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October 31, 2014 Declared 'Svengoolie/Rich Koz Day' In Illinois

October 31st is Halloween -- a day when children and the young at heart have fun with ghosts, ghouls, and goblins. This upcoming Halloween will also be a special day for Chicago's favorite television ghoul, Svengoolie. A few days ago, the Illinois General Assembly passed Illinois House Resolution 1041, which officially declares October 31, 2014 as Svengoolie/Rich Koz Day in the State of Illinois.

In the early 1970s, Rich Koz started working on WFLD-TV's "Screaming Yellow Theatre" which starred Jerry G. Bishop as the hippy, dippy horror movie host, Svengoolie. Koz would often send in jokes to Bishop to use on the show. Bishop then brought Koz on to work as a writer with the show on a regular basis.

In the late 1970s, Koz became the hand-picked successor by Bishop to carry on the Svengoolie act. Koz was originally known as "Son of Svengoolie," but was allowed to drop the "Son of" part of the name a few years later with Bishop's blessing. Currently, his Svengoolie schtick is not only seen locally on WCIU-TV/Channel 26 The U, but all across the country via Me-TV, the national Chicago-based retro television network of Weigel Broadcasting.

A native of the Chicago area, Rich Koz has been working in radio or television since his Maine East High School days on the school's WMTH-FM. He has worked in radio with on WMAQ-AM (with Jerry G. Bishop), WGN-AM, WCKG-FM, and also co-wrote some later episodes of the radio serial "Chickenman" with Dick Orkin. In addition to his Svengoolie work, he has done shows for WFLD-TV ("The Koz Zone," "Koz Zone for Kids," part-time weatherman) and WCIU-TV ("Stooge-A-Palooza").

On April 29th, Illinois Representative Kay Hatcher sponsored HR1041, filing the necessary paperwork with the State Clerk. Rep. Hatcher was looking for a way to honor Koz for his four decades of filling Illinois residents' hearts with laughter and Halloween-style joy. While this could have been done any day this spring or summer, it seemed highly appropriate to select Halloween as the date to honor Svengoolie.

On May 21st, the resolution was adopted, making it official.

Here is the complete text of the resolution honoring Rich Koz:

WHEREAS, Rich Koz has been known to millions across the nation, in the City of Chicago, and, of course, Berwyn, as legendary horror host Svengoolie for the last 35 years; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz first became a writer for the original "Svengoolie", Jerry G. Bishop, in 1973; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz first donned the legendary top hat, makeup, wig, and tuxedo costume of Svengoolie, armed with only a rubber chicken, first from 1979 to 1986 as the "Son of Svengoolie" on WFLD in Chicago, showing an ever-expanding, full range of science fiction and horror films on Saturday nights; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz wrote, acted in, and produced the innovative children's program "The Koz Zone" on WFLD from 1986 to 1988; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz was given the rights to be "Svengoolie" in his own right and has performed as the legendary host since 1994 on WCIU in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz took "Svengoolie" to a national audience in 2011 on the Chicago based Me-TV Network; and

WHEREAS, As Svengoolie, Rich Koz has brought countless generations of families around the television to enjoy his unique sense of humor and film knowledge; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz has developed a cast of characters to accompany Svengoolie in these tasks as the "King of Horror Hosts", such as Tombstone and Kerwyn, to add humor and fun to Saturday night sci-fi programing;

and WHEREAS, Rich Koz has dutifully continued the great Chicago legacy of local programs featuring drive-in style late night horror like Creature Features, Screaming Yellow Theater, and others; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz, through his syndicated show "Stooge-a-Palooza", shared his life-long passion for the comedy trio with new generations of Three Stooges fans; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz has diligently and respectfully followed in the path of great Chicago television innovators in local programing like Frazier Thomas, Bill Jackson, Bob Bell, Ray Rayner, and the beloved Jerry G. Bishop; and

WHEREAS, In 2004, Rich Koz was recognized as a member of the National Association of Television Arts and Sciences Silver Circle, honoring at least 25 years of broadcasting excellence; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz is highly respected in his field; he was the recipient of the acclaimed Rondo Award as "Horror Host of the Year" in 2009 and again in 2012 by the fans across the nation in the horror community; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz as Svengoolie is amongst Chicago's most visible personalities making numerous public appearances throughout the year; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz's work-ethic and tirelessness proves he is a native son of Illinois; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz was a graduate of Maine East High School and attended Northwestern University in Evanston; and

WHEREAS, Rich Koz has tirelessly performed all of these tasks and continues to do so, despite suffering 2 heart attacks; he recovered to be stronger and better than ever, thanks largely to his family and fans; and

WHEREAS, Svengoolie's legendary set and coffin will be part of the permanent display at the Museum of Broadcast Communications in Chicago; and

WHEREAS, Without Svengoolie, Saturday nights in millions of households across the nation would be like Halloween without candy and scary movies; therefore, be it

RESOLVED, BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES OF THE NINETY-EIGHTH GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, that we designate October 31, 2014 as Svengoolie/Rich Koz Day in the State of Illinois in his honor of Rich Koz and his work; and be it further

RESOLVED, That a suitable copy of this resolution be presented to Rich Koz as a symbol of our esteem and respect.

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