A Guide to the Baron's Favorite Fictional Characters (SPOILERS)

(Hamlet of Earth-1948)

Real name: Hamlet, son of Hamlet

Aliases/Other Names: None,.

First Appearance: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Occupations: Prince of Denmark, student, avenger

Bases of Operations: Elsinore Castle, the University of Wittenberg

Place of Birth: Elsinore Castle, Denmark

Group Affiliation: Royal House of Denmark

Friends/Allies: Horatio, Marcellus, Barnardo

Enemies: Claudius, Polonius, Laertes

Height: Varies*

Weight: Varies*

Eye Color: Varies*

Hair Color: Varies*

Strength: Above average human

Speed: Above average human

Intelligence: Genius level human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Excellent swordsman, skilled forger, gifted actor

Special Weapons/Equipment: None.


History: Hearing of his father's death, Prince Hamlet of Denmark returns home from Wittenberg, only to find that his uncle Claudius has assumed the throne and married Hamlet's mother, Gertrude. Already suspicious, Hamlet is visited by a spirit purporting to be that of his father, which asserts that the elder Hamlet was murdered by Claudius. Feigning madness, Prince Hamlet, with his friend Horatio's help, schemes to trap Claudius into a public admission of guilt, which would allow Hamlet to avenge his father and assume the throne of Denmark. Claudius, aware of the threat that Hamlet poses to him, plots to find a way to eliminate Hamlet. Thus begins a game of trap and counter-trap, resulting in the deaths of almost everyone involved, leaving only Horatio behind to watch as young Fortinbras, Prince of Norway, assumes the throne of Denmark.

Why He's a Favorite: Hamlet is the protagonist of my favorite Shakespeare play. I own eight different versions of the play of on DVD, and I enjoy watching them all.  there's just something that I find enthralling about the play, and it's always interesting to see how various actors interpret the part, and how different directors choose to film the story. I enjoy the cat and mouse between Hamlet and Claudius, and Hamlet's interaction with the not-as-clever-as-he-thinks-he-is Polonius. I find it interesting that the only character who seems to be able to match Hamlet's at wordplay is the First Gravedigger. Anyway, you can find way more of what I think about Hamlet here.



*Depending upon who's playing him

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Real Name:  Floyd Robertson

Aliases/Other Names: Count Floyd

First Appearance: SCTV

Occupation: News Anchorman, Host of Monster Chiller Horror Theater

Base of Operations: Melonville

Place of Birth: Unknown

Group Affiliation: SCTV

Friends/Allies: Earl Camembert, Doctor Tongue

Enemies: Edith Prickley

Height: Unknown

Weight: Unknown

Eye Color: Brown

Hair Color: Black

Strength: Average human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: None

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History:  Floyd was the anchorman for SCTV News.  As a second job, he hosted Monster Chiller Horror Theater as "Count Floyd".

Why He's a Favorite: SCTV is an old favorite of mine, and there were a number of different characters I might have picked for this. I went with Count Floyd because one of my favorite comedic situations is where the person involved is in a place where he can't win and knows he can't win, but still has to carry on somehow.  Floyd is continually given the worst possible movies to show and tries gamely to make the best of it before inevitably dissolving into frustrated anger. I also like the touch that he howls like a werewolf despite the fact that he's ostensibly meant to be a vampire.  I don't know how widespread a phenomenon the "TV horror host" was, but I have fond memories of watching the Creature Feature on Channel 56 some 45 years ago now. It was hosted by a fellow calling himself "The Ghoul" and the films he had to present varied in quality a great deal, from classic Universal pictures to stuff so bad it wouldn't have even made good fodder for Mystery Science Theater 3000.  Joe Flaherty did a great job as Floyd, really bringing him to life as a man stuck in an embarrassing situation that he couldn't get out of.   

Here's  one of my favorites

We had Elvira here. Before that there was a guy with long hair and black fingernails that didn't last long. Before him they used edited copies of Count Frightenstein to host the horror movies. Before that was a guy named Famous Morris I've never been able to find anything about. An attempt to bring Elvira back a few years ago quickly failed as she was given the worst movies to run, while ME-TV had Svengoolie running the classic Universal movies. Svengoolie is still running.

I've read every state had a TV horror host, although most of them are gone now as tastes changed. Like hosts like Tom Hatton were let go when they discovered kids watched the cartoons whether they had a host or not. It's interesting that only horror seems to "need" a host. You never see somebody hosting comedies or action-adventure or westerns.

I'm pretty sure Death Valley Days, a western anthology, had a host. But yeah, the horror host runs deep, in comics and radio.

And I recall the Ghoul when I was a kid in the 1970s. Apparently, someone succeeded him for awhile as the "Son of Ghoul." And I've caught a few attempts over the years, post-Elvira, to revive the concept in various places. I recall seeing one in the 90s hosted by a hyperactive young woman in a goth's idea of a schoolgirl uniform, but I only caught in once and don't recall her name. It was an odd concept for a horror host.

Svengoolie was originally billed as Son of Svengoolie. The original apparently didn't play the character very long and the new guy eventually dropped the "Son of" part. The original had a coffin with his face painted on that the "Son" used until just last year when he had a new one made and I believe the original is now in a museum.

