Turn Blue, Stay Sick, Climb Walls- Here Comes The Ghoul
The Haunted Cinema (THC) – I blame you, or thank you, I guess, for a lot of the stuff that I’m into today, a lot of the monster stuff or whatever. I do you appreciate you taking time to talk to me. How are you doing by the way?
Ron Sweed (RS) -I’m doing pretty good. Doing less of the stuff now. It’s time to let other people make me laugh. But otherwise, fine. I’m just enjoying life.
THC – So you grew up in the ’50s. Would that be safe to say?
RS – Yeah, I was born in ’49, so [the] ’50s-’60s were my favorite times. I think that was great. You had the monster thing. You had the Beatles. It was just very cool.
THC – Were you caught up in the monster craze? Was that a big thing in your growing up?
RS – Oh, yeah. Yeah. The whole group I hung with . . . I forget the year, but it was in the ’60s with the monster craze with Bobby Boris Pickett the came out with the Monster Mash. We couldn’t play that enough. In fact, the first couple weeks it was out, everybody was convinced that was Boris Karloff doing that.
I remember I heard that Bobby Boris Pickett was going to be on The Dick Clark Show. And he came on American Bandstand every weekday at 4. So, I would rush home from school and see Bobby Boris Pickett.
THC – What other Monster related things were you doing at the time?
RS – I built all the models. I was working on the Aurora Frankenstein model and the only time I ever saw on Dick Clark an artist repeats his lip sync segment was Bobby Boris Pickett. He got such a huge ovation. “Let’s put him back on, one more time! Bobby Boris Pickett!” I thought this was great! I was always way ahead of the Starbucks crowd. I always used to come home – this was about 7th grade, I’d get half a glass of milk, half a glass of coffee, so it was light coffee, and that’s what I’d drink. I came home from school. So, I’m watching Bobby Boris Pickett and I’m mixing my brushes in the paint thinner and stuff. Well, I was so entranced by Bobby Boris Pickett, I grabbed my glass of paint thinner instead. And GULP! Woo! Hey!
THC – Maybe some explains some things, right? That’s how The Ghoul got his start.
RS – Yeah, it could. That buzzed my brain cells good.
THC – What about Shock Theater? Did you watch those movies when they were on TV . . . the shock theater package universal and them sent out?
RS – Oh, yeah. It was even before Ghoulardi in the early ’50s and I was 4th grade, 5th grade, maybe. There was a fella called Pete “Mad Daddy” Meyers, and he used to be on the radio and Friday late night TV with the original Shock Theatre package. And Frankenstein is still to this day… you know, you get used to things after a while? I try not get used to things. I try to keep them fresh like when I first saw them. And Karloff in that Frankenstein makeup – you know as a kid that age, holy crap! Look at that!
Now they are more outrageous with the makeup and stuff. Like people I know seeing The Exorcist lately for the first time. “Big deal. Exorcist?” I go, “Man, when that movie came out, that was something!” I saw them escort a lady – a guy on each side of her after the movie was over – up the aisle. That was a frightening movie. People get used to more outrageous makeup but to me the Jack Pierce Frankenstein makeup on Karloff is just fantastic.
THC – You and me both.
RS – Then I think that was my horror movie that I saw. And then after that, that was about 1958, and Mad Daddy I think went to New York and Ghoulardi started in ’63 with the second package of Shock Theater and naturally I watched that, and then wrangled an introduction with and got to work for him, which was fabulous. I mean, I had a fantastic childhood. I got to work for Ghoulardi, and I got to meet The Beatles.
THC – We’ll get to the Beatles in a second because I want to hear about that story. So, you met Ghoulardi. Talk about how that came to be, and you not only met him, but you became an intern. How did that all happen?
RS – He was at Euclid Beach, which was a huge amusement park. He did an appearance there and I figured hey, I want to meet him. We all watched him. We either met at someone’s house or split up on Friday nights to get home and made sure we watched Ghoulardi. So, he’s going to be at Euclid Beach, a bunch of my buddies and I are going to go down and see him.
