This week marks the 60th anniversary of the first televised experiments of Dr. Momus Alexander Morgus, the fictional mad scientist whose work has entertained generations of New Orleans TV viewers — known to him as "friends of science."
Morgus the Magnificent, as he is known, was created and performed by actor and radio star Sid Noel and made his debut on WWL-TV on Jan. 3, 1959. His program, called "House of Shock," was said to have originated from his lab above the old city ice house and featured experiments wrapped around segments of horror movies.
Twenty-five years ago this week, New Orleanians watched in disbelief as a seven-alarm fire destroyed a local landmark — the Fair Grounds Race …
Morgus became an instant hit for the station, which had signed on just two years earlier. His exploits, presented by the Momus Alexander Morgus Institute (M.A.M.I.), aimed to carry out the mission of what he called the Higher Order, a secret society dedicated to preserving and elevating the planet through science. Morgus' experiments and inventions always seemed to backfire on him by the end of each episode. He was ably assisted by Chopsley, a hulking, mute figure who wore a hood to cover up some unfortunate plastic surgery performed by Morgus.
Also ever-present was E.R.I.C., a former assistant whose brain was preserved in the form of a talking skull. The trio even starred in a 1962 feature film, "The Wacky World of Dr. Morgus." Morgus later televised his experiments on WDSU in the 1970s, WGNO in the 1980s (with episodes that were also nationally syndicated) and WVUE in the 2000s.