Honoring Detroit TV Halloween legends: Count Scary and The Ghoul

"Oooh, that's scaary!" Count Scary and The Ghoul thrilled Detroit TV audiences for years.


Morning Musings 🤔

One of my favorite things to do is watching TV from different eras.

To me, there's no better time capsule back to a specific time than to watch a popular TV program from that time. You can capture so many things, like social standards, fashion, lingo, decor, racial and gender dynamics (most of which wouldn't fly today), and a sense of who was watching these shows.

The idea of a family gathered around a television to watch a program is no longer a thing. People watch what they want to watch - when they want to watch it.

Count Scary and The Ghoul are two examples of this time capsule TV program -- and I can only imagine the families gathered around TVs to catch these Halloween specials.

- Ken Haddad (Have a comment or topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

Morning Dive 🏊

In the 70s and 80s, there was a popular TV concept floating around the U.S.: Horror movie shows.

The concept was simple: A horror-themed character would host a show that would include sketches, catchphrases and other characters while featuring popular horror films on local broadcasts.

These shows popped up all over the place. There was different popular characters in different markets, including Svegoolie in Chicago.

For Detroit TV watchers, there were two big horror movie show hosts: Count Scary and The Ghoul.

Count Scary

The Count was actually a Detroit-area radio DJ named Tom Ryan. 

Count Scary appeared on WDIV from 1982 to the early 1990s as a vampire who loved B horror films. His famous catch phrase was "Ooooh, that's scaary!"

Count Scary would rank the scary level of each movie with a scale of pants, referring to scaring your pants off. It's actually hilarious to re-watch.

Count Scary eventually appeared on other Detroit TV networks, including his final appearance in 1996 in a joint special with The Ghoul.

[I've compiled a bunch of old Count Scary clips right here. It's well worth your time.]

The Ghoul

Ron Sweed, known as "The Ghoul" first appeared on TV in 1970.

With his trademark catch phrases, lab coat and glasses, cult icon The Ghoul made a big impression on a whole generation of kids in the 70s and 80s in Detroit.

He was originally from Cleveland, where his show originated, but experienced high success in the Detroit market.

Sweed died last year following a massive heart attack. He was 70. He appeared at the Redford Theatre in 2015, offering some of his classic hijinks and comedy.

We created a tribute video to "The Ghoul" after his passing - watch it here.

Chatter 🗣️

Housekeeping 🧹

Hey, if you like this newsletter, let us know. We'd love your feedback. We also offer several other newsletters that probably cater to at least one of your interests -- unless you're only interested in snakes. We don't have one for snakes. Sorry.

- Ken Haddad (Have something to say or a topic idea? Contact me: Email | Twitter)

Let's Link 🔗

Be sure to check in with ClickOnDetroit throughout the day for the latest news, weather and traffic. We're always working to keep you updated on the stories that matter most to you. We also like to have some fun along the way.

About the Author: