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Hi, I'm Tamera, a professional wedding, portrait and boudoir photographer in Colorado Springs. But this blog isn't about my professional work; no, it's a daily love note to my beautiful city, where I've lived for most of my life. I love it here and I hope you enjoy seeing Colorado Springs through my eyes and lens!

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09 July 2009

Famous Colorado Springs residents: "Elvira"

Surely you remember Elvira, Mistress of the Dark! Her real name is Cassandra Peterson, and she was born in Kansas but raised in Colorado Springs. She graduated from Palmer High School downtown -- and if you went to Palmer you'd know that, because her photo, just like the one above, is on the wall in the main entrance right next to all the other famous Palmer alumni.

In the 1980s Cassandra Peterson, as Elvira, hosted a late night horror show on TV called Movie Macabre. Basically her job was to introduce the night's film (always a B-movie), then periodically interrupt with some cheeky, droll or lascivious commentary, all the while outfitted in a tight black gothy dress with an outrageously plunging neckline, vampira makeup and a huge black wig. She was awesome! And so funny! I loved Elvira!

I did a little bit of research on her. It turns out she's led an amazing life, our Miss Peterson. Immediately after graduating from Palmer she hightailed it to Las Vegas, where she became the youngest showgirl in Vegas history. She won a small role in a James Bond film ("Diamonds are Forever"), playing a showgirl of course. She dated Elvis Presley, then posed as a stripper for the cover of Tom Waits' breakthrough album "Small Change" (I guess that's her in the background). Eventually she moved to Italy to sing in a rock band; there she met the legendary director Federico Fellini, who gave her a small part in his film "Roma". I'm telling you, you can't make this stuff up! What a life she's led! And all of this before she landed her Elvira schtick!

Well anyway, as Elvira she was extremely popular. Do you remember Elvira's ads for Coors beer? A chesty, campy Vampira type selling beer -- I loved it! She really kind of legitimized the Goth movement that was gaining traction around that time (and of which I was a participant). She was our campy goth cheerleader.

These days I guess the Elvira persona has been retired, but I'm still glad to claim her as one of our most famous residents. The above photo belongs to my good friend Dave, whose brother Mike used to work with Cassandra Peterson's niece here in town. It takes pride of place on his living room wall, but he was happy to take it down for me today so I could get a snap of him holding it. Thanks Dave!


B SQUARED said...

I loved Elvira!

Lois said...

I used to watch Elvira! I loved her. That's a great shot and very interesting information.

Gail's Man said...

I have the film she made some years ago on video somewhere. Not seen it in ages. I must dig it out sometime.

Charlotte Geary said...

How fun! I never knew Elvira was so interesting, but after reading your post, I've decided that she's really cool. :)

Anonymous said...

my grandpa graduated with her!