On January 3, 1959, the House of Shock opened for business with Morgus the Magnificent hitting the airwaves on News Orleans’ WWL-TV. For the next half-century Morgus would delight monster kids (and their kids and grandkids) in his home city of New Orleans as well as New York and Detroit via syndication. Greetings, friends of science and members of the higher order! It’s Juliet, proud to report for blogging duty to talk about this very special horror host that was part of my family’s late night movie experience as Rotten Ink brings you Horror Host Icon: Morgus the Magnificent.
Momus Alexander Morgus was descended from a long line of scientists dating all the way back to Morgus the First who it is said was the architect of the Great Pyramid. Morgus, the 96th of his name, attended the Vasco Da Gama Medical School (the Caribbean’s finest – where he later served as the chair of quantum mechanics and far-out physics) and currently serves as the head of the Momus Alexander Morgus Institute (MAMI) and is a member of the “higher order.” He’s the author of several volumes of scientific research including New Hope for the Dead and Molecules I Have Known as well as the inventor of many technological breakthroughs. The early years of horror hosting, alas, aren’t as well documented as they could be, but from what I can tell, it looks like Morgus was the first host who wasn’t a ghoul or vampire and was also the first host to structure his show in an episodic fashion rather than a more sketch or stand-up style. Each episode of the House of Shock had Morgus unleashing a new experiment, and if you took the movie out, the segments would be almost like an episode of a modern day sitcom. This is the same structure Matt and Baron Von Porkchop use for Terrifying Tales of the Macabre. The man behind Morgus was Sid Noel, a WWL radio personality and actor who both created and played the character. Morgus’ main assistant in his experiments was Chopsley, a tall masked executioner who never spoke. Like Dr. Creep’s sidekick Duffy the Dog, Chopsley was portrayed by a variety of actors over the years, but the original Chopsley was Tommy George, a 6-foot-7 Bernard Parish motorcycle cop, who’s now deceased. Another mainstay of the Old Ice House (and my mother’s favorite character) was Eric, a talking human skull who alerted Morgus to presence of visitors and was known to agree with his master.
In 1962, Morgus starred in the first feature film centered around a horror host as his hosting character (Vampira was in Plan 9 From Outer Space in 1959, but that film wasn’t centered around her horror host persona) in The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus. It’s a fabulous B movie that has Morgus creating an Instant People Machine to help with easy travel. People go into the device and are turned into sand for easy shipping around the world where they are then reconstituted into people using another of Morgus’ devices. In true Cold War-era fashion, spies from the vaguely Soviet nation of Microvania want to use the device for nefarious purposes all the while a super stereotypically reporter, “Pencils,” is hot on the trail of breaking the whole story wide open. The film recently, finally, got a proper DVD release after floating around the gray market for decades, and I’m proud to report that I’m writing this blog in the shadow of a cinema-sized poster for The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus (the yellow image below) that hangs in a place of honor in the apartment.
In 1964, Sid Noel took Morgus to Detroit to produce a series of episodes for Storer Broadcasting as well as do an afternoon weather sketch. The Detroit show was called Morgus Presents and only lasted in the Motor City until 1965 when Noel and Morgus returned to New Orleans to pursue a syndication deal, paving the way for Lawson J. Deming and Sir Graves Ghastly to take up Detroit’s horror hosting mantle. Upon returning to New Orleans, Morgus followed the same formula he had in Detroit, a daily weather report using his Morgusso-Electromagnetic-Weather-Prognosticator and episodes of Morgus Presents (this time in color). But that was also short-lived, and it would be 1986 until Morgus resumed production with another iteration of Morgus Presents. The premise, set and characters were basically the same save for a few timely updates including Eric’s upgrade to E.R.I.C. (the Eon Research Infinity Computer), whose memory banks held all the world’s knowledge – basically classic Eric was attached to an Apple II. There were 52 episodes of Morgus Presents produced between 1986 and 1989, and as you’ll see below, this is the series you’ll more than likely be watching if you track down old Morgus episodes.
