Who is Svengoolie? Learn More About the Horror Icon & His Friends on MeTV

Svengoolie Rich Koz
YouTube Screenshot/MeTV

Every Saturday evening on MeTV, the character Svengoolie and his ragtag bunch of horror movie-loving friends share a film with fans. While Svengoolie can be considered more of a Halloween character, his fans love to watch him year-round and see what nostalgic movie he chooses each week. Here at ReMIND, we love to update you with his movie choices for the month ahead (be sure to sign up for our weekly newsletters at the very bottom of the ReMIND homepage so you don’t miss out!).

Who is Svengoolie and Rich Koz?

The character Svengoolie was originally played by Jerry G. Bishop from 1970 to 1973 before he passed over the character to the current star Rich Koz. Koz was a fan of the show who sent in sketches and eventually became a show writer. At first, he called himself Son of Svengoolie, to pay tribute to Bishop but Bishop assured him that he was the new Svengoolie and he should take over the full name. Before and after commercial breaks, Svengoolie and his pals share fun sketches, songs and jokes.

Who are Svengoolie’s friends?

The show originally began as a local program in the Chicago area but expanded nationally to MeTV in 2011. The name Svengoolie comes from the words Svengali and ghoul and Koz wears skull-like makeup, a wig and top hat, a mustache, a goatee, a bright red tuxedo shirt and a black tuxedo jacket. This year is very special for Koz as he celebrates the 45th anniversary of portraying the beloved character. While Svengoolie is the true host of the show, he is accompanied by several friends. Koz voices other characters including a rubber chicken named Kerwyn, a skull named Zallman T. Tombstone, the face on his coffin lid named Boddy Sorrell (a nod to The Dick Van Dyke Show) and Durnwood the Dummy. Diehard fans may remember the short-lived character Ed the Bat, who retired because the executives found his high-pitched voice way too annoying.


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Then there is his accompanist, Doug Graves (portrayed by musician Doug Scharf) and saxophone player Anita X. Orcist (played by Doug’s daughter Natalie Scharf). Making up the “Sven Squad” is Gwengoolie (Sarah M. Palmer), Ignatius Malvolio Prankenstein (Scott Gryder) and Nostalgiaferatoo (Bill Leff).

CHICAGO, IL - FEBRUARY 29: Actor Rich Koz of "Son of Svengoolie" speaks during 2020 C2E2 on February 29, 2020 in Chicago, Illinois

Barry Brecheisen/WireImage/Getty Images

Koz, who researches each film, writes every episode and does some artwork for the shows, once said that the 1933 movie King Kong sparked his lifelong love of horror movies. In an interview, Koz also revealed the movie he thinks doesn’t get enough love and shared which celebrity was the biggest fan of the show. He believes that the 1958 film Fiend Without a Face should get more attention and that is a reason he has highlighted it on his show before.


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Koz added that the late Gilbert Gottfried was a big fan of the show. Koz shared that Gottfried would film segments for the show when he was in town and said, “He was careful to never say anything that we would need to cut out which was quite an undertaking for him!”

Let us know your favorite thing about Svengoolie or the show in general!

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