The Haunted World of Vampira
First of all, let’s clear up just who is the macabre mistress known as Vampira. She is most definitely not Elvira, and were she still alive today, she’d certainly vehemently protest your abhorrent mix-up. Vampira is, however, the actress and model born Maila Elizabeth Syrjäniemi, or simply Maila Nurmi. Back in 1953, Nurmi was greatly inspired by the Charles Addams’ horror comic strips that ran in The New Yorker (the eventual basis for The Addams’ Family), especially Morticia. One can certainly see resemblances in her outfit.
Soon she was hired to host a show on KABC called, Dig Me Later, Vampira (The Vampira Show), which ran from April 1954 till 1955. During that time she became incredibly popular making regular appearances on such shows as The Red Skelton Show with guests Bela Lugosi, Lon Cheney, Jr., and Peter Lorre. In 1957 she began doing opening ‘bumpers’ for major Hollywood horror releases under Universal’s Screen Gems label called Shock Theater. This would also mark the years she began her turn as a Hollywood actress including her (some say) infamous appearance in the Ed Wood cult classic, Plan 9 From Outer Space.
To check out more of Maila’s life before, during, and after Vampira until her passing in 2008, including her feud with Cassandra Peterson (Elvira), check out this Wiki entry. Then check out these 30 gorgeous pics and a few clips.