When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, Mogus’ whereabouts were unknown for a brief period after the storm, leaving fans extremely worried. Luckily, Morgus sent word that he was indeed okay and looking forward to returning to New Orleans TV sometime in the future. In 2011, Morgus the Magnificent was inducted into the Horror Host Hall of Fame as part of the inaugural class that also included Vampira, Zachlery, Dr. Creep and many others. That same year, the Mystery of Morgus, a documentary on the host’s legacy, aired on WVUE-TV in New Orleans. Reruns of Morgus continue to air in New Orleans under the name Morgus Presents: The House Of Shock, but Sid Noel has been keeping busy too. In the 90s, he created “Uncle Noel’s Fun Fables,” a character building reading program for public school kids. In 2013, Noel partnered with the New Orleans Public Library system to create The Internet Story Club of America, an online vault of stories for children as well as resources for parents and teachers.
Morgus’ popularity transcended far beyond the TV set and the silver screen. One of his most notable contributions to a none-film medium is the pop song “Morgus the Magnificent” by Morgus and the Ghouls. The aforementioned Ghouls were actually New Orleans music royalty Dr. John and Frankie Ford. Dr. John also has a separate song called “Morgus The Magnificent” on his Mos’ Scocious Anthology. Modern New Orleans funk band Galactic also pays homage to Morgus in “Friends of Science” on their Ya-Ka-May album. In grand New Orleans tradition, Morgus has been featured on Mardi Gras doubloons and has been honored by many of the carnival krewes including Endymion and Athenians. Not to be left out of the Morgus action, a Detroit newspaper had a short-lived comic strip based on the good doctor. It’s also worth noting that George Noory of Coast to Coast AM cites Morgus as a major influence and has had him as a guest on the show several times.
So how does someone born and raised in Ohio become slightly obsessed with Morgus the Magnificent? Is it the Michigan connection? Nope. As I mentioned when I wrote about Anne Rice’s The Witching Hour, my mom is originally from New Orleans so in addition to spending some time there as a child to visit my grandparents and other family and friends who lived in the Big Easy, from a fairly early age I became really enamored with the city because of the stories she’d tell me about her childhood there. Morgus was a part of that childhood. My mom and my uncle both remember Morgus as being appointment viewing when they were younger, and had the ritual of sharing a bottle of Coke while watching the show – though according to my mom, you couldn’t drink it until the show began. My mom even told me that when she moved to Ohio as an adult, she was really excited to discover Dr. Creep and Shock Theatre because she had such fond memories of Morgus, and though Shock Theatre was more sketch-based than episodic, I can see some similarities between the hosts. But actually, Eric (who’s “just a skull”) is her all-time favorite – and now my adopted favorite as I’ve been delving into the Morgus Presents episodes, though I’m also super fond of Mogus himself (for the record, Matt is a Chopsley man). Watching the Morgus Presents episodes have also made me truly appreciate what drew my mom to Morgus; the humor is right up her (and my) alley with a perfect mix of smarts and slapstick that’s a tad absurdist and just a little dark.
And now, friends of science, it’s time to delve into some episodes featuring Morgus the Magnificent. As I mentioned above, these are all episodes of the 80s Morgus Presents series as it’s nearly impossible to find any of Morgus’ older material, which is a shame because I’d love to see some of the episodes my mom watched as a kid. Nonetheless (and lucky for us), the 80s episodes are pretty hilarious and well worth a watch. As usual, I’ll be describing the host segments while the movie’s description comes to us via IMDB.
Morgus Presents: Brides of Dracula
Starring – Peter Cushing & Martita Hunt Not Rated 1960
Host: Morgus is getting ready to unveil his latest scientific achievement, a one-hour solution for baldness. He’s going to transplant the scalp of a donor onto the bald person while still allowing the donor to regrow his hair in less than an hour. Just as he’s about to show off the treatment, there’s a knock at the door, and in his first appearance, Wiley Faye, shows up and introduces himself. Faye has been watching Morgus on television and wants to be his manager. When Wiley hears about Morgus’ baldness solution, he calls up bald billionaire Cornelius Goodrich and arranges for him to come over. Before Cornelius arrives, the hair donor shows up. After a few minutes of negotiation, Larry is prepped for the transplant. Wiley and Cornelius arrive soon after, and Cornelius volunteers to receive the transplanted hair. After the surgery, Morgus has to pay Larry, but Cornelius isn’t awake yet. Wile tells Morgus to write the check and that Cornelius will cover it. But Cornelius only makes donations to people who are married. So Morgus has Chopsley bring out Zelda, a rather zombie-esque young woman who was in the room where he keeps former patients. Cornelius asks Morgus what he’d do with an unlimited amount of money, and Morgus tells him about his dream of Morgusity, a science city. Cornelius writes the check, but it’s his policy to always give the check to the wife of the family – so he enters the room marked Keep Out where Zelda and the other patients reside….
