With halloween about to end, I would be remiss if I did not mention that, just days before (October 27th) John Zacherley (also spelled Zacherle), “The Cool Ghoul” who haunted our television screen on Saturday nights in the late ’50’s and early ’60’s, has passed away at the age of 98.
Are you old enough to remember him? Do you remember his hit record, “Dinner With Drac”? Remember these lyrics?
A dinner was served for three
At Dracula’s house by the sea
The wolfman was there, The monster was there,
And the only normal person (Mwah ha ha ha ha!!!) Was me.
The waitress a vampire named Perkins
Was so very fond of small gherkins
While she served the tea, she ate 43
Which pickled her internal workins!
I never met John Zacherley. But he did have an impact on my life.
In 1959, Bruce Morrow, who is STILL doing radio – now on Sirius XM – had a weekend top-40 show on WINS-AM in New York.
On that show, Morrow did something called the WINS Swap Shop: he would offer a number of records in return for whatever you might call in to swap for them.
Zacherley, at that time, had an imaginary creature on his show called the “Slobbis Amoebus”(don’t hold me to that spelling). It was supposed to be a little monster. In reality, however, it was a glob of Jell-O infused with spaghetti and wrapped in, I think, cheesecloth – which would shake and bounce if you touched it.
My 13 year old mind thought it would be a great idea to offer Mr. Morrow a Slobbis Amoebus in exchange for the records he was willing to swap. So I called it in. And I was one of the winners.
The reason I won? In Bruce Morrow’s own words when announcing me on-air: “Because I want to see what it is”. Remember, Morrow worked nights. I doubt he ever saw Zacherley’s show.
Little did he know what he was asking for.
I had to make a Slobbis Amoebus to bring him, which I did (I doubt my mother ever forgave me for the mess it created). I took it to Manhattan via the subway and went to WINS studios as instructed.
The Slobbis Amoebus did not make the trip well.
And when Morrow came down to get it, he was (this is an understatement as gross as what it looked like by the time I got there) less than taken with his “prize”. But he did give me the records.
One of them was “The Battle Of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton. Another was “The Happy Organ” by Dave “Baby” Cortez (I was too young and innocent to recognize the double entendre of that title). I remember several others, but I doubt you’d know them.
Anyway, that’s my John Zacherley story.
Zacherley may have been a bizarre character on TV, but I have read that, in the real world, he was a very nice person.
And we suffer for the loss of nice people, even if they consort with wolfmen, monsters and slobbis amoebi.
May John Zacherley rest in peace.
And may Bruce Morrow continue doing what he’s doing as long as he can. I would be surprised if he is not the single longest-term “DJ” in history.