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Now in our ninth calendar year!
PCR #408 (Vol. 9, No. 3) This edition is for the week of January 14--20, 2008.

The Tampa Film Review for January  by Nolan B. Canova
The Fabulous Architecture of the Tampa Bay Region: Part 5  by Will Moriaty
"Cloverfield"  by Mike Smith
"Top 20 Albums of 2007 #10-1"  by Terence Nuzum
Goodbye, Vampira  by Andy Lalino
Bud Lee: His Trapped Memories Can Still Escape Through Photos  by Paul Guzzo
R.I.P. Maila “Vampira” Nurmi 1921-2008  by Lisa Ciurro
The Yellow Submarine Chronicles Part One: In the Town where I was Born...  by ED Tucker
It's Oscar Time! .... So Mj's Available? .... Belated Congratulations .... .... .... .... .... .... And The Oscar For 1983 Should Have Gone To... by Mike Smith
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Oddservations by Andy Lalino

Goodbye, Vampira

Ah, the haunting Vampira, the traditional queen of horror hosts and model for future Goth girls and female horror hosts for years to pass. As reported by Lisa Ciurro on Crazed Fanboy, Vampira (real name: Maila Nurmi) died of a heart attack at age 86 on January 10th, 2008.

For the many Fanboys who did not have the pleasure of growing up in the mid-1950's, our exposure to Vampira was typically limited to discussions and retrospectives on Ed Wood's infamous Plan 9 from Outer Space, which she appeared in. Though her role was relatively small (and silent), Nurmi's character (similar to Vampira) was both memorable and iconic. Aside from Vampira's attractive yet ghoulish presence, what struck me was how slender her waistline was! For those detail-oriented fans, Nurmi had one of those waists that you could probably wrap your fingers around.

Our other exposure was, of course, Tim Burton's Ed Wood in which Burton's ex-girlfriend, Lisa Marie, portrayed her.

Nurmi was history's first female Horror Host. The Vampira Show debuted on May 1, 1954, broadcasting from the land of make believe. Vampira was actually influenced by Charles Addam's popular "Morticia" cartoon character. Despite her evident popularity, The Vampira Show was cancelled about a year later and she quickly made a brief leap into motion pictures, appearing in The Beat Generation, Sex Kittens Go to College, and The Magic Sword.

Her relationship with '50s teen idol James Dean has received much publicity, and in 1979 the seminal Punk band The Damned wrote a song about it, "Plan 9 Channel 7". I recall a great story of how Damned crooner Dave Vanian burst into the recording studio on a rainy night, demanding the band lay down the track. The rest, is music history.

In the early 1970's Nurmi pretty much abandoned entertainment altogether, opening an antique store ("Vampira's Attic") in Los Angeles. Her final film role was in the 1998 film (that was never released?) I Woke Up the Day I Died, which was based on an actual unproduced Ed Wood screenplay. I recall reading a few articles about the film in back issues of Fangoria magazine. It boasted an interesting cast along with Nurmi (John Ritter, Billy Zane) but apparently is still in the can (unless someone can update us about it). It has no dialogue!

Well, we have lost another one of the Great Ones, sad to say. Here's to a lady that was in integral and influential part of fandom culture and who has inspired many creative works since the dawn of her character, Vampira.

"Oddservations" is ©2008 by Andy Lalino.  The Oddservations banner is a creation of Andy Lalino. All other graphics, except where otherwise noted, are creations of Nolan B. Canova.  All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2008 by Nolan B. Canova.