Movie: A young teacher on her way to a position in Transylvania helps a young man escape the shackles his mother has put on him. In so doing she innocently unleashes the horrors of the undead once again on the populace, including those at her school for ladies. Luckily for some, Dr Van Helsing is already on his way
Morgus Presents: The Creature Walks Among Us
Starring – Jeff Morrow & Rex Reason Unrated 1956
Host: Morgus is finally going to open up the secret room (the one marked “Keep Out” at the far end of the lab). He explains that vampire are real, though not like we see in Hollywood, and that there’s a blood shortage to feed them. Morgus has been breeding all-weather mosquitos that he sends out to sample blood from people living in the city. He then recalls the mosquitos and puts them into a device to extract the blood to feed Victoria and other vampires like her. So Morgus implores the viewers to open their windows and contribute their blood to science. He explains the conditions of vampirism and says that if you have the symptoms, you should visit the lab for blood treatment. For those who aren’t experiencing the conditions of vampirism, Morgus and E.R.I.C. have set up a special hotline (555-Morgus) to volunteer to be mailed leeches to contribute blood for the afflicted. The calls begins coming in and Chopsley works hard to pack leeches as Morgus presses more mosquitos. We meet Norman, another vampire in Morgus’ care. More sufferers of vampirism show up at the lab, but the mosquitos aren’t coming in as fast as they need to and soon Morgus has a bigger problem, the blood machine is leaking. In an effort to get more donations quickly, Morgus offers some entertainment – just like on all the other telethons. He, Chopsley and E.R.I.C. sing Home on the Range. A man from pest control arrives, saying he’s killed all of the mosquitos at the request of Alma Fetish, Morgus’ landlady. As Morgus tries to explain to the man what he’s done, the vampires attack.
Movie: In this third Gill-Man feature, the Creature is captured and turned into an air-breather by a rich mad scientist. This makes the Creature very unhappy, and he escapes, killing people and setting fires in the process.
Morgus Presents: Dracula
Starring – Bela Lugosi & Helen Chandler Unrated 1931
Host: Morgus tells the viewers that this may be the last time they see him. He’s asked the governor to send over the state’s best minds to join him in a journey to the future. Using his Morgo-Megafreezer, Morgus explains that he’ll cryogenically freeze himself and his volunteers to then be unfreezed in the future. Naturally, Morgus will go to the future so he needs someone to take his place in the present and sets about unfreezing his grandfather who’s encased in a block of ice. While Grandpa Morgus recovers from the unfreezing, distinguished scientists show up at the lab to be frozen. Alma Fetish interrupts to complain about the noise, but soon Bill Anderson, an accountant shows up, with a get-rich-quick scheme for when they’re unfrozen. Unfortunately Grandpa Morgus doesn’t recover well so Morgus arranges for Wiley Faye to take care of his business in the current era while he’s frozen. Wiley will also help run the museum that Morgus proposes will open in the lab while everyone is frozen.
Movie: After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina’s health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina’s fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.
Morgus Presents: The Eyes of Charles Sand
Starring – Peter Haskell & Joan Bennett Not Rated 1972
Host: We pick up from a prior cliffhanger (from the Godzilla Raids Again episode) with the real Morgus outside the lab listening in to his evil clone angrily proclaim that he’s placed his Morgusaroid clones throughout the city strapped with explosives, but the real Morgus has a plan. He’s going to sneak into the lab through the secret bookcase passageway and will pretend to be one of the clones. Evil Morgus decides to create more Morgusaroids to try to grow his evil empire to the state capital. The new clone is a bit scrawny so Evil Morgus decides to arm a new clone and picks the real Morgus who succeeded in sneaking into the lab. Chopsley boxes him up for shipment to the governor with a bomb attached. A workman comes to take the box away and hearing Morgus’ screams, frees him. Morgus defuses the bomb and heads out the window to sneak back into the lab. Evil Morgus rails against the TV station for cutting off his evil speeches and gets ready to send a clone strapped with dynamite to the station. The governor calls and concedes the state to Evil Morgus, who now decides to go after the whole country. Evil Morgus hops on to the cloning machine to create more clones of himself, but the real Morgus reverses the polarity of the machine and zaps Evil Morgus into oblivion. Morgus recalls the clones to the lab for their subsequent donation to the army along with a donation of Chopsley clones to the sanitation department. The first Chopsley clone makes himself right at home and locks himself in the original Chopsley’s hide-y hole behind Morgus’ chalkboard. Morgus has a deal to sell the cloning machine to the government, and a representative from the pro-football scouting organization shows up to strike a deal for one of the Chopsleys. When he asks a Chopsley to sign the contract, they all being fighting over it and smash Morgus’ cloning machine.
