Category Archives: Morgus & Me

Morgus + Airlift Mike + Halloween 2019 = 1 Magical NOLA night!

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The Original Airlift Productions – before digital, the internet & mp3s – in the closet of my one-bedroom apartment – 1985

I first met – and recorded – Morgus The Magnificent back in 1986 in the very first version of Airlift Productions – the closet of my one bedroom apartment at Rock Creek just off Clearview Parkway in Metairie, Louisiana.

Of course I’d heard all the stories about this New Orleans icon, the mad scientist, Saturday nights since 1959 with entire families & sleep-over parties huddled around cathode ray tube TVs as Dr. Morgus, wrapped around horror/sci-fi movies, would unveil his latest zany experiment… I’d just never met the man.

Relatively new to NOLA at this point – and acting as Station Voice and Producer with Tribune Broadcasting’s WGNO-TV – I was asked to meet with him and record some tracks for his newly re-launched television show “Morgus Presents”.

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E.R.I.C. the talking skull records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions

Sid Noel showed up that night and we went on to record knee-to-knee (it was a closet, right?) all the E.R.I.C. the talking skull voice tracks to be used in all the upcoming broadcasts.

Fast-forward the tape to 2019 and Uncle Sid and I are still at it!

Through the decades we’ve worked on many a project together, but none more ambitious than what we’ve got cooked-up for New Orleans, all its “Higher Order” devotees … and this Halloween.

Sid turns 90 years old this Christmas day 2019 (where do you think the Noel came from?) but not before we roll-out his One-Night-Only One-Man-Show — An Evening with Sid Noel: Recollections of a Mad Scientist.

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Sidney Noel Records VoiceOvers and More at Airlift Productions New Orleans

On this one night – October 13th, 2019, the night of the full moon – LIVE on-stage at New Orleans’ Orpheum Theater, Sid will address his generations of fans as himself, the genius (my words, not his) behind the mad doctor for the very first – and last – time!

He’ll rip back the curtain (ala the Wizard of Oz) and reveal all the secrets and bizarre stories never before heard by anyone about one of New Orleans most beloved & iconic television stars… directly from the mouth of the man that made it all happen.

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Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants appearing with Dr. Morgus in an episode of “Morgus Presents” – circa 1989

Honored I am to tag along on this wondrous night as his 21st century Chopsley, as I will assist “the Master” acting as emcee for the affair, as well as offering my voice over chops for the opening film presentation…

“Morgus History” – Audio to Opening Video for Oct. 13th 2019 show –

This promises to be a night all of New Orleans will never forget!

Which brings me to the REAL point of the evening… not forgetting.

You see, the entire show, all these memories, all these efforts… are to benefit the Alzheimer’s Association and their quest to find a cure for this devastating debilitating disease.

Furthermore, the entire show will be recorded and preserved on DVD, with all proceeds moving forward in perpetuity going directly to the krewe at the Alzheimer’s Association.

For research.

For a cure.

For HOPE.

The queue for tickets to this once-in-a-lifetime magical event forms here… Tickets via TicketMaster – “An Evening with Sid Noel: Recollections of a Mad Scientist”

Perhaps, just perhaps, this mad doctor is not so mad after all?

Join us, won’t you?

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“Michael is without a doubt one of the most versatile audio and production experts in the industry. “ Norman Robinson, Former CBS White House correspondent & WDSU News Anchor, currently Voice Talent, Coach & Mentor

NormanRobinsonRecordsVoiceOverAirliftProductionsNOLA

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Airlift Productions – we’ll leave the mics hot… and the light on for you.

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy & Digital Magic from New Orleans since 1984

Doctor Morgus & Airlift Productions House Calls: The Sequel

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Morgus the Magnificent – aka Sidney Noel Rideau Records VoiceOvers at Airlift Productions … for over a Quarter of a Century

OK, it occurred to me after sifting through some of my recent posts, that with visitors to this blog from corners of the globe like China, the UK, Moscow, and even Nigeria… perhaps a few points might need some clarification.

Especially with Halloween now in the air around America… and thoughts & google internet searches about Doctor Morgus on the rise.

Throughout the many decades of Morgus episodes on late night TV, Chopsley was the good doctor’s right-hand man, his henchman, his willing (or not so, as the case may be) accomplice. So, for three decades running now, yours truly has served ‘the master’ as the REAL Chops!

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E.R.I.C. the talking skull records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions

Think the role of Alfred to the Batman. Or, as Uncle Sid and I have often joked in a more literary analogy, to borrow from Cervantes, I have operated as the Sancho Panza to his Don Quixote.  Yes, Dr. Morgus, er ah, Sidney Noel Rideau & I have jousted at many a windmill… and we have both been considered a pickle short of a whopper by many!

Not to put too fine a point on it, but Sid & I (together with many others today) see much of today’s youth rather long on arrogance and a tad short on character – lacking true values, ethics & a moral compass.

