Frolic Room, The Living Ghost

Living Ghost - Frolic Room
2010 Mixed Media
in 31 x 24 x 5
with electroluminescent wire

Nightime view


Frolic Room is a small bar attached to the Pantages Theater on Hollywood Boulevard. Customer reviews peg it as the classic "dive bar." It has survived pretty much intact from the 1930's. It did have it's moment of glory and glamour in the 1950's when the Academy Awards Ceremony was held at the Pantages.

When I was doing my visual research it was late afternoon and it was very dark inside the bar. I could make out the shadows of a couple people in the bar and I could sense they were looking at me looking in. I didn't go in.

Musso and Frank's - Another Hollywood Ghost

Musso and Franks
2010 Mixed Media
in 26 x 38 x 5


As part of my research for this project I took my family to eat at the real Musso and Frank's on Hollywood Boulevard. Before our visit I was looking at websites with references to Musso's and there was one about dining with Charlie Chaplin's ghost. My seven year old daughter is a big Charlie Chaplin fan (she's seen most of his movies) and also got very interested in the ghosts of Hollywood. When we got to Hollywood she became concerned, "Are there really ghosts here?" "No, " I told her, but as soon as we got on the boulevard we were greeted by a big placard reading, "Haunted Hollywood Tours."

Musso's is an enchanting place, a real trip back in time. After dinner I went to use the restroom and on my way there I thought I had celebrity sighting- an old actor with a familiar face whose name I couldn't recall, probably never even knew. I told my wife and daughter about it, but with my vague description they understtod nothing. As we walked back to our table we must have all stared at the poor guy with our jaws slightly slack.

When I got home I tried to figure who the actor was. I thought he was perhaps on the 1960's variety show, "Rowan and Martin's Laugh In." So I googled that and sure enough I found the actor I thought I saw- Henry Gibson.

He had died in September 2009, a year earlier.

Back by the restrooms at Musso's there was a grainy old photograph of Musso's as it appeared in about the 1920's or 30's (judging form the cars parked in front). I took a photo of the old photo and that was my source for this painting. I wanted to do colors different from "John's Cafe" but the variations I chose never looked right and I decided to stick with t"John's" colors which just looked right.