Movie: A young man inherits the ability to see visions beyond the grave. He helps a girl investigate her brother’s alleged murder.
Morgus Presents: Frankenstein Conquers The World
Starring – Tadao Takashima & Nick Adams Not Rated 1965
Host: Morgus is ready to make history as aliens make first contact with the inhabitants of the Old Ice House. The aliens communicate through music, which Morgus employs E.R.I.C. to translate, but the TV station interrupts this momentous occasion by starting the night’s movie. When we return, Eric has translated the message; it’s pi. The aliens continue to communicate, addressing Morgus by name and telling him that to prepare for a cultural exchange. Morgus realizes that they mean a cultural representative of the Earth, and of course nominates himself. As Morgus prepares for space, he explains that the aliens must be highly advanced and will bring peace to the Earth, which he’ll help negotiate. Part of the preparations include rigging up a system for Morgus to eat liquified bologna sandwiches in space via a rubber glove and having Chopsley stuff Morgus into a dryer to see how he can withstand the g-force of launching into space. Morgus calls Wiley Faye, and tells him to get the media over to the Old Ice House as soon as possible. E.R.I.C. informs them that the aliens are getting closer as Morgus begins to pack for his journey and the first reporter arrives to interview Morgus. The alien arrives with a bang, and flashes the sign of the higher order before freezing Morgus to scan him. Morgus is unsure how to communicate with the alien, but Chopsley makes some headway with a game of tic-tac-toe. While Morgus is getting ready to go, the alien says that it doesn’t want Morgus, it actually wants E.R.I.C. and in his place, they send alien-version of the skull hooked to a computer in his place.
Movie: During WWII, a human heart taken from a certain lab in Europe (Dr. Frankenstein’s) is kept in a Japanese lab, when it gets exposed to the radiation of the bombing of Hiroshima. The heart grows in size, mutates and sprouts appendages, and eventually grows into a complete body and escapes. Later, a feral boy with a certain physical deformity (a large head with a flat top) is captured by scientists who refer to the boy as Frankenstein. The creature grows to the height of 20 feet, escapes again, fights police and army, and is practically indestructible. Later, a reptilian monster goes on a rampage. Eventually the Frankenstein creature and the reptile face off in a terrible battle.
Morgus Presents: Godzilla
Starring – Takashi Shimura & Akihiko Hirata Unrated 1954
Host: Morgus is trying to get a hold of the president because our country’s biggest weapon is at risk. Morgus goes on to explain that the battle of the future is the battle of the brains. Therefore Morgus has created a device to help preserve the best brains of the nation, giving up their bodies to hook into a device that resembles a giant E.R.I.C. Morgus calls forth the great brains of the nation, especially those of the higher order, to come to the lab and volunteer for this service while Morgus continues to try to call the president. Chopsley offers up his own brain, but Morgus says that in fact Chopsley’s brain is too valuable to preserve in this fashion (because it’s never been used). Someone calls in and suggests that Morgus preserve his own brain. E.R.I.C. chimes in with his agreement so Morgus talks Chopsley through performing the surgery and transporting Morgus’s head onto the device. From his position on the device (and looking rather like E.R.I.C.), Morgus expresses his dismay that no one has volunteered to preserve their brain at the Mt. Morgus Brain Preserve. Chopsley’s solution is to make bumper stickers that proclaim “I Heart My Brain.” An FBI agent arrives because Morgus has been calling the White House talking about the end of the world. The agent says he’ll take Morgus to see the president, but gets grossed out and runs into the room marked “Keep Out” when he sees Morgus’ headless body sitting at the lab table. Morgus goes on to explain that once the brain is separated from the body, it becomes more powerful and demonstrates this by sweeping the lab with his mind and then fools Chopsley into playing chess with his headless body. Morgus finally decides to replace his head on his body, but when he ordered Chopsley to do so, E.R.I.C. interrupts and reminds Chopsley of their deal – a body for E.R.I.C. and he’ll fix Chopsley’s face. With his skull on Morgus’ body, E.R.I.C. when accepts a phonecall from the president inviting Eric the Excellent for a visit to the White House.
