John Zacherley was one of the first wave of horror movie hosts on TV, a slicked-back cross between Lon Chaney's Phantom of the Opera and Colin Clive. At nearly eighty, he's still working the horror convention circuit with his trademark snarky wit thoroughly intact, but in the 1950's he was a big crossover celebrity. A trip to the studio to cut a record was inevitable.
"Dinner with Drac," Zacherley's 1958 top ten gem, predates the rock-and-roll backbeat of Pickett's tune, and it arguably rocks harder, with an especially grimy stripclub saxophone punctuating the instrumental breaks. Atop the pre-garage rock strut is Zacherley's mordantly hilarious narrative..."A dinner was served for three at Dracula's House by the sea...The H'ors 'doeuvres were fine, but I choked on my wine when I learned that the main course was me!" It was a top ten hit in 1958, and it's become a Halloween staple since.
It's one of the few novelty songs that really stands up to repeat listens for me. The instrumental grittiness, the sick wit of the lyrics (click here for the whole shebang), Zacherley's priceless delivery, and his hearty laugh (one of the most infectious I've ever heard) all combine to an irresistible whole. Thanks, XM Radio: It was great hearing this again today.