Bobby “Boris” Pickett, one of the creative minds behind the song Monster Mash, was born in 1938, the height of horror. He was raised in Somerville, Massachusetts by his father. He managed a movie theater, so Pickett grew up on horror movies such as Dracula or Frankenstein; this exposure was the start of his ghostly gusto and fascination for all things spooky (Heigl 1). He moved to LA in 1960, and thus began the start of the misfortune that would follow him for the rest of his life (Heigl 2). Pickett hired his first agent after moving, but within two weeks, they had died of a heart attack. After that eerie incident, he decided to pursue acting. He was faced largely with a lack of success, which pushed him to give up on this dream (Heigl 3). After this failure, Pickett teamed up with Lenny Capizzi, a friend from his hometown, to write a song. They sat down together and wrote Monster Mash in under three hours, and it was finished the following day, regardless of their low budget (Heigl 4). Capizzi overdosed on heroin about a decade after said song was published, another one of the ominous events that seemed to follow Pickett throughout his life (Heigl 5).
Despite their fast production, they were slow to release the song, and a copycat beat them to publishing the first Monster Mash ever. Second place didn’t deter the pair, and they put out The Original Monster Mash album, which eventually outsold the first (Heigl 4). It was an immediate hit, but with fame comes critics — one of which was Elvis Presley. For years after Presley died, Pickett would announce to his audience at shows that if Presley “was still listening,” Pickett was “still here” (Heigl 5). After the majority of his fame subsided, Pickett went on a long break in which he suffered through a divorce and the death of his three year old son (Heigl 7). He continued to tour later in his life, up until a year before his death due to leukemia. Ironically, Pickett’s tour bus once broke down in Frankenstien, Missouri (Heigl 9). Whether ghouls and curses truly followed Pickett around, or if he was simply unlucky, remains unknown. However, his legacy lives on during every fall season, when the Monster Mash is played widespread all over America. His iconic Halloween song is a staple for everything creepy and crawly.
Heigl, Alex. “The Tenacious, Occasionally Monster-Filled Mash of Bobby ‘Boris’ Pickett.” Peoplemag, PEOPLE, 28 Oct. 2016, https://people.com/music/monster-mash-bobby-boris-pickett-history/.
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