I had this gorilla suit that we had stolen a couple weeks earlier. Dr. Silkini and his live stage show of horrors. A gorilla on stage. Frankenstein monster. Dracula. Well, that was a matinee on a Wednesday or something. On our way home, we went the back way and, “Hey, look, there’s a trunk!” We opened the trunk. I guess he was packing up. And inside the trunk was this gorilla suit. “Oh, Hey. Shit! We can’t leave this here. Somebody might steal it. We better take it.” I put it on, and we all walked home with me in the gorilla suit.
I decide to wear that gorilla suit to Euclid Beach. Ghoulardi was on stage. He did three shows that day. Suddenly, he saw a gorilla in the crowd, “Can you believe that? Hey, come on up here, baby!” A longer story shorter, he brought me up on stage, I came down to the studio the next day because at this time he was doing a Saturday 6:00 show also besides the Friday night.
He put me on TV and I just started going down every week. The guards started, “Oh, yeah. Ernie Anderson’s not here. Why don’t you just wait for him in his office.” I started waiting for him in his office and figured I’d make myself useful and started straightening up and separating business mail from the show mail. And he was appreciative of that. I worked for him the three-and-a-half years that he was in Cleveland.
THC – You were about what, then 14? 15?
RS – 13. 14. And 15.
THC – What an awesome opportunity. That’s great!
RS – Yeah. Yeah. You know then he went to ABC in California, became the voice of ABC and became the third highest paid voice-over announcer in the business. There’s Ed McMahon, Casey Kasem, and then Ernie Anderson.
THC – Now circling back, I got to ask, you met the Beatles How did that come to be?
RS – Well, working at Channel 8 then for Ghoulardi, everybody was always very kind to me. I was a 13-year-old kid starting at Channel 8 and the news guys would take me with them if I wanted to go somewhere. They were gonna go and do a story on The Beatles’ arrival to Cleveland in ’64. “Ah, man, can I go?” “Well, yeah, sure.”
Ernie Anderson that previous Christmas, had given me an 8mm movie camera, and the Channel 8 guys gave me Channel 8 stickers to put on it to look more official. Gave me a press pass. Well, I found myself in their room where our guys didn’t get in their room. I was able to sweet talk the security guards and then The Beatles’ entourage folks – Derek Taylor and a few others. I was the closest to anybody’s age with The Beatles’ entourage and the Beatles. I was 13. These other guys are jaded news guys in their 40s, 50s, and 60s. For some reason, I was given preferential treatment.
THC – That’s awesome. You predated the guy who, for Rolling Stone, who went on tour, …they made the move Almost Famous about him.…you’re really the guy who did it first. (Cameron Crowe- Editor)
RS – I know who you mean. I have a book or two by him.
THC – Did they talk to you? Did you get to hang out with them a little bit.
RS – Well, I got their autograph in ’66, their final US tour. But that first year, we were at the press conference, and so I figured, well, if I get kicked out or at least wake up from this dream, at least I want to shake hands with them. So, I asked John – first I went up to him after the initial part of the press conference, asked if I could shake his hand. “Oh, you certainly can mate.” I shook hands with him, Ringo, George, and then Paul was the last one. Of course, to a 13-year-old kid, what’s on your mind beside the Beatles is girls. Paul shook my hand and I just said how much I enjoy their music. He thanked me. Paul being very polite. And I said, “You know I hear after your shows and stuff, you have some pretty good parties with a lot of girls. And you know I wouldn’t mind joining you guys.” Paul being Paul says, “Oh, no, no. That’s another lousy rumor about us. Right after the show, we gotta get some sleep and get some rest, you know, stay healthy. But if something comes up, I’ll let you know.” I go, “Okay, thanks, Paul.” That was my first or second year.
Mayor Locher, in Cleveland, banned them from Cleveland because of the uproar, public call. In ’64, Channel 8 had me meet a freelance cinematographer. I met the guy, and we went to the press conference, and I said hello to them again. The photographer asked, “Did you ask if they remembered you from last year?” I said, “No.” Cuz in the meantime they met 50 million other people, so I just shook their hands again and said, “Hello, how are you?”.
