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The Vogue Theatre
6675 Hollywood Blvd. 900028
All*Star Cafe (323) 962-8898
www.allstarcafe.net
(Public parking 1/2 block north on Cherokee)

HOLLYWOOD GHOSTS LEAVE KNICKERBOCKER FOR THE VOGUE

Hollywood Independent Newspaper
February 28, 2001

It's all still very much a jumble, but soon Max (a.k.a. David Fisher) will be applying the same kind of magic to the lobby of the famously haunted Vogue Theatre that he managed in the lobby of the Knickerbocker Hotel for years.

Thanks to the rather abrupt and unceremonious termination of his lease at the historic hotel, Max is moving his retroglam coffeehouse of the ultra-hip, the All*Star Theatre Cafe and Speakeasy, to what perhaps should have been its home all along - the lobby of the Vogue Theatre. And he's bringing his ghosts with him, he says.

For those not up on their haunted history, the Knickerbocker Hotel was itself once one of the hippest spots in glamorous old Hollywood. Rudolph Valentino is supposed to have frequented the bar there, galloping down from his home in the Hollywood Hills astride a real live stallion. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio allegedly held trysts there prior to their marriage.

But it is the hotel's more macabre history that gave rise to its notoriety.

Legend has it that D.W. Griffith dropped dead of a cerebral hemorrhage in the hotel lobby.

Police dragged Frances Farmer kicking and screaming (and purportedly wrapped only in a shower curtain) across the lobby of the hotel after the famously troubled actress failed to report a DUI violation to her probation officer. Farmer was subsequently delivered to a mental hospital, where she was lobotomized.

After leaving a note to her neighbors that read," Sorry I had to drink so much to work up the courage to do this," costume designer Irene Gibbons plunged to her death from a hotel window. And Bess Houdini, widow of the escape artist Harry Houdini, for years held sťances on the hotel rooftop in the vain hope of making contact with her beloved husband.

By the 1960s, the hotel was a veritable fleabag. The bar once, frequented by stars, now sat shuttered. No one wanted to drink there anymore because of the ghosts, the story went.

But Max saw potential in the old bar still and in 1993 he opened the All*Star Theatre Cafe and Speakeasy.

More then a simple coffeehouse, the All*Star was equal parts after-hours club, celebrity hangout and retro-chic boutique, and it quickly earned a reputation of being one of the hippest places to sip java in Hollywood.

All was well, Max says, until early this year, when his landlords at the Knickerbocker asked him to move out.

"They didn't offer any explanation," he says. "In January, my lease was up and they asked me to go month to month. Two weeks later, I got a call that said I had to be out in two weeks."

Luckily, he says, he ran into parapsychologist Larry Montz, who manages the Vogue and headquarters the International Society for Paranormal Research at the theatre. It's hoped that the ghosts who haunted the All*Star (Marilyn Monroe has been seen reflected in a particular vanity that is making the move from the Knickerbocker to the Vogue, Max says) will feel right at home with the spirits who inhabit the old movie theatre.

To help fund the move, Max and members of the ISPR will be holding a special sťance on March 10, with proceeds going toward fixing up the lobby to make it suitable for the cafe.

While some of the intimacy of the old location may be lost in the Vogue lobby, Max says he's confident he can make the All*Star work in it's new home.

"I've brought a lot of the stuff from the Knickerbocker over here," Max says, though the All*Star's incredible chandelier is gracing Max's own abode. "I've got the 40's theatre seats, the coffee machine, the jewelry display cases. It's going to be great."

The relationship, though, will be mutually beneficial.

Max's annual "Houdini sťances", during which he carries on the Knickerbocker tradition established by the magician's widow of trying to make contact with Houdini on "the other side" are well-known across the city, often attracting celebrity crowd and selling out each time he offers them.

Now Max will be lending his talents as a medium to the Vogue, for a special fund-raising "Midnight Sťance," to take place at the theatre on Saturday, March 10. Members of ISPR, as well as sympathetic friends, have contributed more than $100,000 to maintain the building, but more work needs to be done.

Proceeds will go directly into the renovation of the theatre, which, according to Max, needs a number of big-ticket improvements.

"To date, there hasn't been any corporate or community funds to help the individuals involved in saving this history Hollywood landmark," Max says. "So much money is being spent on the new Hollywood, so I'm thrilled to be able to help raise money to keep an original Hollywood theatre alive and kicking."

HISTORY AND TRAGEDY AT THE VOGUE THEATRE

Before the turn of the previous century, when Hollywood Boulevard was still Prospect Avenue, the Prospect Elementary School stood behind the site where now stands the Vogue Theatre auditorium. The school playground was located where the auditorium is today. The four room school house burned to the ground in 1901, killing 25 children and the teacher, Miss Elizabeth. Six children and Miss Elizabeth were found and identified in the theatre beginning in the Spring of 1997 (paranormal investigations were conducted by the ISPR), but in the winter of 1998, the ISPR had two of the children crossed over (by the clairvoyant members of the ISPR Investigative Team who are capable of such work).

Years later after the school house burned, a textile manufacturing plant was built on the site, which also burned to the ground within a few years. In 1934 -1935, construction was in motion to build the Vogue Theatre, designed by the same architect (Lee) who designed the Million Dollar Theatre downtown L.A. This was one of his last architectural projects.

The Vogue Theatre opened as a movie theatre in 1936 and operated as such through the Spring of 1992, when the doors closed on the movie palace, leaving it empty (except for vagrants) until the Spring of 1997. At that time, the ISPR acquired the the Vogue Theatre and implemented a three year research study of the property through ISPR Investigations and ISPR Ghost Expeditions (ISPR Ghost Expeditions? are designed for the general public - the first and only opportunity worldwide to participate in an actual scientific paranormal field investigation, combining both scientific and clairvoyant methodologies, designed by the ISPR).

In addition to Miss Elizabeth and the children, two other entities are considered as 'resident entities' of the Vogue Theatre. Both adult males. The first, Fritz, was a German immigrant who worked as a projectionist for the Vogue for roughly 40 years. The other, Danny, was a maintenance engineer for Mann Theatres; the Vogue being one of the properties he on which he worked. He died off-site. Both men died in the 1980's.

Paranormal experiences in the Vogue vary widely and include full form apparitions, partial apparitions, poltergeist activities (objects moved all over the property including the auditorium seats which up and down), odors (associated with one entity), some empathic episodes primarily with Miss Elizabeth and Fritz, residual hauntings (including that of fire smoke, audience members seating in the seats), and at times, usually during Ghost Expeditions conducted inside the property - the Vogue has many visitors - other entities that have no tie or connection with the property, but are on-site temporarily.

Currently, it is the opinion of the ISPR that the Vogue Theatre is truly one of the most actively haunted properties in L.A. due to the amount of actual documented paranormal activity that takes place within the theatre.

Any questions? Email me

ALL*STAR Theatre CAFE & SPEAK EASY
VOGUE THEATRE
6675 HOLLYWOOD BLVD.
HOLLYWOOD, CA 90028
(323) 962-8898 (AllStar Cafe)
(323) 962-1599 (Vogue Theatre)
(323) 644-8866 (ISPR.hotline)

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