Morgus the Magnificent: The great New Orleans horror host
Do you remember a time when local TV stations played horror or science fiction movies on a late Saturday night? The movies were usually not gems of cinematic history. In fact, part of the nostalgia for me is remembering how terrible some of the movies were. But no matter what the movie was, sometimes they took a backseat to the person introducing it. The horror host was a staple of late night TV that began in the 1950’s and, even though not as prevalent, continues today. The horror host would introduce the feature film of the night and have their own segments that aired before or after commercial breaks. Vampira, Moona Lisa, Vincent Price, and Elvira are just a few of the horror hosts that have graced televisions across America. But in southern Louisiana, one horror host was always counted on to deliver a good night of entertainment. And he always delivered. His name is Morgus the Magnificent.
Morgus, whose full name is Momus Alexander Morgus, was the horror host that resided in New Orleans’ Old City Ice House. He was Earth’s main member of the Higher Order, a super scientific secret society and a scientist of great knowledge. He was said to have an IQ in the 300’s and claims to have invented the internet. He also amazingly, and allegedly, discovered the speed of dark. He is the founder of M.A.M.I., the Momus Alexander Morgus Institute, a non-profit organization of science.
Actor Sidney Noel Rideau played Morgus the Magnificent to perfection. From his questionable methods to his quirky sense of humor, Rideau brought Morgus to life and created a character that will never be forgotten. But Morgus was not alone in his scientific quest. His trusty sidekick, Chopsley, was always there to assist Morgus when needed, even playing the part of the guinea pig sometimes. Chopsley was dressed like an executioner with his face fully-covered at all times. The reasoning behind this is that as a medical school classmate of Morgus, Chopsley was the recipient of an experimental face transplant surgery that went awfully wrong. But no matter the outcome, wherever Morgus was, Chopsley was not far away.
And who could forget E.R.I.C., the talking skull. E.R.I.C., whose name stood for Eon Research Infinity Computer, was a part of a computer system in the laboratory of Dr. Morgus. E.R.I.C. would often answer questions that Morgus had regarding an experiment and would sometimes give a snarky reply to Morgus. And when “Morgus Presents” would begin, E.R.I.C. would introduce the show to the audience at home. If you watched the show, you remember the talking skull with smoke floating across the screen welcoming you to the show. If you did not have the chance to see this, check out E.R.I.C.’s opening segment here http://youtu.be/3CXvj6ksh2Y
Morgus also had one feature film of his own titled “The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus” in which the Dr. created an “Instant People Machine” that could turn humans into sand and then back to human form later. His creation was sought by agents from Microvania that wanted to use it to enter the U.S. But as with all of the Doctor’s other experiments, his invention did not work as planned and the agents were turned into concrete instead of sand. Morgus hit the big screen with a movie that rivaled the ones he hosted on TV.
Morgus was and still is a New Orleans icon. He did later venture out to other cities such as Detroit and New York, but he always returned to his home in New Orleans. And it still is his home to this day. After Hurricane Katrina ripped through New Orleans in 2005, people of the city wondered what happened to Morgus and began to fear the worst had happened until he announced that he was alive and well.
If you search your local listings hard enough today, you can still find reruns of Morgus the Magnificent playing on the local stations in south Louisiana. The great horror host from NOLA is an icon with the people of the area that entertained for years and will never be forgotten. If you are interested in seeing either the movie or his classic TV experiments, you can purchase the DVD of both online. For more information on these DVD’s, go to www.morgus.com (Volume 1 of the Morgus Presents are available here) or www.morgusmovie.com (the movie DVD and more is sold here). Just remember, when you do get the chance to watch the legendary horror host, have your notebooks ready to write notes down from the experiments of Morgus the Magnificent.