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Professor Griffin says goodbye to the first horror host... Vampira...

The first REAL TV Horror Host has died. Vampira aka Maila Numri is gone. A recipe for Vampira (as provided by Vampira herself): 2 oz. Theda Bara (vamp, vamp) 2 oz. Morticia (morbid Victorian) 3 oz. Norma Desmond (Sunset Boulevard) 4 oz. Tallulah Bankhead (the voice, dahling) 2 oz. Marilyn Monroe (demons are a ghoul's best friend) 3 oz. Katherine Hepburn (Victorian English) 2 oz. Bettie Davis (mama, baby) 3 oz. Billie Burke (dilettante) 3 oz. Marlene Dietrich (singing voice) 8 oz. Bizarre pin-up Add 3 lizard eggs, 2 mothballs and a glass eye from a pygmy. Shake vigorously till steaming She started here career as a model, actress and dancer in Hollywood, but her life was forever changed when she attended the Ball Caribe Masquerade Party in Hollywood in 1953. She attended dressed as a vampish character based on the Charles Addams drawing of Morticia from the New York Times. She beat out 2000 contestants in the costume contest and won first prize! She also won the attention of K- ABC channel 7 producer Hunt Stromberg Jr. He hired her to host the station's new late-night horror show, called what else? The Vampira Show! The Horror Show premiered in 1954 and Vampira quickly got national attention. Fan clubs and magazine articles followed. Soon she was jet setting with Hollywood icons like James Dean and Marlon Brando. Unfortunately, she was fired from the studio after only just a year and a half. Why? Vampira claims she was blacklisted from Hollywood because she didn't cooperate with the Hollywood factory. I'm not too sure what that means coming from a late-night TV Horror Hostess!. There was an infamous Vampira tape that a good friend dupped for me in 2003 from the footage that HE got after joining the Creature Features group and securing the footage from a fan there (whew!) Originally in the possession of Dave (The Rocketer) Stevens, the TV footage is short but breathtaking. To hear Vampira's voice! Never heard it before that tape. Very blue-blood, aristrocratic, and powerful. He body language...seductive yet creepy, (nothing wrong with that combo)and her humor....well, shall we say it is very appropriate for All Gallows Eve! (sorry, I was treading on Forry’s territory there) I just wanted to say that seeing the footage, I'd have to say that Vampira DID have cause to sue Elvira. I mean, the opening, with the fog and candles and more importantly, that couch! It looked like the same one! It has been said that Malia was on board Movie Macabre in the beginning and helped to develop it. But left after conflicts arose. I've also read that she was very difficult to work with. (Malia not Cassandra) That tape footage is priceless, breathtaking and just plain fun. Oh, and as a special treat, Art Baker, the host of You Asked For It, introduces the footage in an old 'the history of channel 7' bit holding keys with faces emblazoned on them. Great stuff. RIP Vampira and thank you. Prof. Griffin

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:10 p.m. CST

    This place is a joke,

    by godhatesyou

    She was in 'Plan 9 from outer space' RIP Vampira

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:16 p.m. CST

    Who? What? At least Elvira lives on.

    by Heckles

    So there's that.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:23 p.m. CST

    Pathetic requiem...Plan 9 anyone?

    by Missing Dink

    Yeah let's leave out Plan 9 From Outer Space. Instead let's talk about how difficult she was to work with and offer commentary about her claim of being blacklisted.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:26 p.m. CST

    Lugosi in Ed wood said it best -

    by Jugdish

    Look at those juggs! ( or was it cans? )

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:27 p.m. CST

    RIP Vampira...

    by JustinSane

    ...I love me some Plan 9 (though Wood's masterpiece in my eyes will always be Glen or Glenda?)

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Vampira was a True Icon...


    ...without her there would be not only no Elvira, there quite probably would not have been a Lily Munster or a Morticia. <p> She led the way that Zacherle, Ghoulardi, even John Stanley of Creature Features followed... <p> So she was in Plan Nine, arguably this adds rather than detracts from her legend... <p> ... for better or worse there would be a damn sight fewer Goth chicks in the universe without her... (and they are NOT all fat!) <p> I say we all light a red candle, say a prayer to whatever dark power we believe in, and remember her with love and respect. <p> On a different note... Professor Griffin? I remember when I was the ONLY faculty member around here... now this place is lousy with Prof's... At least I have tenure...

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:34 p.m. CST

    I'd tittie fuck Elvira.....................

    by crackerfarmboy

    Sorry, but I would!

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:51 p.m. CST

    Had those conical '50s boobs

    by skimn

    that could PUT YER EYE OUT!! And did Elvira claim she was never influenced by Vampira..? Okay.........

