wouldn't Die + Invisible Ghost
05-11-73 " Terror in the Crypt + Curse of the Faceless Man
05-18-73 " Blancheville Monster + Black Dragons
05-25-73 " 67.Circus of Horrors + Revenge of the Zombies
06-01-73 " 68Vampire People + Ring of Terror

Photo courtesy Rick Thomas

06-08-73 " 69.Night Tide + Crawling Eye
06-15-73 " 70.Blood of Dracula + Sinister Monk
06-22-73 " 71.Death Curse of Tartu + Bucket of Blood
06-29-73 " 72.Castle of Terror + Amazing Transparent Man
07-06-73 " 73.Night of the Living Dead + Attack of the 50ft.Woman
07-13-73 " 74.Curse of the Vampires + Neanderthal Man
07-20-73 " 75.Decoy for Terror + How to Make a Monster
07-27-73 " 76.Island of Living Horror + Valley of the Zombies
08-03-73 " 77.Daughter of Dr.Jeckyl + Robot Monster

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

08-10-73 " 78.Teenage Zombies + Snow Creatures
08-17-73 " 79.Wasp Woman + Incredible Petrified World
08-24-73 " 80.Slaughter of the Vampires + Macabre
08-31-73 " 81.Strangler of the Tower + Vampire Bat

Photo courtesy Kent R. Daluga

09-07-73 " 82.Hypnotic Eye + I was a Teenage Frankenstein
09-14-73 " 83.Corpse Vanishes + Bride of the Beast
09-21-73 " 84.Beast of the Dead + Brain Eaters
09-28-73 " 85.Svengoolie=Inn of the Frightened People + Invisible People
10-05-73 " 86.Svengoolie=The Ghoul + Blood of Dracula (LAST SHOW!!!!!)

The original Coffin design for Bishop's show was later painted over by
Rich Koz for "Son of" and is still used to this very day, over 40 years later...

(Left) Rare color publicity still (Middle) Whose legs are those? (Right) Posing with a fan in 1972


Jerry G. Bishop's real name is Jerry Ghan, a Jewish kid from Chicago who attended Columbia college.

He began his broadcasting career in 1961 (Jerry was singing in a folk trio at the time) for WNMP in Evanston, Il.

At the height of Beatlemania, Jerry was one of only a dozen reporters to interview the "Fab Four" He traveled with them all across the country in 1965-66. Jerry was a Disc Jockey for many years in Springfield and WPGC in Washington, eventually ending up at WCFL radio in Chicago. It was there that he came up with his "new" last name, Bishop, after looking through a phone book and picking it out.

Bishop went to work for WFLD-TV 32 in 1970 as a staff announcer. It was this job that landed him his "gig" as "off-camera announcer for "Screaming Yellow Theatre".

His off camera high-jinks were such a hit with viewers, that they demanded more of Bishop. This quickly lead to "still" slates of him dressed up as Svengoolie shown during commercial breaks.

During the first broadcast, Bishop imitated Bela Lugosi, since it was one of Bela's movies that was being shown (Ghosts on the loose-1943). The accent stuck through the entire 3 years he did the show.

After about 6 months, Bishop's stints as "Svengoolie" lasted longer and longer in-between breaks, which finally brought him in front of the cameras, It was then that "Svengoolie" was truly born.

"Screaming Yellow Theatre" became so popular, that whenever celebrities were in town for a performance, they called and ASKED to be a guest "coffin opener" on his show.

The original Coffin used at the start of the show was just a plain white one, lying flat on a platform. It was later on that Jerry decided to switch to the upright , painted model that is so familiar.

The coffin is still used today by "son of" Rich Koz, who painted his own face over Bishops. It is almost 40 years old.

Rich Koz got his start by sending jokes to Bishop to use for the show. Bishop liked them and asked for more. This lead to small bit-parts for Koz, who became good friends with Bishop, and when jerry left WFLD, he gave Koz his permission to use the "Svengoolie" character should he ever get the chance.

When "Screamimg Yellow Theatre" was abruptly cancelled in the late summer of 1973, WFLD, now owned by Kaiser broadcasting, substituted Cleveland's "The Ghoul" in Bishop's place. Fans were outraged when Ron Sweed (who played the Ghoul) stated that "Svengoolie is a no talent rip-off, and we made him leave". The ghoul lasted only 6 months.

