GHOULA meets for cocktails in haunted places on the 13th of each month. “SPIRITS with SPIRITS” is a casual social gathering of regional ghost hunters and those that just like ghost stories. Open to all, from the curious skeptic to the passionate phantom pursuer. Make friends, and toast a ghost! Let’s put the “Boo!” back into “booze.”
All those who attend will receive a free (square) G.H.O.U.L.A. button. If you already have one, please wear it so others can find you, without asking the staff about our group. (i.e. LOOK FOR SOMEONE WITH A GHOULA BUTTON)
NOTE: This may be the penultimate “SPIRITS with SPIRITS.”
“…No logic. No reason. No explanation. Just a prolonged nightmare, in which fear, loneliness, and the unexplainable walk hand in hand through the shadows…” —excerpt from Rod Serling’s intro to “Five Characters in Search of an Exits” (Twilight Zone episode)
In the 1920’s, there was a popular prison-themed restaurant in Hollywood, where the waiters dressed like guards. When it closed, the space was converted into a theater. It was on this spot Ed Wood worked as an actor (and was paid in beer) before he directed “Plan 9” (the worst movie of all time). By 1963, some young people took over the then run-down theater in the canyon below Sunset Boulevard, and forever changed the cultural landscape of Hollywood.
Fiery flamenco-enthusiast Maragrita Cordova and her singer/guitarist husband, Clark Allen, with help from fellow dancers Marta Amaya and Armando Media, and very little money created a home for Flamenco dancing and Spanish (not Mexican) cuisine and culture when they opened “El Cid.” It was named after a popular movie of the day, but more specifically it was chosen because of its limited number of letters (less letters meant a cheaper sign out front). Money was so tight in the early years, on rainy nights, patrons were given umbrellas because of the building’s many leaks. But what their approach to Dinner Theater lacked in frills, they made up for with their spunk and some potent wine concoctions named after Spanish dances.
60 years later, El Cid still stands below Sunset Blvd, and Flamenco is still performed there (on weekends), and perhaps one of the troupes original members still lingers on that historic stage…
Staff claims that when the theater is empty, and during the day, they will hear the phantom strumming sounds of guitar music, as if an invisible guitarist were practicing on the vacant stage. The ghostly musical notes are generally attributed to the spirit of Clark Allen, one of the founders of El Cid, who passed away in 2008.
Interestingly, in addition to his possible ghost haunting this building, Clark Allen has achieved immortality in a different way with legions of Sci-Fi fans for his role as the eerie bagpiper in a Twilight Zone episode entitled “Five Characters in Search of an Exit.” He played a musician stuck between ethereal planes in a netherworld. Could life (or rather the after-life) be imitating art?
Then again, maybe the ghostly guitarist is one of the many other musicians that have come through this space.
So, come out and enjoy one of this city’s most unique restaurants, have a drink, and listen for the macabre melodies of a former guitarist… if you dare!