That is the question

OK folks, here we go again! Let's say you're sitting around your house on Halloween with no atmosphere for the holiday. The fire's crackling in the fireplace, the cider and good cheer abounds inyour glasses, but there is something missing. You've watched all the scary movies in your collection and on cable, so what to do now? Well, you could do what our forefathers and mothers did back in the 30s, 40s, and 50s. Radio! But there's nothing remotely appropriate on today's radio dial. So what to do?

Well, Radio Spirits might have the answer to your dilemma. Radio Spirits is the first and foremost leader in vintage radio programs for decades, and their catalog features a wide variety of radio shows from radio's Golden Age. One of their new collections will give you all the thrills, chills, spills, and Suspense that could make your Halloween a memorable one. The collection is Suspense Classics, and boasts one of the most impressive cast rosters of any radio anthology to come down the pike in many a full moon. It's subtitled, "When the stars come out ... to shiver!" and shiver they do. The lineup on this ten CD set is not to be believed. Here to delight you are such stars as Peter Lorre, Bela Lugosi (in his CD debut), Ozzie and Harriet Nelson, Milton Berle, Bob Hope, Edward G. Robinson, Anne Baxter, Charles Laughton, Gregory Peck, and Joan Crawford.

Suspense gave actors who were typecast an opportunity to showcase their talents in areas that their audiences would never have suspected, and scare the living yell out of listeners young and old. For more information, contact Radio Spirits at

Now may I digress a moment? Today I beat "Thing" to the mailbox and found my copy of John Zacherle's Monster Mash and Scary Tales waiting for me in all its glory, and boy did it live up to the hype I laid on you last installment! Back in late 1963, two kids from New Jersey moved into the neighborhood. It was right before John F. Kennedy was gunned down in Dallas, and just before the BEatles brought healing sounds to the shattered youth of America. The younger of the two kids had Zacherle's Monster Mash album, with a melted was of Playdough embedded into Side Two. Well, with great effort and patience (a rarity for thirteen-year-olds), the gooey substance was removed, and soon the three of us were gorrving to the sounds of "The Cool Ghoul" and his spooktacular version of Bobby "Boris" Pickett's classic, as well as Zach's versions of Cameo Parkways' Hit Parade.

Now, this wasn't my first exposure to Zacherle. In 1959 I saw Zach in the pages of Famous Monsters of Filmland Magazine Issue No. 4 at the Sun-Fax Market magazine stand. I wasn't allowed to buy monster mags at the tender age of four, but while the parental units weren't keeping an eye on this precocious young lad, I flipped through the pulp newsprint pages, and there was Zach in full makeup, beaming from ear to ear. Later I was fortunate enough to see two of his shows, shown on Los Angeles television affiliate K.H.J. I can't remember what films were presented those two nights, but Zach sure made an impression. (He still does.)

So here my friends and I are, entralled by the cemetery counds of Mr. Z, winhin' and hope'n we could be in Zach's band of merry making fiends (who were the Cameo-Parkway house band Dave Appell and the Appelljacks).

Some of my favorite tracks (and all of them are) included "Hurry Bury Baby," "Weird Watusi," "The Pistol Stomp," "Gravy" (with some cyanide), "Let's Twist Again" (Mummy Time is here), "I'm the Ghoul from Wolverton Mountain," and of course Zack's 1958 classic "Dinner With Drac" which hit number 6 on the Billboard Pop Charts.

With Scary Tales from 1963, Zach gives the listener a taste of Transylvania Nursery Rhymes, kicking off with "Scary Tales" (from Mother Goose, steering the listener through a baby carriage full of wolfbane with "A Tisket a Casket," "Hansel and Gretel," "Clementine," and "The Spider and the Fly."

The Tombstone Rockers in this collection are "Happy Halloween," and "Surfboard 109" (authored by Zach), and the disc is rounded by "Monster Monkey," "Little Red Riding Hood," "ABC" (not the Jackson Five track), and "Dear, Dear Valentine." There's four bonus tracks for extra fun, two alternate takes of "Scary Tales," and two "Dinner With Drac" B sides - "Igor," and "Dinner With Drac" Part 2.

For info: and

If that's not enough for your Halloween, has just released Chiller Theatre Halloween featuring the Cool Ghoul, the Dead Elvi, The Shadoes of Knight, Pax Romana, Tuff Darts, Harley Fine, Shakertown Blackhawks, and Pathorgan and Thunder Road. For info go to

Have a safe yet insane Halloween! Until next time!

Jan Alan Henderson

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