Rich Scrivani takes a peek at John Zacherle
Actor John Zacherle's debut as a television horror host in the guise of  Philadelphia's "Roland" in the '50s may be just a fable to fans of the one and only "Cool  Ghoul. ("Yeah, we heard about that..") Most die-hard Zachophiles know him as "Zacherley", the host of the 1950's "Shock Theatre" and "Zacherley at Large".  As for myself, it was his  hosting of "Hercules", part of WPIX's kid show lineup in the 1960's, live from New York, that had me in stitches.  Later that decade, in fuzzy new bandwidth called UHF, he pranced with New Jersey teenage guys and dolls in the dance show "Disc-O-Teen".  It was a natural lead to his career as a DJ in top FM Rock Stations in the Big Apple.

But Zacherley invading your television in glorious black and white; that was the magic.  He held his own with the other brave comedians of the 1950's. Like Winters, he gave into his imagination. Like Newhart, he was a master of timing, and like Bruce, he was hip. 

So it's no wonder, when John Zacherle appears as "Zach" at the Chiller Theatre Expos in New Jersey, that it's an effort to get close to him.  It's packed.
The question  always surfacing when Zach makes an appearance is - When are you going to release your surviving shows on video? 
It was answered two years ago, and PS Productions was proud to be part of it.

     In a co-production between John Zacherle and Rich Scrivani (possibly the ultimate Zach archivist) it was agreed that this was to be a class "A" production; No fluky home-made type video here. Right off the bat, we knew that the video's cover box had to get first-class treatment. Jeff Marshall, artist supreme for some videos by author Lee Pfeiffer, happily went to work for one main reason - He's a major Zacherley fan.

      Four Kinescopes had survived, including one with Zach as "Roland". The "Cool Ghoul" had them transferred to video some years ago and I began transferring them to the highest video format and was able to slightly improve the quality, which was surprisingly not bad to begin with.  As for the "Archives" format, it was simple;  The Zacherley of today would introduce each clip.  This gave makeup gurus  Michael R. Thomas and Christine Domanieki a chance for a wish come true,  and for the first time in years,  John Z.'s  makeup is exactly as it appeared in the "Shock Theatre" era.

      A three camera set up manned by myself on professional Betacam, John Kourkoutis and Mike Brunas on Hi8 (so we wouldn't miss a Zach trick) was assembled in our New Jersey studios. Rich Scrivani provided a suitably odd prop to accompany Zach - a full size wax sculpture of Henry Hull  ("Werewolf of London").  My talented wife and lighting director George Ann was away at the time, but gave me emergency instructions;  Do the standard "3 point lighting" setup.  Even I couldn't screw that up.  Guess what happened?
      Zach was well lit, so well that he looked like he could have been anchoring for prime-time news.  The atmosphere, the "oddness" was missing.  We soon got the trouper back (when George Ann was around, of course) and she made Zach shine - the right way!  Next up was creating an opening title montage,  using clippings courtesy of Rich's collection.  Graphic designer John Payne provided an ideal logo for the video. After we had all our elements,  Zach sat in on our editing session and felt that his new intros, along with the opening titles, should match the look of the kinescopes presented.  So, "The Zacherley Archives" is in....glorious black and white!
      Jeff Marshall's cover art gave the entire project a beautiful wrapping. At conventions, many inquire about purchasing the blow-up Jeff made for Zach's table!
      Lately,  We've been very fortunate to have been able to assist in projects for a few real heroes of ours.  And we're very humbled to have spent some time with John Zacherle.
      For a more detailed (and better told) story of "The Zacherley Archives", check out Rich Scrivani's article in "Scarlet Street" issue 32. (And for a neat story about Zach's chair in the video, read issue 30!)
And now, THE ZACHERLEY ARCHIVES has been expanded to OVER THREE HOURS in a Special Edition DVD with more surprises from Zacherley, including a look into his "closet" of special memories and mementos!
                                                           - Paul Scrabo