Movie: A 164-foot-tall (50-meter-tall) monster reptile with radioactive breath is revived, thanks to nuclear testing. It goes on a mad rampage, destroying Tokyo – can it be stopped? Should it be killed?
Morgus Presents: Godzilla Raids Again
Starring – Hiroshi Koizumi & Setsuko Wakayama Unrated 1955
Host: E.R.I.C. introduces the show because Morgus is still under arrest from the previous episode. Soon Morgus and Chopsley arrive in handcuffs, and Morgus explains a bright idea from Wiley Faye and his cloning machine, which was used to create the Morgusaroid clones, had caught the attention of the law. But now Morgus sets about the business of creating more Morgusaroids to sell to the public. There are different models ranging from the very basic un-housebroken Morgusaroid to a fully customizable model. While Chopsley feeds them (they only require dog food and water), Morgus shows a video by order of the judge that released him, of the Morgusaroids doing community service throughout New Orleans. The newly trained Morgusaroids are prepared for shipping, and a rock and roll musician shows up seeking Morgusroids to fill out his band. The Morgusroids rock out, and Morgus makes a sale. But Morgus cautions that they need to be careful with the duplicator machine’s intelligence control. Before he can explain further, a woman arrives to buy a Morgusaroid to serve as her permanent escort. The orders for Morgusroids keep coming in so Morgus hops back onto the duplicator. Chopsley gets distracted by the phone ringing and a Morgusaroid flips the wrong switch (the intelligence switch) and creates an evil version of Morgus. A man from the department of labor shows up to arrest Morgus for employing clones that are only 10 minutes old, and when he tries to warn him about the Evil Morgus, the man takes the Real Morgus away. Evil Morgus closes the show by vowing to take over the city.
Movie: Koji Kobayashi, a spotter for a Japanese fishing fleet crash lands his plane on a barren island. His best friend, Shoichi Tsukioka, manages to find him and lands his plane next to his so he can be rescued. The two pilots are shocked when they see two giant monsters waging war before falling into the ocean. The two pilots race back to Japan to inform the government what they saw. Soon the world comes to the realization, that a monster closely related to the original Godzilla is on the loose as well as a new monster named Angilas. Soon, the two monsters arrive in Osaka where they resume their battle. Will the two monsters destroy Osaka before they ultimately destroy each other?
Morgus Presents: Godzilla vs. Mothra
Starring – Akira Takarada & Hiroshi Koizumi Not Rated 1964
Host: Morgus promises that the evening’s experiment will answer all of our unanswered questions about physics. He reveals an invisible table, created with a special formula of liquid molecules that when treated properly will vibrate and make an object invisible. Morgus quickly proceeds from solid molecules in solid objects to animals, showing off his invisible hamster named Albert, which he then makes almost reappear with yet another formula. A visitor appears at the lab, Claude, an invisible scientist who turned himself as such during a botched experiment. Claude wants Morgus to perfect his visibility formula and cure him. But the formula must be injected directly into the adrenal gland so Morgus performs invisible surgery on Claude who begins blinking in and out of view. The operation doesn’t appear to work so Morgus wraps up Claude like the Invisible Man. The next thing they try is to give Claude the formula orally after-which he freaks out and starts throwing things at Morgus. He and Chopsley finally get Claude calmed down (and sedated) and use clown makeup to fool him into thinking he’s invisible. While Claude jogs to supposedly make the medicine work, Morgus waits for the doctors from the sanitarium that he’s had his fans call for Claude. The doctors arrive, but Claude’s unwrapped himself and disappeared, and the doctors think Morgus is the crazy one.
Movie: A greedy developer has placed huge machines to suck dry a part of the ocean near Tokyo so he can put luxury condos there. After a storm, a giant egg washes up on the beach nearby and is immediately put on public display. The developer’s plans go awry when he disrupts Godzilla’s rest and the monster goes stomping through Tokyo again. It’s up to the elderly Mothra, and then to its two offspring, to save Tokyo from destruction.
