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TO LILY WITH LOVE
BY BRADLEY MASON HAMLIN

YVONNE DE CARLO
(September 1, 1922 – January 8, 2007)

Well, it’s getting to the point where Ghost Town is looking a lot more appealing that living on the earthly plane. Down on the mud ball of home base we have an ongoing war in Iraq, Britney Spears showing her super nasty naked lunch to whoever wants to lose their lunch, and gas prices that make the Carter years seem charming.

Meanwhile, in the dreamy realm beyond mortal borders a party of immortals gathers, the chaperones of this eternal gig ushering in new talent daily—while down here we stand in line for anti-acid pills and Department of Motor Vehicle payments. However, it is comforting to know, know because I believe in the afterlife, that the great fiesta will be there. And, speaking of the here and now, it is also comforting to know when someone we love passes the positive exchange we garnish from our grief is often the sudden appreciation of what we actually do have down here on ol’ Mother Earth.

If I said Yvonne De Carlo was like family, as I’ve said of many of my other TV family favorites, I wouldn’t be the first. Yvonne was a sweetheart and loved intensely by many friends and fans, young and old. Yet, when a surrogate family member from TV land passes—hopefully the moment of quietus will remind us of our own family members we sometimes take for granted. Look around you. Look at your kids or your siblings and look at your wife or husband or whatever you call the person you love. Look at them and know you have something special right here on home base.

De Carlo especially invokes this nostalgic and maybe overly sentimental viewing of death for another reason other than her specific and deserved fame. 1964 introduced two TV programs that gave audiences a very cool alternative to the typical sitcom family. On September 18, The Addams Family came into our living rooms, and just one week later on September 24, The Munsters came rolling in on that ultra-cool dragster. Now the undead had evolved from stumbling terrors of the big screen to friendly family members we could all identify with. So, for kids like me, who really dug monsters—growing up with The Addams Family and The Munsters in constant syndication was a big plus.

There is something uniquely intoxicating about a female vampire. TV’s first vampire de chica arrived in the form of Maila Nurmi’s Vampira in 1954 for The Vampira Show. A decade later Lily and Morticia would join the club—with Cassandra Peters reinventing the Vampira concept in the 1970s as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark for the TV show Fright Night.

But where is our Vampire girl now?

Did Buffy kill them all?

I hope not.

Chicks that bite are like good rock & roll songs. You never forget them.

Bradley Mason Hamlin (Mystery Island, 01/11/07)
brad@retrocrush.com

 

 

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