VIDEO :: Ghost Articles Read w/Daniel
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History of the World’s Only Double-Decker Theatre
Called the Elgin & Winter Garden. That’s 2 theatres in one “double-decker” design.
Started as a Vaudeville stage in the early-1900’s. Vaudeville was a theatrical event, a variety of shows mixed into one evening with many different talents and characters.
The Legends of Elgin
This included many legends and over those years the theatre hosted some of the greats. Including…
- Married comedians George Burns and Gracie Allen
- Sophie Tucker
- Milton Berle
- famed ventriloquist act Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy (see video)
Then the moving picture was invented. Theatre became cinema and by the 1920’s Vaudeville was dead.
In 1928 the Winter Garden Theatre was sealed up. Not to be opened again for over 60 years.
The neighbourhood faded, turning into an unofficial red-light district. Then, like in New York City, a reemergence. The area became known as Yonge-Dundas. Our version of Times Square.
In 1981 the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the theatre. The Elgin converted for live shows and the Winter Garden opened for the first time in over 60 years.
Interesting Fact :: This building now stands as the only functional double-decker theatre in the entire world.
Samuel on the Ouija
Did you know renovations stir up ghosts? A disturbance in the energy of a building so to speak.
4 volunteers helping with the 1980’s renovations took advantage of this energy at night. They brought a Ouija Board into the Elgin Theatre.
Normally the board never worked for them but tonight it was electric. They touched the planchette and it took off. Sliding around, answering question after question…
“What is your name?” … S-A-M-U-E-L
“When did you die?” … 1-9-1-8
“How did you die?” … There was a long pause before it slowly spelled, F-E-L-L I-N-T-O T-H-E O-R-C-H-E-S-T-R-A P-I-T
The group tried not to laugh. In that moment too insensitive. Then simply asking, “Are there other ghosts in the Elgin?”
Quickly Samuel spelled … Y-E-S. T-H-E-R-E A-R-E M-A-N-Y
The group asked, “Can we talk to them?” And the planchette went quickly to “No”, and the board stopped.
They asked more questions but the planchette refused to move. Samuel was gone.
The Lost Seat
Also during the renovations, the Winter Garden was opened after 60 years of nothing. You can only imagine what they found.
Dust, damage, wear and tear. But worst of all the seats were destroyed by time.
The contractors started looking for deals. Then they found it at the Biograph Theater in Chicago, USA. They were selling old seats.
Purchased and shipped to Toronto. Unpacked and the workers noticed one seat was a different colour. All seats were red and this one was dark green. A mystery soon forgotten.
All were beautifully reupholstered with green felt and wood trim. Then installed in the Winter Garden. And that’s when they find out why the one seat was different.
In the 1930’s, an infamous character in American history was sitting in that seat. Then at the end of a gangster movie, he got up, walked out to a wall of police.
This man was shot down in the street. His name… John Dillinger.