Morgus Presents: Godzilla vs. The Sea Monster
Starring – Akira Takarada & Kumi Mizuno Not Rated 1966
Host: Morgus sends Chopsley to the store for sandwiches saying that there’s precious little time to eat while they finish their latest scientist breakthrough. As he greets the viewers, Morgus alerts journalists in the audience that they’ll want to pay special attention because this invention will give them an edge on the competition. The Morgusoscopic Prognosticator allows you to see into the future and find out what’s going to happen before it happens – so, among other things, news reporter could know the news before it happens. The Prognosticator works by employing Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, which Morgus take it upon himself to teach the viewers about, and spits out the future readings via the computer E.R.I.C. is wired to. Morgus uses the machine to predict a nearby fire, which moments later in started by Chopsley, who is barbecuing in the hallway. Once the firemen leave, the chief stays behind to ask Morgus how he knew to call for help ahead of time. Morgus demonstrates the machine successfully, but as the chief leaves, his landlord Alma Fetish pays him a visit. She’s fed up with Morgus’ experiments, but he cons her into helping him by rigging her up with a camera so he can break the news as it happens using the machine’s predictions. Morgus launches the Futuristic News with himself as chief correspondent, Alma as roving reporter and Chopsley as the weatherman. As a car pulls up, Morgus is excited because he thinks the station manager is coming to write him a check for the Prognosticator and the Futuristic News service. Morgus uses the machine to see what kind of contract the manager will offer, but it tells him that a well known TV scientist will die live on the air in 1 minute. Morgus tells the viewers not to worry as he keels over. Morgus’ ghost watches in a panic as the station manager arrive with the contract.
Movie: Some teenagers want to obtain a boat to find a brother. When they look around a boat without permission, they find a thief who takes them on his escape. They are caught in a storm and arrive at Letchi Island where natives of Infant Island have been enslaved by the terrorist organisation Red Bamboo. Red Bamboo runs a heavy water factory to process a juice which holds off the monster, Ebirah, which otherwise traps them on the island. The young men meet beautiful but tough Daiyo and wake up Godzilla to put an end to the Red Bamboo.
Morgus Presents: House of Frankenstein
Starring – Boris Karloff & Lon Chaney Jr. Not Rated 1944
Host: Morgus is ready to shake up the medical world with his revolutionary DIY Clinics, where the average person can learn to diagnose and treat their own ailments using books and video cassettes made by Morgus himself. Patients begin to arrive at Morgus’ clinic including a woman about to have a baby, a man with a bloody injury and a woman who needs Morgus’ help to lose weight. Two babies are delivered, and a man named Perry Hoolihan arrives, suffering from halitosis. Morgus preps Perry for surgery (yes, for bad breath), and after a few explosions, he’s sent to recovery with aspirin (Morgus’ cure for everything). The clinic quickly fills up with patients in recovery (taking aspirin distributed by Chopsley) and Morgus reminds a man removing his own appendix to wear gloves. As more patients come to the Clinic, Morgus tries to get them up with television (via a telescope looking into the window of an adjacent building) and hospital food. Meanwhile, babies continue to be delivered and Morgus invites the doctors of the world to become franchisees of his DIY Clinic. Mr. Carter, the man who removed his own appendix, is recovering and Morgus urges him to take aspirin. But another patient is having a bad reaction and Morgus realizes that Chopsley’s been giving boric acid (roach powder) to all of the patients instead of aspirin, making them all drop…like roaches.
Movie: After escaping from an asylum the mad Dr. Niemann and his hunch back assistant revive Count Dracula, the Wolf Man and the Frankenstein monster in order to extract revenge upon their many enemies.