Jerry G. Bishop now resides in California where he runs a Greek Restaurant in "Seaport Village" in San Diego. He can be seen in the 2006 documentary "Amercian Scary" talking about his time at WFLD.

Some personal recollections from Bishop's pal...Rich Koz (A.K.A. "Son of Svengoolie)

"Those “Teatime Movie”/Art Fern style movie intros that Jerry G. Bishop, as the original Svengoolie used to do- I had found a couple copies of some material I had sent him back when I was first submitting material to him, circa 1970-71…
The intros usually had a rhyming cast list and a gag movie title- and Jerry liked doing them, so he had me write a whole bunch of them on a regular basis…so, here are some more- again, let me caution you- they may not be that funny- I was just a kid at the time! Give me a break… Back to our movie, featuring: -Pam Grier, Norman Lear, Trish VanDevere, and Valentine Janicki (as an obscene smoke signal to General Custer) in “The Skunk Who Was Heir to a Million” —or- “His Rich Uncle Cut Him Off Without a Scent!” -Ida Lupino, Rita Moreno, Rudolph Valentino, and Valentine Janicki (as better living through sanitation) in “Howdy Doody Becomes self-Supporting” —or- “No Strings Attached!” -Richard Arlen, Beverly Garland, Mantan Moreland, and Horst Buchholtz (?) with Valentine Janicki (as an electric fish call) in —“She Was Only a Stable Boy’s Daughter- But All the Horsemen Knew ‘Er” (say that last part fast…) -Steve FORREST, Natalie WOOD, Simon OAKES, Helen TWELVETREES, Joe PINE, and Valentine Janicki (as an Egg McMuffin) in- “the Frog That Lived On Root Beer and Insects”- or- “He’d Croak, If not for Pop Flies”…(yeah, that was a real stretch)… -Herb Alpert, Billy Gilbert, Eddie Albert, William Shallert, and Valentine Janicki (as Popeil’s “Pocket Game warden”) in- the World’s first Argument”-or- “Eve Puts Adam’s Best Suit in the Salad!” (I may have stolen that joke from Morey Amsterdam…) -Willy Mays, Gabby Hayes, Princess Grace, and Valentine Janicki (as Lassie’s arch supports) in- “the Petrified Forest” —or- “the Wind Blew so Hard- It Made the Trees ROCK!” …okay- I’ve had about enough, and I’m guessing you have, too…to be really honest, I don’t remember how many of these Jerry used- but I know he used quite a few of them. I remember staying up really late at night (I was also going to college at the time) trying to crank out pages of material for him every week. Sometimes he’d request a specific bit, or a take-off on a specific commercial that was running at the time- and always a bunch of the movie intros. I’d be down in the basement of my folks’ home at 1 in the morning, pounding out the pages on a little blue manual typewriter, using my two fingered technique (remember, I never learned how to type) while looking at the clock and figuring out the latest that I could wake up and get to school on time. Little did I realize that some day, I’d be two-fingered typing stuff for my own use on TV…"

Taken from Svengoolie's WCIU blog.

Original collectables circa '72-'73
(photo courtesy of the Kent R. Daluga collection)

Backstage in '71

Sven with Rip Taylor!

Below is the only known surviving "off air" SYT segment known to exist!.

SYT video courtesy of "Museum of Classic Chicago Televison"

TV guide covers courtesy of Rick Thomas

The "Screaming Yellow Theatre" theme was the tune "Rumble" by Link Wray, with added woman screaming sound effects. This theme was used by "Son of" for a short while in 1979, until Doug Scharf wrote the now familiar "Son's Theme" that is still used to this day on "WCIU's Svengoolie" show.

Svengoolie's Original Guestbook

Jerry G. as he looks today

Recently discovered audio from 1971-1973. For the first time in over 40 years, hear actual audio featuring celebrity coffin openers including local Chicagoans B.J. & Dirty Dragon, Ray Rayner and Chet Coppock and guest stars Bette Midler, Neil Sedaka, Dick Gregory, Soupy Sales, Liz Torres and more!. You can listen to the audio below...enjoy! Many thanks to the "Screaming" fans Harry S. Anchan and Rick Thomas for sharing the vintage audio.

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