Yes, to promote the movie spinoff of TV’s goth soap opera Dark Shadows, MGM hosted a series of “Miss American Vampire” contests in 1970.
The House of Dark Shadows was due to hit theaters in September 1970, and was looking for a marketing opportunity, and what better way to engage the young culture that to invite young women 18 to 25. Those with “vampire looks” were judged based on their vampire vibes and charm, poise, stage presence, and TVQ?
Regional beauty contests were held in Dallas, Philadelphia, Miami and more and these prelims produced a handful of finalists, who traveled to L.A. to compete for the title on September 10, 1970. One of the judges for the New Jersey competition recalls her experience,
“It was fun for the first five minutes. After that it got terribly depressing. Some of the girls came in bikinis. Some of them came dressed as witches or vampires or dead bodies. One girl stood in front of me and just stared.”
According to Atlas Obscura,
The final competition winner was actress and activist Sacheen Littlefeather, who gained greater fame a few years later when she represented Marlon Brando at the 1973 Academy Awards to decline his Oscar for The Godfather in an act of protest over the treatment and portrayal of Native Americans. Similarly, Littlefeather did not reap the benefits of her award. According to McBride, it’s unclear whether she declined the trip to New York to appear on the show, or whether the producers decided not to hold up their end of the deal. Either way, Littlefeather remained in Los Angeles. The prize passed to Christine Domaniecki, the winner of the New Jersey regional, where she had been crowned by none other than Barnabas Collins himself, actor Jonathan Frid.
You can see the ad that ran on TV below.
(Photos, The Collingsport Historical Society; via Atlas Obscura)