Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Silver Scream Cinema

Magnet # 56: Corner of Hollywood and Vine

Material: Resin

Purchased By: Mom

Is that a limo... or a hearse? Believe it or not, that's a legitimate question in Hollywood, where haunted tours are getting ever more popular. Travel Channel even featured it on their list of Top Ten Creepiest Places. As one person interviewed put it, these tours combine some people's obsession with celebrity and their fascination with death. For certain tourists, that's a combination too potent to resist.

So where does one venture in Hollywood while searching for a ghost? Well, the graveyard is a good idea, particularly if it's Hollywood Park Memorial Cemetary, also known as the Hollywood Forever Cemetary. Many famous figures are laid to rest there and two lesser-known actor's ghosts are said to haunt the grounds. First, there's Clifton Webb's apparition. From time to time, people claim to see it floating amongst the headstones. And some have professed they've heard a woman's sobbing near the grave of starlet Virginia Rappe, who died scandalously after an attack by Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, who was acquitted of any wrongdoing, but nonetheless saw his career die. Some think she is distraught either over her killer's evasion of justice or never gaining the fame and fortune she so longed for.

The Roosevelt Hotel is also an excellent place to try searching for famous deceased celebrities. Opened in 1927, it was an opulent building that attracted many of the silver screen Hollywood elite. And supposedly, some have never left. Most famously, some claim to have seen Marilyn Monroe's image in a mirror from a poolside suite where she lived for two years. The mirror now hangs in the lobby so that all visitors might have a look at it for themselves. And room 928 was home to actor Montgomery Clift for three months during the filming of From Here to Eternity and many believe his ghost still haunts that room. He also paced the halls of the ninth floor and sometimes played his bugle. Both inexplicable footsteps and sounds of a bugle can still be heard. There's also a lesser known rumor that Carole Lombard haunts the penthouse suite where she and her husband Clark Gable enjoyed an extended stay. And if that's not enough, cross the street over to nearby Mann's Chinese Theater. Victor Killian, a deceased actor who was brutally murdered in his nearby apartment back in 1982, is said to roam the streets there in search of his killer.

There are also a few haunted celebrity residencies scattered throughout Los Angeles. Some hold that Ozzie Nelson haunts the home where he lived with his wife Harriet for 25 years. Faucets and lights randomly turn on and off and footsteps can be heard when no one is around. George Reeves, who portrayed Superman on television, is also believed to haunt the home where he died of a gunshot wound in 1959. While his death was labeled a suicide, certain evidence suggests it may have been murder. And now, a series of new residents to the house have supposedly seen him there, dressed in his Superman costume. Neighbors even claim to have seen his ghost out in the yard. Perhaps most eerie is the home of Paul Bern, a MGM studio assistant who was married for a short time to Jean Harlow. He also died in his home under mysterious circumstances and is believed to haunt it. The residence, which gained a reputation for being cursed over the years, ended up being purchased by Jay Sebring, a close friend of Sharon Tate, who spent a night there alone. It's rumored she saw the ghost of Bern then and he may have even given her a warning of her own impending death. Okay, some of this might be hard to buy, but it's creepy nonetheless.

A few other noteworthy celebrity ghost sites are located in town. Some claim to have seen Orson Welles seated at his favorite table and have smelled his cigar smoke and brandy at SweetLady Jane's Restaurant on Melrose Avenue. And the sheik himself, Rudolph Valentino's ghost is reportedly seen all over Hollywood, at sites varying from Paramount Studios to the Santa Maria Inn to his former places of residence. Even the site portrayed on this magnet, the famous intersection at Hollywood and Vine, has been the site of ghost sightings, namely those of Lon Cheney, famous for playing the Phantom of the Opera. People professed to see him sitting on there on a bus bench. It was removed and no one has claimed to see him there since, but some say they see still him wearing his cape around Universal Studios, where he filmed Phantom.

All of these claims certainly suggest that there's more going on Los Angeles than meets the eye. Perhaps if you're lucky, on your next visit out to Hollywood, you might not just cross the path of an A-list actor like Will Smith or Meryl Streep. Maybe you could actually catch a glimpse of a celebrity who has not been caught on camera for quite some time and many believe to be permanently beyond our reach!


  1. Thanks for such an enlightening post for movie buffs (and fans of all things spooky) like myself! There's no shortage of tragedy in Hollywood, so it's no surprise that these ghost stories have made their way into its history. I was familiar with a couple of these sightings, but most of them were new to me.

  2. Glad you enjoyed it! Even after watching the Travel Channel's special, I learned a few new ones myself reading up for this post.

  3. Actually, I bought this magnet because it represented a tour that I and 2 of my co-workers took when we were attending a conference in Pasadena. We were in sessions all day, so the only time we had to look around LA was at night. We hired a limo and driver and he showed us the sights - pretty much like the magnet shows.

  4. I'm not sure if I'd heard that before - guess this magnet has more than one story attached!