Tuesday, January 9, 2007
TOWER THEATER'S GHOSTS
WHERE: The Tower Theater
(802 S. Broadway, Los Angeles) Map
STATUS: Dormant (occasional rock concerts)
The French Renaissance inspired Tower Theater has the distinction of being the oldest "movie theater" in Los Angeles (since October 12,1927). That is to say, the oldest theater that was specifically built as a cinema, as opposed to a live theater that was converted to show movies. It also has the distinction of being the first theater in Los Angeles to screen "The Jazz Singer," the first "talkie" (motion picture with recorded synchronized sound) Its said that during that movies' run, the theater was filled with depressed actors, who realized that this film marked the end of their careers (either because of accents, or their now obsolete acting style).
However, despite the "sadness" that still permeates that room, the ghostly actress (in a white dress) said to haunt this building is thought to have been a stage actress (who performed floor shows between screenings) and not one from the silver screen, because her sightings are generally around the stage and basement "dressing rooms."
These "live shows" apparently were not very common at this location, and the stage and backstage were not built to accommodate them. So, this tale seems unlikely. It is also believed she was killed in a fire that occurred in the basement even though a fire at this location has never been documented (which is not to say it didn't happen). That said, there was a "legitimate" theater ("The Garrick") at this location that was torn down to build the Tower, so perhaps this female phantom is connected to that building and predates the Tower.
Interestingly, a former usherette was murdered (shot twice in the head) in 1929 after she finished her shift at the Tower. So then again, perhaps she is the girlie ghost that has been seen here. Maybe, she is forever stuck doing her rounds one last time before leaving for the night.
Given this theater's "movie" history, it is not surprising that the other commonly seen ghost is that of a male projectionist seen in the projection booth. In addition, a location scout who visited the theater claims that a "hand" grabbed him while he was trying to ascend the stairs from the restrooms to the lobby with such force, it pulled him backward.
So, if you ever have the chance to see a live show at this creepy venue, make sure that the person brushing up against you is actually there.
If you know of another ghost story (or another version of a story mentioned), or if you have personally experienced something strange at this theater, please leave a comment.
(to read about another haunted theater in the L.A. area...)