Chances are, if you grew up in New Orleans between the years of 1959 and 1989 (and maybe even later) you’re familiar with local legend and House of Shock host Morgus The Magnificent.
Perhaps the most prolific host, Sid Noel’s seminal mad scientist still gets syndicated airplay down in the Big Easy, where the good doctor has one hell of a loyal fan base.
So much so that hometown hero Dr. John, who most famously speculated that he was “in the right place, but it must have been the wrong time,” cut this tune about the doc back in the early 60’s.
Released under the pseudonym band “Morgus and the 3 Ghouls,” Dr. John pays tribute to medical contemporary and self proclaimed 38th degree mason Dr. Morgus and his late night House of Shock.
Morgus also has the honor of being one of a few hosts to have his on movie. “The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus” finds our titular physician creating a Batman: The Movie style machine which turns people into dust and then back into people again.
So sit back with the 2 docs, and enjoy this old piece of Horror Host history.
The Horror Host has been a beloved fixture of the genre for almost 60 years now. So ingrained are they in horror culture that even their parodies have slipped into iconography.
From a time when TV had no guide, DVRs and streaming video weren’t even the stuff of the B-grade sci-fi these horror hosts peddled. TV was a living thing, existing with or without your manifesting gaze. It was there, happening somewhere behind all the black. You needed only to turn it on an tune in to whatever it was offering, lest you missed out entirely. So you waited.
Originally, Universal Studios offered a package of horror classics and worn out titles called Shock Theater to local TV stations for broadcast. The stations had weathermen, announcers and news anchors doubling as any number of ghoulish characters to present the frightening films.
The movies were often the subject of ridicule, and the focus turned rather to the host themselves, their outlandishness and their skits. These shows found almost instant success, and America of the late 50’s, 60’s and 70’s loved these local fixtures. Many spawned several incarnations and are still remembered with great fondness in their hometowns.
As the Shindig enters its 2nd quarter, we’ll take a beat or two to pay tribute to those horror hosts immortalized in song.