Svengoolie Premiering ‘The Devil-Doll’ on MeTV

On Saturday, October 17, at 8:00 pm ET / 7:00 pm CT, long-running horror movie host Svengoolie is showing The Devil-Doll (1936), starring Lionel Barrymore and Maureen O’Sullivan, on MeTV. Check out MeTV’s website to find your local MeTV station.

According to a tweet from Svengoolie (Rich Koz) himself, The Devil-Doll follows the story of a toymaker who is “out to murder men who framed him for theft and murder by shrinking people to serve as assassins.” This involves Lionel Barrymore’s character disguising himself as a woman. The 1936 film, based on the novel Burn Witch Burn! (1932) by A. Merritt, features groundbreaking special effects that were praised at the time by The New York Times.

Directed by Tod Browning, who also directed Dracula (1931), Freaks (1932), and more, this will be the film’s debut on MeTV, thanks to Svengoolie’s long-running show featuring horror and/or science fiction films each week. Between commercial breaks, Svengoolie makes jokes and performs skits inspired by that week’s movie, including a weekly parody song and a recurring segment of “Svensurround”—compiling scenes from the film and re-dubbing them with various voices, impressions, and sound effects—and also gives trivia and behind-the-scenes information about each film.

Madame Mandelip (Lionel Barrymore disguised as a woman) walking down the street holding a basket, from "The Devil-Doll" (1936), in a commercial for the film being shown on Svengoolie's TV show.
Don’t ask her about feeding the birds…

Since beginning his run on Chicago’s WFLD Channel 32 in 1979, Svengoolie (who was then known as “Son of Svengoolie”) has made a name for himself in the Chicagoland area, ending in 1986. WCIU resurrected the show in 1995, with the character now simply known as “Svengoolie.” In 2011, WCIU’s sister station, then-local channel MeTV, announced that it was going nationwide, and so, too, would Svengoolie. Since then, fans who grew up watching him who no longer live in Chicago have rediscovered him and introduced their own friends and families to him. Fans of horror movies, horror movie hosts, retro TV, and more have found him on their own.

My introduction to horror, besides various Halloween movies and local annual Halloween events, was through accidentally discovering Svengoolie’s Saturday night show. After seeing The Tingler (1959), directed by William Castle and starring Vincent Price, I was hooked. It became my own personal haven every Saturday night, watching horror and science fiction films that ran the gamut of eras, studios…and quality. But whether it’s a famous classic, a hidden gem, or a total turkey, Svengoolie brings the same humor and fun to each film.

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Written by Jamie Lee

Jamie Lee’s a writer, actor, singer, director, DJ (including hosting “Jammin’ with Jamie”), and more in film, theatre, and radio. Jamie Lee Cortese, despite loving horror and comedy and being an actor and writer, is also not Jamie Lee Curtis, though she understands where you might get confused. Visit her website at or find her on Twitter @JackalopeJamie.

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