Friday, October 26, 2012

Klara Kackel, Hannah Hag, and "Beyond Our Control"

One of the more obscure television horror movie hosts, Klara Kackel, appeared on Saturday nights with her Kreepy Kauldron on WHME, Channel 48, in South Bend, Indiana. Klara, a witch who was played by a guy, debuted in the mid-1970s and lasted for a couple of years. She--or rather, he--may have been forgotten if not for being immortalized via an amusing spoof called "Hannah Hag's Horrible Hotplate" on Beyond Our Control, another locally-produced South Bend TV show.

You can watch the full nine-minute skit below. In addition to recreating the pun-filled humor of many horror hosts, the skit offers delightful black-and-white homages to some of the cheesy fright films that once appeared on Friday and Saturday nights.

Beyond Our Control wasn't just any local TV series. It was  written, directed, and produced by an immensely talented group of teenagers--many of whom went on to fame in movies, television, radio, and literature. Its alumni includes:  producer screenwriter David Simkins (wrote Adventures in Babysitting, wrote and produced episodes of Charmed, Human Target, and many other TV series); producer-director-writer Larry Karaszewski (co-wrote Ed Wood and The People vs. Larry Flynt); Daniel Waters (wrote Heathers and Batman Returns); radio personality/sports broadcaster Randy Rhinehart (hosts the syndicated Nostalgia Express), and film reference book author Mary Willems Armstrong (Encyclopedia of Film Themes, Settings and Series).

Beyond Our Control, produced by a Junior Achievement company, was shown on WNDU-TV in South Bend from 1967 to 1986--an amazing 19-year run. Each season typically started in January and ended in May. The half-hour show consisted of comedy sketches written, produced, and acted by the company's teen employees. Each year, Beyond Our Control would hold open auditions attended by hundreds of hopeful youths and select just 25 to 30 for the season.

BOC, as its alumni fondly call it, gained national recognition courtesy of feature articles in TV Guide, Seventeen, Parade, and Scholastic Magazine. It also earned several awards, including Best Locally Produced Variety Show [for markets under the top 25] by the National Association of Television Program Executives and a Gold Hugo from the Chicago International Film Festival.

Today, you can enjoy many of BOC's best skits on YouTube, including Night of the Pooh (ideal for Halloween!); Blimp Port (a silent disaster movie spoof), and, one of my personal faves, How Do You Play This Game (a very funny quiz show shown below).

This post is part of the Classic TV Horror Host Blogathon, sponsored by the Classic TV Blog Association. For a list of all the blogathon entries, click here.


  1. Rick, this is a blast from the past for me! Beyond Our Control was a clever program that spoofed many things and began well before Saturday Night Live. Thank you for a tip of the hat to Klara Kackle, Hannah Hag, and BOC!

  2. I never knew about Beyond Our Control -- fascinating. What a group of teenagers! How I would have loved being part of that when I was that age.

    Love the "K" ... Klara Kackel's Kreepy Kauldron and the "H: ..."Hannah Hag's Horrible Hotplate" When it comes to horror hosts, it's the real groaners that are the best! Fun article, Rick.

  3. Rick,

    Thanks for the introduction to BOC! I'll definitely be taking a look through some of the skits available on You Tube after watching the two you made available.


  4. I stumbled upon your blog today. I grew up in South Bend in the '70s through the mid-80s and BOC was appointment television for my family. It had its good years and its off years. Some of my high-school friends were in the cast and crew.

    I remember when WHME signed on the air for the first time -- it's on Channel 46, by the way. They showed third-rate old sitcoms and cartoons in the afternoon. They even showed the 15-minute version of Rocky and His Friends, with the calliope open, and the New Three Stooges.

  5. My brother was a part of BOC 1971-1972 Mark McQueen.

  6. Klara Kackel was a man named John Michaels.He was the station's TV Sales Manager. The station was WMSH TV 46 in South Bend Indiana. The station existed for approx. 1 1/2 years before they went bankrupt and went off the air. I worked at WMSH TV for the entire duration they existed as a TV Broadcast Operations Engineer.