Musso & Frank Grill
A point of interest on the Lost Souls of Hollywood Boulevard GPS-guided audio walking tour.
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According to legend, on the lot of what was formerly the Vogue Theatre, on Hollywood Avenue (formerly Prospect Avenue) there was a four-room schoolhouse called Prospect Elementary. In 1901, the schoolhouse caught fire trapping Miss Elizabeth, the school’s teacher, and her 25 students inside. Everyone perished. A few years later, a textile factory was erected in its place, but it too burned down a short while later.
The Vogue theatre was opened on July 16, 1936. Located at 6675 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, it was more modest than the Grauman-built Chinese and Egyptian theatres that took residence on the same block, designed to house only 800 patrons. There was no fancy courtyard, only a traditional catwalk overhang on the sidewalk and a small lobby inside.
The Vogue Theatre is known to house at least two ghosts. The first is a man who died by suicide on the balcony, and the other a former theatre manager who died of causes we were unable to find. The theatre manager’s face is said to “appear in a high window behind the ticket booth in the alcove or outside lobby under the marquee” — eventually, the glass of the window was covered because he scared too many moviegoers.
The Vogue Theatre “became rather seedy” as the fortunes of Hollywood declined in the 1970s, and became a second rate theatre house compared to the Chinese Theatre and the Cinerama Dome. In 1992, it closed its doors and remained vacant for five years until 1997, when the International Society for Paranormal Research was looking for new headquarters and to hold seminars.
The ISPR was founded in 1972, in Los Angeles, to take paranormal research out of the lab—they moved to New Orleans for six years to conduct a paranormal study where they allowed novices to take part in investigations called “Ghost Expeditions.” In 1997, the moved into the Vogue Theatre, making it their headquarters, and were surprised to see that it was a hotbed for paranormal activity and started a study.
The ISPR began to gather staff stories and heard over 4,000 first-person accounts of paranormal activity. On one occasion, during a screening 35 out of 600 moviegoers saw a little girl skipping rope up and down an aisle, many of which complained to management. They also found that objects were known to move on their own, theatre seats lifted up and down on their own, “yellow orbs of light appeared in photographs,” and unusual and unidentifiable noises were heard in the auditorium. On rare occasions, manifestations of ghosts were said to appear, sometimes as full apparitions, other times partial. One time a male apparition even shoved a festival patron to one side of the staircase on the balcony.
The ISPR found nine separate entities — six children who died in the fire (Annabelle, known to be the chattiest, Jennifer, two Michaels and fraternal twins Peter and Pamela), and three adults, Miss Elizabeth, and two men from the 1980s, Danny who was occasionally employed be the theatre as a maintenance man who died in the 30s of a drug overdose, and Fritz, who was a German immigrant. Note that this story varies from the earlier one about Fritz, but according to the ISPR, he was a projectionist of 40 years from the opening of the theatre in 1936 who died of natural causes at his post in the projection booth during a matinee screening. Fritz is said to be a low-key ghost, unless someone wasn’t doing their job or patrons started to damage or abuse the theatre. He was known to lend a hand around the theatre after his death and help out.
In 2001, the ISPR was winding down their research and wanted to expel the remaining seven ghosts (they said the “helped the twins move on” in 1998). On December 23, 2001, after a “cleansing ceremony” the building was ghostless, supposedly.
All of that is fine and dandy, but a fact check done later revealed that there was no schoolhouse ever on the site, let alone one that burned down. Six blocks east at Prospect (now Hollywood) and Ivar, in 1901, there was a fire in a schoolhouse where 37 children perished, but there was no teacher Miss Elizabeth but the school was never fully destroyed. Then, there was another school a mile further East, Los Feliz School, that was destroyed by a fire in 1914, perhaps by arson but the facts also don’t match.
As of 2018, the Vogue Theatre was operating as a museum showing off artifacts of old Hollywood—though, to be honest, with the current climate, we have no idea what it’ll be next year. Just another Hollywood relic lost to time.
Musso & Frank Grill
The Musso & Frank Grill located at 6667 Hollywood Blvd is the oldest restaurant in Hollywood, having celebrated its centennial in 2019. As you would imagine, 100 years is a long time to accumulate a history filled with ghosts.
This fine establishment was started by French immigrant Firmin "Frank" Toulet as Frank's François Café at 6669 Hollywood Blvd, but the name was changed to include Frank’s partner, Joseph Musso, in 1923. The pair sold the restaurant in 1927, and it was expanded in 1955 to include the 6667 space.
The restaurant that exists today maintains a lot of the original character. From the dark wood paneling and high ceilings to the red coats that the waiters wear, there’s a lot of history in this New York style bar and grill. It is also the first-ever restaurant to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2019.
It appears that Musso & Frank Grill is the place to be whether you’re dead or alive, because the ghosts of Errol Flynn, Orson Welles, and Jean Harlow, appear when their old dusty Hollywood homes become too small for them. In fact, one of the most loyal fans throughout the ages is Charlie Chapman, who, according to regulars, can still be found in his booth—No. 1 in the Old Room right by the window—where he dined for years.
In the book Hollywood Ghosts: The Fabulous Phantoms of Filmdom, author Richard Senate says that the ghost of Rudolph Valentino has also been seen hanging out at the classic establishment. Apparently, Valentino used to ride down Hollywood Blvd on his white horse and stop at the local eatery for lunch.
There’s also one more ghost that tends to be mentioned at Musso & Frank, a “good looking man” who’s dressed in a white shirt, tank slacks and a tie, who hangs out in the ladies restroom. There are a lot of Hollywood ghosts who insist on hanging out in women’s bathrooms like real pervs, this one seems to exchange smiles with an unexpected lady then vanish. Apparently, he’s connected to the speakeasy that is rumoured to have operated out of the back of the grill.
Well folks, I finally have some excitement for you. We're going to keep walking east. But, and this is a big but, we're going to take a right at the cross walk ahead. After a very short walk south on North Cherokee Avenue, you'll see a sign that says Boardner's. If you look south, you'll see it as you approach the crosswalk as well. See. I told you it was exciting!
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