So, what if we could reach them and teach them BEFORE they reach the age of reason, and give them important life-altering thoughts and concepts that will impact their future? And America’s?

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Sidney Noel Rideau ~ Founder & Creator of the Internet Story Club

Yes, despite Sid’s rather heady accomplishments entertaining generations of late night horror fans  as Morgus the Magnificent, it is his ambitious approach to reaching today’s youth via stories, fables & parables that he really wants to serve as his legacy.

Sidney Noel Rideau calls it the Internet Story Club! 

Consider this our attempt to use the very medium that has been a roadblock to education – the television – to enlighten, inform, and develop character in today’s youth.  Some windmill, eh?

Witness this approach at work here. Sid does the intros and outros and leaves what’s between the quote marks to me, personally directing me through the reads, looking for a ‘voice of God’ sound and flavor.  These public service announcements promoting the Internet Story Club  – sponsored by the N.O. Public Library – air in the New Orleans market on Fox-8 TV when you least expect it.

These are but three  – of 45 total – PSAs that we produced. With many thanks to Blaine Strawn and his incredibly talented post-production team down at WVUE-Fox-8 on Jefferson Davis Parkway

Allow me to close with one more, from my favorite running partner & metaphysical space cowboy, the sage of Concord ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson ….

“What lies behind you and what lies in front of you, pales in comparison to what lies inside of you.”

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Norman Robinson in the Airlift Productions Studios August 2015

“I have had the privilege of working with professionals all over the world.  Micheal Ziants is among the best of them.  His professional integrity is only surpassed by his love for humanity.  It is perhaps his boundless humanity that drives his passion for his work and his compassion… to say nothing of his appreciation and understanding of the human spirit at it’s most creative level.”

NORMAN ROBINSON, Nightly News Anchor at WDSU-TV, New Orleans for over two decades

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         To Communicate is the Beginning of Understanding

                                              Airlift Productions Communicates

Airlift Mike & Morgus: Let’s Get Personal

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Sidney Noel Rideau Records VoiceOvers and More at Airlift Productions New Orleans

As a close personal friend to the New Orleans & Late Night TV Icon Morgus the Magnificent and extremely gifted spirit Sidney Noel Rideau, it is with a heavy heart on this July morning that I pen this one.

Like most guy friendships, we can go months at a time without a chat and then pick right up where we left off, with a lunch or a recording session.  So, in an entirely unrelated matter, I got Sid on the phone just yesterday only to find out that just months ago he had lost the one true love of his life –  Donia.

While we had spoken often of her through the years, I only knew of her through her answering the phone or in the background during our many phone conversations between NOLA and the north shore of the lake.

Sid & Aldona met innocently enough in New York City back in the early ’60s while he was the struggling actor & radio dude and she was an interpreter at the United Nations.  Really.

Their 52-year marriage included two beautiful children and a mutual love for the theater, the arts … and words. Oh, how they loved ‘words’.

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Sidney’s wife of 52 blessed years Donia

It was ‘words’ that carried the lovely Aldona through Poland, England, Pakistan & Switzerland, all before even having met Sidney in New York. Catch up with just a bit of this woman’s spirit in her online obituary here  Aldona Nalecz-Tyminska Rideau.

Sid’s beloved and adored Aldona served all through those turbulent & chaotic Morgus years as not only his silent partner … but as the wind beneath his wings.

Now, all this having been said, Sid would just kick my ass if he even knew that I was writing these words. Of all the people I’ve ever met in show business, radio or the theater – Sidney Noel Rideau would have to be the most personally private of all. Truly. He fiercely defends his privacy.

So, to the reader of these words, a simple request. For prayers. For the spirit of his beloved bride. For healing. And maybe one of thanks – for all the years of enjoyment & fun his on-air exploits have given generations of late night horror movie fanatics around America.  And now, prayers for the woman who helped to inspire it all.

May God indeed bless you, Uncle Sid, and your lovely Donia.

“Don’t stand at my grave and weep. I am not there. I do not sleep.

I am the thousand winds that blow….

I am the diamond glints of the winter snow…

I am the sunlight that ripens grain…

I am the gentle autumn rain.

Don’t stand at my grave and cry. I am not there. I did not die.”

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Airlift Mike On-Camera performing with Sid in “Morgus Presents”, in happier times, 1988, re-broadcast on Fox-8

 

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Morgus & Me + Marriage Insurance? WTH?

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Morgus the Magnificent – aka Sidney Noel Rideau – Records VoiceOvers at Airlift Productions … for over a Quarter of a Century! Really.

I guess it would be safe to say that in operating a recording studio in America’s most colorful city –  New Orleans – for what is now THIRTY years, that I’ve worked with some pretty colorful characters.

