Everyone knows about Vampira, the 1950s TV horror movie hostess whose iconic character drew influence from the Morticia character of Charles Addams’ New Yorkercartoons, the Dragon Lady from the comic strip Terry and the Pirates and the evil Queen Grimhilde from Disney’s Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs. She is considered to be the first “television horror host.”
Vampira’s highly successful show was cancelled after only a year in 1955 when she refused to sell the rights to the character to ABC. The popularity of the Vampira character spawned imitators all over the country. It seems that at some point every major television market has had at least one ghoulish horror host or hostess. One of these was Portland, Oregon’s Tarantula Ghoul—known as “Taranch” to her fans.
Tarantula Ghoul was a vampy “monster of ceremonies” for KPTV’s House of Horrorfrom 1957 to 1959. Played by Suzanne Waldron, the Vampira-like character bears a striking resemblance to Wynona Ryder’s Lydia Deetz character from Beetlejuice.
During her time as Tarantula Ghoul, Waldron released a single with the songs “Graveyard Rock” and “King Kong.” Both songs are considered classic schlock rock and have been comped a handful of times, including on the popular Las Vegas Grindand Sin Alley series.