John Zacherle (Audio CD)

Label: Real Gone Music


During his heyday, John Zacherle, or “Zacherley,” was a popular TV and radio personality in New York and Philadelphia. He was best known for his character “Roland” and his weekly gory gags. From 1957 through much of the ‘60s, “Roland” hosted horror movie shows dressed like an undertaker and lived in a crypt with his wife, “My Dear” and his lab assistant, “Gasport.”

A protégée of Dick Clark, it was Clark who dubbed Zacherle the “Cool Ghoul” and suggested he produce novelty records using his Roland personae. The first result was the Top Ten hit, “Dinner with Drac” (Parts 1 and 2) in 1958. Zacherle then recorded two full albums, Monster Mash and Scary Tales which have been re-issued before, but now have new life together in a new package from Real Gone Music.

Beyond Zacherle’s rendition of Bobby “Boris” Pickett’s “Monster Mash,” many of his tracks are essentially re-workings of then-popular dance hits filled with mummies, vampires, zombies, and indeterminate monsters who spent a lot of time in graveyards or assisting family members into their final rest. He had fun with Chubby Checker in “Let's Twist Again (Mummy Time Is Here)” and Dee Dee Sharps “Mashed Potato” in “Gravy (with Some Cyanide).” Then he offers a limbless dancer in “Limb from Limbo Rock,” the “Weird Watusi,” and a bloody version of “The Bristol Stomp” called “Pistol Stomp.”

Zacherle never sings, but rather recites his lines in between bouts of demonic laughter and sound effects. His audience was clearly children as demonstrated in “Popeye (The Gravedigger),” “Scary Tales (from Mother Goose),” “A-Tisket, A-Casket,” and “Hansel and Gretel.”

In our politically correct era, I’m not sure all parents would be comfortable with all the graveyard imagery, even as tongue in cheek as it obviously is. I’m not sure young people would enjoy the parodies as today’s kids are not likely to be familiar with the old songs being played with. In short, Monster Mash and Scary Tales are very much of their time and will be most entertaining for those who remember Zacherle’s TV shows. Now’s the time to dig this, as it were, before Roland gets his hands on you—

Follow Here To Purchase Monster Mash/Scary Tales