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Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Mieography





Now who else would I do on Halloween, except Elvira, Mistress of the Dark? I mean, seriously, here.
Cassandra Peterson was born in Manhattan, (Kansas, that is)
She grew up in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Her childhood was badly traumatized by an accident she had at five years old, where she was scalded by boiling water, and ended up having to undergo seventeen different skin grafting operations to repair the scar tissue. She had to cover some of her remaining scar tissue on her neck and shoulders with make up or clothing. She admits that she had been mesmorized by Ann Margaret as a girl, and wanted to be a dancer. Days after graduating from high school, she drove to Las Vegas, Nv, where she got a job at the Dunes, as a showgirl. The Guinness Book of World Records cited her as the youngest showgirl in Vegas history. She was a showgirl in the Bond film "Diamonds Are Forever", dated Elvis Presley (briefly) and posed as a stripper for the cover of "Small Change", an album by Tom Waits.
in the early 1970's, she moved to Italy and became the lead singer of an Italian rock band. While she was there, she happened to meet Fellini, and got a small part in one of his movies, "Roma". She eventually came back to the US, where she toured nightclubs, and gay disco with a musical comedy act called "Mama's Boys, which she created. In 1979, she joined a LA based improv group called The Groundings. It was here that she started developing the very beginnings of Elvira....
she was also posing nude for several "Big Bust" magazines, auditioned for the role of "Ginger" in a Gilligan's Island movie, and was a radio show personality.
In late spring of 1981, a local LA station got the bright idea to bring back a weekend horror show called "Fright Night" whose host had died. They wanted a female host, and had originally hired Maila Numi, who used to be a horror host. They were going to call it "The Vampira Show". Numi quit the project when the producers would not hire Lola Falana to play Vampira. A casting call went out, and Cassandra went, with 200 other hopeful horror hosts. She won, obviously, and the producers told her to create her image. She'd originally planned to look like Sharon Tate, in the film "The Fearless Vampire Killers", but the producers jeered her for that. Meanwhile, Numi stopped the producers from using the name "Vampira", so "Elvira" was chosen, and the name of the show was changed to "Elvira's Movie Macabre". Elvira, with her drag queen makeup, and towering black beehive wig quickly gained notoriety. It also helped that she wore a tight fitting gown that showed more cleavage than had ever been on television before. The screened movies were all B grade, or less, and Elvira would recline on her red velvet couch, lampooning them all.
She became a frequent guest on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson, and did a long series of TV ads for Coors Light, and Mug Root beer, and guest starred on many TV shows (For years, my Father would gaze adoringly at the full sized Elvira cardboard figure he got from a grocery store. I think it was a Coors light ad of some sort).. Soon, costumes, calendars, dolls, among other things modeled after her began to surface. She even went on to be in a film "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark" that she co-wrote. She put out some home video's (NO, not that kind) as well. Computer games with her persona were developed, and even pinball machines.
Like a thorn in a paw, Malia Numi surfaced yet again in the late 90's, and sued her for alleged unauthorized use of her likeness and character. Elvira ahem Cassandra won her case.
On Halloween night, 1992, she appeared with U2 when they played at Dodger Stadium. This is where she first announced her candidacy for President, saying "we already have two boobs in the White House, might as well be mine". She ran again fourteen years later. She also recorded five Halloween albums, and has written 4 books. There are thousands of Elvira impersonators in this world. She even was part of a reality show called "The search for the Next Elvira", where she (supposedly) crowned her successor. The winner goes to events where Cassandra cannot go, for any reason. (Kind of like a beauty queen runner up?)
Her career as 'Queen of Halloween' has now spanned over 26 years.
She is married to Mark Pierson, and has one child.

Unpleasant Dreams.........

6 comments:

Daryl said...

Once again insight into someone I knew nothing about who turns out to be very interesting ...

Happy Halloween .. play no tricks, give only treats

BOOOO

:-Daryl

Knot said...

I've always wondered if anyone actually knew who she was. I guess the internet has again removed the mask.

Knot

sybil law said...

Happy Halloween!!

CamiKaos said...

I didn't know it was her on the small change album! It's one of my favorites.

Happy Halloween!!!

Bubblewench said...

My hearts on fire for Elvira! Nicely done! She's pretty cool.

mielikki said...

Knot- I've always known exactly who she was. She makes appearances as herself on a regular basis. There really was no mask to remove.
BW- I wondered if someone was going to comment that song, that will now play in my head all day....
Cami- that surprised me as well
Syb- you,too!

Daryl. Booooo to you, too, may you get many treats today