Showing posts with label Elvira. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Elvira. Show all posts

Go Psycho with Elvira and Pepsi

Monday, October 10, 2022

It's finally time for my annual Elvira article!  

To be honest, I've been looking forward to this one all year.  I'm pretty proud of my Elvira coverage over the past few years on this here little website, and if you'd like, you can go back and read past articles about the Mistress of the Dark in my "Collections" section found at the top of the site.  

My previous articles have gone quite in-depth and I've written some lengthy, information-packed articles regarding Elvira, whether it be her exploits in the world of professional wrestling, movies, Coors Beer, or Fox's Halloween Bash.  

A small percentage of you are out there asking yourself, just who is this Elvira he's talking about?  Well, I'll tell you. 

Cassandra Peterson grew up in Manhattan, Kansas, and moved to Las Vegas at 17 to become a showgirl at The Dunes casino.  10 years later, in 1979, after spending time touring Europe, she moved to Los Angeles to join the famed improvisational comedy group, The Groundlings.  During her time with The Groundlings, she created and developed the "valley girl" character that would later morph into her most famous role, "The Mistress of the Dark," Elvira.

In 1981, Peterson answered a casting call to replace the long-time host Sinister Seymour (Larry Vincent) on a Los Angeles-based weekend horror movie television show called Fright Night.  Producers allowed her to create her own image for the role, and using the "valley girl" character from The Groundlings, she made the campy, sexy vampire character now known worldwide as Elvira.  

Fright Night would become Elvira's Movie Macabre and was practically an overnight success... at least locally.  Elvira the character would eventually evolve from a popular local figure to a lucrative worldwide brand.  She quickly sold Halloween costumes, comic books, action figures, trading cards, and more.  Her popularity peaked when, in the late 80s, she appeared as the spokesperson for the Coors beer company.  In 1988, she also wrote and starred in a full-length feature film Elvira:  Mistress of the Dark, cementing herself as a global name.

After several years of attempts to make a sequel to Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, Cassandra and her manager (and then-husband Mark Pierson) decided to finance a second movie themselves.  In July 2002, Elvira's Haunted Hills officially premiered in Hollywood.  

In the years since, Elvira has revived her Movie Macabre tv show, created a cartoon, and performed as a spokesperson for various products.  

Just as Elvira's popularity surged due to the release of Mistress of the Dark, urban legends about satanic cults began sweeping the nation.  Suburban housewives and the ratings hungry news-media started spreading stories that cults were abducting and poisoning children at alarming rates in the woods surrounding suburban homes.  

The very religious Coors family worried their company would become a target of early cancel culture due to these cult rumors and their "Mistress of the Dark" spokeswoman.  Despite its unbelievable success, Coors killed the Elvira ad campaign right before Halloween in 1988.

It just so happened shortly thereafter that the soda giant Pepsi had recently launched two new brands of soft drinks and was looking for a celebrity to boost their market awareness.  Along with a partnership with Universal Studios that lasted several Halloweens, Pepsi turned to Elvira to launch their new campaign.   

With this brief partnership with Pepsi at the end of the 1980s, she created a pair of memorable commercial that combines soda, an iconic Alfred Hitchcock movie, and classic Halloween monsters.  

Let's take a deeper look, shall we?

How Elvira Helped Coors Light Become The "Official Beer of Halloween"

Sunday, October 31, 2021

The Wall Street Journal proclaimed in 1986, "Halloween, once a romp for kids clad as pirates and princesses, now rivals Saint Patrick's Day and New Year's Eve as party time for adults.  Blame it on Elvira!"

I've never been much of a beer drinker, but in college, my friends all enjoyed "The Silver Bullet."  I'm sure during our poor college student days, it had a lot more to do with price point than any ad campaign, but they sure did like their Coors Light!

Growing up in a teetotaler family as a child, my view of alcohol and beer was that it was "bad stuff for bad people." Mainly because the Church we went to, my Grandparents, and Parents would often remind me it was the cause of a lot of problems in the world (arguably true) and the first step down a road to a life of evil and wrong-doing.  Think Edie McClurg's character Chastity Pariah in "Mistress of the Dark."  

That said, I can clearly remember times at the grocery store (Grand Union) with Grandma or Mom, or at Lane's Deli with Gramps, or at the gas station with Dad, and seeing one advertisement that piqued my interest in the seemingly "naughty" adult world of mass-market beers.  It was Elvira, the Queen of Halloween, promoting Coors Light.  

Those life-sized standees (cardboard cutouts) of Elvira posing with a cartoon wolf or beach-bum monsters really caught my attention.  I've started a small collection over the years, and just this year, I finally attained my 'holy grail.'  I finally own the BeerWolf and Elvira poster where she claims she loves a man with a hairy chest (see above).  If I could only find an affordable "Mali-Boo Beach" cardboard standee in good condition, I'd consider my collection to be complete.

So how did Elvira, real name Cassandra Peterson, go from being a West Coast late-night horror movie hostess to a nationwide household name shilling for a light beer company?  Let's take a look!

Kicking Off Halloween with Elvira, Universal Monsters, and Monster Mash Retro Cereal!

Saturday, September 25, 2021

Let's get this Halloween party started!  If you are deep into this nostalgia culture of ours, you'll know probably only second to the Christmas season, Halloween is pretty important.  The remembrances of old decorations, candy, TV specials, and yes... even cereal!  We'll get to the cereal later...

I've got some fun stuff in store this year for Halloween that I hope you'll enjoy.  Like last year's "The Holidays on Home Improvement" series, I'll be kicking off this year's series with "Halloween on ROSEANNE!"  Besides "Home Improvement," there was nobody who did holidays quite like Roseanne during the 90s, and Halloween was no exception.  If you missed last year's "Home Improvement" series, please click HERE to go read it.

