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Creator / Zacherley

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...and good night, whatever you are!

Zacherley, neé Roland, was a Horror Host from 1957 to 1965 played by John Zacherle. A gleeful, well-dressed mad scientist operating out of a castle, Zacherley would play off a perpetually-off-screen supporting cast (including his wife Isobel) and reedit the movies he showed to give himself cameos. The character eventually made his way into other media—Zacherle edited two horror short-story anthologies and recorded a number of novelty songs with the character, as well as hosting a dance program called Disc-O-Teen (yes, also in character) and even launched a presidential campaign for Zacherley in 1960.

The character largely disappeared in the seventies, as Zacherle moved to radio to host a Progressive Rock show for the majority of the decade, but returned for a couple of anthology videocassettes in the 1980s. Zacherle also began attending horror conventions in-character in the 1990s. He "retired to Transylvania", according to his press team, a few months before his death in 2016, at the ripe old age of 98.


Tropes associated with Zacherley include:

  • Catchphrase: Zacherley had a number of them, including "you better pay attention" when he was doing something weird and "it's alive!" when he's doing something awesome.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: His oft-mentioned dinosaur-eggnog, which is revealed in one episode to contain spiders; another episode has him making "Dracula Fizz", which requires a troubling number of temperature adjustments and contains bone dust.
  • Clip Show: 1998's The Zacherley Archives, which collects most of the series' surviving material as well as a number of contemporary ads.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: Zacherley was originally Roland, and Isobel simply "my dear". The changeover came during the show's move from Philadelphia to New York City, presumably for legal reasons.
    • Zacherley's run hosting NYC's Chiller Theatre from 1963 to 1965 was one for that show, which continued for seventeen years after he left but never again had a host during its original run.
  • Evil Laugh: Zacherley's got a deep, throaty one.
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  • The Ghost: Pretty much everyone around Zacherley. They're all Behind the Black somewhere, content to make the occasional grunt or wheezing noise.
  • Inherited Illiteracy Title: Zacherley was originally supposed to just be "Zacherle", after his actor, but a misprinted ad resulted in the current name.
  • Limited Wardrobe: His black double-breasted coat, his yellow neckerchief and his dual eight-pointed stars.
  • Musical Episode: One episode shows Zacherley has written an opera, and he performs almost the entirety of it during his segments—it goes on so long that Zacherley decides to cut down the film to make more room.
  • Re-Cut: A common feature of the show—the films would be edited to insert Zacherely into them.
  • The Unintelligible: See The Ghost, though Zacherley manages to hold conversations with everyone just fine.