THE ICON: Sid Noel
THE LEGACY: As the man behind the fictional mad scientist and local late-night horror host Morgus the Magnificent, actor Sid Noel was known for bumbling his way through wacky but ambitious experiments as he sent viewers to commercial and welcomed them back during the B-movie of the week. Noel’s most impressive trick, however, was capturing pure lightning in a bottle. From the moment his “House of Shock” went on the air on WWL-TV on Jan. 3, 1959, Morgus was a New Orleans TV phenomenon. Working in a lab above “the old city ice house” off Pirate Alley, and from behind a stained lab coat and a mouthful of even more stained teeth, he was absurd — and New Orleanians couldn’t get enough of him or his towering sidekick, Chopsley. They still can’t. Even today, after being off the air for decades, Morgus is fondly remembered as one of the city’s most original and beloved pop-culture touchstones of the later 20th century. In a word: magnificent.
THE ARTIST: Gabriel Flores
THE INSPIRATION: “Did I enjoy it? … It was like being on a float every week, like the characters who pay thousands of dollars to hide behind masks in Carnival organizations. Of course I did.” — Actor Sid Noel, who created and portrayed Morgus the Magnificent, in an interview with The Times-Picayune in February 1981