Over the years, I’ve done several posts that feature Elvis in Halloween themes, but the supply of pictures available for this has been pretty much used up. So, this year, how about an article on someone who made a career out of Halloween themes… and also had a connection with Elvis?
Yes, we’re talking about Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, the costumed vamp who hosted a horror movie show on television and went on to great fame.
Cassandra Peterson created the Elvira persona in 1981. Prior to that, she was a Las Vegas showgirl.
It was during this period Cassandra Peterson met Elvis.
“I had been patterning my whole life after Ann Margaret in Viva Las Vegas. So, Yeah, luckily, really, I met Elvis, and it was kind of my dream come true because by the time I went to Vegas, and I did meet Elvis, it was like, ‘Oh my God, it’s coming true! The whole movie’s coming true, you know!’ And, so, I did hang out with Elvis for a while, and he was wonderful and charming and nice, very down home, very sweet, innocent kind of person. He was so different than what anybody would ever think. Not like Mr. Show Biz Time, just a nice, really charming, wonderful guy, very funny sense of humor.”
Cassandra Peterson got started as Elvira in 1981, but back in 1969 she was just a 17 year old, struggling showgirl, when a friend of Cassandra’s managed to get them both invited to a party at Elvis’ penthouse suite in the Las Vegas International Hotel.
Elvis liked to be around showgirls, and on this night he took an interest in Cassandra.
“Elvis singled me out. I sat at the piano and he played songs for me. We were singing together and he said, ‘Oh, you have a good voice. Why don’t you go take some singing lessons, learn how to sing, and get out of here?’ He said, ‘Because this is a real short-lived career, being a showgirl.’ So, next day, I mean, really, the next day, I went out and I signed up for singing lessons, and within just a few months I got a singing part in the show. It really was the thing I needed to kind of get me out of there.”
Later, in a more private setting, they talked all night, and a variety of subjects were broached. Elvis told her he was very spiritual and discussed numerology. He showed her a jewel-encrusted belt buckle — a present from President Richard Nixon.
“It was the biggest, gaudiest things I had ever seen, and he was just so thrilled with it, like he was a little kid.”
She told him she smoked marijuana and that she was a virgin and both revelations had an effect on Elvis. He lectured her on the evils of pot, and marveled that there was actually a showgirl virgin in Las Vegas. After a while, she came to a realization.
“It was clear that he was not going to, like, hit on me. I could kick myself now for telling him. It would have been great to have him as my first lover. If it’s got to be somebody, it might as well be Elvis.”
How’s that for an understatement?
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