Saturday, October 23, 2010

Remembering Morgus, Jingles and Johnny Ginger

Today, for some obscure reason, I recalled Morgus. I mentioned this to Linda (the lady who shares my bed) and she has no idea who Morgus was. I tried to explain that he was a mad scientist weatherman that popped up daily on TV at 5:55 and also an M.C. on a Friday night television horror movie show. Linda was alive when Morgus was on. Sure she may have been pre-kindergarten, but she was in existence and television ready. She should have known about Morgus! (She also does not recall Johnny Ginger the Dancing Bellhop. More on that later.)

Morgus was the first horror type host in the Detroit area. He was on TV before the Ghoul or Sir Graves Ghastly. Morgus could put Rita Bell to shame, and make Bill Kennedy cry uncle. Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed Bill's gangster films, even when he would freeze the movie to highlight the bit part he played in crowd scenes. He was also the narrator of the 1950's Superman series. I think his biggest part was playing one of the suiters of Bette Davis as Mrs. Skeffington.

Bill and Rita had their shows on in the afternoon. So if they weren't showing Cagney or Bogey or the Bowery Boys, then I was outside playing. But Morgus was on at night, Friday night, and my parents were in bed and I was alone to enjoy his humor, and be scared by his movies. I think this was the last time in my life, that I looked forward to a movie's commercial break. Durring those breaks was when Morgus came back on and made me laugh at his experiments gone awry. Sure, his humor was juvenile, but I was only 11 or 12 years old. Juvenile humor was perfect for me.

I mentioned Johnny Ginger earlier.  He was a host of a cartoon show on Channel 7, Detroit.  He was on before I had to leave for school.  Channel 9, Windsor, also had a host for cartoons at the same time.  The Canadian host was a clown named Jingles.  Clowns were used a lot to present kid shows.  There was Jingles, Milky the Clown, Ricky the Clown, and Bozo the Clown in the Detroit area.  Jingles outfit was like a court jester's.  Milky had an all white outfit with a white dunce cap.  Ricky was in bum's clothes with a charcoal beard and a red rubber nose.  And Bozo wore...  wait. If you don't know what Bozo looks like, then you were raised in the wild by a pack of wolves. I haven't heard you baying at the moon, so I assume you know what Bozo looks like.

Anyhow, one morning during the Kennedy administration, I woke up and immediately turned on Channel 7.  In the lobby of Johnny Ginger's set was Jingles.  What kind of madcap mayhem was this?  I clicked over to Channel 9.  On the castle set of Jingles, was a flummoxed Johnny Ginger.  He was looking for Jingles and Jingles was nowhere to be found.  Back on Channel 7, Jingles was looking high and low for Johnny Ginger.  I was yelling at the television that they were on each other's channels.  But neither cartoon host paid attention to me.  Perhaps they could not trust an eight year old.

I truly believed they missed each other.  They hadn't.  It had all been planned out. In any case, it makes a great memory.

From left to right: Poopdeck Paul, Milky the Clown, Captain Jolly, Jingles the Clown, Johnny Ginger and You-Know-Who.


  1. I'm with ya, I especially like d Armsby...morgus'. Assistant

  2. I'm 59, grew up in Berkley, Mi. I remember all of these guys. Johnny Ginger before school. Soupy Sales, Morgus with his scary movies on Fri or Sat night. The Ghoul! Poopdeck! TV was great back then! Lots of memories!