This Day in Horror: Happy Birthday Maila Nurmi aka Vampira
Born on this day in 1922: Maila Nurmi
Maila Nurmi is better known as Vampira, the first TV horror hostess. In 1953, Nurmi attended a Halloween party dressed in a costume that was inspired by Morticia Addams from The Addams Family comic strip. A TV producer saw her and immediately wanted her to host horror movies on a local Los Angeles TV station.
The Vampira Show debuted on May 1st, 1954. She was the first horror host, which lead to a string of knock-offs. In the 1980s, Nurmi entered into a deal to reboot The Vampira Show, but Nurmi pulled out of the deal when she wanted Lola Falana to reprise her role. The network instead signed Cassandra Peterson. Since Nurmi retained the rights to the Vampira character, Peterson’s horror hostess was renamed Elvira.
Nurmi had several film roles in which she was credited as Vampira. The only genre film, and the best known, is Ed Wood’s cult classic Plan 9 from Outer Space.