1994's Fox's Halloween Bash with Elvira and George Carlin

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

One of the great things of Halloween during the 80s and 90s was that television networks put in more effort to celebrate the holiday.  Not only did the big sitcoms feature special Halloween episodes, but, the networks went all in on special branding and promotions.  I was just as excited to go out trick-or-treating and collect candy as I was to come home and dump my candy out on the living room floor and watch all of the Halloween fun as I sorted through my loot.  One of the big ones that always stuck out to me was the Fox Halloween Bash.

The Fox Halloween Bash ran annually from 1991 through 1996 as a week-long programming block on the Fox Network, offering spooky movies and Halloween themed episodes in primetime.  Better than just coming home after Trick-Or-Treating this event lasted a whole week and gave us kids something to talk about in school the next day!  

The Halloween Bash would use celebrity appearances, cross-promotional marketing, and special graphics to create a buzz for their shows and promotional partners.  Using wrap-around segments in between the shows, the celebrity hosts would get a few minutes for light banter and comedy, promote the sponsors, and then introduce the next show.  They'd also use pre-recorded scripted segments of the stars of the network doing Halloween themed things, such as pumpkin carving, haunted houses, and more.  These little segments were enjoyable and most of them memorable.  These segments also served as a bridge connecting the unrelated shows into one major event.

Some of the most memorable Halloween Bash's for me as a kid growing up were from 1993-95.  I would have been in the 3rd to 5th grade during those years, which is the perfect Trick-or-Treating age, if you ask me.  But my all-time favorite, one that I can clearly remember most of the bumpers and ads for, was the 1994 Fox Halloween Bash featuring the Mistress of the Dark herself, Elvira! 

Elvira: Mistress of the... Wrestling Ring?

Friday, September 18, 2020

As Halloween approaches, I begin to think of Elvira more often than usual.  For my wife and I, Elvira's movies, "Mistress of the Dark" and "Haunted Hills," are considered 'must-watch' movies during the month of October. I'm also reminded of her many product promotions and appearances on television around the Halloweens of my childhood during the 80s and 90s.

Cassandra Peterson created the Elvira character in 1981 when a Los Angeles based weekend cable show, "Fright Nights," auditioned for new hosts to introduce B-rated horror movies.  She quickly caught on as Elvira, using a "Valley-Girl" accent and sarcastic and often risque commentary.  Her campy sense of humor was filled with double entendres and quickly made the Elvira character a household name.  

However, before her hit film "Mistress of the Dark" made it big in 1988, did you know she joined the world of professional wrestling?  In an appearance that longtime wrestling fans will remember, Elvira left her mark on Wrestlemania 2 in 1986.  She appeared alongside Jesse "The Body" Ventura and Lord Alfred Hayes to provide commentary for the Los Angeles portion of the event on April 7, 1986.  That year, you may remember, the main event was a steel cage match between Hulk Hogan and King Kong Bundy. 

Elvira joins Scooby Doo for Halloween Fun

Sunday, August 23, 2020

Long time readers know that my wife and I love Elvira and her two films, "Mistress of the Dark" and "Haunted Hills."  Forgetting about her silly recent political commentary, I patiently await her very-long-awaited 3rd film... if it ever gets made.

For fans of Cassandra Peterson and her Elvira persona, however, you can find her in an all-new digital release (and on DVD) cartoon titled "Happy Halloween, Scooby Doo!"  The team of detective teens meet up with none other than Elvira herself (and Bill Nye the Science Guy) as they battle the famous Batman villain The Scarecrow.

The official statement reads: “With fake monsters and candy galore, Halloween is heaven for these hungry foodies going door-to-door. But this year, their sweet holiday turns sour when the neighborhood pumpkin patch is infected by toxic ooze, creating high-flying jack-o-lanterns, and a king-sized pumpkin leader squashing everything in its path. It’s up to Scooby-Doo and the gang as they team up with their pals, Bill Nye the Science Guy and Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, to solve this mystery of gigantic proportions and save Crystal Cove!”

Written, directed, and produced by Maxwell Atom, who is best known for creating The Cartoon Network's Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy and executive producer of Disney Channel's "Fish Hooks," this project features popular voice casting for the series that includes Frank Welker as Scooby and Fred, Grey Griffin as Daphne, Kate Micucci as Velma, and Matthew Lillard as Shaggy.  Cassandra Peterson does her own voice work as Elvira.
Check out the official trailer below!

Elvira's Haunted Hills

Monday, October 14, 2019

Many people know Elvira, be it from her cable show Elvira's Movie Macabre her or 1988 feature film Elvira: Mistress of the Dark, but what most people aren't familiar with is her 2001 follow-up movie Elvira's Haunted Hills.  It's not quite a sequel but is loosely based on the Elvira character and the hopes most viewers have knowledge of Mistress of the Dark.

Elvira, real name Cassandra Peterson, got her start in entertainment with small parts as a show girl, go-go dancer, background singer, and model for men's magazines.  The Elvira character was born in 1981 when Los Angeles based weekend cable show Fright Nights auditioned for a new host to introduced B-rated horror movies.  Elvira quickly caught on with audiences with her "Valley-Girl" speech pattern and risqué and sarcastic commentary.  Personally, I don’t think her cleavage exposing tight fitting black dress didn’t hurt, but all joking aside, Elvira herself deserves the credit for her own success.  Her campy sense of humor teeming with double entendres and one-liners won over audiences both men and women alike.