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Interview with Svengoolie at Houby Day Parade

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Interview with Svengoolie at Houby Day Parade

The name Svengoolie has a lot of history not just on television but also in the Chicagoland area.

Svengoolie – the title character and host of the show, who introduces the film, tells jokes and relates trivia about the movie. The character was originally portrayed by former WCFL personality Jerry G. Bishop, who held the role from 1970 to 1973.

When the show returned in 1979, Rich Koz took on the role of “Son of Svengoolie”, which he portrayed until 1986, when the show was canceled. In 1995, Koz was set to bring the show back and Bishop told him he was “all grown up” and could drop the “Son of” from his character name. Koz has been playing “Svengoolie” ever since.

Koz got his start in broadcasting at WMTH-FM, the high school radio station at Maine East in Park Ridge, Illinois. While Koz was at Northwestern University, he sent the original Svengoolie, Jerry G. Bishop, material for the horror-movie program. Bishop subsequently invited Koz on to the show.

Aaron Hanania interviews Svengooli (Rich Koz) 10-07-18
Aaron Hanania interviews Svengooli (Rich Koz) 10-07-18

When the show was canceled in 1973, Bishop and Koz worked together doing mornings on WMAQ radio in Chicago, and Koz worked with radio legend Dick Orkin on commercials and syndicated features, including “ChickenMan Returns for the Last Time Again.”

Bishop left for San Diego in 1978 and gave Koz permission to create a show known as Son of Svengoolie, now simply known as Svengoolie. (The character is often known simply as “Sven.”)

Here is writer and author Aaron Hanania doing a short interview with Svengoolie just before the start of the 50th Annual Golden Jubilee Houby Day Parade on Cermak Road in the Town of CIcero on Sunday Oct. 7, 2018.

For more information on Aaron’s video interviews visit his Youtube Channel at

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Ray Hanania

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