The most glamourous night in Hollywood’s tinsel town has to be Oscar night—AKA the Academy of Motion Pictures Awards. In 1929, the first Academy Awards were presented at a banquet dinner at the ‘most haunted’ Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. From 1930 to 1943, the grand ceremony alternated between the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard and the Biltmore Hotel IN downtown Los Angeles.
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Hollywood (where you can still try on the hands and feet of the stars) hosted the awards from 1944 to 1946, followed by the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles from 1947 to 1948. The 21st Academy Awards in 1949 were held at the Academy Award Theater which was the Academy’s headquarters on Melrose Avenue in Hollywood.
From 1950 to 1960, the awards were presented at Pantages Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard. With the marvel of television, the awards from 1953 to 1957 took place simultaneously in Hollywood and New York, first at the NBC International Theatre (1953) and then at the NBC Century Theatre, after which the ceremony took place exclusively in Los Angeles. The Oscars moved to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in 1961. By 1969, the Academy decided to move the ceremonies back to Los Angeles, this time to the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion at the Los Angeles County Music Center. In 2002, the Dolby Theatre (formerly known as the Kodak Theatre) became the current venue of the star studded presentation.
The Bela Tour girls from Arizona were thrilled to have reservations at the posh Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, the home of the Oscars over 85 years ago. They had been alerted that the media and camera crews had been setting up in the hotel’s back parking lot and the pool would be off limits due to several Oscar private parties. But that was not about to stop them from having fun and exploring the historic hotel for ghostly encounters!
The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel has a reputation for being haunted by some of Hollywood’s famous stars—and along with a few visiting guests who have decided not to check out. Marilyn Monroe’s ghost had been seen in a full length mirror which was originally located in her poolside Suite 1200 where she often stayed. The mirror held a spot near the elevators on a lower floor for quite some time until it was recently moved to another location.
Montgomery Clift resided at the hotel for three months while rehearsing his role in the 1953 movie, “From Here to Eternity”. His ghost haunts room #928 of the 9th floor of the hotel, playing the trumpet, and pacing the hallways while reciting his lines.
Ah, but the Blossom Ballroom holds some of its secrets as well! Home to the very first Oscar awards, they say there is a cold spot—a circle of 30 inches in diameter and about 10 degrees colder than the rest of the room and a man in a black tux has been seen waiting for something—perhaps an Oscar he never collected? The Bela gals just happened to locate an unlocked door to the Blossom Ballroom and explored the swag bags for the guests and press who would be using the hotel as a waiting area and to be later whisked along the red carpet to Dolby Theatre…or was that really the man in the tux security may have seen?
One strange thing occurred during the girls’ visit. In the early hours of the morning, one of the gals got up to use the bathroom. Suddenly the lights in one part of the room turned on. Was it motion activated? We could not re-enact this event no matter how we tried. Was it a spirit from beyond wishing us a good morning?
The ghost of actor Victor Killian is kno wn to wander in the front courtyard area of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre searching for his murderer. The story states that in 1979 he met a man in a nearby bar and invited him up to his apartment for a drink or two. Killian’s body was found the next day. He had been beaten to death. Other information says Killian, who was 88 years old, was murdered by burglars who robbed his residence. His cremated remains were scattered in the rose gardens at Westwood Cemetery.
A favorite dining spot on Hollywood Boulevard is Musso and Frank Grill. This 96 year old Hollywood restaurant is paparazzi free so there is a good chance you might run into someone famous in one of the booths or sitting at the bar. Back in the day this 1919 establishment used to be a writer’s haunt, too. The dark booths, wood paneled walls and striking murals of English hunting scenes gives you that eerie feeling that the ghosts of Raymond Chandler and Chaplin are close at hand working on another screenplay. Charlie Chaplin had a preferred booth, number 1, in the Old Room (at the back). Spirit photos have revealed somewhat of a Chaplin’s likeness—staring left eye and a long, straight nose. You better make early reservations as Chaplin’s booth is always requested.
There is nothing grander than strolling along Hollywood Boulevard during the preparations for Oscar night. Stepping foot upon the famous red carpet (even though it was still covered in plastic) and parading past the tall golden Oscar statues was surely a welcome mat to many of the ghosts of Hollywood’s past. It seems that some of the by-gone motion picture stars didn’t get enough attentions from their fans and paparazzi when they were still alive. Perhaps their ghosts are doomed to return for one last performance and a final bow.
Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel http://www.thompsonhotels.com/hotels/hollywood-roosevelt
Musso and Frank Grill http://mussoandfrank.com/
Grauman’s Chinese Theatre http://www.seeing-stars.com/Theatres/ChineseTheatre.shtml