Monday, November 9, 2015

John Zacherley, the original "cool ghoul"

I've spent the last few months here exorcising/exercising my "monster kid" demons. Admittedly, DARK SHADOWS is the bread and butter of the Collinsport Historical Society ... nobody visits this website to read about Hans Conried, Bela Lugosi or Ed Wood. But my blog has always served as an outlet for all of my random obsessions. If readers haven't been especially engaged with these off-topic posts, at least they've been patient with them.

Which brings me to my point: Earlier this year, writer Jymn Magon put together a staggeringly great series of blogposts about horror host John Zacherley. TV's original "cool ghoul" (a phrase co-opted by the Philadelphia Gum Co. to promote their DARK SHADOWS trading cards in 1968) is one of the most accomplished "horror hosts" in television history. He's eclipsed only by Elvira (and possibly Svengoolie), which is all the most significant when you consider that Zacherley's regular hosting duties ended in 1960. The guy has managed to accumulate legions of fans without the benefit of  regular television or movie gigs. The 97-year-old performer is, in my opinion, the greatest horror host ever.

Magon appears to share this sentiment. Over at his website, he's shared rare photos, news clippings and anecdotes about Zacherley. These items range from the personal to the professional, delving so deep into Zacherley's career that I can legitimately connect it to DARK SHADOWS. Below is a newspaper item taken from Magon's blog showing Zacherly on stage in the 1962 play "La Belle." The Philadelphia production included a face familiar to DARK SHADOWS fans: Thayer David.

Seriously ... stop reading this and head over to Magon's website now. You can find his entire series about Zacherley HERE.

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