Ghoulardi was the alter-ego of disc jockey, announcer, and actor Ernie Anderson. Ghoulardi was the horror host of late night Shock Theater at WJW-TV, Channel 8, in Cleveland, Ohio from January 13, 1963 through December 16, 1966. Unlike many horror hosts, who played ghoulish / horror themed characters, Ghoulardi was a parody of a hipster. Replete with fake goatee beard and moustache.
Shock Theater was aired in a Friday late-night time slot, but at the peak of Ghoulardi's popularity, Anderson also hosted the Saturday afternoon Masterpiece Theater, and the weekday children's program Laurel, Ghoulardi and Hardy. For his weekly Shock Theater improvised live segments, Anderson was paid an extra $65 a week.
At his show's peak, Ghoulardi scored 70% of the late-night audience. Fans sent up to 1,000 pieces of mail a day. The Cleveland Police Department attributed a 35% decline in juvenile crime to the Friday night show.