Dr. Shock
Saturday, November 5, 1977

Joseph Zawislak was a monster movie TV host. However, we all knew him better as WPHL-TV’s “Dr. Shock.” According to Broadcast Pioneers member John Zacherle, Zawislak contacted Zacherle (ever notice they both have the initials JZ) and asked his permission to create a TV host that was very loosely based on “Roland” that aired here in Philadelphia in the late 1950s. Zach, of course, said yes.

(Left to right) unidentified male and Dr. Shock
Saturday, November 3, 1973

The Dr. Shock programs used different titles over the years including “Scream In,” “Mad Theater” and Horror Theater.” All aired on WPHL, Channel 17 in Philly. He always ended his program with “Let There Be Fright.” Zachele also ended his broadcasts with a saying, “Good night, Whatever you Are?”

(Left to right) Joe & Doreen Zawislak (Bubbles)
WPHL-TV Publicity Photo
circa 1978

Dr. Shock first appeared on Channel 17 in 1969 and ran for 13 weeks. The series was canceled but 10,000 protest letters brought it back. Boris the hunchback was dropped and later, “Bubbles,” Zawislak’s daughter Doreen was added as “Bubbles Booth.” Booth soda, a local soft drink company was the sponsor. In their commercials, they had a cartoon character called “Bubbles.” While Doreen looked nothing like Bubbles, no one seemed to care.

He sometimes referred to himself as “ol’ Shocky Doc.” The program continued until 1979 when Joe died at the age of 42 of a heart attack. The show ended at that point. No one could replace Dr. Shock.

From the official archives of the Broadcast Pioneers of Philadelphia
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