New episodes are on the lesson plan for Professor Ghoul’s Horror School, WKNO’s Friday night horror movie series. Professor Ghoul (Michael Degnan), and his student, Shotzi the cat (puppeteered and voiced by Bard Cole), will return this month with three new features and a special Halloween night broadcast.
On Friday, October 17, school is back in session as The Professor takes a stab at answering letters for Aunt Agona’s advice for the lovelorn, including one about home decor from the heroine of “The Screaming Skull” (1958). Stephanie Norwood guest stars.
On October 24, while presenting the 1963 film “Night Tide,” starring Dennis Hopper, Shotzi and the Professor find the thought of students Doug Graves (Alan Long) and Buddy Lee Curtis (Brandon Cunningham) dating twins a bit fishy.
Then on October 31, the Professor and Shotzi host a night of Halloween thrills, starting with Twisted Tales of Poe: Theater of the Mind at 8:00 p.m. At 9:00, they’ll present a special hour-long presentation compiling two “lost episodes” of Professor Ghoul’s Horror School, featuring guest stars Christopher Rex, Nolan Smith, Tony Isbell, and Andy Fleming, with Edena Hines as Miss Karen and Justin Willingham as “The Phantom of Overlook.”
At 10:00, the Halloween treats continue with another new episode from Professor Ghoul’s Horror School, featuring the Ed Wood movie “Night of the Ghouls” (1959). In this episode, a shocking revelation brings TJ Kapowsky and Professor Ghoul together again, as they face a mystery from their past.
“Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” (1964)
In this special presentation featuring the 1964 movie Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, Professor Ghoul and special guests try to assure Shotzi that real Christmas wishes can come true.
Host, Professor Ghoul (Michael Degnan), and his student, Shotzi the cat (puppeteered and voiced by Bard Cole), introduce viewers to classic – and not-so-classic – horror fare in Professor Ghoul’s Horror School.
Production Specialist Bard Cole (Shotzi) has been on staff at WKNO since 2006. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama's MFA in Creative Writing Program and the author of two books of fiction. In addition to bringing Shotzi to life (he also designed and created the puppet), Bard serves as co-producer and co-writer for the series.
“I wanted to make something that was fun and silly but was aimed at an intelligent audience — people who really enjoy movies and like thinking about them,” said Cole. “I’ve been a public television watcher since I was a little kid, and I learned a lot about American popular culture by watching TV. Why shouldn’t young people today learn about Roger Corman or Ed Wood or Vincent Price by watching WKNO?”
Michael Degnan (Professor Ghoul) is a longtime fixture of the Memphis Comedy scene and a veteran of Memphis television. He has been a student ambassador, a five-time finalist in the Funniest Person in Memphis Contest, and is currently a member of The Wiseguys Improv Comedy Troupe.
“WKNO and PBS in general are the stewards of cultural history on television, and I strongly believe that the horror film and the horror host as a format have been an important part of our cultural identity as Americans,” said Degnan. “WKNO is also a natural fit for a show that is seeking to educate as well as entertain its audience. This is a project which has generated a lot of excitement from WKNO staff and their support lets me know that this is the perfect (or as Shotzi may say – ‘Purrrfect’) place for this show.”
Professor Ghoul’s Horror School is produced and written by Bard Cole and Michael Degnan and directed by Peter Richards. Russ Abernathy is the Executive Producer. The series airs Fridays at 10:00 p.m. and Saturdays at midnight on WKNO.
Email Professor Ghoul: firstname.lastname@example.org