The Slightly Creepy, Mostly Cheesy World of Horror Hosting

Growing up in Southwest Florida, we had Dr. Paul Bearer. Other people knew Vampira or Elvira or Svengoolie or Grimsley -- all regional TV horror hosts. They would dress up in Halloween-appropriate attire, vamp around a campy set and introduce grade-B horror movies on Saturday afternoons (or whenever your local station showed them). As a kid I thought Dr. Paul Bearer was the only horror host out there, but really there were dozens more. He was full of bad puns (always referring to St. Petersburg, where the station was, as "St. Creaturesburg") and silly prop gags and he had this great gravelly voice and an artificial eye that he'd turn slightly sideways. He'd show up at city parades riding atop a vintage hearse, and he signed off every broadcast by saying, "I'll be lurking for you!" Here's a clip:

It all started with Vampira in the 1950s (not much original footage exists, unfortunately, as TV broadcasts were rarely recorded to tape back then), but other notable hosts included Svengoolie, from Chicago:

Folks from Nashville may remember Sir Cecil Creape. I think he might be the most genuinely creepy character of the lot.

The Detroit area had Sir Graves Ghastly (why are they all English knights?) through much of the 70s and early 80s.

Who was your local horror host?

Bone Broth 101

Whether you drink it on its own or use it as stock, bone broth is the perfect recipe to master this winter. Special thanks to the Institute of Culinary Education

Why Can Parrots Talk and Other Birds Can't?

If you've ever seen a pirate movie (or had the privilege of listening to this avian-fronted metal band), you're aware that parrots have the gift of human-sounding gab. Their brains—not their beaks—might be behind the birds' ability to produce mock-human voices, the Sci Show's latest video explains below.

While parrots do have articulate tongues, they also appear to be hardwired to mimic other species, and to create new vocalizations. The only other birds that are capable of vocal learning are hummingbirds and songbirds. While examining the brains of these avians, researchers noted that their brains contain clusters of neurons, which they've dubbed song nuclei. Since other birds don't possess song nuclei, they think that these structures probably play a key role in vocal learning.

Parrots might be better at mimicry than hummingbirds and songbirds thanks to a variation in these neurons: a special shell layer that surrounds each one. Birds with larger shell regions appear to be better at imitating other creatures, although it's still unclear why.

Learn more about parrot speech below (after you're done jamming out to Hatebeak).


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