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 3:59 p.m. CST

    Sad day indeed

    by Frankenbastard

    Whether you liked her or not she was another sweet layer on towering cake of monster history. Another indelible image on T-shirts, posters, magazines, and American Pop Culture. Any true monster/horror fan can appreciate that. Rest in peace Maila Numri and thanks for the memories. FB

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 4:27 p.m. CST

    You've got the tape...

    by Pi-Rate

    So why not YouTube some of it, embed it here so we can SEE her. You want to honor her, then SHARE a sample of her talent so that she can be appreciated.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 4:28 p.m. CST

    Charles Addams drew for The New Yorker

    by Jewfro_Bodine

    not The New York Times. Sorry to nitpick, but some of my best friends are New Yorker cartoonists.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Sad day indeed, part two

    by roland13x

    Her name is actually spelled 'Maila Nurmi', not Numri.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST

    um, it's maila nurmi

    by blonde redhead

    not numri.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST

    um, it's maila nurmi

    by blonde redhead

    not numri.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:14 p.m. CST

    Love Vampira, Elvira not so much

    by haggardatbest

    But my heart will always go to Boobarella on The Simpsons, even if Ray Romano did try to have her show taken off the air.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:15 p.m. CST

    Orson Welles gave Vampira the clap!

    by Phenom

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    a lot of obituanger here in the talkbacks...

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Orson Welles gave Vampira the clap!

    by Phenom

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST


    by darrenspool

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 6:32 p.m. CST

    I met her once

    by mojoman69

    I met her at one of the First Famous Monster of Filmland shows at Universal Themepark. She was broken down, and could barely walk, but she was still very wseet to the fans and a graceful old gal. RIP Maila! Mojoman

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 7:02 p.m. CST

    You guys are fucking sick

    by Dr. Egon Spengler

    God bless this old bag.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 7:03 p.m. CST

    Prufreed Pleez.

    by Spaceman Spliff

    Jesus, dude, do you actually read what you write before you whack "send" in a caffeinated frenzy? Maila Numri, Malia Nurmi... What does it matter? I'm sure she wouldn't care that her obituary couldn't even spell her name right.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 7:34 p.m. CST


    by thelordofhell

    Abe Vigoda will outlive everyone!! All hail the great Abe Vigoda!!

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 9 p.m. CST

    Bye Vampira

    by EvilGeek1

    This sucks. She just stood out and did her own thing. Very cool in my book. Plan 9 is one of my all time favorite movies (even though she's mostly known for her show). Sad to see you go V. Take it easy.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 9:51 p.m. CST

    YouTube it. PLEASE.


    You're killing me.

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 10:16 p.m. CST

    was going to attack the necrophilia jokes here...


    ... as being tasteless and disrespectful, but then suddenly realised... the Vampira character was a hot living dead chick. <p> The original "Living Dead Girl" ... She <i>invented<i> necrophilia... or at least was one of the first to make it chic.... <p> So maybe it's not so inappropriate after all, Hell she's probably getting a kick out of it right now, somewhere up in Horror-Host Heaven...

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 10:18 p.m. CST

    was going to attack the necrophilia jokes here...


    ... as being tasteless and disrespectful, but then suddenly realised... the Vampira character was a hot living dead chick. <p> The original "Living Dead Girl" ... She <i>invented<i> necrophilia... or at least was one of the first to make it chic.... <p> So maybe it's not so inappropriate after all, Hell she's probably getting a kick out of it right now, somewhere up in Horror-Host Heaven...

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 10:18 p.m. CST

    damn double post


    first time that ever happened to me...

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    LANDAU: Look at those JUGS...!

    by Osmosis Jones

  • Jan. 11, 2008, 11:11 p.m. CST

    Come Lay Beside Me

    by Dataset

    Two inch nails Micro waist With a pale white feline face Inclination eyebrows to there Mistress to the horror kid Cemetery of the white love ghoul Take off your shabby dress Come and lay beside me

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 12:27 a.m. CST

    I thought she died in the 90's, still, RIP

    by ironic_name

    god bless.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 12:32 a.m. CST

    Only in an AICN obit...

    by Alonzo Mosely

    Would the deceased's name be spelled incorrectly, fail to mention any significant details of her life and then inspire a TB that features posts mainly concerned with titty fucking her imitator, and of course incorrectly spell 'titty fucking' for good measure...<p> There is a reason I can't stay away from this place...

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 1:29 a.m. CST

    Was'nt there a song called "Vampira"

    by Stalkeye

    I think it was from The Misfits if i'm not mistaken. In which case R.I.P.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 1:32 a.m. CST

    Bob Wilkins

    by Frankenbastard

    Salame bacci40 being from the west coast myself i totally agree.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 1:35 a.m. CST

    Sad day indeed Pt 3

    by Frankenbastard

    Damn I screwed up her name? That’s what I get for copy and pasting from this site. Next time I’ll use Google like the rest of you. Rest in peace Vampirella.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 2:16 a.m. CST

    "There's a really nice dentist from Oxnard!"

    by hktelemacher

    "I've got real offers from real studios. I don't need to blow some dentist for a part." Deaths always remind me how much I love ED WOOD. Rest in peace Vampira - with your unsuccessful lawsuit and handcrafted jewelry.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 2:39 a.m. CST

    RIP... in a wobbly gravestone.

    by alucardvsdracula

    Sad news.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 3:14 a.m. CST

    Jack Kolby

    by Frankenbastard

    Thanks for watching my back Jack C but I’m pretty much a sarcastic old cuss and I at my age I’m fully aware her last name was Nurmi and her character was Vampira . Besides who could mistake Vimpirella for anyone living, I mean the chick is 2D for crying out loud.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 5:53 a.m. CST

    Theda Bara = Arab Death

    by Prague23

    I'm just saying...

