Thursday, February 16, 2012

Miss American Vampire

In 1970, in advance of the release of the new DS movie House of Dark Shadows, the producers of the film, MGM and Dan Curtis, furthered the pre-hyped festivities with a beauty contest. That is, a contest to find a Miss Vampire America.

Girls 18-25 were invited to produce the most imaginative "Vampire look" with original- ity, charm, poise, stage presence and videogenic qualities being highly important. The last two parts being essential since the winner was to have a week-long role on the television show.

The winner was to be coached by star Nancy Barrett and also receive a week of all-expenses paid accommodations for two in New York City, presumably during the guest appearance on the serial. I say "was to be coached" because apparently the winner, Sacheen Littlefeather (aka Maria Cruz), never did appear on the show, although a runner-up, Christine Domaniecki, apparently did.

As is the case with traditional beauty pageants there were regional contests and finally a main event in California. It was hosted by none other than Regis Philbin. Yep, he's that old! Regional winners included Barbara Marciel, Miami, Diane Kirby, Cleveland, Nina Johns, St. Louis, Signe Vernon and Beverly Rose.

from The Milwaukee Journal, March 29, 1973

Miss Littlefeather, an aspiring actress, had a few minor film credits, posed for Playboy in 1973 and is most notorious for her part in refusing Marlon Brando's Oscar award in 1972 on behalf of the suffering of American Indians. Brando had met Littlefeather through a neighbor in San Francisco and recruited her to decline the award in his stead and give a short speech concerning the Native Indian plight. The act was not looked upon kindly by anybody in the industry and it killed any chance that Littlefeather had as a mainstream actress. As you can see in the caption below Roger Moore and Liv Ullman look none too thrilled with her or Brando's cause.

Littlefeather went on to a noted career in Indian activism producing documentaries and working with various groups in promoting Native American civil rights.

from The Age, March 29, 1973

Below is a photo from one of the regional contests featured on Tenebrous Kate's blog. There are a few more featured in her blog post as well including one of Jonathan Frid crowning Miss Domaniecki at the regional contest in Palisades Park, New Jersey.

No comments: