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People are still sadly reeling from the news of Zacherley passing. He was a true legend in the Horror host community. If there was a Mount Rushmore of horror hosts he would be on it. I wanted to honor Zacherley in some way. So I decided to ask horror host and other folks What did Zacherley mean to them? Each person may have a different meaning to what he was to them. He may have been a friend, their first horror host, or just a legend. It is interesting to see how much one person can inspire so much in different people. I hope this honors him and help keep his legendary career going.
I thought I would be the first one to answer the question. The meaning of Zacherley to me is a person who was given an opportunity to continue the legacy of horror hosting mantel after Vampira. And boy did he run with opportunity to create a wonderful long career. He helped to bring life to those old classic movies and laughs to his audience. Basically in a nutshell Zacherley meant to me was the true embodiment of a horror host. He hosted those wonderful classic cheesy movies, made you laugh, entertained you and just generally cared for his fans. And that to me is an ultimate template for a great horror host. He will be missed and his legacy shall be remembered.
In the next section is some of the horror hosts that wrote about what Zacherley meant to them.
Uncle Vlad from Uncle Vlad's House of Horrors:
Sadly, since I am only 21 years old, I never had the opportunity to witness Mr. Zacherle's greatness, and I never got to meet the man, however, he inspired other horror hosts that followed, like Count Gore De Vol and Svengoolie who served as my main influences so with that, I owe a debt to him for being a pioneer in this field.
Count Gore De Vol from Count Gore De Vol's Creature Feature:
What can you say about one of the first generation of Horror Hosts who set the bar high for all future hosts. He was the epitome of the horror host. I only spent one wonderful afternoon with him and learned so much. He was gracious, generous, talented and...SCARY!
Sicko - Psychotic from the Sicko - Psychotic Show:
Zacherley was an incredible entertainer who's work and talent stands the test of time. He made us laugh up to the end, and that is a wonderful gift he shared with us all. I am touched by the many fans who payed tribute to him while he was alive and I think he passed on knowing his legacy would continue to be honored and respected.
Bobby Gammonster from Monster Movie Night:
What did Zacherley mean to me? Growing up I saw his picture in Famous Monsters Magazine, the article talked about him being a Horror Host, I did not know what a Horror Host was at that time, I thought he was a movie star and so equated Horror Hosts with being stars just like the actors in the movies they had on their shows. I tried to find all I could in picture form about Zacherley, he was to me the ultimate monster actor and showed a monster way of life that started me on the road I followed and continue to do . He showed me that monsters were not only scary but fun and that it was fun to be scary. He is and always will be the father of all Horror Hosts.
Vincent Grimmly from Night Chills Theatre:
Not only is Zacherley the grandfather of all horror hosts (as Vampira is our grandmother), but for me, he was also the king of the great monster boom in the mid-20th century. When I think of Aurora models, I think of Zacherley. When I think of "Famous Monsters of Filmland" I think of Zacherley. When I think of the countless TV shows, novelty songs, books, comics, and toys that came out in that period of time, I think of Zacherley. His spirit loomed above all and for me it always will.
Roxsy Tyler's from Roxsy Tyler's Carnival of Horrors:
He inspired generations of horror hosts including myself but most importantly, hosts that came before me and inspired me the way he inspired them. I feel like he's our Grand Daddy especially to me because of his Philadelphia roots. He was an icon and now he's a legend. Rest In Peace, Cool Ghoul.
Lord Blood-Rah from Lord Blood-Rah Nerve Wrackin Theater:
Zacherley was the father of horror hosts. A complete package of great talent: amazing baritone voice, great look and wonderful sense of humor. Truly an original all horror hosts admire and aspire to.
Needles Gravedigger from Mausoleum of the Macabre:
Zacherley aka the Cool Ghoul has been highly influential on many horror hosts including myself. He is an icon, someone that helped bring the horror host into the pop culture canon. I saw him at Chiller Theatre a few years back and he still brought that energy and charisma to the place. He was in his 90's! It was amazing. He is an inspiration to all horror hosts. He will be missed!
Eric William from Saturday Fright Theater:
When I look back through the rich history of the Horror Host I can only think of one King that started it all, and that’s John “Zacherley” Zacherle. To try and put into words what he meant to the genre is very difficult, but I feel confident in saying that without the efforts of Zacherle none of us (Horror Hosts) would be here today. I grew up in Northeast Ohio with the likes of Ghoulardi, Hoolihan, Big Chick and Little John, but soon discovered the trailblazer, the King, Zacherley. The moment I saw him come to life on my television I knew that was what I wanted to do in life; I would become a horror host. Without Zacherley leading the way there wouldn’t have been the influx of Horror Hosts in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Drawing the viewer in and making them feel like they were watching a movie with an old friend was part of the charm, and magic, of Zacherley. It was that feeling that became my inspiration. For the last 20 years, I have told people at shows, and conventions, that Horror Hosts are all just descended from the greats. We’ve all had our influences in life through the years, and depending on where they live geographically they have a story about a horror host that holds a special place in their heart. For me it all goes back to the beginning. Without Zacherley leading the way there wouldn’t have been a Ghoulardi, or a Hoolihan and Big Chuck Show, or a Big Chuck and Lil’ John Show. Which means there would have been a Saturday Fright Theater. For me all roads lead back to the one, and only, John “Zacherley” Zacherle. Thank you Zacherley, thank you for everything.
