Tag Archives: Rita Hayworth

A History of Rock n’ Hauntings at Barney’s Beanery

images-1_zpsa5b8e183Barney’s Beanery has a special place in Hollywood and Rock ‘n Roll history. A loud restaurant with walls full of signs, memorabilia, lunch boxes, and car parts, Barney’s has earned its reputation as a place where celebrities can go to blend in or stand out. The well worn bar stools have been graced by Marilyn Monroe and peed upon by Jim Morrison.

In 1920 John “Barney” Anthony decided to open up a restaurant using the chili recipe he perfected as a navy cook during World War I. In 1927 Barney’s relocated to a new location alongside famous route 66 and the legend was born! The Beanery still stands and Anthony’s chili remains a menu staple!

url-3_zpsc7c1057dBarney’s Beanery has seen thousands of people walk through its doors, from the classy Rita Hayworth, to the Rebel Without A Cause star himself, James Dean. Rumor his it that Barney’s was the site of the last supper for Dean, the night before his tragic accident.

The outlandish writer/director, Quentin Tarantino, supposedly wrote Pulp Fiction while sitting at one of the booths. Perhaps the same booth that Janis Joplin ate her last meal, before heading back to the Landmark Motor Hotel where she was staying. The iconic voice was a regular at the Beanery before her heroin and booze addiction ended her life on October 4th, 1970.

Jim_Morrison_zps2caabf28Around the same time as Joplin, another rock and roll Idol used Barney’s as his local watering hole.  Jim Morrison of The Doors would come in to drink after recording over at The Doors Workshop just a bit father down Santa Monica Blvd. That is, until one night in the mid-1960s when Morrison was inspired to stand on the bar and relieve himself.  The decadent singer was immediately escorted out and not welcomed back. However, now there is a plaque on the bar honoring the Beanery’s connection to Morrison, installed after Morrison’s sudden death in France in 1971.

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Barney’s Beanery, like many a well-loved bar before it, is not without it’s ghosts, be they passed on patrons or something else entirely. The staff is friendly and even open to sharing a few stories if it’s not too busy.

One of the Beanery’s local spooks is an entity known as “The Man in Black.” With a description to match his name, the spectre is often seen standing by the ladies restroom, which at one point in time was part of a gambling and billiards room. Some people associate this Man in Black with a 1973 murder that took place in the restaurant. On September 15th of that year 25 year-old Leonard Taylor shot and killed Robert Rush, the 34 year-old bartender, over a game of pool. This documented murder has led to the belief that The Man in Black is Rush’s spirit, still watching over games.

Screenshot2014-06-08at54441PM_zps6fa3529cFemale employees at this restaurant will feel a touch on their back as if someone is trying to walk behind them, only to turn and realize the walkway is empty.  It is worth noting that among the famous patrons that once frequented this establishment is Erroll Flynn, who is as remembered for his acting work as he is for his large sexual appetite. The mischievous spirits at Barney’s Beanery are known to pull ponytails, and push open the swinging kitchen doors so that they rock wildly on their hinges. Occasionally the staff has heard a great “whooshing’ sound, almost like a strong wind, indoors, without even a breeze.

With almost 100 years of history under its belt, Barney’s Beanery has seen just about everything. It is no surprise that it is home to some paranormal entities as well. Even if you don’t believe the ghost stories, one thing is for certain, if you want to see a Hollywood staple and love a busy atmosphere, Barney’s is a MUST! The history isn’t just printed on the back of the menu, it’s hanging on the walls, and felt in every inch of the building.


John Candy to Lugosi to Rasputin – Final resting places in LA

by Connor Bright

Scott and I decided to check out a couple of the historic and noteworthy cemeteries near us. Earlier in the week we drove past Rosedale Cemetery in West Adams district as it was closing and couldn’t wait to go back for a closer look.  I have also wanted to see Bela Lugosi’s grave at the massive Holy Cross cemetery.  So we grabbed our cameras and headed out grave hunting!

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We started out in Culver City’s Holy Cross Cemetery. Opened in 1939, Holy Cross is a beautiful, 200-acre, clean cut, Roman Catholic cemetery that is the resting place to many memorable people, and is still in operation today, Scott and I saw quite a few processions come and go during our visit.  We’ve never been able to use the word “bustling” to describe a cemetery before, but this place was absolutely busy.  In LA there can even be traffic in a cemetery.

Holy Cross has many a famous burial.  Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula on stage and in the 1931 movie (and is famously buried in his cape) is here.  As is Sharron Tate the actress, wife of Roman Polanski and murder victim. She and five others were murdered by the Manson Family in 1969.  Tate’s grave marker also bears the name of her unborn baby as she was pregnant at the time of her murder.

Lugosi and Tate are buried in front of the grotto at Holy Cross Cemetery near two other noteworthy or famous graves: one of the most popular singers of all time, Bing Crosby and Oz’s Tinman, Jack Haley.

There’s actually three actors from The Wizard of Oz in this cemetery.  In addition to Haley, the actor who portrayed the Scarecrow, Ray Bolger, can be found in a wall crypt, as well as Billy Rhodes, one of the Munchkins!