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 5:56 a.m. CST

    A sad loss...

    by Charlie & Tex

    Still, she had a good innings, as we say in the UK. It's sad that an obituary talkback is dragged into the gutter by adolescent subject headings such as "I'd titty-fuck Elvira". God speed, Vampira - Cassandra Peterson's third-rate act wasn't fit to wipe your feet on.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 7:49 a.m. CST

    It is hard to mourn someone you don't know

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I am aware of Vampira, but never even saw a picture of her. Of course Elvira and others evolved from her character, and for that contribution to horror movie history we must salute her.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 11:52 a.m. CST

    She was The First Lady of Horror Television...

    by Otter

    She was also good friends with Marilyn Monroe, James Dean, and a few other Hollywood notables. See you on the other side, Maila.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST

    Somebody needs to youtube that tape to show the world.

    by Mike_D

    if i remember correctly, theres NO video footage of her show.

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 1:52 p.m. CST

    woops, I guess they are in youtube after all.

    by Mike_D


  • Jan. 12, 2008, 3:16 p.m. CST

    MandalorianSage... may I call you Mandy?


    Unfortunately one of the drawbacks of typing posts on the Internets is that one cannot hear the ironic intonation of certain words... <p> ... some forums have a more sophisticated posting apparatus that allows for things like italics, bold-print, type-size and even alternative fonts or colours... <p> ... some will allow you to edit and correct your posts... <p> ... alas this is not the case at AICN... (except for a weird glitch that sometimes allows for bold-print) and so you took my statement that Vampira "invented necrophilia" at face value. <p> I suppose I should have put quotation marks around the word "invented", but I hate doing that unless I am actually quoting something. (As I just did in quoting my previous posts) <p> I am fully aware that paraphilic activities are by and large as old as human sexuality itself... and I did in fact in my post put in the addendum "or at least one of the first to make it chic" (and if I had the use of italics I would have emphasised the word "one" in that self-quotation... to show that she was not alone in doing even that) <p> When I said "invented", by the way, I was not being presumptuous a la Al Gore. Rather, I had another Icon of early years in mind, Tallulah Bankhead, who when she was offered the part of the Black Widow on the Batman television series was told "It will be camp". She famously responded "Dahling! I invented camp"

  • Jan. 12, 2008, 5:35 p.m. CST

    What, you can't even post a picture of her?

    by tonyd1411

    I'd like to at least see this person that I have no idea who you are talking about.

  • Jan. 13, 2008, 8:47 a.m. CST

    Vampira the Movie

    by Blood T Cat

    Came out last year I think. There's good article about her at videowatchdog. She also was in The Magic Sword.

  • Jan. 13, 2008, 11:54 a.m. CST

    RIP Vampira

    by Knuckleduster

    She was the original hot-camp-gothy-bitch-you-wanna-titfuck-while-watching-her-in-sexy-vampire-costume-in-Plan-9-From-Outer-Space. Respect.

  • Jan. 13, 2008, 12:34 p.m. CST


    by TattooedBillionaire

    Plan 9 is awesome, and I would love to one day see some footage of her TV show.

  • Jan. 13, 2008, 8:53 p.m. CST

    Vampira Ghoul of My Dreams

    by Hollywoodranchmarket

    She was also in the Guiness Book of Records for having the smallest waist in the world, and towards the end, had a bead shop by the Blue Whale on Melrose. I met her as a kid at where else the Hollywood Ranch Market. Very impressed was my teeny girly mind. Cassandra Peterson stole the whole deal and if she had an ounce of decency would have at least shared credit. Where is SHE today? Having yard sales at her house on Beachwood Drive? Wherever Naila is she has had the last laugh on all the fakery. After all, she was there from the start. Momento mori, darling.

  • Jan. 14, 2008, 9:52 a.m. CST

    saw the clip

    by ArcadianDS

    meh. Elivra took the concept and well, lets just say nobody really remembers who Vampirazilla was.<p>oh and I have a red, victorian couch in my living room. Thank GOD she didn't sue me, too.

  • Jan. 14, 2008, 11:41 a.m. CST

    "I think she's a honey."

    by Rev. Slappy

    "Look at those jugs."

  • Jan. 15, 2008, 11:09 a.m. CST

    Sorry folks

    by ProfGriffin

    Greetings. Prof. Griffin here. <br> My apologies. I wrote that in a bit of a rush and I should most certainly have checked for an accidental flip-flopping of the spelling of her last name. <br> I honestly did not know my friend Harry would post what I wrote and shared with him! LOL. <br> For the record, I am a Television Horror Host from Austin Texas (5 years local) and now nationally on Fangoria TV. (well, Fango TV is currently in limbo, so really that means little. LOL) <br> My 'tribute' to Vampira was meant to honor her for literally being the FIRST Nationally known late Night TV host. <br> Anyone here remember their local TV hosts?