If you are a horror fan, zombie fan and lived in Pennsylvania, New York or Wes Virginia from 1960 to 1980 then the name Bill 'Chilly Billy' Cardille should be well know to you.
Chilly Billy was a staple in the horror genre with his hit show Chiller Theatre which aired on Channel 11 every Saturday night at 12pm. Chiller Theater was so popular in Pittsburgh and the tri-state area that it kept NBC's Saturday Night Live from airing on Channel 11 for four years. Although Chiller Theater remained popular, it eventually lost it's time slot and was forced to follow SNL with a 1am start time. The show aired it's first episode on September 14th 1963 and aired it's last episode on New Year's Eve 1983.
Chilly Billy also brought along a bizarre continuing cast of supporting characters: "Norman the Castle Keeper" (Norman Elder), "Stephen the Castle Prankster" (Steven Luncinski), statuesque zombie "Terminal Stare" (Donna Rae), and "Georgette the Fudge Maker" (Bonnie Sue Barney) not to mention "Skeets Skeltino the Pizza Man," "Sister Suzie" (Joyce Sterling), "Beauregard C. Beauregard" (Ted James), and occasional celebrity guests like Phyllis Diller, Barbara (Get Smart) Feldon, and wrestler Bruno Sammartino.
During the glory days of the show, Cardille would sometimes show three or more films each show night, challenging the viewer to stay up ever later with the genial host and his friends. Between films he would predict the future and tell horoscopes.
Cardille was invited to play himself in George Romero's classic Night of the Living Dead (1968) and also appeared in the 1990 remake. In a very effective performance, he appears in the film as Channel 11 reporter Bill Cardille, conducting an on-the-spot interview with Chief of Police McClelland about the progress of the zombie hunt. (SKIP TO 6:31 FOR THE SCENE)
Cardille also hosted other programs including Studio Wrestling, a teen dance show, the Four O'Clock Money Movie, and Movies to Laugh By. He was especially famous in Boston, where the weekly pro wrestling program was extremely popular. Cardille also called the play-by-play of western Pennsylvania high school basketball playoff games for many years on WQED-TV, the Pittsburgh PBS affiliate. Cardille's final job came as host of morning radio show in Pittsburgh on WJAS AM 1320 which he retired from in 2014.
Chilly Billy has touched on many lives and in many different ways, that is why the following news comes very heavy from his daughter Lori. I hope that if anyone reading this and has just one good memory of Chilly Billy Cardille, they will reach out and let him know...
My dear father, Chilly Billy, Bill Cardille, received a cancer diagnosis that will be quite challenging to say the least. His spirits are tremendous which is not a surprise. I thought it would be nice for dad to know how you enjoyed him during your childhood years or any years for that matter. I want him to feel the love that he so freely gave during his lifetime. Even just a card. You can send it to: Chilly Billy, c/o Century Communications 313 East Carson Street , Pgh. Pa, 15219
Thank you friends. It will mean so much to dad. Please send this along to anyone you know that loved my dad. With a grateful heart, Lori Cardille
Chilly Billy, c/o Century Communications 313 East Carson Street , Pgh. Pa, 15219