The first thing taken from Richard Scrivani’s ‘Goodnight, Whatever You Are’ is a sincere appreciation for both the classic horror films of his youth and the television host who made them a little less scary and a little more fun. That admiration is undeniable throughout his chronicle of his life alongside John “Zacherley” Zacherle. hosting ‘Shock Theater’ to his tenure on New York’s ‘Disc O-Teen,’ a show that featured both The Lovin’ Spoonful and the Doors. However, Zacherley never comes off as a rock star. Scrivani goes to show Zach as a down to earth, grateful for the fans man who never let his position go to his head.
While not a strict biography of the horror host, ‘Goodnight, Whatever You Are’ gives a first hand telling of Zachereley’s experiences early on as an regular actor before adopting the ‘Roland’ undertaker role that would morph into ‘Zacherley.’
Working with full cooperation from the ‘Cool Ghoul’ himself, Scrivani recounts both Zacherele’s experiences establishing him into Philidelphia television, which lead him from
Coming into this book thinking it was a biography of the famed horror host left me a bit surprised to see Scrivani use his experience as a foil. But as earlier stated, it becomes aptly appropriate considering the subject. Scrivani notes that Zacherley is a private man, and details about family life in the Zacherle household are scant. One of the few pre-Zacherely pictures in the book shows the host in his uniform when he was in World War II.
The display of reservation is visible in one scene, where Scrivani invites a friend of his to visit the Disc O-Teen set. Scrivani’s excited for friend to meet Zach. While Zacherle is courteous to everyone, he only shows interest when he finds out he friend is a merchant marine on home leave. It’s an instance that stands out where John Zacherle overshadowed his bigger persona.
Scrivani relates with strong detail the experience of growing up with the Cool Ghoul, giving a good picture of the Disc O-Teen regulars as well as those involved behind the camera. Those looking for complete biography will have to settle for the space left between themselves and the television screen.