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Zach's first WOR show saw him hosting Zombies On Broadway. As the show opened Zach was thrown forcibly into his new crypt. Zach yelled, "Let me out of here," a few times then settled down to eat a banana and host the film. Zach's initial program on WOR caused tremendous anxiety on the part of New York horror fans. Channel 2 was airing a Halloween premiere of Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein, and many fans not knowing that the Saturday broadcasts of Zach's shows would be repeats of the Friday show were forced to choose between the two. When Zacherley fans did understand that all three Zacherley broadcasts would be the same show, they were able to watch the one that was convenient, or watch all three. (The real fans watched all three, meaning that they sat through three broadcasts of each humdrum movie.)
A Simple Set
The breakins were up to the usual standards as well. An example from the first broadcast--gangster Sheldon Leonard walks up to a poker game in his "Zombie Hut" Nightclub. Zach looks up from his cards and says, "Hiya, Boss."
Now Rare - Zacherley Merchandise
Another desirable collectible was the paperback anthology, Zacherley's Midnight Snacks, which featured introductions by Zach to the stories. The book proved to be popular and went into a second printing. One famous incident involving the book occurred when Zach announced that he would be at Macy's to autograph copies of the paperback. The author of this article attended that book signing, which rivaled the WCAU "riot" of 1958. Zacherley fans of every shape and size descended upon the department store before Zach even arrived, and the lines went from the book department down every flight of stairs, out into the street and down Broadway.
"By the time I reached Zach he appeared to be exhausted and barely scribbled his name onto the book. I said to him, 'Zach, when are you going to get some good movies on channel 9?', and he gave a weary smile while replying, 'Soon, my boy, soon.'"
Since Midnight Snacks sold so well, Ballantine Books issued a sequel called, Zacherley's Vulture Stew, which also went into a second printing. Each book remained in print for years.
Another desirable item was the life-sized six foot Zacherley poster which was available from Captain Company. Many a ten year old had that poster taped and glued to his bedroom wall, which explains why so few of them survived in good condition. A further Captain Company collectible was the rubber Zacherley face mask. None of these seemed to have survived, which could be the benefit of cheap materials used in the item's manufacture.
Unlike previous stations which aired live, WOR taped their Zacherley programs. This allowed them to show each program three times, and then broadcast them on their California sister station, WKHJ, at a later date. WOR and WKHJ showed reruns of the Zacherley program the following year as well. Because these shows were on tape it was hoped that some of the broadcasts survived Zach's tenure at the station. However, this author contacted WOR during 1987 and was informed that the shows were taped over years ago.
Zach For President
During the Halloween weekend of 1961, Zacherley appeared on the educational children's show 1,2,3, Go! The program was normally hosted by Jack Lescoulie and a young Richard Thomas. Zach was on hand for the Halloween installment which explored haunted houses. Since this program was on film, it is likely that it still exists in the NBC archives.
While repeats of Zach's Channel 9 programs aired occasionally very late at night, no new programs were taped and Zach's contract expired. Zach did return to WOR to perform in the annual Multiple Sclerosis Telethon which was hosted by Dennis James. Besides performing and urging the TV audience to give money to the worthy cause, Zach spent long hours manning the telephones.