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.
The Vampire Bat (1933)
An angry parent questions the Professor about value of studying horror movies, as Professor Ghoul presents the 1933 Fay Wray flick “The Vampire Bat”.
The Ghost (1963)
T.J. and the students use shady tactics to try and throw a surprise party at the school, while introducing the 1963 feature “The Ghost”.
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.
Professor Ghoul’s Halloween Special 2012
Professor Ghoul and Shotzi present four short films by Memphis-area filmmakers, including work by Valarie Morris, J. Lazarus Hawk, Josh McLane & Eric Huber, and G.B. Shannon & Ryan Parker. The special also features guest appearances by some of the filmmakers and a salute to the local band Oracle and the Mountain, which performs the opening theme music for Professor Ghoul’s Horror School.
I Was a Zombie for the F.B.I. (1982)
Professor Ghoul and Shotzi present the made-in-Memphis movie I Was a Zombie for the F.B.I. Many of the movie’s original stars appear in this special from Professor Ghoul’s Horror School.
The Phantom Planet (1961)
During this special presentation of the sci-fi classic, alien invaders besiege a station pledge drive, while a damsel in distress seeks the Professor's help.
Professor Ghoul’s Horror School will not air on June 6 due to special programming.
Email Professor Ghoul: email@example.com