Then in ’66 I got into their hotel room with my press passes and Channel 8 stickers. That’s when we sat around, talked some music with George and Paul and I sat down next to John. In fact, they let me bring a camera into their hotel room. They weren’t doing a major press conference because that was the year all that BS hit about John comparing the Beatles to Jesus Christ, being more popular, so they just let a select few into the hotel room. They only did the Chicago press conference, and I think New York. Our guys from Channel 8, again were wondering where I was, so I called to Channel 8 and, “Where are you?” I go, “I’m in the Beatles’ hotel room” “Come on, where are you really?” “In the room, just sitting with George Harrison,” and he said, “Would they let you bring a camera up there?” At that time, they would shoot stills for the news. And I said, “Well, I’ll ask.” I asked Derek Taylor, if I could go back to the station, and bring a camera and take a few photos. “Sure, sure, he says that’s not a problem, I’ll make sure you get back in.” So, I went took a cab back to Channel 8, it was a couple minutes away, and they gave me a camera, and showed me how to use it. “Don’t get closer than 4 feet, no further than 6 feet, and you’ll be in focus. Go ahead, get us something.” So, I got pictures, two shots of each Beatle which I have sitting on my shelf as we speak.
They were the coolest people. They loved music. Wanted to talk music. And weren’t full of themselves or anything, just always just joking around and laughing.
THC – Just a bunch of guys that got real famous really quick.
RS – Yeah. Yeah. They detested people that put-on airs and stuff. They had little patience for that. But if you know your music and were willing to have a good laugh, boy, they were right there with you.
THC – I think a lot of musicians back in those days were that way. Today, it’s not the same, but I think back then it was.
RS – Everybody except Leslie Gore. There’s another station – Channel 5 – I don’t know if you remember. Jerry G at Channel 3 had a show back then. I set up for the 6:00 Ghoulardi show. I’d run over to Channel 3 and Jerry would let me in. When he had major acts – Paul Revere and the Raiders, and all of that stuff – so there’s only very few chairs. I was sitting on one by the studio monitor and Leslie Gore finished her “It’s My Party” number, and she came walking over by the monitor and I got up and offered her my seat. She looked at me like I stepped in dog crap and still had it on my shoe. “Oh, Thank you!”
THC – You should say, “Hey I know the Beatles. You better back off”
RS – It was before Steve Martin, but it deserved a big “Excuuuusse me!” But then again, you can’t change people. You have a bad day, not in a good mood.
THC – Swinging back to Ghoulardi and Ernie Anderson – what are some of the things he taught you? Obviously you took up the mantle eventually. Even while you were interning, were there things that he taught you, things about the business?
RS – He didn’t on purpose teach me. I was just there all the time. I drove to appearances, and then his son Mike and I were the same age. They lived in Willoughby, and I lived in Euclid. A lot of times, my dad would drop me off. Many times, Ernie Anderson would drive me home, or instead of going home, we’d just go to his house. He had four or five kids then. He’d send out for a pizza, and we’d all be eating pizza around 9:00, 9:30 and watching TV. I was just with him for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Tim Conway was his best friend because they used to work together on Channel 8. Then Rose Marie discovered Tim and he got his McHale’s Navy Show and went on from there. I’d go out to dinner with Tim Conway and Ernie Anderson. Those two were like The Beatles. They never stopped laughing and entertaining each other.
I just learned probably the biggest thing is to be a professional. You know, a lot of celebrities aren’t really professionals. Being a professional is a whole different thing. So, I think that’s what he taught me. You know, just watching him and being with Tim Conway, all the different nuances of what’s funny, what isn’t, and if it isn’t funny, how to make it funny.
THC – Tim Conway is still one of the funniest, in my opinion, in the business.
RS – Yeah. Yeah. It was more cerebral back then. I know one of your questions is how I developed The Ghoul character. When I started The Ghoul, I asked Ernie Anderson’s permission. Well, first, I asked him to come back. He was now one of the biggest, third highest paid announcer.
THC – That was in 1970, right?
