Tag Archives: Great Razooly

Former ’70s TV Personality, Topless Bar Owner and Eureka, CA Mayoral Candidate, Tom “The Great Razooly,” Now An Artist and Creater of Superb 1:6 Scale G.I. Joe Dioramas and Vehicles

Tom Razooly enjoys playing with his GIjOEs in his idyllically forested "Joe Land" at his home in (Photo: Tom Razooly)

The multi-talented Tom Razooly (above, r), has reinvented himself once again, this time as an artist and sculptor creating unique 1:6 scale structures and vehicles with VERY high “play value.” He also enjoys staging elaborate outdoor battle scenes and “playing GIjOEs” with family members and friends in the forested “Joe Land” surrounding his home in northern California. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

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Tom as “The Great Razooly” on a promotional 8×10 glossy from his show, originally broadcast from Channel 23, Eureka, CA. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom as “The Great Razooly” on a promotional 8×10 glossy from his show, originally broadcast from Channel 23, Eureka, CA. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“I made my first G. I. Joe space capsule from a discarded Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket.” —Tom Razooly

During the 1970s-’80s, a multi-talented, self-reliant and creative young actor named Tom Razooly was making an unusual (yet eminently enjoyable) living in northern California portraying a mysterious, top-hatted host of a schlocky late-night television program called, “Horror Theatre.” Tom’s character, dubbed “The Great Razooly,” was a sort of macabre master-of-ceremonies who would ominously introduce each B-movie, provide sarcastic segue patter leading into and out of commercial breaks, and act in a variety of short comedic sketches produced on the cheapest of budgets.

Filming a scene for Channel 23's "Horror Theatre." (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Filming a scene for Channel 23’s Horror Theatre. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Actress Maila Nurmi as "Vampira." (Photo: Ed Wood)

Actress Maila Nurmi as 1950s “Vampira.” (Photo: Ed Wood)

Horror Theatre was a ratings success, and Razooly’s natural flair for dramatic and creative performing helped revive TV’s on-air hosting tradition. Ostensibly, the genre of hosted late-night horror programming originated on radio programs back in the 1940s, then naturally evolved along with television into the 1950s, ultimately producing such famous TV personalities as the impossibly thin-waisted “Vampira” (portrayed by actress Maila Nurmi) and the busty, suggestive sexpot, “Elvira” (aka actress Cassandra Peterson).

Joe Flaherty as "Count Floyd" on SCTV. (Photo: SCTV)

Joe Flaherty as “Count Floyd” on SCTV. (Photo: NBC)

Over the years, there have been many TV horror-hosts, and many performers influenced by them. For example, it’s not inconceivable to believe that Razooly’s Horror Theatre, broadcast in the Pacific Northwest, was seen at some time by comic-actor Joe Flaherty, providing him with the inspiration for his own hilarious “Count Floyd” character on Canada’s SCTV. Similarly, the “Great Svengoolie” (as currently portrayed by Chicago actor, Rich Koz on the MeTV channel) shares many similarities with Tom’s character AND Count Floyd, both in terms of appearance and “schtick.” (If it ain’t broke…)

Perhaps the world's most famous and successful late-night horror host, actress Cassandra Peterson portrayed the well-endowed and sarcastically hilarious, "Elvira the Mistress of the Dark" on station KHJ in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo: KHJ)

Perhaps the world’s most famous and longest-running late-night horror hostess, actress Cassandra Peterson has portrayed the cleavagely-advantaged (and sarcastically hilarious), “Elvira the Mistress of the Dark” on station KHJ in LA since 1981. (Photo: KHJ)

After his tenure on television, Razooly reinvented himself as the founder and operator of an adult-oriented business on the outskirts of Eureka, CA known as the Tip Top Club. As the years went by, Tom became a well-known (although somewhat controversial) figure among the local citizenry of Eureka, which encouraged him to run for Mayor (at least two times, both unsuccessfully).

In 2014, MeTV's "Great Svengoolie" borrows much of The Great Razooly's persona and costuming, including Tom's famous black top hat. Despite the similarities, each performer is unique in their own ways. (Photo: MeTV)

MeTV’s “Great Svengoolie” (actor Rich Koz) also favors a black top hat. (Photo: MeTV)

Eventually, Tom sold the Tip Top and retired from business altogether. Now, years later, he is reinventing himself once again, focusing on the more laid-back pursuits of art, travel, costumed “cosplay,” and the rekindling of a long-lost childhood love— GIjOEs. Predictably, the creative symbiosis between art and GijOEs quickly inspired Tom to scratch-build a growing collection of 1:6 scale structures and vehicles, which he thoroughly enjoys setting up in elaborate and imaginative outdoor “adventures.” (Imagine that. Playing with GIjOEs—OUTDOORS!) Here are some examples:

Reminiscent of the 1970s Adventure Team tower, Razooly's scratch-built, all-wood guard tower has a superb, rough-hewn texture so perfect for the forest in which it is displayed. What a FANTASTIC photo! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s guard tower is hand-crafted out of “found” wood pieces and has a superb, rough-hewn appearance that’s perfect for use in a forest setting. This extreme perspective is misleading. The tower is MUCH taller than it appears. Take a look at the figure up in the top shack! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom is obviously having a lot of fun in his own private "Joe Land." What a GREAT photo! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom is obviously having a lot of fun in his own private “Joe Land.” What a GREAT set-up. Look at all the details. Go, Tom! Go, JOE! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom's wonderful photo of two climbing soldiers makes incredible use of sunlight. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This wonderful photo of two of Tom’s climbing and rappelling soldiers makes incredible use of natural outdoor sunlight. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom's 1:6 barracks is a perfect piece for display or play. The wood is nicely weathered, there are two bunk beds, a bench, and numerous other details. FANTASTIC job! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom’s 1:6 barracks is a perfect piece for display or play. The wood is realistically weathered, there are two bunk beds, a bench, and numerous other details. What a FANTASTIC structure for GIjOE! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom clearly enjoys taking photographs of his hard work and sharing it with other customizers of 1:6 scale. According to Razooly:

“It feels good to have others see my photos. Feel free to share them with any G.I.Joe fans you may know!”

Impressed by his 1:6 creations, we asked Tom to elaborate on his latest reincarnation as a GIjOE fan and customizer. He replied:

“Well, when I retired from business several years ago, the thought came to me; ‘What could I do with all my old GIjOE friends and my artistic skills on a budget?’ EBay’s prices for 1:6 scale vehicles and props were outrageous, so I set out to make ’em all myself!”

This early production shot reveals the various "found" bits and pieces that Tom combined to create his outstanding 1:6 scale locomotive. Absolutely ingenious work! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This early production shot reveals the various “found” bits and pieces that Tom combined to create his outstanding 1:6 scale locomotive. Absolutely ingenious work! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“As my 1:6 scale modeling skills increased, I challenged myself to do more and more complex modeling. Beginning with simple things like fuel barrels and coffee pots, then on up to dump trucks, trains and bombed-out chalets.”

Tom's scratch-built 1:6 scale steam locomotive with cargo car is an absolute MASTERPIECE. Look closely and you'll notice it's coming through a 1:6 tunnel! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

This view of Tom’s completed, scratch-built, 1:6 scale steam locomotive (with attached cargo car) reveals it is an absolute MASTERPIECE in 1:6 scale. Look closely and you’ll notice it’s coming through a realistically detailed 1:6 scale tunnel as well. Tremendous work, Tom! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom with fiancce, Amber NAME. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom with fiancée, Amber Hughes. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s life has been an ever-changing tapestry of creative experiences. Originally from San Francisco, he now resides in Blocksburg, CA, and has recently become engaged to be married. In addition to living his real life, like many GIjOE fans, Tom also enjoys pursuing the fantasy world of costumed role-play, or “cosplay.” After reviewing photos of his many outfits, we returned to his original horror get-up and asked him if his famous “Great Razooly” top hat was real or simply a cheap knock-off from the TV station’s prop room. He replied:

Tom's newest top hat is the perfect finishing touch for his amazing "Dr. Fate" costume from "The Great Race" (remember Jack Lemmon chewing up the scenery in this?). (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Razooly’s famous top hat is the perfect finishing touch for his superb “Professor Fate” costume from the movie, The Great Race. Remember Jack Lemmon chewing up the scenery in this? (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“My top hat? Ahh… very astute of you. It is indeed ‘real.’ I’m so old now, everything has a story these days. When I was 15 years old, my father gave me a 70-year old ‘beaver felt top hat.’ I loved that hat and wore it all through my teen years, and into my adult life as a local late-night TV horror host. Eventually, my old antique hat wore out. By that time, my daughter had grown and was working in the movie industry as a set designer. She let me know of a Hollywood costume company that made movie quality costuming. I gave my antique top hat to them and asked for a brand new replica. They made this one for me 15 years ago, and it is PERFECT!”

