John Zacherle, Zacherley the Cool Ghoul, has passed away

John Zacherle Zacherley

This adds a touch of sadness to Halloween. John Zacherle, one of the first and most popular horror hosts to ever grace the screen, passed away yesterday, October 27th, at the age of 98.

Zacherle got his start hosting horror movies on October 7, 1957, when the first episode of Shock Theater aired on Philadelphia's WCAU. At first his host persona was called Roland, a character Dick Clark, who was at the time hosting American Bandstand in Philadelphia, nicknamed the Cool Ghoul. Zacherle's show helped establish the horror host formula that many shows still go by to this day, having its host get up to comedic antics that were intercut with the horror movie being shown.

After ninety-two Shock Theater broadcasts over the course of one year, Zacherle moved on to WABC in New York, where he continued hosting horror, with Roland's name being changed to Zacherley.

Zacherle kept the Zacherley persona going for decades after that, through various hosting gigs and television and film appearances. Along the way he also took on some acting roles, in films like KEY TO MURDER, DR. HORROR'S EROTIC HOUSE OF IDIOTS, NIAGARAVATION, and Frank Henenlotter's FRANKENHOOKER. Uncredited, he provided the voice of the brain-eating parasite Aylmer in Henenlotter's film BRAIN DAMAGE.

Zacherle also recorded several songs as Zacherley, with his 1958 single "Dinner with Drac" making it into the top ten nationally. As a promotional stunt, Zacherley even ran for President of the United States in 1960, with a "Zacherely for President" track being included on the album he released that year, Spook Along with Zacherley.

Although Zacherley hadn't been a regular presence on TV for decades, his influence and popularity still endures. The monster kids will never forget the Cool Ghoul.

Extra Tidbit: R.I.P. Zacherley. Our sincere condolences go out to John Zacherle's family, friends, and fans.
Source: Wikipedia



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