RS – Yeah. I was working for Big Chuck and Hoolihan back then. Chuck was like an older brother. I hung with them a lot. I thought their humor was pretty lame. It was Chuck and Hoolihan vs. the Rolling Stones, which was Ernie Anderson. So, I asked him to come back once a month. “I’d do everything I used to do before, I’d have your set ready and so forth. Tape 4 shows in one afternoon, go back and do your West coast thing.” He said, “I’d done it. That’s it. It’s over.” He said, “Besides, I’d come back and do it, and they’d say he’s not as good as he used to be.” My back up plan was, “Well, if you won’t, could I do it? Would you let me recreate the character?” He said “I don’t think it will work. I think you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment, but I see you really don’t want to be stopped, so I’m not going to stop you. Just change your name. Channel 8 owns the rights to name Ghoulardi, I own the character. Knock off the –‘ardi’, call yourself The Ghoul or whatever the hell you want to call yourself.” I said,“The Ghoul sounds good.” He said “Well, good luck and we’ll be in touch.”
Well Channel 5 brought him in to do a couple specials, so we were eating dinner afterwards at Channel 5 with the old Channel 8 gang, and his current wife Edwina and that’s when I approached him, at dinner that night. And that’s when he said what I just related to you. I said, “Okay, I’ll keep you posted.” So, we did it, Channel 61 picked it up, the UHF station in Cleveland. They thought it was a great idea. I told them I’d probably generate like Ernie Anderson did. Mail by the mailbag every four weeks or so. I said, “I just have a gut feeling it’s gonna be huge.” And it was. So, we did it.
Because then, Kaiser Broadcasting not only had my show in Cleveland, within nine months, they syndicated it in all their outlets which included San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Detroit, Cleveland and one other city, I forget right now. So, Ernie Anderson was able to see this show in LA. Chuck said he got a message from Ernie. He said, “Son of a bitch, tell the kid he did it!” You can’t have better praise and encouragement than that.
THC – And in Cleveland, I know a lot of folks cross-country where they grew up, there was no such thing as a horror host. They didn’t have anybody. In Cleveland, there was you, Big Chuck and Hoolihan (later Little John), and Superhost. What was it about Cleveland that was able that kind of programming?
RS – At the time, Clevelanders, even up until recently, maybe they still are, a unique breed of people. Very similar to Detroiters. Detroit also had a lot of horror hosts. Actually, I’ve always been more popular in Detroit than Cleveland. They’re just quirkier than the average citizen across our great land. They took to that kind of humor and talent, or lack of talent, depending which way you’re looking at it. To this day, I love Cleveland, because, okay, when we win the basketball championship the year before last, there’s a parade downtown with over a million people, and there was not a single arrest. Clevelanders just seem to be more gregarious, get along better. I just can’t say enough good things about Cleveland.
THC – That’s a good point. Obviously, you’re a famous horror host. How do you think horror hosts in general, impacted the culture? America was changing in a lot of different ways from the ’60s into the ’70s. What part of it did horror hosts play in that culture switch?
RS – It’s hard to say because one of your questions was how I developed The Ghoul. At first, The Ghoul was an exact imitation of Ernie Anderson, [with] sort of laid-back humor, just on the stool and everything. But things were a’changing, as you said. Heavy metal. Alice Cooper. All that sort of thing was happening after the old guard of horror hosts.
I remember exactly, it was about four or five weeks into doing my imitation of Ghoulardi and was already a huge success, both the Cleveland Press, Cleveland Plain Dealer, had a stories about it. And people thinking it really was Ghoulardi, and then they said, “Nope. He used to work for Ghoulardi, Ghoulardi gave him permission, and he’s recreating it because he felt Cleveland needed it.” Well, I did an appearance about four weeks into that – it was my first appearance. I was at a place called the Cleveland Connection. It was a Heavy Metal place. I don’t think there was alcohol served the day of my appearance. I think it was a little younger crowd, but they were obviously zoned out on something other than alcohol. And I came up with some very good cerebral type of material, and they were just sitting there, glassy-eyed, looking at me. “Oh crap. I’m dying big time. Better do something!” and I had an M80 and some firecrackers, which I was gonna use anyway, and I had a garbage can full of film. These folks obviously were familiar with The Ghoul, they watched last week’s movie, they knew that a lot of the movies were bad. So I said, “Last week’s movie, gang, it was so bad, we’re gonna destroy it right here on stage. We’re never gonna have this on my show again.” So, I lit the M80, put it in the garbage can, put the lid on. The lid stuck to the ceiling, split the metal garbage can, and film flying all over. These folks that were just sort of sitting there glassy-eyed, just sprang to their feet, I got a standing ovation, I’m a comedic genius, wow, “The Ghoul’s great.” “All right Ghoul!”
