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The Pantages Theater –
Haunted Place: Pantages Theater
6233 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, California 90028
Pantages Theater web site
The Pantages Theatre can be found in the heart of historical Hollywood, near Hollywood Blvd. and Vine.
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This truly grand theater, named after Alexander Pantages, is a glorious palace-like, Art-Deco masterpiece; one of the most beautiful theaters in the world. The ceilings are breathtaking, and the inside decorum was created by highly skilled craftsmen.
Like most old-style grand theaters, it has a gigantic lobby that is a fan-vaulted area, that is one hundred and ten feet wide and sixty feet deep. The Lobby decor includes "zigzag geometric design in gold and henna shades." The lobby gets its light from three grand, but modernly elegant chandeliers. On each end of the lobby is a twenty foot wide staircase, that has statues created in the Egyptian and Assyro-Babylonian style. One statue depicts a crew of film makers filming.
Downstairs, under the lobby, are the powder rooms and women's lounge. The women's lounge and power room are decorated with "black patent leather walls and hung with beveled diametric shaped mirrors and a silver leaf ceiling." Unfortunately, the Men's lounge was lost to a renovation project in its past to make theatre offices.
The large theatre auditorium is decorated in the Art Deco style in a grand, lavish way.
There are grand balconies, a large stage area, backstage dressing rooms and an orchestra pit. There are also offices on the upper floor, including a conference room.
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The Pantages Theatre of Hollywood was the last theatre that vaudeville/film producer Greek American Alexander Pantages built to be part of his large and powerful eighty theatre western United State circuit and in Canada. It cost $1.25 million to build; (excluding theatrical and projection equipment, which was the most up-to-date available).
It opened on Jun 4th, 1930, with 2,812 seats. It was used as a stage and film theater, presenting short popular musical skits, in between showing films. Because of the market crash in 1929, the plans to have ten floors of office space built above the theater space were discontinued, but the plans to do so were kept in a safe place, so hopefully in the future they could be built.
Unfortunately, Alexander was accused of raping a young seventeen year old dancer, Eunice Alice Pringle. William Randolph Hearst's Los Angeles Examiner portrayed Alexander as a cold foreigner, and Eunice as his innocent victim, convicting Alexander in the court of public opinion. Not surprisingly, at first, Alexander was convicted, but he appealed, won another trial and was found not guilty in 1931.
On re-examination, her story didn't really make sense. It is suspected that Eunice was paid by Joseph Kennedy, who controlled RKO, to make a false claim against Alexander, because Alexander had turned down Joseph Kennedy's first offer to buy Alexander's theaters. Plus, Alexander Pantages was a gentleman, and never would even think of raping someone, contrary to yellow journalism claims made against him by Heart's newspaper.
After Alexander was finally acquitted, he successfully fought off Eunice's suit against him as well. However, his reputation was still shot, and his finances took a huge hit, because he had to hire expensive lawyers to defend him for both trials, plus Eunice's civil suit. So, Alexander wound up selling his theaters in 1932 to RKO, at a much lower price than what was first offered by Joseph Kennedy. All of his theaters went right into the hands of Joseph Kennedy. Alexander retired, and focused on his race horses.
Because of the Great Depression, the Pantages Theatre became mainly a movie house, with an occasional musical act or event brought in to entertain their patrons.
In 1949, The Pantages Theater was acquired by Howard Hughes, to be the crowning jewel of his national movie theater chain, RKO pictures, which he had bought. He renamed it, RKO Pantages. The theater became a grand place to see films, when it was converted from a stage theater to a theater with a huge screen. Hughes had his offices on the second floor. He had a door built that opened into the balcony. At first, Howard liked to go there in the dark, to think about business ideas. Later, he treated himself to movie marathons of the same films that lasted all day. The seeds of his later mental illness that manifested in being locked in a screening room for days were sown here at the Pantages.
