City Celebrates "Tall Betsy" Legend with Documentary

Oct 16, 2013, 20:45 ET from Check Into Cash, Inc. from ,Tall Betsy

CLEVELAND, Tenn., Oct. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Tom Rowland, the mayor of Cleveland, TN, is proud to report that our city's favorite goblin has finally emerged from hiding.

Mayor Rowland announced today that the city is sending all Tennessee news outlets a condensed version of an award-winning documentary about the Tall Betsy goblin. The original documentary was produced in 2012 by Tennessee filmmaker Zac Adams.

The effort by the city is in honor of Tall Betsy's rumored return at the upcoming MainStreet Cleveland Halloween Block Party.

The Tall Betsy documentary won a prestigious Telly Award last year, according to Rowland. The national Telly Awards honor the best local, regional and cable television programs. "Winning a Telly for Tall Betsy was a notable achievement, because over 13,000 entries were considered," Rowland said. "Only the best of the best — the top 15 percent — were selected for this honor, and now we want to share this documentary with everyone in our great state of Tennessee."

The documentary features an interview with Mayor Rowland, as well as entrepreneur and philanthropist Allan Jones, the creator of the Tall Betsy character. Jones, the pioneer of the payday loan industry who founded Check Into Cash, created the modern Tall Betsy character more than 30 years ago and has often been called "Mr. Halloween."

Rowland said that although Anoka, Minnesota, has been called the Halloween capital of the United States, Cleveland is regarded as the Halloween capital of the world.

"Anoka was the site of one of the first Halloween parades and is the native home of Gretchen Carlson, the Fox News personality and Miss America 1989," Rowland explained. "However, Cleveland is the home of both Tall Betsy and Mr. Halloween himself, Allan Jones. Our city also attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world each year due to the Block Party. This year's event will likely be the largest in history."

Jones recalls his mother, Gincy, and his grandmother, Marie Slaughter, telling him stories of a Tall Betsy goblin during his Cleveland childhood. Jones' version of the goblin resides in Fort Hill Cemetery and stands more than seven feet tall.

"Allan gave Mr. Adams access to a wealth of never-before-seen photos and videos," Rowland said. "There are things in this film that will astonish people, including the reason why Tall Betsy suddenly vanished with no explanation. The answer will surprise you."

Tall Betsy began appearing at Jones' home — then located on Centenary Avenue in downtown Cleveland — in 1980. Once word of the "gruesome girlie" spread, many of Jones' neighbors began decorating their homes as a tribute to the goblin. A poem, "The Legend of Tall Betsy," was created to tell the goblin's tale.

The goblin became so popular that in 1986, MainStreet Cleveland — the city's downtown revitalization group — organized the Halloween Block Party, an annual event that included games, costume contests and treats.

The state of Tennessee named Tall Betsy "The Official Halloween Goblin of Bradley County" on May 24, 1989.

Jones said the Tall Betsy legend eventually spread far beyond Cleveland, and her annual appearance had become such an event that in 1993, his family took an official count of how many trick-or-treaters visited their house.

"From 5 to 8pm, we handed out 11,201 pieces of bubble gum," Jones reported. "We believe that was a Halloween night world record for a single home."

Tall Betsy retired in 1998 after drawing a Halloween Block Party crowd of 25,000. The Block Party was dedicated in honor of Tall Betsy's 25th anniversary in 2005.

"It's time for the public to finally know the truth about who Tall Betsy was, and why she came to such a sudden end," Rowland said. "Watch this documentary. You won't forget it."

To download the documentary from our public Dropbox folder, visit No account or password is necessary. Download by right-clicking the screen and going to "Save video as..." and then clicking the Save button. Call (423) 479-1000 to learn more about the MainStreet Cleveland Halloween Block Party.

CONTACT: Barb Wolf, 423-479-2400,


SOURCE Check Into Cash, Inc.; Tall Betsy