Syracuse’s Transylvania Twist — The Best Halloween Song You Never Heard

In 1963 Syracuse television station WNYS asked local audio tape genius Mike Riposo to write and record a pop-flavored jingle — a la The Monster Mash — for the station’s first-ever breakout star, Baron Daemon. Daemon's show was a horror series built around WNYS’ recent acquisition of a package of syndicated films that included some American International B-level horror flicks.

Riposo hired local group Sam and The Twisters to sing the song and the Bigtree Sisters to back them up. The problem was the girls, who were Mohawk Indians by birth, had never sung rock and roll before in their lives.

The youngest sister, Sandy, was so little she had to stand on a box to get up to mic level.

(My friend Thomasina passed this story along to me and she tells me that the Bigtree sisters were a big deal in Syracuse and Sandra became a rock and roll singer with her own band and worked in theatre in NYC and was a positive influence on young people during the turbulent 60s)

The Transylvania Twist became a local smash hit and the largest-selling local record in Syracuse history and still rises from the dead once a year to kick the Monster Mash’s ass.

Read the story of the recording session here