Half the fun of "playing GIjOEs" is making your own stuff. The other half is setting it up, playing with it, and taking pictures of the results. In this one amazing photo, you can see Tom's handmade 1:6 scale dumptruck, guard shack, and road barrier (complete with a little stop sign). WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Half the fun of “playing GIjOEs” is making your own stuff. The other half is setting it up, playing with it, and taking pictures of the results. In this photo, you can see Tom’s handmade 1:6 scale dump-truck, guard shack, and road barrier (complete with a little HALT sign). WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom sets up a command post diorama using found sticks, rocks and whatever else he needs from the woods around him. Just like when he was a kid! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom sets up a command post diorama using found sticks, rocks and whatever else he needs from the woods around him. Just like when he was a kid! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Most fan THINK about building their own 1:6 scale wooden bridges, but Tom's actually done it. Here, his GIjOE tank commander crosses over Razooly's scratch-built bridge which can be moved and reused—again and again! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Many GIjOE fans THINK about building their own 1:6 scale wooden bridges, but Tom has actually done it. Here, a tank commander has just crossed over Razooly’s scratch-built bridge which can easily be moved around and reused—over and over again. So… get out there and PLAY! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

A young Tom Razooly posed for this "Apollo Moon Rocket" model kit by Revell in 1969. (Photo: scalemates)

Did a young blonde(!) Razooly pose for Revell’s “Apollo Moon Rocket” box in 1969? (Photo: scalemates)

Some of Razooly’s gifts and talents were recognized and utilized at a very early age. In fact, according to Tom:

“Back in my youth, I worked as a child model for ‘Revell Models.’ I did a photo-shoot once for their ‘Apollo Saturn V Moon Rocket’ kit. I don’t think that’s me on the ‘Collector’s Set’—but it MIGHT be.”

Interesting! It’s been well established that many young boys of the 1950s and ’60s were deeply influenced by the building and collecting of model kits (and GIjOEs) when they were young. (Sadly, today’s less “hands-on” generation suffers greatly in this regard.) And now, as an adult, Razooly continues to enjoy building and creating, using whatever materials he can easily and affordably “scrounge” from nearby sources. According to Tom:

“My GIjOEs gave me days and days of wonderful, imaginative entertainment. And I honed my adolescent art skills by making my own 1:6 scale props from old oatmeal containers, pieces of cardboard and good ol’ masking tape. In fact, I made my first GIjOE space capsule from a discarded Kentucky Fried Chicken bucket!”

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Build it. Set it up. PLAY with it! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“Recently (for some reason), I got it into my head to create a big, GIjOE camp. I couldn’t really find or afford many of the pieces I wanted, so I slowly began to make them as well as I could. Of course I went on the web, looking at those new super-cool, all-metal Willy’s Jeeps. But the price tag was just too rich for my blood. So instead, I cobbled together, and detailed-out 5 plastic jeeps I’d bought that were damaged and had missing parts for only about $19 each. I still dream of finding a damaged Jeep with enough parts that I can make a custom canvas-covered troop carrier out of it.”

Don't have a heavy-duty dumptruck? Build one! Tom pieced together this entire machine out of leftover Jeep parts and scrap wood. You can too! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Don’t have a heavy-duty dump-truck for your GIjOEs? Then BUILD one! Tom pieced together this entire machine out of leftover Jeep parts and scrap wood. You can too! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom had to back WAY up in his workshop to get the entire 1:6 scale guard tower in the frame of his camera. WOW! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Tom had to back WAY up in his workshop in order to get the entire 1:6 scale guard tower in the frame of his camera. Fan-TASTIC job, Tom! (Photo: Tom Razooly)

“I’m never too exact with my 1:6 Joe stuff. I just like to create things that the kids and I can PLAY with. Occasionally, no budget and a little experience can pull you through!”
Tom Razooly

Bottom Line: Tom’s work reflects a lifetime of talent, backed up by solid creativity and an obvious appreciation for “hands-on,” scratch-built craftsmanship. With an entire forest at his disposal and his own private “Joe Land, ” we can’t wait to see what he makes next. And we can’t help but wonder: Will we ever see “The Great Razooly” on TV again? Or maybe “LIVE and in person” at a GIjOE show—with some of his cool 1:6 scale custom creations? Stay tuned!

THIS JUST IN… We were able to track down a photo of Revell’s 1969 “Collector’s Set” that Tom mentioned, but the boy’s face on the box is turned to the side somewhat and in shadow, making it difficult to say if it’s him or not. The chances are pretty good that it IS, because the boy’s hair is more brunette and parted on the same side as Tom’s hair is today. Razooly said he wasn’t sure if it was him, but that it MIGHT be. What do you think?

Is it, or isn't this, Tom Razooly? Although he can't remember, and the identity of this young man is most likely lost to the ages, the reality is that Tom was a child model for Revell during the 1960s, and posed specifically for their line of NASA kits. As a result, the likelihood that this is in fact a young Razooly, is very high. (Photo: Tom Razooly)

Is this, or isn’t this, Tom Razooly? Since Tom can’t say for sure, the actual identity of this young man may be lost to time. The reality is that Tom was a child model for Revell during the 1960s, and posed specifically for their line of NASA space exploration kits. As a result, the likelihood that this is a young Razooly, remains high. (Photo: ebay)

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