Morgus Presents: Invasion of the Body Snatchers
Starring – Kevin McCarthy & Dana Wynter Not Rated 1956
Host: Morgus proclaims that the world is running out of food. The world’s population is growing and so are human beings – like Chosley, who Morgus declares is far too tall. Morgus has two experiments for the evening that will allow food to grow larger and people to grow smaller. After some persuasion, Chopsley agrees to be part of the experiment and enters a compression chamber to become half his size. Morgus and the smaller Chopsley move on to the next experiment of trying to make food larger, but as they get started, Chopsley proves rather useless because he’s no longer strong and is too short to reach anything on the lab’s top shelves. As Morgus grows a watermelon to 3 times its size, a man from the phone company arrives to collect on the payphone in the lab. The man mentions that he hates his job and always wanted to be a jockey but he’s too tall. Of course Morgus and his invention can help. He shrinks the man, who leaves the collection money with Morgus. As Morgus grows more vegetables, Chopsley pouts about being small, and the small telephone man and his wife return. The wife is furious and wants Morgus to make her husband big again, but instead Morgus talks her into getting into the compression machine too with the promise of being thinner. Mr. Wallace from the Defense Department arrives, and Morgus strikes up a deal with him to get this new technology to the Secretary of Defense. Meanwhile, Chopsley attempts to inject himself with the serum for the watermelon so he can grow large again. Morgus tries to stop him but ends up injecting himself and growing into a giant.
Movie: Dr Miles Bennell returns his small town practice to find several of his patients suffering the paranoid delusion that their friends or relatives are impostors. He is initially skeptical, especially when the alleged dopplegängers are able to answer detailed questions about their victim’s lives, but he is eventually persuaded that something odd has happened and determines to find out what is causing this phenomenon.
Morgus Presents: Son of Godzilla
Starring – Tadao Talashima & Akira Kudo Not Rated 1967
Host: Morgus is very excited to welcome the stock brokers in the audience as his latest invention will make millions for the lucky investor. He’s created a perpetual motion machine using bionics so that the human heart is the source of the perpetual energy or MAMI Energy. Of course, the machine won’t be powered by the heart of a living human; a corpse is delivered, and Chopsley sets about connecting it to the machine. Morgus explains that the body requires no fuel other than plain water, and then calls out the press for printing an article calling him “The Weakest Link” (placed next to the funnies). Using a car battery, Morgus and Chopsley jumpstart the body and the machine. Shortly after it starts, they’ve created enough energy to power a fan. A workman arrives to read the gas meter and sneaks some photos of the machine in operation, and soon afterward, JP Randolph arrives from OEC to present Morgus with an award, The Oil Energy Cartel Peace Prize. Randolph says that OEC has authorized Morgus to make a donation of his machine to them, and they’ll of course give him $100,000. But they’re not planning on giving the donation to the people, rather they want to keep it away from the public. Luckily, Morgus calls a “code 3” and Chopsley hauls Randolph away. As Chosley returns, Morgus notices that the corpse is beginning to smell, but they’re interrupted by the arrival of the bug man who’s there to spray (and looks suspiciously like the gas meter reader and takes pictures of the machine just like him). Later, Morgus is making arrangements with the press, and a building inspector (with the same accent and look as the others) visits and snoops around, After he leaves, Morgus fields some audience questions via the phone in the lab about the device, and unfortunately we don’t know how things turn out because our copy of this episode ends with the movie.
Movie: A group of scientists are on tropical Solgel Island in the Pacific to conduct weather control experiments. Just before they begin, they find giant preying mantises measuring 25 feet tall called Kamakaras. They decide to go ahead with the experiments, but a malfunction in one of the devices and as a result a radioactive storm that pushes the temperature up to two hundred degrees. The storm also causes the mantises to grow even bigger to 100 feet tall. The mantises then make their way to a huge mound where they uncover a giant egg which contains a young Godzilla, later named Minilla. Eventually, Godzilla shows up and saves his offspring. The rest of the movie features Godzilla taking care of and teaching his young son the skills that will eventually help him to become the new “King of Monsters” as well as fighting the Kamakaras and a giant spider named Kumoga.
Morgus Presents: Terror Of Mechagodzilla
Starring – Tomoko Ai & Goro Mutsumi Not Rated 1975
Host: Morgus is catching up on fanmail, which includes many propositions from his female viewers. But alas, Mogus has an announcement. As the last of the Momus A. Morguses (Morgusi?), he must marry and produce an heir. With the help of his manager, Wiley Faye, the perfect candidate to be the bride of Morgus will arrive at the lab later in the show. But all is not well, as Chopsley packs his bag to leave. During the movie, Morgus convinces Chopsley to stay, and the executioner is helping his boss spruce up his hair as Wiley arrives with not one, but three perfect candidates. Morgus conducts a blind interview and chooses his bride, but he’s not to wed her; he needs her genes. DOA, the woman Morgus is to marry is in pieces on his lab table. He eventually assembles and revives her, and he sets to work teaching her to speak so that she can say their wedding vows. Later that evening, Morgus follows the advice of his father’s book, The Morgus Mating Manual, and tries to court DOA, but Chopsley’s stolen most of the diagrams from the book. Wiley returns with the rest of the wedding supplies and guests. As the Justice of the Peace begins the ceremony, he asks if there are any objections and the bride speaks up saying that she wants Chopsley instead, and Morgus is left chasing after the happy couple.