So, I saw what I had to do. This was a whole different audience now. The next week, rather than just opening up on me on the stool with the black curtain on back, I came zipping In on roller skates and crashing into my set, and the flats falling down on top of me, and screaming like a maniac. So that was The Ghoul after that, loud, obnoxious, a threat to all parents.
THC – Was that the first “Vault of Golden Garbage”?
RS – Oh yeah, yeah, yeah.
THC – When you did that, you had Froggy and all the different skits. Was it all you, or did you have a team behind you?
RS – I’d say 90% of it was me. I’d just look at things, and things come into my mind to present it differently. I had one guy, I mean, all of Channel 6 was just a cool to be. I had my own studio. They left the set up. I could blow up anything, you know, instant soup, put an M80 in a can of chicken soup, and wherever it splattered, it splattered. Now a day, they can’t do that in the studio. In fact, even personal appearance, if I’m gonna blow up a pumpkin at Halloween, everybody has to follow me out to the parking lot now.
THC – Yeah, you go to Guantanamo Bay otherwise.
RS – Yeah. The people, the employees, were always giving me good ideas and contributing. My Director, a guy called John Slowey, he was Captain Cleveland on Channel 61 with a ventriloquist dummy [named] Clem. He had a great weird sense of humor, so I worked a lot of stuff out with him. Nobody in particular. I’d come out with some major ideas, and then other people would then contribute and help develop them. Or they’d come in with major ideas, and I’d develop them. At Channel 61, it as a big team effort.
THC – Tell us about Froggy?
RS – This guy Dave Ivey was my art director for a while, out of Detroit, and he would make Froggy’s like crazy for me because after a while Toys “R” Us ran out of them. So, he’d make them, no one could tell to the difference. I was going to have Froggy help me cut the grass outside one day, outside of the studio. So, I fired up the power motor and gave Froggy a few passes with it. So, his little hands fly out, his feet fly out. I always liked that one, that was a good.
THC – I have to ask, people are gonna want to know – where is Froggy now and is he safe?
RS – Hah. Well, one of his many reincarnations is. Yeah, I got him upstairs on a shelf, one of the originals. They go for big money, those little rubber guys. They came out in the ’50s. They originated from a show called the Buster Brown Show, and Andy Devine was the second host of the show. The original host was a guy called Smilin’ Ed McConnell. I was a kid about five-years-old, that’s when I saw it. So, when I started the show in the ’70s, for some reason, yours truly decided to bring it back and they had a whole wall of the large rubber frogs. I figured it was gonna be a onetime only thing, you know. One swing of the baseball bat, and he was gone. Well, Froggy got more mail than The Ghoul did the following weeks! I better latch on to this and keep him around!
THC – Silly question – what was your favorite film you ever showed, and what was the worst film you ever showed on the show?
RS – I guess House on Haunted Hill was pretty darn good. One of the worst ones, probably, was called Blood Freak, but it became a holiday favorite because it was about a guy that turned into a turkey. It was a big Thanksgiving extravaganza!
THC – I know what I’m watching for Thanksgiving now!
RS – Thinking of fan favorites, there’s a British movie called Psychomania.
THC – I have that movie.
RS – So you know what it’s all about.
THC – I have the poster, too.
RS – Yeah? Oh, great.
THC – I collect posters from the 50s, 60s, 70s.
RS – I have a couple lobby cards from Daughter of Dr. Jekyll and Frankenstein 1970. The only posters I actually collect, [are music related]. I have all the original Beatles’ posters.
THC – You had mentioned earlier being a bane of parents. Did you get a lot of push back? Obviously, the kids loved it. My generation thought it was great. You hit our button perfect. And I can’t imagine you hit a lot of parents’ buttons.
