When I was very, very little my mother would regale me with tales of when she was a teenager living at the huge Victorian house on Westfield Avenue in Pennsauken, NJ. She had her room up on the fourth floor which had been an attic; the house was so tall you could see the river separating New Jersey from Philadelphia from her window. My great grandfather the architect had built the house (as well as the log cabins at Medford Lakes, the glorious and now sadly no more Walt Whitman Theatre on Pennsauken and the venerable Custard Stand still standing on Main Street in Maple Shade, NJ). I used to love that old house. Anyway, she would tell me how she turned on the television late at night and there was a ghoulish gent dressed like a mortician playing horror movies. That guy was Roland and he was played by John Zacherle. Before too much time, he would leave Philadelphia and move to New York where he would become famous as Zacherley the Cool Ghoul: the king of TV horror hosts. I soon discovered, buried in my father's record collection, Zach's "MONSTER MASH" album and it became a treasured object worthy of veneration.
photo by Lisa*
Many, many years later circa 2004 I finally met the great man at the Chiller Theatre Convention in East Rutherford, NJ. My dear wife took the above photo as I waited to get an autograph. I don't show up in the photo because, being a vampire, I do not show up on photographs. It's hard to believe it's been almost a decade since then. The Cool Ghoul was gnoshing on a hot dog; he would shortly burp at me and laugh that famous bellowing laugh at being such a naughty ghoul. Meeting one of my lifelong idols was something I never dreamed would happen; it's the equivalent of meeting Boris Karloff or Vincent Price in my book.
He autographed a photo and his ZACHERLEY ARCHIVES DVD (if you click on the "Zacherley" label below this post, it should take you to a photo of it) as well as giving me the facsmile of his "VOTE FOR ZACHERLEY" card pictured above. A Halloween season could not go by without me making mention of the great man and saying exactly how much he's meant to me my entire life. In fact, Halloween just isn't Halloween unless Zacherley presides over it. A dear, dear man.