Jackson County

Why is Morgus the Magnificent returning to television — and in Ocean Springs?

Morgus the Magnificent was a local television celebrity in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Coast, where televisions were able to pick up his afternoon show in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Morgus the Magnificent was a local television celebrity in New Orleans and along the Mississippi Coast, where televisions were able to pick up his afternoon show in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.

Fans can watch Morgus the Magnificent — the mad scientist of New Orleans television fame from the 1960s, 70s and 80s — in a new venue with Ocean 7, the city’s television station.

If you’re an adult who grew up in South Mississippi you either know Morgus from your childhood or you don’t.

Real fans can still sing the theme song.

Ocean 7 has recently begun airing color, 1980s reruns of the show at 10:30 p.m. on Saturdays and at 6 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. You can pick up Ocean 7 over the air with an antennae at channel 7, on U-verse channel 7 and CableOne channel 1007.

Those who know him, love him. He had “wild eyes, crooked teeth, a filthy lab coat and wildly unkempt hair, and he took New Orleans by storm,” explains St. Charles Avenue Magazine in a 2015 article.

One fan told the Sun Herald: “The show was spooky, but not scary spooky. It was nostalgia and a little cheesy. When I hear the music for it, it brings back memories, like hearing the theme from ‘Dark Shadows’ or ‘Petticoat Junction’.”

The character, Momus Alexander Morgus or Doctor Morgus, was a horror host of late-night and afternoon science fiction movies. He would conduct experiments with his sidekick Chopsley with good intentions — even though they sometimes failed or blew up in his face.

The New Orleans-based show would wrap around a movie and the Morgus plot would continue during the commercial interruptions. On Ocean 7, it is paired with the 30-minute show, “One Step Beyond,” a series of scary mysteries similar to “The Twilight Zone.”

Edward Saint Pe’, owner of Ocean 7, said Morgus was an inspiration to him getting into television, and he is enjoying reintroducing Morgus to his fans — many of them in their 40s, 50s and 60s — on the Mississippi Coast.

“No. 1, he was crazy and kookie for the kids,” Saint Pe’ said. “And No. 2, he was satirical for the adults. He would make fun of everyone, local politicians, everyone. He would work all of that into a skit.”

“There is a particular gleefulness in people who have found out we’re running it, because they want to watch it again,” Saint Pe’ said. “It’s got some latent interest here.”

The segments he is airing are from about 28 years ago, when the show was in color. He has 52 episodes that he has had painstakingly transferred from film to digital.

Saint Pe’ hopes it will catch on with other stations as well.

Sid Noel, the man who created, wrote for and played Morgus, is alive and in his 90s and living well in Covington, Louisiana.

In a brief talk with the Sun Herald this week, Noel said he prefers to let Morgus do the talking. He doesn’t grant interviews.

“If Santa was coming to town, you certainly wouldn’t want to talk to the guy playing Santa Clause,” he said.

“Everyone on the Coast knows Morgus, he has been going on for 50 years,” he said. “I’m sort of retired now.”

He said the reruns will be a nice thing for the people who grew up with Morgus.

In the day, Morgus aired on WDSU and later WGNO, which viewers could receive over the air on the Coast.

“He’s a folk hero, a legendary guy in New Orleans television,” Saint Pe’s said. “I’m hoping people will enjoy the show.”

Morgus airs on Ocean 7

  • Saturdays at 10:30 p.m and Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays at 6 p.m.
  • You can get Ocean 7 over the air on Channel 7, on U-verse Channel 7 and on CableOne Channel 1007.
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