“Another lovely day begins, for ghosts and ghouls with greenish skin. So close your eyes, and you will find that you’ve arrived in Frightenstein. Perhaps the Count will find a way to make his monster work today. For if he solves this monster-mania, he can return to Transylvania. So welcome where the sun won’t shine, to the castle of Count Frightenstein!”
And so began every Saturday morning for many kids during the late 70’s and early 80’s, including myself. The Hilarious House of Frightenstein first aired on Saturday mornings on CHCH, Hamilton Ontario’s local television station. A sketch style program The Hilarious House of Frightenstein starred the likes of Billy Van, who played almost the entire cast of characters including Count Frightenstein, Fishka Rais as Igor, Guy Big as a pint sized clone of the Count, Mitch Markowitz as Super Hippy and none other than the greatest horror icon of all time Vincent Price whose macabre poetry was peppered throughout each episode.
The Hilarious House of Frightenstein told the tale of Count Frightenstein, the 13th son of Count Dracula who had been exiled from Transylvania to Castle Frightenstein in Frankenstone, Canada for failing to bring to life his monstrous creation Brucie J. Monster. Oddly, it was never revealed why bringing Brucie to life was so important but lets face it, when you’re a kid such details really aren’t all that important. All that matters is that a show be entertaining and The Hilarious House of Frightenstein never failed to deliver.
Aside from Count Frightenstein and Igor’s trials and tribulations whilst trying to bring Brucie to life each episode introduced the viewer to the other inhabitants of Castle Frightenstein. Such colourful characters included the likes of Grizelda, the Ghastly Gourmet, a witch who believed herself to be a great beauty who during each segment would regale viewers with Martha Stewart like recipes that, well lets face it, would require an immediate stomach pumping in order to survive. The Librarian, an old man covered in cobwebs who hasn’t seen the outside of his library for at least a century who tells tales such as those of Aesop’s Fables in the hopes of frightening children, sadly with very little effect. Harvey Wallbanger, the head of the dead letter office who loves to torment the Count by informing him that he has no mail, only to have a fan letter hiding in wait. There is also my particular favorite, The Wolfman, Castle Frightenstein’s very own hip werewolf DJ.
The Hilarious House of Frightenstein ran for 130 episodes and can still sometimes be found in syndication. There are also a few DVD and boxed sets available though the whole series has yet to be released. There is also a great website devoted to the series which can be found here.
So, in the immortal words of the great Vincent Price:
“The castle lights are growing dim. There’s no one left but me…and him. When next we meet in Frankenstone – don’t come alone.”