The Events-Picayune is marking the tricentennial of New Orleans with its ongoing 300 for 300 enterprise, working by 2018 and highlighting 300 people who’ve made New Orleans New Orleans, that features distinctive artwork work commissioned by NOLA.com | The Events-Picayune with The place Y’Paintings gallery. Proper this second: Actor Sid Noel — aka Morgus the Magnificent.
The icon: Sid Noel.
The legacy: Because the individual behind the fictional mad scientist and native late-night horror host Morgus the Magnificent, actor Sid Noel was recognized for bumbling his technique by wacky nevertheless formidable experiments as he despatched viewers to enterprise and welcomed them once more in the middle of the B-movie of the week. Noel’s most spectacular trick, nonetheless, was capturing pure lightning in a bottle. From the second his “Residence of Shock” went on the air on WWL-TV on Jan. three, 1959, Morgus was a New Orleans TV phenomenon. Working in a lab above “the earlier metropolis ice house” off Pirate Alley, and from behind a stained lab coat and a mouthful of far more stained enamel, he was absurd — and New Orleanians couldn’t get adequate of him or his towering sidekick, Chopsley. They nonetheless can’t. Even instantly, after being off the air for a few years, Morgus is fondly remembered as certainly one of many metropolis’s most unusual and beloved pop-culture touchstones of the later 20th century. In a phrase: magnificent.
The quote: “Did I take pleasure in it? … It was like being on a float every week, identical to the characters who pay 1000’s of to cowl behind masks in Carnival organizations. In spite of everything I did.” — Actor Sid Noel, who created and portrayed Morgus the Magnificent, in an interview with The Events-Picayune in February 1981
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Sooner than he launched his Morgus character, Sid Noel was an on-air persona at native radio stations, along with WWEZ, WTIX, WWL and WSMB.
He was, briefly, a recording artist, inserting out a 45 rpm single of the observe “Take 5” with a vocal group known as the 5 Stars, which was reportedly composed of fellow disc jockeys. The B-side of the one, which was put out on Atlantic Info’ ATCO label, featured a observe credited to Sid Noel and titled “My Humpty Dump.”
Later that exact same 12 months, under the title Sid Noel and His Outer Spacemen, he moreover recorded the one “Flying Saucer – Half I” for Aladdin data. The B-side: “Flying Saucer – Half II.”
Morgus was born when WWL TV bought a bundle deal of horror motion pictures in 1958 and held auditions for any person to operate a costumed “horror host,” which have been frequent in U.S. TV markets on the time. Noel, as Morgus, gained out over the rivals, which reportedly included a former member of the “Our Gang” comedies.
Noel had two conditions for taking the job: “If I do it,” he recalled saying in a 1981 interview with The Events-Picayune, “it might ought to be humorous. You presumably can solely say ‘boo’ a few occasions.” Moreover, he wanted his precise identification to remain a secret.
His title did, definitely, keep a thriller — until legendary WWL sports activities actions anchor Hap Glaudi unwittingly blurted it out sooner or later.
Morgus was a near-instant hit. At one degree inside the 1960s, Nielsen rankings confirmed that 37.7 p.c of the television models in New Orleans have been tuned to “Residence of Shock” on a Saturday night.
Momus Alexander Morgus’ first title is borrowed from the god of ridicule, his heart title is borrowed from “a very powerful egomaniac in historic previous,” and his remaining title is a mixture of the phrases “morgue” and “disgusting,” Noel talked about.
Morgus was goofy, nevertheless Noel moreover embedded social commentary every in his script and the character himself. The bloody handprint on the once more of Morgus’ lab coat, for example, was meant to point life pushing him down. “I was looking out for every picture once more then,” Noel talked about in 1981. “I was an emblem freak. Morgus used Chopsley merely as companies and enterprise and authorities use the tons — as guinea pigs.”
Morgus was so in model that he was able to coax such celebrities as Mike Douglas, Steve Allen, Tiny Tim and Mayor Vic Schiro into making appearances on the current, nevertheless on a regular basis in disguise.
Morgus made the bounce to the massive show display screen on Halloween night 1962, with the discharge into theaters of “The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus,” a feature-length film shot in New Orleans and that features, in a brief cameo, famed Bourbon Avenue performer Chris Owens.
Morgus’ mute assistant, Chopsley, was carried out by a 6-foot-7-inch St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s deputy named Tommy George, who had been employed to drive Noel to Bay St. Louis for an look. The two hit it off on the drive, and Noel talked about he was fascinated with brining on an on-air assistant. “And so Chopsley was born,” George talked about in a 1978 interview with The Events-Picayune.
Together with Chopsley, Morgus’ lab was populated by Eric, a talking skull that launched and closed the current. His voice was equipped by Ed Hoerner, the WWL program director who employed Noel to portray Morgus.
Morgus was so in model that WWL gave him a five-minute local weather current in the middle of the 1960s as a lead-in to the 5 o’clock data. Amongst totally different points, he was recognized for learning the humidity by wringing out a moist rag. He moreover used a local weather map known as the “Morgusboard,” along with his “Morgotronic Local weather Prognosticator” machine.
After a dispute with WWL, Noel left the station and took his Morgus act to Detroit TV station WXYZ, the place he aired for a number of 12 months. His current returned to New Orleans in 1965, airing on WWL for two further years as “Morgus Presents,” with short-term resurrections over time on rival native stations WDSU and WGNO.
Provide: The Events-Picayune archives; workers evaluation