Several years ago Eddie Munster was pushing a woman that couldn't act calling her Ivana Cadaver (I Want A Cadaver). Each episode would severely edit the films so that they could have long sequences of her going to places like Goth stores. Series didn't last very long. Like Elvira, the movies she got were pretty bad. (You know something's wrong when your best movie is Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.) 

JD DeLuzio said:

I'm pretty sure Death Valley Days, a western anthology, had a host.

According to Wikipedia:

"The series was sponsored by the Pacific Coast Borax Company (20 Mule Team Borax, Boraxo) and hosted by Stanley Andrews (1952–1963), Ronald Reagan (1964–1965), Rosemary DeCamp (1965), Robert Taylor (1966–1969), and Dale Robertson (1969–1970)."

Naturally, the one everyone remembers is Ronald Reagan.

Ron M. said:

We had Elvira here. Before that there was a guy with long hair and black fingernails that didn't last long. Before him they used edited copies of Count Frightenstein to host the horror movies. Before that was a guy named Famous Morris I've never been able to find anything about. An attempt to bring Elvira back a few years ago quickly failed as she was given the worst movies to run, while ME-TV had Svengoolie running the classic Universal movies.

Svengoolie is still running.

Before Elvira we had Seymour, played by the great Larry Vincent. I saw him (in character) at the San Diego con one time.

Seymour/Larry Vincent


Elvira/Cassandra Peterson

They were both great.

The best were the 3d movies.

That's very strange because I don't remember Seymour at all. Was he on after ten? I remember KTLA (I think) would run the same movie every day from Monday to Friday from eight to ten. They played a few horror movies but didn't have a host. I wasn't allowed to stay up after that.

Real Name: Michael Corleone

Aliases/Other Names: Don Corleone

First Appearance: The Godfather, by Mario Puzo

Occupation: Legitimate businessman

Bases of Operations: New York City, later Nevada

Place of Birth: New York City

Group Affiliation: The Corleone Family

Friends/Allies: Vito Corleone, Sonny Corleone, Connie Corleone, Tom Hagen, others

Enemies: Virgil Solozzo, Emilio Barzini, others

Height: 5' 7"

Weight: 170 lbs.

Eye Color: Dark brown

Hair Color: Dark brown

Strength: Average human

Speed: Average human

Intelligence: Above average human

Energy-Manipulation Ability: None

Magic-Manipulation Ability: None

Special Abilities: Quick, resourceful fighter. Ruthless leader of men.

Special Equipment/Weapons: None

History: The youngest son of crime boss Vito Corleone, Michael avoided being drawn into the family business. He served in the USMC during World Two.  However, after an attempt on his father's life, Michael assassinated Virgil Solozzo and a corrupt policeman, Captain Marc McCluskey. While hiding out in Sicily, he met and married Apollonia Vitelli, who was subsequently killed by  a bomb intended for him. After returning to the US, he began to assume control of his father's business, hoping to legitimize it. He also married Kay Adams, by whom he had two children. Michael continued to try unsuccessfully to remove his family from the crime business. The resultant years of feuds and vendettas culminated in the accidental murder of his daughter Mary. A broken man, Michael retired to  Sicily, where he died a few years later.

Why He's a Favorite:  The Godfather movies have long been favorites of mine. While they are the story of a "crime family", to me, the important part is the "family", not the "crime". The interplay between the various family members always struck a chord with me.  I certainly recognized the attitude behind the line "Never tell anyone outside the family what you're thinking", although in my family, at least, it's probably just as well not to tell anyone inside the family everything you're thinking, either. For me, Michael is the key figure in the films. Pacino  does an excellent job portraying a man who wants - or at least has convinced himself he wants - to change his ways, but ultimately find it impossible to do so. In the end, he doesn't really have it in him to leave peacefully, and so ends up losing everything.  Good stuff.

"The role of heckling host was left vacant until the premiere of Mystery Science Theatre 3000." Nonsense. Elvira always heckled the movies. And the audience. One Halloween she did a trick or treat routine. She opened her door and said to a "kid" with his back to the camera "Do you want peanut or plain?" while holding up two bowls of M&Ms. The camera then jumped to the "kid" who was actually Tattoo from Fantasy Island, who'd start tossing handfuls of M&Ms into his bag while yelling "The plane! The plane!"

I think Famous Morris was supposed to be Al Pacino in The Godfather. He hung out with a bad tempered hand in a box and a mummy which he called "The Mummy's mummy", neither of which spoke. At the end they threw fortune cookies at each other while Frank Sinatra's "As Time Goes By" played.

The Ghoul would also heckle the film, particularly if it was really bad (sometimes decent horror films would slip by), so I suspect the heckling host was a trope before Elvira mainstreamed it and MST3K perfected it. Maybe this 90s-looking site can help with the question.(You likely could do a drinking game based on how many of that site's links end in a 404)

Ron M. said:

"The role of heckling host was left vacant until the premiere of Mystery Science Theatre 3000." Nonsense. Elvira always heckled the movies. And the audience. O

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