RS – Yeah. A lot of PTAs, church groups, they cautioned the adults, “Do not let your watch the show. It’s subversive, and so forth and so on.” Okay. I’ve always been very clean. I don’t use risqué language. I don’t use foul language, but I guess it was strong stuff for parents who remember the laid-back days of the mid ’60s, the early mid ’70s. But that whole thing changed then because Howard Stern, who by the way did one of my interviews . . . this will rank right up there with the Howard Stern interview. These questions are great. I’m gonna use them at an appearance in Detroit in October, so thank you for doing most of my material [for[ that day!
So, you had Howard Stern, Three’s Company, which I always thought was a crap show, but you know, very risque. So all of a sudden there was a complete turnaround, and parents, second generation now, who grew up on the ’70s Ghouls, at all my appearances, it never fails they bring their own kids who are now about 10. They say, “We just want to thank you for doing something on TV that all of us can sit down, the whole family can watch and enjoy together. It really brings us together.” So go figure. But, yeah, there was a big push back, and then all of a sudden, I was family friendly. I didn’t change anything
THC – That’s quite the swing! Those groups probably did more to help your popularity than anything else as well. You tell a kid, “You shouldn’t watch that!” What’s the first thing they’re gonna do? They’re gonna watch it.
RS – Exactly.
THC – In the ’70s you got syndicated, which is pretty cool. That’s a pretty big deal. What did that do for you and the show? Did it change it at all, or did you just keep doing what you’re doing and just got seen by more people?
RS – We kept doing what we were doing, but for each city, we did two tailor-made segments with the local humor geared toward that particular city. We did 12 segments per show all the time, so we still had 10 segments that the whole country was seeing without alterations and then two things added.
THC – Did every city have a Parma, or is that unique to just us?
RS – Detroit has Highland Park. Detroit and Cleveland match up for suburb for suburb just about. But it was Parma everywhere else. They used Parma as much in Detroit as they did. People knew what I meant and got right into the spirit of stuff. That never was a problem.
THC – In ’75 WBKF closed. That’s when you started really being bigger in Detroit, and then you were on in Cleveland as well on WCLQ. You said you had your own studio. What changes happened when those changes happened?
RS – Had to be neater, that’s for sure. And if we did anything, even at WCLQ, even if I did something in the parking lot, I had to lay drop clothes, ”Oh, we just got new blacktop, you can’t go scorching it with the fireworks and everything.” I had to put down plastic and stuff. Little by little things were eroded. You wouldn’t say, “Wow, I noticed this. I noticed that.” I think as time would march on little by little, if you looked at the show now vs the one that started back in ’71, you’d see there is a difference, isn’t there? Maybe not. I don’t know.
THC – Speaking of that, you went on and you did stuff in the ’90s, even into the early 2000s. What do you think the legacy of The Ghoul is and why do you think you talked to kids, my generation loved ya,, as parents through their kids. What’s your legacy? How has The Ghoul endured for so long?
RS – Some people think The Ghoul’s pretty mediocre. There’s just a lot of yelling and screaming and no substance. And again, I suppose if you watch people, or talk to other people, I could see their valid argument. “What the hell you talking about? That’s all The Ghoul, was yelling and screaming! And he himself says you can’t get more mediocre than The Ghoul, gang!” But I said self-deprecatingly. I thought we were doing some funny stuff.
THC – I think you hit the nail on the head. There was a realism to you, there was sincerity. As goofy as it was, there was a lot of heart, and a lot of sincerity. It was an act a little bit and what not, but still I think that came through, the heart of it, the sincerity of it, the genuine fun.
RS – There was a cerebral-ness about that is totally lacking anywhere. I’ll go back to Three’s Company. I thought that was crap. I was taking some college courses when Married… with Children premiered and I said what a crap show that was on an essay I did in a radio/televvision course. And the instructor said, “Well I think it’s more of a satire than bad writing.” I siad, “Whatever.” I just don’t enjoy watching it. It just seems rather lame to me.” So, I don’t know what my legacy would be. Like I said, I see imitators. Every city seems to have a horror host lately on cable access or a local thing. And they all just … I don’t see much originality there. So, I guess my legacy is a guy having good time, trying to make a point every once and a while.