Screaming Soup crew from Screaming Soup:
One of the most influential horror hosts of all time, Zacherle blazed unforgettable trails with his innovative humor and marketable persona future hosts will always try to emulate. You will never be forgotten!
Veronique Von Venom from Veronique Von Venom on OSI 74:
Zacherley meant class. He reminded me of a Halloween-loving uncle who wanted to share his collection of horror movies with me. It always felt cozy watching Zacherley do his thing. Rest In Peace, uncle!
Halloween Jack from Haunted Theatre:
What Zacherley meant to me was Horror Hosting. He was the first Horror Host I knew of, the first Horror Host I ever met and he was the first Horror Host that, well made me know what a Horror Host was. I can't say we were great friends, but I would like to believe we were friends all the same. Over a 20 year period, I saw him at least twice a year at the Chiller convention, I did have coffee with him once, did visit his apartment once and in the thrill of a lifetime, got to film with him on his set and listen to his wonderful stories. Funny part is as often as I would see him in costume, he barely remembered me, but out of costume he would greet me with a warm smile, a smile of recognition and remembrance. He would shake my hand and say "ahhh, it's the lad with the Welsh name." In a sense it befuddled me that he couldn't remember Halloween Jack, but then made me feel good that as myself, I was more memorable to him.
Unfortunately because of both our health issues, I had not seen Zacherley in 5 years and that is something that I deeply regret. I knew he wouldn't live forever, no matter how much I had hoped that would be possible, but I had hoped he would be around a little longer so I could see that warm smile one more time. But I don't dwell on that, I think about how fortunate I was to have the time with him I did. And how fortunate I am, because not everyone gets to meet their idols. R.I.P. friend.
Count Gregula from Count Gregula's Crypt:
Zacherley held a very macabre meaning for me. He vas a pioneer in horror hosting. Having met the man made me know that being humble is an important trait to keep in this business. Ghoul things come to those that vait and vork hard.
Wolfman Mac from Wolfman's Mac's Chiller Drive-in:
You know, I've always said that Zacharly was one of our best, most classic horror hosts. Everything from the atmosphere on his show to his campy music, was unique, schlocky, and perfectly creepy. He's exactly what I always wanted to be when I grew up.
Slash from Graveyard Tales:
To me he was a trend setter and brought a lot of diff unique styles To the whole horror hosting itself. As one of the few pioneers him Vampira and Sammy Terry there longevity that has lasted for decades in the genre itself as well as the sub culture and pop culture speaks a ton for the mark he left on the horror hosting community. He will be missed!
I decided to open up to fans besides horror hosts to answer the same question. Here are their answers below.
When I woke up this morning and read of the passing of John Zacherle I had to stop and think how much horror hosts have had an impact in my life. A local horror host was a TV friend for a gawky ten year old when real ones were in short supply.
My thirty year journey with Zacherle began in 1986 on a trip with my mother to Montgomery Wards. We had bought our first VCR some two years before and were taking it in for maintenance when I came across a bin of discount VHS tapes. While browsing through the stack I came across a tape called “Horrible Horror” hosted by Zacherley. Who was Zacherley and what was I about to discover?
Once I got home I shoved down two servings of french bread pizza and popped the tape into the VCR. I loved what I saw. I connected with Zach's humor and antics immediately. But I loved his glorious laugh the most. So much of what I had seen on my local horror host show was present here, pioneered by the cool ghoul himself. What a wonder!
I followed Zacherley through his Archives release as well as his CD output so he has never been far from my thoughts. Today when I co-produce our live Robo-Cat Horror Theater show with The Great Razooly is Zacherley's standards that I strive for and his sense of fun. It is a pleasure to do these shows and introduce a new generation to the horror host. Zach set the bar high. We will carry on in his grand tradition. Thanks for the memories Zach!
- Robert Hindman - California
First heard of him back in early 70 s after hearing dinner with drac on an old k tel album called looney tunes that my dad had. Few years later I realized he had a show that hosted old horror movies. Little did I know at the time he was KING of the horror hosts on the east coast while the QUEEN vampira was on the west coast. Rip Zach you've touched us all
- David T. Janasiak -Wisconsin
I would just like to thank everyone who participated in this tribute. It was appreciated and great to read what everyone thought of this horror host icon. And shows for sure that his legacy will be remembered for years to come. R.I.P Zacherley.