Naturally voluptuous knockout Cassandra Peterson re-skinvented-herself as ghoulishly super-gazonged goth babe Elvira and debuted her creation via the late-night horror series Elvira’s Movie Macabre on this date in 1981.

After flirtations with Italian rock stardom and a stint in the comedy troupe The Groundlings, Peterson answered the call for a new horror hostess at Los Angeles’s channel 9, KHJ-TV.

Donning a black bouffant wig and a tight-fitting, super-low-cut black dress, Elvira sprawled out on a red Victorian count and lovingly wise-cracked her way through Movie Macabre’s crackpot cinematic offerings.

In short order, the show was syndicated, Elvira snagged all sorts of endorsement deals, two big-screen adventures ensued (Elvira, Mistress of the Dark and Elvira’s Haunted Hills) and Halloween was rendered forever hotter.