From setting microphone levels for Dr. John and Archie Manning to recording projects with all of the city’s mayors ( Morial-2X to Landrieu-2X), verbally jousting with Mary Matalin & James Carville, even coaching ‘Annie’ Quvenzhane Wallis through tough V/O copy for Chrysler … my most unforgettable – and beloved – character would have to be Morgus the Magnificent!

Sidney Noel Rideau & I go back over 25 years together now; he has the distinction (?) of being the only person who has recorded at every recording studio I’ve ever built, every incarnation of Airlift Productions; He is the eccentric uncle I never had! I love this man.

We first met in 1986 while I was producing radio ads for and operating as the Voice of WGNO-TV/Channel 26 here in New Orleans, and he was reviving his ‘Morgus Presents” TV show. Our first gig together was in my closet-studio Airlift iteration where we recorded all the E.R.I.C. (the talking skull) heavily-reverbed V/O tracks for use in the shows.

SidNoelRideauMorgusRecordsVoiceOverForNewOrleansAtAirliftProductions
E.R.I.C. the talking skull records VoiceOver at Airlift Productions

Our relationship continues to this day. I almost feel as though I’ve become his real-life Chopsley, in that I’ve operated as his behind-the-scenes henchman all these years.

Together we’ve produced everything from radio ads for Cajun seasonings products to public service announcement campaigns for his Internet Story Club teacher-family outreach … but among my favorite sessions with my fave ‘Uncle Sid’ would have to be the one that is the subject of this post – ‘Marriage Insurance’.

As fate would have it, Sid’s Morgus character is also one of nationally-broadcast Coast-to-Coast late night radio host George Noory’s favorites too! And Sid stopped by the Airlift Studios in February 2006 to record a few ‘pilots’ for segments to possibly be used in Noory’s nightly broadcasts. I kid you not.

The proposed segments never did materialize (radio marketing in the 21st century is a very tricky thing), but this never-before-heard audio is just way too-funny and priceless.

It’s for the “Morgusian Marriage Insurance Company of America”, protecting your marriage from divorce, and includes not only Sid’s outrageous take on the state of marriage in America today – but I’ve also left in all the out-takes! I particularly love the way he slides in/out of character, and oh, that laugh …..

**** Sidney Rideau – aka Morgus the Magnificent – takes on the perplexing problem of marriage & divorce for the Airlift Productions microphones in February 2006 ****

Today, Uncle Sid is enjoying retirement on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain in a tiny hamlet known as Covington, LA  with his bride of all these years Dainya. They met in the late 1950s in NYC where Sid was being considered as a side-kick to Johnny Carson, and she was an interpreter at the United Nations.

For true!  No, I could not make up a story as unique as theirs. 

What a character, and truly fine & gifted, spirited human being this man is. Lucky to have had him in our lives we all are, and to have been able to bask in his light and genius.

Because, at the end of the day (as the white man is often wont to say), in the mythology of the American Tribe – Superman will always have his Clark Kent, the Batman his Bruce Wayne … and Morgus the Magnificent will always be remembered as the man who gave him Life – Sidney Noel Rideau.

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Sidney Noel Rideau Records VoiceOvers and More at Airlift Productions New Orleans

Airlift Productions ~ Audio Alchemy from New Orleans since 1984

Doctor Morgus Still Makes Housecalls…With Airlift Mike

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Sid Noel aka Dr. Morgus the Magnificent Records Internet Story Club Vocal Tracks at Airlift Productions

 

In the mythology of the American Tribe, Superman will always have his Clark Kent, the Batman his Bruce Wayne…and iconic New Orleans TV late-night horror movie host Dr. Morgus (the Magnificent) will always have Sidney Noel Rideau. 

Here in the 21st century, ‘Uncle Sid’ has moved on from his haunts at the Old City Ice House and yet embarked on his boldest experiment ever – using technology, the internet and TV to help mold and shape the thought and character of today’s youth!

It may all sound a bit zany and bold, but when did that ever stop Dr. Morgus before?

Airlift Productions and I are proud to have been tagged personally by Sid (just call me Chopsley) to produce and voice the public service announcement campaign for New Orleans television to promote his Sidney Noel’s ‘Internet Story Club’ website .

Witness a sample of the PSA promotion as it appears On Air – through the talents of Blaine Strawn & his uber-capable crew down on Jefferson Davis Parkway – now showing on a WVUE-TV/Fox-8 flat screen near you …

To read more on nola.com about Sid’s latest adventure, follow the story here NOLA.com ‘Dr. Morgus: the Man Behind the Mask’  

After all, it’s not enough for our legal system to just keep locking-up bad guy after bad guy after bad guy … Our society simply has to stop making them!

Go get ’em, Sid! Now we understand what you meant by “the Higher Order”.

 

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Airlift Productions’ Micheal Ziants appearing with Dr. Morgus in an episode of “Morgus Presents” – circa 1989