Films, TV shows and videos have been filmed here as well over the years. Films such as THE JAZZ SINGER have filmed their concert portion of the film here. Occasionally, musical bands come to The Pantages as well, such as The Talking Heads, and Shakira.
The Pantages Theatre has been the favorite venue to host Hollywood's cultural and musical events. Starting in 1953, The Pantages Theatre was where the Academy Awards Show was televised on TV, making this ceremony a public affair. This occurred for ten years, until this event needed a bigger venue.
In 1954, Hughes sold all of his stock in RKO and started down his path to being totally withdrawn from public life, which happened ten years later. In 1967, Pacific Theaters bought The Pantages Theater, which was a bit run down by this time. They did some renovation and some restoration work to spruce up this old Dame of a theatre, turning it back into a stage theatre as well. The Pantages Theatre closed as a movie house in January, 1977, and reopened as a stage theatre in February, 1977, with the stage production of Bubbling Brown Sugar.
It was much later when they went into partnership with Nederlander Corporation that they fully restored and renovated the insides of The Pantages Theatre. Walt Disney's stage play, THE LION KING came to the Pantages after Pacific and Nederlander Corporation agree to do this substantial 10 million dollar restoration and renovation in 2000.
THE LION KING was a very popular phenomena and everything associated with it; the film, cd, toys, and stage play etc. made a huge profit. The stage play was tremendously popular as well. Pacific and Nederlander Corporation would make their money back, and also make a profit. The LION KING has had four different show runs at The Pantages, and is always a popular show.
This huge restoration/renovation project included cleaning and repairing all the Art-Deco artesian masterpiece artwork found on the ceiling, walls, and floors, restoring the lobby and replacing the missing chandeliers with "three huge Moderne frosted glass chandeliers hanging from three star-shaped domes.
Also, renovating the stage to be a first rate stage theater for Broadway touring companies was done. What was most welcomed by the Hollywood business community, however, was that the long neglected plans for 10 floors of office space were also completed, using Alexander's original plans!
Hollywood rejoiced! They now had the best stage theatre for major stage productions on tour, or for a long run, and some much needed office space as well.
They were not the only ones very happy with this outcome! The spirits who inhabit this beloved theatre also were very happy indeed.
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History of Manifestations:
When a beloved place is threatened by the living with theft, neglect or unpopular changes, spirits who are attached to this structure become active and defensive.
( Boulder Theater & Bar: George's Food and Drink * Bullock Hotel * State Center for the Arts * Benson Hotel * Monmouth Plantation )
Activity jumped up a few levels after a break-in by vandals who damaged the balcony area. This incident upset the spirit people who stay here.
People who have to sell, leave or lose their favorite place on earth due to circumstances in their life, sometimes choose to spend their after-life in their favorite place in this world.
( Hartford-Twain House * Frick House * Waverly House * Berkeley Plantation * Sturtivant Hall )
Alexander Pantages was falsely accused of a crime he didn't commit. After two trials, and a victory in a lawsuit, he had gone through a good part of his fortune and needed money to pay his legal teams and to retire on comfortably. He had to sell his theaters, including The Pantages; ending something he really enjoyed; owning and running his own theaters. I bet The Pantages was his favorite, built at the height of his wealth and being the first, glorious Art Deco theater built.
People who have their dreams cut short in this life due to an unexpected death or negative occurrence, sometimes still try to continue on trying to live their dream. This is especially true for people who love to perform in the arts.
( Pittsburgh Theater * Sacramento Theatre * Rialto Square Theatre * Washington Opera House )
A wanna-be performer died too early in the theatre's mezzanine of an illness condition, to see her dream come true.
People who have emotional and ties to a structure that they love in this world, sometimes decide to spend their after-life there, helping the living and watch over the building.
( Brumder Mansion * Geiser Grand Hotel * Tampa Theatre * La Posada * Harvard Exit Theater )
Howard Hughes loved the Pantages Theater, and enjoyed having his office in this building, being able to spend time in the balcony, to think, and watch movies.