Movie: Aliens from a dying galaxy plan to destroy our cities and build their new home on Earth. Their weapon is Mechagodzilla, a 400-foot-tall robot armed with powerful lasers and guided missiles. Only Godzilla is mighty enough to stop the colossal machine, but when Professor Mafune joins the aliens, not even Godzilla will be able to defeat them. Mafune controls Titanosaurus, a gigantic amphibious dinosaur, through a biochemical connection with his cyborg daughter, Katsura. Godzilla is no match for Titanosaurus and Mechagodzilla together, but Interpol agents have discovered Titanosaurus’ weakness, which may give Godzilla the fighting chance he needs to save the world!
Morgus Presents: The Wolfman
Starring – Claude Rains & Lon Chaney Jr. Not Rated 1941
Host: Morgus has a brand new invention with which to rock the scientific community. He’s solved the problem of transportation with a machine that will modify the matter of people and turn them into a sand-like substance for easy shipping and transportation. Chopsley returns from Alma Fetish’s apartment with a frozen turkey for demonstration purposes and brings along Michael the dog. Morgus puts the turkey into the machine and delivers the particles to the Morguso-Restorator machine to demonstrate how matter is then rehydrated and put back together. Morgus then decides to demonstrate the machine on a live source, Michael. Some of the resulting sand lands on the floor, and when Morgus puts it into the Restorator machine, Michael returns as a smaller dog but is safely returned to Alma. The next test subject is Kid Diamond, a local rock star, who insists that Morgus try out the machine first. After a successful test, Kid is turned to sand and placed in a labeled jar on Morgus’ shelf ready for shipment to Mexico City. The next visitor is Jack Smith, a shady character who want Morgus to send some jewels through the machine for shipment to his “dear old mother in Mexico City.” Jack had intended to fly to Mexico City, but Morgus is happy to send him right through the machine and then sends Chopsley down to the police station with the jars of the jewels and thief. Morgus is in the midst of arranging for the jars and the Restorator to be shipped to Mexico City when a policeman arrives, confused about Chopsley’s delivery. Morgus restores the thief, who’s promptly arrested. Then members of a bowling team arrive and ask to be sent to Mexico City. He passes the jars off the Chopsley and tells him to up to “put all four in the box.” So Chopsley dumps the contents of the jars into a box, mixing up all of the sand. Morgus attempts to restore all four people from the mixed up sand and creates a giant blob monster made of their matter. Note: this episode’s plot is very similar to that of the feature film.
Movie: Upon the death of his brother, Larry Talbot returns from America to his ancestral home in Wales. He visits a gypsy camp with village girl Jenny Williams, who is attacked by Bela, a gypsy who has turned into a werewolf. Larry kills the werewolf but is bitten during the fight. Bela’s mother tells him that this will cause him to become a werewolf at each full moon. Larry confesses his plight to his unbelieving father, Sir John, who then joins the villagers in a hunt for the wolf. Transformed by the full moon, Larry heads for the forest and a fateful meeting with both Sir John and Gwen Conliffe.
And there you have it, Friends of Science, my look at Morgus the Magnificent. I hope you enjoyed getting to know or getting reacquainted with this legend of horror hosting. It was really interesting to me, as I researched Morgus’ on air history, to see the affection for him in multiple cities – most notably New Orleans and Detroit. We tend to think of horror hosts, especially those early hosts, as being so of their city, and while Morgus is certainly of New Orleans, the character and the writing of the show is of such quality that it’s easy to see why viewers in other cities could so easily adopt him as their own. Very special thanks to Matt for asking me to write about Morgus and for his persistence in tracking down the episodes for me. For the next update, I’ll be retreating back to my own little corners of the web and handing the reigns back over to Matt who will have you peeking under your bed and into your closet when he covers the Boogieman. Until then, pleasant dreams….
Reaching out to contact Mr. Sid Noel Rideau. I’d love to have any interaction as a Christmas gift for a loved one.