Back in December of 2016 I did a blog post about going to New York City for Cassandra Peterson’s “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark” coffee table book signing. Five years later, with in-person book signings not done as much, I had to settle for pre-ordering an autographed copy of her new book, “Yours Cruelly, Elvira: Memoirs Of The Mistress Of The Dark,” from Barnes & Noble online. This finally got me the Cassandra Peterson autograph that I regretted not getting last time.
I have read a lot of celebrity autobiographies but “Yours Cruelly, Elvira” is one of the best. Cassandra (it’s Ka-SAWN-dra, not Ka-SAND-ra like I’ve been saying for years…my Meriden public school education is showing) has been a go-go dancer, showgirl, spokesperson, actress, author, AIDS and animal rights activist, and icon. The personal stories Cassandra tells are gripping; from having a third of her body burned and scarred at eighteen months old when she toppled over a kettle of boiling eggs, witnessing an actual murder, and moving into her haunted Briarcliff Manor that she later had exorcised before selling it to Brad Pitt.
It’s the celebrity dirt Cassandra dishes that makes her more endearing to her readers. I loved her behind the scene stories of making her classic cult films “Elvira Mistress Of The Dark” and “Elvira’s Haunted Hills.” I love me a good celebrity stalking, so when Cassandra would go on her teenage groupie expeditions with her girlfriends, me and my inner teen girl were living for it. My own stories of being in the audience at a Bridget Everett show where I was pelted by a vibrator pulled out of her panties or being groped by Millie Jackson pale in comparison to Cassandra getting kissed backstage at a Jimi Hendrix concert by him after getting beaned by a canister of tear gas and having the first penis she touched be Jimmy Page’s “long, skinny worm.”
Speaking of dicks, she doesn’t pull any punches when it comes to celebs who did her wrong. The most memorable to me is when sexually-inexperience Cassandra got it on with legendary Tom Jones and his even more legendary penis. The experience was so painful she had to stop mid-encounter, leaving the room hurt physically and emotionally, and ended up in the hospital the next day needing stiches. Man, if “Sex Sent Me To The ER” was around back then, that’d have been an episode I would’ve set my VCR to record. Years later when she got backstage again at one of his shows, she asked if he remembered her and he said, “Of course, you’re the one with the scars on your back.” When God was handing out class, Tom must’ve gotten in the dick line twice.
The best part of “Yours Cruelly, Elvira,” in my gay opinion, is being able to live vicariously through Cassandra and all her escapes. I would have killed to be a fly on the wall when she was a Production Assistant on “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert” when she got to go shopping with Goldie Hawn, snorted coke with The Pointer Sisters, and attended a Christmas party at Zsa Zsa Gabor’s house where the “human Christmas tree was a guy wrapped in colored Christmas lights standing perfectly still on top of a ladder, naked but for a flesh-colored jock strap.” It goes without saying, Cassandra is my idol.