The Story of Television's First Ghoul
by Louis D. Antonicello
In the annals of modern entertainment, you would be hard-pressed to find anyone
who's had a longer and more richly-varied career than John Zacherle. Recording
artist, television star, announcer, disk jockey, emcee, Zacherle has capably
filled these roles and several others. Yet it is for one role that Zacherle has
attained show business immortality. For baby boomers, he will be remembered as
the best of the horror hosts in the form of his creation, Zacherley, the most
clever, most original and funniest of a once thriving breed.
Little Baby Zach
John Zacherle was born on September 27, 1918 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. His
childhood was normal and seemingly uneventful. One interesting fact about Zach's
youthful years was that his parents were strict and refused to allow him to see
the horror films that were all the rage among young theater goers in the 1930's.
Zach grew up in the Germantown section of Philadelphia and graduated from
Germantown High School. His good grades gained him entry into the University of
Pennsylvania where a Bachelor's degree was attained in English Literature. Zach's
graduation from college and the outbreak of WW II coincided, with Zach enlisting
in the army and seeing action in Europe and North Africa, and eventually
attaining the rank of major.
Major Zach Returns Home
Returning home to Philadelphia at the conclusion of the war, and in the army
reserves. Zacherle took his time finding the right job. Someone mentioned acting
and this lead to Zach's audition with a local repertory group called the
Stagecrafters, who were based in Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. Zach was living at
home and enjoying his leisurely life-style and the various parts he was able to
get with the Stagecrafters. Remember, this was the early 1950's and people were
trying to enjoy the serenity of the postwar world.