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The Adams Family’s Uncle Fester, John Leslie Coogan Jr., also finally finds rest at Holy Cross.  Prior to his life as an Adam, he was discovered as a child by Charlie Chaplin and was the kid in the movie “The Kid.”  In between, Coogan met tragedy over and over again.  Some of his tragedies lead to the betterment of all people as Coogan’s Law, the first law protecting child actors, is named after Coogan’s battle with his parents.

One of the most famous comic actors of our time, John Candy, is found in the communal mausoleum.  He died of a heart attack at the age of 43, famous for roles on Second City Television, and on the big screen in Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Spaceballs, Stripes and Uncle Buck, among many others.

Candy is interred just above Fred MacMurray, star of Billy Wilder’s “Double Indemnity and the small screen’s My Three Sons.

Mack Sennett Grave photo IMG_2588_zps1eecc792.jpgJust outside of the mausoleum one can find Mack Sennett.  Sennett was film’s first “King of Comedy.”  He started Keystone Studios, built LA’s first soundstage and helped lauch the careers of Charlie Chaplin, Fatty Arbuckle, Gloria Swanson the Keystone Kops and was an early collaborator of D.W. Griffith’s.  In all, he is credited as producer on over 1,100 films, directed over 300 and personally appeared in over 350 films.

Rita Hayworth grave photo IMG_2574_zps2f125690.jpgThe cemetery is vast though sadly lacking in personality.  We imagine it might be against cemetery policy to have unique or upright stones.  However, upon visiting Rita Hayworth’s grave, we thought we would see more than simply a name with death dates.  The same goes for Lugosi, who likely has one of the more visited graves in LA.  We would imagine that a person wanting to be buried in Dracula’s cape would want to express himself on his stone as well.  The Pierce Brothers cemetery in Westwood Village is a cemetery with a lot more personality.  We’ll write about that site in a future post.

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Gerorge Shatto grave photo IMG_2621_zps1a3bc648.jpgNext, we visited Angelus-Rosedale Cemetery. Rosedale is one of the first cemeteries in Los Angeles, opening in 1884, and is the final home to pioneers, politicians, and businessmen of LA.  Rosedale is also home to the first crematory west of the Rockies (second in the nation). The 64-acre plot is the resting place of more than 100,000 people and was one of the first to be open to all races and faiths.

One of the two pyramid tombs at Rosedale belongs to George Shatto one of the first developers of Catalina Island. Shatto, it seems is still being taken care of in the afterlife, we found eggplants left at the opening to his personal mausoleum.  Perhaps this is offering of food for him in the afterlife(?).

daniel burbank grave photo IMG_2667_zps4c41d381.jpgPhineas Banning rests nearby; Phineas was a businessman famous for his effort to create a busy port in Los Angeles. Another developer, David Burbank, is  close by.  Burbank is the dentist and entrepreneur of whom the city of Burbank is named.

Louise Peete, a “black widow” serial killer is buried in a unmarked grave at the cemetery.  Though stories and numbers on those she lead to death are exaggerated, she remains one of just four women sent death in San Quentin’s gas chamber.  Conversely, murder victim Mable Monohan also rests here.  Her death lead to the arrests of Barbra Graham, Emmett Perkins, and Jack Santo. Monohan was murdered by the three who were looking for a safe they believed Mable’s son (a casino owner) kept at the house.  The execution of Barbara Graham lead to multiple movies, made for TV movies and plays titled “I Want to Live,” however, these stories are greatly inaccurate.

Some of the more surprising interments at Rosedale include Eliza Poor Houghton.  She is one of 48 survivors of the famous Donner Party.  The group started of with 89 people who became trapped in the Sierra Nevada mountain range in the winter of 1846. Maria Rasputin, the daughter of the “Mad Monk,” Grigori Rasputin, also rests at the cemetery! After her father’s assassination in 1917, Maria moved to Bucharest where she became a cabaret dancer.  Then she was off to Paris to be a governess, before moving to America as a Lion Tamer with Ringling Brothers Circus.  Maria also worked as a Riveter in Florida during WWII before moving one last time to Los Angeles, where she stayed.

Also buried at Angeles-Rosedale is the magician Henry Keller, who is said to be one of Harry Houdini’s inspirations, as well as Hattie McDaniel, the first African-American to win an Academy Award, for Gone With the Wind in 1939, and Tod Browning, “The Master of the Macabre”, and director of 1931’s Dracula.

Fort Moore Cemetery memorial photo IMG_2661_zps04e01029.jpgRosedale is also one of the Cemeteries holding LA’s original pioneers and military men.  The cemetery at Fort Moore Hill (now downtown LA) was raized with many of the bodies being relocated to Rosedale.  However, the relocation was done with little care.  Far more headstones than actual bodies made the initial trip.  Bodies continue to be found at the former cemetery site and moved to Rosedale with the most recent interment happening as recently as 2011!

Join us on our tour to hear more about Fort Moore Hill, visit the site of the former cemetery and hear other legends of the Fort Moore Hill area!  Have you heard any ghost stories about these sites?  We’d love to hear about them!  Please leave a comment below!