Oct. 7, 2020

This Day in Halloween: The first late-night horror movie show "Shock Theater" premieres on WCAU-TV in Philadelphia in 1957. / Illustration by Alexander Dellosa.

Shock Theater premieres on WCAU-TV in Philadelphia in 1957. Starring John Zacherle as the character “Roland,” the program is the first late-night horror movie show, and Zacherle the first horror host in TV history, offering a prototype other shows would follow for decades. The movies are usually bad, with the ghoulishly-dressed “Roland” offering off-kilter comedy skits during the broadcast and cut-ins during the movie. The show would run about a year before switching to WABC-TV in Philadelphia, where it would be renamed Zacherley at Large and the character rechristened Zacherley. The show would run another two years.