Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween, Hollywood Style

Once again, it's time for our annual Halloween photos!

Audrey Ferris

Betty Grable

Joyce Holden

Anne Shirley, Carol Stone and Rosina Lawrence

Judy Garland

June Lang

Leila Haymes

Lillian Wells

Friday, October 2, 2020


Anyone who grew up in New York City during the late fifties would recall John Zacherle as the ghoulish host of late-night horror movies, providing dark humor between the commercial breaks much in the same manner as Raymond on radio’s Inner Sanctum Mystery. As part of the Shock Theatre package, those movies included the likes of Boris Karloff, Bela Lugosi, Lon Chaney, Jr. and Peter Lorre. So it may come as no surprise that on the evenings of February 25, March 4 and March 11, 1959, Zacherle tried his hand as a ghoulish host on late-night radio with a short-lived series titled Beyond the End.

Advertised as “a three-program mystery series with a comic twist,” through an NBC press release, the program aired from 10:06 to 10:28 p.m. Certain newspapers listed the program on radio logs as “World’s Literature,” with no reference to the horror host or what specific dramatic readings were scheduled. The horror dramas consisted of Nelson Olmsted’s dramatic readings from commercial LP records released in 1956. Among the spooky dramas presented were Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart” and “The Black Cat.” As for Zacherle, his gig as a radio horror host was short-lived. 

Zacherle was a celebrity guest at the Friends of Old-Time Radio convention many years ago but sadly, no one was apparently aware of the radio program and asking Zacherle myself about the program he could only remember going to the radio station to do his spiel before the microphone. Nothing memorable to recall.

Since the programs aired over NBC radio live, the closest we can come to hearing any rendition of his spook-tacular radio performance are his LP records issued from 1960 to 1963, Spook Along with ZacherlyMonster MashScary Tales Featuring John Zacherly and Zacherle’s Monster Gallery. It seems unlikely whether we will be able to verify whether or not his 1958 top-ten novelty rock and roll song, “Dinner With Drac,” was featured on any of the three broadcasts, quite possibly as the program’s theme song? 

Special Thanks to Steven Thompson, Michael Biel and David Lennick for their assistance.