A big fan of Elvis Presley, Bobby Pickett was thrilled when a friend of his who knew the King told him that Elvis had heard his single “Monster Mash.” Pickett asked his pal Melody what Elvis thought of his novelty song. “Well,” she told him, “he hates your record, Bobby. He thinks it’s the stupidest thing he ever heard.” Pickett could only sputter, “Whoever liked Elvis anyway?!” Looking back on it, Pickett told Billboard in 1984, “I don’t think he knew who Boris Karloff was, to tell the truth.”
Born Feb. 11, 1938 in Somerville, Mass., Pickett was a big movie fan as a child and first became aware of Karloff when he saw the actor’s films. Later, after a stint in Korea as a member of the Signal Corps, Pickett returned home to Somerville. “I would enter these talent contests. I did this shtick about Boris Karloff…and every time I’d do it, I’d win.” After a year in Somerville, Pickett moved to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. Soon after, his friend Lenny Capizzi also moved to California with three friends. They formed a singing group, the Cordials, and asked Bobby to join.
“I asked Lenny if it would be OK if during the monologue on ‘Little Darlin’’ I would do Boris Karloff. That inspired Lenny to say that would be a great voice for a novelty record.” But Pickett was thinking about his acting career, not making records. He quit the Cordials and signed with an agent. Two weeks later, the agent died of a heart attack.