One of my favorite categories in the Rondo Awards is the Hall of Fame. I really like the idea of saluting creative individuals for a lifetime achievement in building a better world of Gods and Monsters. This year I made 3 nominations for Hall of Fame. . .
First and Foremost was TV Horror Host Morgus the Magnificent.
Morgus was based out of New Orleans, Louisana and was played by actor Sid Noel. Last year marked the 50th anniversary of Morgus as a host – 50 years! His show was syndicated in various cities across the U.S. throughout the years, and returned to the scarewaves in 1996 for a limited 10 episode run in New Orleans. Sid is alive and well today and still resides in the New Orleans area - I love the thought of him accepting the award in person, if he’s able to make it.
My second nomination was one that I make every year. It is the dynamic duo of doom who worked together to make a huge horror impact on the world of comics – Bill Gaines and Al Feldstein.
Bill inherited EC comics when his father passed away and changed the course of the company, steering it head first into horror. He hired Al Feldstein as his right hand man and creative partner. Al wrote and drew many of the EC stories, and both served as editors. They virtually created their own brand of stories – their “New Trend comics” which were, in actuality, morality tales. Yes they were horror stories, true enough, and oftentimes dripping with gore. But deep down they were revenge fantasies, where not even death could stop those who had been wronged from wreaking vengeance on the unjust.
Upon seeing the wild success of EC’s horror line many competitors jumped on the bandwagon, putting out their own inferior versions of the EC standards: Vault of Horror, Haunt of Fear, Tales from the Crypt, Weird Science, Weird Fantasy, Weird Science Fantasy, and Shock Suspenstories among others. To this day EC comics are still inspiring a generation of horror fans… who hasn’t heard of the Crypt Keeper? Unfortunately Bill isn’t around any longer, but Al is, and again, I’d love to see him accept the award on both of their behalves.
My third nomination was a man who was another one of my biggest influences growing up – Alice Cooper.
I first discovered Alice Cooper in a box of old cassettes my uncle had lying around. I am pretty sure the first album I heard was Billion Dollar Babies. I was instantly hooked – The makeup , costumes, stage show, and subject matter all came together along with some terrific music to make an impact that is still felt to this day. Just look at artists like Rob Zombie, Marilyn Manson and Wednesday Thirteen – all owe a huge debt of gratitude to Alice for paving the way. Alice is currently touring and will even be playing some gigs with Rob Zombie – man I’d love to be at those shows!!
Now, when it comes to music I also would love to see Screaming Jay Hawkins eventually get in as well as Screaming Lord Sutch, both early predecessors of Alice’s. But Alice was the one who brought horror into the mainstream music industry much like Bill and Al had the comics industry decades before. Appearances with horror legend Vincent Price only further cemented Alice’s spot as the unquestioned king of horror music.