This Gunsmoke extra was Cleveland's beloved horror host Ghoulardi

Drew Carey wore his shirts… and his son became a major player in Hollywood.

The Drew Carey Show / Warner Bros. Television

On Gunsmoke, he was known only as "Man." In Cleveland, he was the man when it came to classic horror. Much like our very own Svengoolie, Ghoulardi presented those timeless Universal horror movies with a healthy dose of punchlines and slapstick. Svengoolie lovingly pokes fun at the Chicago 'burb Berwyn; Ghoulardi similarly jabbed at Parma, Ohio. His Shock Theater series ran on the local CBS affiliate in Cleveland in the 1960s.

The man behind Ghoulardi was Ernie Anderson, who also hosted a regional morning show titled Ernie's Place. That just so happened to feature another rising talent, Northern Ohio's own Tim Conway. That's right — before he partnered with Carol Burnett and Don Knotts, Conway honed his comedic chops with Anderson, as sketch actor on both on Ernie's Place and Shock Theater.

Ghoulardi would have a major influence on Boomers growing up on the southern shores of Lake Erie. Drew Carey, who was a kid growing up in Cleveland in the 1960s, was clearly a big fan. His character wore a Ghoulardi T-shirt on The Drew Carey Show, as seen above. The cult punk band The Cramps also borrowed a lot of their look and vibe from Ghoulardi. Oh, and his son, Paul Thomas Anderson became a critically adored Hollywood director thanks to his films MagnoliaThere Will Be Blood, Boogie Nights, Phantom Thread, etc.

Yet, despite his local celebrity and sway, Anderson hung up his Ghoulardi persona in 1966 and moved to Los Angeles to give his acting career a bigger go.

He was no stranger to national television. In 1964, he briefly popped up in an episode of Gunsmoke, "Blue Heaven." Pay close attention to when Kurt Russell and Tim O'Connor give a coin to a lazing "Man". Yep, that's Ernie Anderson leaning against the post. And speaking of Svengoolie, we should note that his Gunsmoke tale features both Kurt Russell, star of The Thing (1982), and James Arness, star of The Thing (1951)!

But the former horror host found more work as a voice artist. Anderson reteamed with his old pal as the announcer for The Tim Conway Comedy Hour. In the 1970s, he became "The Voice of ABC," voicing on-air promos for the network into the 1980s. He even voiced the previews for upcoming episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation in its earliest seasons.

Yep, all that career hiding behind a couple of small lines in "Blue Heaven." Even the extras on Gunsmoke were packing a lot of history!

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GEMof72 42 months ago
Thanks for posting this. As a Cleveland native, this is so cool. Cleveland legend.
Diz 42 months ago
His theme song:
jimmyb 42 months ago
Ghoulardi was the HIT on a Friday nites 11:30 pm right after the news.
I’ll never forget the sunglasses ( 1 lens missing and the hair piece) cigarette smoking, & lighting fire crackers blowing stuff up, “turn-blue”, and shakes his hands at the camera, They didn’t spend to much on his set if I rennet. Then he was gone and was replaced by The Big Chuck and Houlihan Show, and that was replaced with The Big Chuck and Little John Show. Love them times!!!!
Diz 42 months ago
I lived in Lorain, Ohio for a few years in the mid-60's and had the pleasure of watching Ghoulardi. The best.
BrittReid 42 months ago
TV-8 SHOCK THEATER was the best. Ghoulardi was insane!
DaleUhlmannXX 42 months ago
Nice article, but you got one thing wrong. Ghoulardi NEVER showed the Universal horror classics on WJW Channel 8's SHOCK THEATER. Instead, he primarily showed 1950s and 1960s drive-in movie faire from the AIP and Allied Artists film libraries.
LucyImHome1951 42 months ago
Oh my gosh, Ghoulardi!!!! What a show. The best horror host Cleveland ever had (and we had a lot of amazing host). I still remember watching him late at night like it was yesterday. It really was great and started my love of horror host. To this day I still say Turn Blue and I can't hear Pah pah Oo Mawmaw without thinking of him. I also remember seeing him and Tim Conway on and thinking to myself "Boy is he funny, I can't wait for him to be a Hollywood star." It's nice to see the horror hosts live on with people like Svengoolie but it's also nice to see people still bring up of the classic hosts. See you group.
Mike 42 months ago
You guys don't know the half of it.
When Tim Conway brought his old friend Ernie Anderson to Hollywood, he set him up with Carol Burnett:
For about a year, Carol would introduce Ernie from the audience, as though he were a visiting celebrity.
After doing this running gag for about a season, Lyle Waggoner left the Burnett show - and Ernie Anderson took over as "Your Announcer Speaking" - to the end of the run, and beyond.
Indeed, on the nightly MeTV reruns, that's Ernie's voice you're hearing at the beginning (and sometimes the end).
And when he moved to Tim Conway's own show, Ernie IDed himself as "Your Dummy Announcer Speaking!"
LucyImHome1951 Mike 42 months ago
He also was the announcer on The Tim Comedy Comedy Hour and The Tim Conway Show plus made guest shots on all kinds of TV with Tim. Even in Dorf on the Diamond throwing out his name as an in joke.
GEMof72 Mike 42 months ago
Thank you! Didn’t know this.
justjeff 42 months ago
Lake Eerie???????? Was this a typo (Lake Erie) or a MeTV pun on TV horror hosts? I wonder... nya-ha-ha...
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