Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, December 31, 2010


Zacherley (real name John Zacherle) was the host of a Philadelphia horror movie television program.  There was a time when you couldn't throw a rock on television without hitting Zacherly or someone like him.  It seemed every television station had their own local version of Zacherley, usually made up to look like a "host" from one of the old EC horror comics.  (Then there was Elvira, Mistress of the Dark -- but she's in her own catagory.)  Bad puns, cheap sets, cheesy movies -- a formula that kids ate up, myself among them.  I can't remember the name of the guy who hosted this type of show in the Boston area, but I remember watching him faithfully.

     Zacherley (who I never saw and had never heard of until then) was different.  This guy knew horror, knew it so well that he had two anthologies published by Ballantine that helped warp a generation.  Both books blew me away, givng me my first introduction to Theodore Sturgeon, James Blish, A. E. van Vogt, Anthony Boucher, Richard Matheson, and many more.    Here is where I first encountered Henry Kuttner's fabulous Hogben family, still one of my most memorable reading experiences.  (Looking back today, I'm only surprised that he did not include a Robert Bloch story -- surely a natural for an anthology of this type and quality.)

Here's the line-up:

Zacherley's Midnight Snacks (Ballantine, 1960)

  • Richard Matheson, Sorry, Right Number (from Beyond Fantasy Fiction, November, 1953)
  • Jerome Bixby & Joe E. Dean, Share Alike (from Beyond Fantasy Fiction, July, 1953)
  • Theodore Sturgeon, Talent (from Beyond Fantasy Fiction, September, 1953)
  • Wallace West, Listen, Children, Listen (from Fantastic Universe, October-November, 1953)
  • William F. Temple, The Whispering Gallery (from Fantastic Universe, October-November, 1953)
  • Robert Moore Williams, The Piping Death (from Unknown, May, 1939)
  • A. E. van Vogt, The Ghost (from Unknown Worlds, August, 1942
  • "Philip James" (Lester del Rey & James H. Beard), Carillon of Skulls (from Unknown Fantasy Fiction, February, 1941)
  • Henry Kuttner, Pile of Trouble (from Thrilling Wonder Stories, April, 1948)

Zacherley's Vulture Stew (Ballantine, 1960)
  • L. Ron Hubbard, He Didn't Like Cats (from Unknown Worlds, February, 1942)
  • Mindret Lord, Dr. Jacobus Meliflore's Last Patient (from The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction , November, 1953)
  • Manly Wade Wellman, The Devil Is Not Mocked (from Unknown Worlds, June, 1943)
  • Donald A. Wollheim, Bones (from Stirring Science Fiction, February, 1941)
  • Charles R. Tanner, Out of the Jar (from Stirring Science Fiction, February, 1941)
  • A. E. van Vogt, The Witch (from Unknown Worlds, February, 1943)
  • Anthony Boucher, They Bite (from Unknnown Worlds, August, 1943)
  • E. Everett Evans, The Shed (from Avon Science Fiction and Fantasy Reader, January, 1953)
  • James Blish, There Shall Be No Darkness (from Thrilling Wonder Stories, April, 1950)

     Surprisingly, nothing from Weird Tales.  And, sadly for me, only these two anthologies.  I wished the series had gone on forever.

     And did I mention, two great cover paintings by Richard Powers?

1 comment:

  1. Bud Webster has a chapter on these two books in his excellent Anthopology 101. Zacherle(y) was the editor in name only, it appears, though for the first book he did select the stories by picking them at random for a list provided for him. The second book's actual editor isn't known, but Webster's guess is Betty Ballantine.