I have been thrilled and honored to have been part of Clevelands Kollective Gallery Ghoul Power show! An amazing artistic tribute to the Horror Host with the Most, the Prince of Parma, the Best Man of Boffo-Socko, the Duke of Detroit, the Czar of Cleveland, the King of Kielbasa, the Master of M-80s and now, the #1 Fright-wigged patron of Fine Art!
If you don't know The Ghoul is, see him through the eyes of an almost teen Mitch, who is staying up past midnight, lying in bed, in a darkened room with only the glow from his small b&w portable tv (an actual coat hanger is the antenna) resting on the chair pulled up beside him, watching some horror/sci-fi/just plain weird (it didn't matter) movie just to see what The Ghoul had done with it. New music cues would be dropped over the credits and throughout the film, along with inappropriate goofy sound effects, but the highlight would be actual The Ghoul segments where he'd hilariously read viewer mail, blow up Froggie (his nemesis, a rubber toy frog), blow up monster model kits and blow up ...well, pretty much blow up anything he could attach a M-80 to, do parodies of television shows, skits, make fun of the station he was on and everyone on it, all the while just cleverly (and very humorously) improvising away.
Once my dad walked in to see "what it was all about" and watched about 10 minutes with me. I wasn't thrilled that he had entered the realm of my late-night private clubhouse, but the intrusion didn't last long, 'cause after only about 10 minutes he stood up and declared, "I don't get it!" and departed.
The Ghoul has been making UHF viewing must-see on and off through the 70s to the 90s as he bounced from station to station and dealt with different syndication deals, but everyone that's watched him will always have his antics seared in their brains (btw, this isn't a memorial, he's still going full throttle, just let me continue the story)!
During the opening night of my show a couple months back at Kollective gallery I asked Andrea if she'd let me put together a Ghoul inspired show. It turns out September was open, so if I could get it all together in 8 weeks...
Luckily, lots of artists love The Ghoul as much as I do and, once the word got out, they started creating away (and creating out masterpieces to boot!). Now that's all well and good, but anyone can hang art on a wall and invite people to stare, but I'm going for "Event" as in "Art Happening" as in "the most important thing that will ever happen in anyones life, from the beginning of time until the Sun explodes."
To start, I hinted to Cleveland burlesque star Twiggy Stardust that, "Wouldn't it be neat if someone did something a little Ghoul related dance routine at the show? Gee, can you think of
anyone...?" She took the hint and rounded up the equally enthusiastic (and talented) stars Constantinople, Carmen M'Knoxide and Aurora Sans who, together, became "The Ghoul Girls"! I also thought I'd do a nod to the explosive highlights of The Ghoul Show, and frame my piece in 4000 firecrackers (and filled the back of the wood cradled frame with even more fireworks). Now who would be the ideal person to light the fuse? Who would... (Imagine me scratching my chin while pondering. HEY! Stop imaging me nude! I'm fully clothed you sex maniacs!) ?
In the back of my mind, of course, I hoped The Ghoul himself would attend. That was the whole reason to find a gallery in Cleveland. I wanted it right in his back yard.
I wasn't getting any responses though whatever emails I could find that may or may not have been reaching the eyes of The Man himself, but luckily friend Natalie Wille is also long time pals with Mr. and Mrs. Ghoul, and put in a kind word for me ("He's not THAT bad") and made my Christmas in September come true! Now, with number in hand, I used my shaking finger to dial the actual Ghoul household. I started jabbering away as soon as Mrs. Ghoul picked up the phone, gushing and tripping over my tongue with my voice reverting to the age of 13 (Think back to the "very special" episode of The Brady Bunch when Peter went through the change. Y'Know, I really don't care if only 3 people get the reference!). After (I'm guessing) holding the receiver away from her ear for a few minutes, she calmly brought it back and told me to "take a deep breath and start over." I think this is a common situation The Ghoul household has to deal with.
This all lead up to Opening Night. Which was amazing. And perfect. And awesome.
The Ghoul was adored by all. And he seemed to be having a great time too! The largest crowd in Kollective Gallery history jammed themselves in the front door to chat and share stories and sing praises to our honoree. He was as fun, kind, energetic, gracious and charming as anyone could be and was happy to get in conversations with everyone that came up to him.
When all the topics revolve around how great you are, I don't blame him!
Along with the childhood memory folks like myself, I was hearing of the real deep impact he's made in peoples lives, from a woman who was suffering from cancer and watching his show was one of the few reliefs that helped her make it though, to soldiers that got their families to ship Ghoul Show tapes overseas for the enjoyment of our troops.
The Ghoul had a stack of photos that he'd autograph and hand out, sign prized items that fans brought and also sign the art (at the artists request) that was hanging on the walls. He even signed an in progress Ghoul tattoo on John Wise that Sean Kelly inked over to make the tattoo complete!
So, thanks from me, and everyone who was happy to be a part of the fun, to The Ghoul, for making this just about the most important thing that will ever happen in anyones life, from the beginning of time until the Sun explodes.
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