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Entity of female wanna-be singer and performer
Since 1932, the sound of a female singer has been heard in the theatre auditorium, when the theatre was empty, dark and quiet, any time of the day or night.
In 1994, she gave her first public performance to the living. She showed her confidence in her talent by singing along with the cast of a musical; probably Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Her voice was inadvertently being picked up by a microphone and heard publicly in front of a live audience.
Today, she still sings if the microphone is left on, before or after a performance.
Entity of Alexander Pantages
As a guardian presence, Alexander keeps a fatherly eye on the living on the main floor, probably like he used to do while alive, being the owner of his theaters.
During a stage performance in the theater, a life-like male apparition walks up an aisle as if to leave. When the ushers open the door for him, he melts into the air.
In 1994, after a long performance, a wardrobe lady was the last to leave the already darkened theater. As she made her way to the side exit, the lights along the aisles went out, leaving her in total darkness. Uh Oh!
She fell over something, became disoriented and couldn't get to her feet, let alone find her way out. As she started to feel a little panicky, someone took her by her elbow and gently helped her to her feet, and then proceeded to firmly guid her to the exit.
Relieved, the flustered woman opened up the exit door to let in some light.
She immediately turned to thank her rescuer, but no one living was there. It was too short a time for a living person to take off, and she heard no foot steps. It is theorized that perhaps this ghostly rescuer was Alexander Pantages himself, who was an all around gentleman in real life.
Entity of Howard Hughes - His apparition and presence is a common occurrence.
Howard Hughes stays on the second floor, enjoying his old office space, not seeming to mind that it is now a remodeled conference room.
In 1992, the Nederlander Corp. had their offices on the second floor. An executive assistant who worked for this company, had some interesting personal experiences.
In his former office space, now a conference room, this executive assistant felt an unseen presence, sometimes manifesting as cold spots, and a cool passing wind, when the air was still with no wind source available.
Twice she saw a very tall male apparition walk down the hall into his old office. She could hear sounds of Howard going about his business at the desk that he still saw. She heard desk drawers being bumped, open and closed. The brass handles being clicked and rattled.
Howard still enjoys his time in the balcony, watching rehearsals and events.
Sometimes during a rehearsal on stage, a solid, life-like man is seen sitting in the back row of the balcony, watching them. When security goes up to evict the uninvited person, the man disappears.
During the restoration in 2000, an electrician and a painter quit after having an experience with an unknown, male spectral supervisor, concerned about the quality of their work.
He is thought to be either Howard Hughes, or Alexander Pantages. Perhaps, it could be someone else who supervised the building of the Pantages in 1929.
A painter was working on restoring the higher places of the theater auditorium that needs scaffolding to get to it. He reported that a man with a hat climbed down from the balcony to the scaffolding, walked around and stopped at where the painter was working. He then leaned over the painter's shoulder to inspect closely his work. When the painter looked at him, and asked him what he wanted, the spectral inspector disappeared.
An electrician was inspecting the wiring, when he too had this spectral inspector also studying the wiring as well over his shoulder.
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People who work here and/or spend time in this beautiful theater don't need any proof to know that these spirits love the Pantages Theater for their various reasons.
Paranormal investigation groups are not allowed in to study the claims of paranormal occurrences, perhaps because the theater owners already know they have these spirits and don't want to upset them. An upset spirit can upset their very profitable stage theatre business.
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Most Probably so!
While no hard evidence has been caught, because paranormal investigations are allowed, staff in the business suites and the Pantages Theatre, workmen, performers, directors and show personnel have all had experiences with the spectral gentlemen and the aspiring singer female entity who have chosen to spend their after-life in the Pantages Theater. There is peace between the living, the resident spirits, and the theater productions continue on smoothly, making a profit for the owners, bringing work to performers, stage personnel, theater personnel and providing first class entertainment to the public.
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