Saturday, February 6, 2016

Why I became The Wolfman

Subtitle: The Return Of The Vampire, 1944, starring Bela Lugosi.
Shock Theatre, with John Zacherle, loomed large in my youth. Zacherle had this local NYC broadcast in the 50’s. He dressed up Transylvania style with zombie makeup. His “lab assistant” was Igor, who I recall dragged a bum leg around with him as he walked. Zacherle would  have some campy scenario with a horror theme going on in between running old Hollywood films featuring Bela, Lon Chaney, Boris Karloff and others of the genre. The show was great…a place where boys could live the vicarious world of weird in between pretending to be superman saving the world and building wooden go-carts with old lawnmower engines. My cousin, blog reader #10,001, and I loved Shock Theatre. We once, just for fun, created a body lying on its back with an axe buried in its chest. I wonder if the photo still exists…Thank you John Zacherle for that inspiration.
So, after enough diet of werewolf, I found I could mimic the howl pretty well. It is something that has followed me for many years. It grew a bit in high school but really blossomed in college where I acquired a nickname, (there were others, I acquired nicknames by the handful for awhile back then), “Wolfman”. Certain events and parties seemed not complete without a good, loud howl. This carried on into my early working years. I joined Wine World, the then Nestle owned business that centered around Beringer, in 1979. By 1980, the president of the company was calling me Wolfman. By 1986, when I was managing the company’s import division, which was heavy with some really fine Italian wines, I was called, “Uomo Lupo”. A workmate came up with it and it stuck for awhile. It is an attempt in Italian for Wolfman.
So, this morning what turns up on TV? The Return…and watching it, and the scene where the werewolf first appears, I realize that I have finally grown out of The Wolfman Era of my life. But I must confess, I sure feel like giving out a howl. But it’s early, Cathy is still sleeping.


  1. The episode I remember involved a gorilla that had swallowed a soccer ball and Zacherle performed a soccerectome. The air pressure of the ball determined the winner.

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  3. And then there was Gasport, the being in the bag. His use of cauliflowers for brains was inspired. I think I need to find that axe photo.