THC – Horror movies? Do you still watch those?
RS – Oh yeah, yeah. I never get tired. I don’t know how many times I watched Frankenstein, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula, you know, all the Universal stuff.
THC – You were inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame. Every year in Cincinnati, a lot of the modern horror hosts have taken this on and they induct, frankly, the folks who deserve to be in a hall of fame. You were inducted in 2014. You didn’t know about the award?
RS – Some guy called a friend of mine and said about that, would I want to go and accept the award. There’s just so many lame invitations, lame events, I just sort of ignore. I think this is about the second time since I started that I ever responded because, like I said, your questions are so good.
THC – You were definitely in very good company. Ghoulardi is there, of course. Vampira. Some of the other ones, you know the big folks from the past. You definitely have your place there. I can’t think of a more deserving person for it.
RS – Thank you. I’ll have to look it up.
THC – You did The Ghoul Scrapbook. How did that come to be, and do you have any similar things going on?
RS – The publisher David Gray, he does Cleveland stuff. I don’t think does outside of Cleveland, Cleveland personalities, haunted Cleveland, all this stuff. He asked if I’d be interested. So [Mike] Olszewski was working with me at the time, and we put that together. And David had a lot of good input, and so I’m pretty happy with that.
Everybody’s asked because there are different stories that aren’t in there, such as Alice Cooper. I was working at on radio, I don’t know maybe ten years, everything goes by so fast, 98.5 in Cleveland. I was doing Saturday evenings, [a show] called The House Party and we brought Alice Cooper in for an appearance and then ten lucky winners get to go back and get an autograph picture and shake his hand. So we brought our ten lucky winners in back and, I mean first heard of him back in the early days, in the early ’70s. “Hey Alice Cooper was here last week! You got to check the guy out. He’s something else! He’s weird!” I said, “All right, I will.”
By now, Alice Cooper’s Million Dollar babies, and all kinds of hits. He’s mega famous. So, he’s signing for these ten people, every time he signs one, I’m sitting maybe 6 people down from him, he’d look at me. He’d sign another one, and look at me again, maybe five times. “Alice! What? WHAT?” Then he goes, “Dude, you’re freaking me out.” Hey, I freaked out Alice Cooper! That’s not bad either.
THC – You were dressed as The Ghoul at that appearance?
RS – Oh, yeah. Yeah.
THC – And The Ghoul freaked out Alice Cooper?
RS – “Dude you’re freaking me out!” So odd. Michael [Stanley], myself, and a couple of the other DJs and program director are sitting in an office one day and a tour group came by, and I had my Ghoul stuff on. The tour group walks by and all of sudden you hear, “The Ghoul! The Ghoul!” All of a sudden, they’re in reverse, and going back. I gave them big wave, “Hey Ghoul Power!” And Michael said, “You know, we’re used to Ron looking like this. We forgot he’s kind of strange looking if you just encounter him during day!” I mean, we have a million stories and people have encouraged me to expand on the scrapbook and do an actual thing with a lot of text. We’ll see.
THC – Well, I’ll tell what, this is definitely a life well lived. What are you doing now?
RS – I do a couple appearances in Detroit, a couple in Cleveland. Years ago, we tried the TV thing again. It gets too much of a hassle. Detroit almost had it on. The salespeople wanted it but the program director, a young woman who did not get it at all, she got into a power struggle. “It’s my decision what comes on, not the sales department. The Ghoul’s not coming on!” You know, I don’t need that crap anymore. Life’s too short. The music I listen to, the entertainment I go see is what I am interested in now.
THC – What does your wife think about The Ghoul and all this stuff?
RS – Oh, she thinks it’s great. She has a similar sense of humor. Although when we first met, I told her I was The Ghoul, she didn’t know who The Ghouls was. She thought I was Superhost! No, no, I’m kidding.
THC – You’re very different from Superhost!
RS – Superhost is not nearly as funny as The Ghoul.
THC – And not as tall, either.
RS – Exactly!