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Death of Ron 'The Ghoul' Sweed stirs fond memories for Metro Detroiters

The Detroit News
Ron "The Ghoul" Sweed was popular with Detroit audiences for decades. His death is being mourned by fans.

Ron "The Ghoul" Sweed, a Cleveland TV and radio host who was popular in Detroit in the '70s and '80s, died this week, months after suffering a heart attack, his ex-wife said. He was 70.

"It's with a broken heart, I am telling all my family and friends and you wonderful Ghoul fans that Ron Sweed lost his courageous 5-month fight and died last night," Barbara J. King wrote Tuesday on Facebook.

King said that Sweed suffered a heart attack five months ago. "Many of you told me stories of meeting Ron or how watching his TV show cheered you up," she wrote. "That all meant a lot to me."

While he hailed from Cleveland, Sweed's show, in which he appeared as a fright-wigged TV movie host who screened schlocky B movies and regularly blew up sidekick Froggy with cheap fireworks, was syndicated to some cities and its popularity soared in Detroit.

His show aired in the Detroit area at midnight Fridays on Channel 50 from 1972-75, and later popped up on Channels 20 and 62. Over the years, he also made many appearances at Detroit events.

In March 2001, he hosted the Attention Benefit Disorder Show, a live music event at the Magic Stick in Detroit. 

"In the '70s, I was the most feared man on TV as far as parents were concerned," Sweed told a Detroit News reporter ahead of his hosting duties. "PTAs would warn parents 'Don't let your kids watch this.' When I'd be blowing things up as (the character) Chef Curdle, the station would get 20 letters saying, 'Y'know, there's people starving in Bangladesh, and this clown's wasting food!' "

The news of his death had many Detroit area fans posting old bits from his late-night show and their own remembrances of watching and meeting him.