Early commercial principal work
One of the more fun (pre-SAG) shoots was for a European spot (i.e., not airing in the American states), for
Shot at the ornate L.A. Theatre in downtown Los Angeles, the sprawling majesty of the place was the setting for a Barbarella-esque surrealistic Hell which is more of a party atmosphere than an actual torturous place.
The production's costume designer had worked on
Cirque du Soleil
and at the fitting did me up as a surrealistic madman.
At the shoot, after a few shots the prop department came up with a "skunk puppet."
Formerly a live skunk, the skinned animal's skin had been made into a hand puppet, dibs on which I immediately called and wore/used for the remainder of the shoot.
Often some people (unaware it was a prop), thought I was carrying a live, tame skunk.
To my dismay, to date I have never seen the finished product of the Cardinal Beer spot, nor did I ever receive a video copy.
A Surprise Encounter
At lunch I spoke with some of the crew techs that, considering the age and dark splendour of the place, I would be surprised if it weren't haunted.
They assured me it was haunted: one of the cast was actually the theatre historian (an office of which was right in the theatre).
They told me she'd related to them how people have experienced Cold Spots, and such, and they showed me the creepy "day care area," containing a spooky/creepy wall mural worthy of the atmospheric ghost-story movie
Some time after lunch and back on set, I realized I had to go to the bathroom.
I knew I wasn't going to be used on camera for some time, so I went to scoot down to the bottom halls where they'd had hair and make-up.
However, just off to the side I spotted a large archway, the area inside of which was well-lit.
To my accurate presumption, it was the public restroom the audience would use during a show's interval.
Entering the main archway was a wide common-area, to the left was a shoe-shine stand.
In front of me was now two archways into the main-use area.
Beyond the arches the two areas were still interlinked: stand up urinals to the left area (beyond the left arch), and on the other side of the wall (beyond the right arch).
Apart from the stalls themselves, there were no doors that could be closed in or out of the restroom.
There were only about seven [sit-down] stalls, all of which were empty, the doors to all of which were open.
Unlike most of the theatre, the floor here was small mosaic tile, causing well echoed clicks as one walked.
I chose the middle stall, closed the door and latched it, and sat down.
Just as I'd finished, much to my surprise the toilet in the stall next to mine (to my left), flushed.
I had heard no one enter the otherwise utterly silent room.
Automatically I leaned over and looked to my left (then to my right), but there were no feet to be seen in either direction.
I was alone.
I glanced behind me to verify that these weren't "automatic flush" toilets, when suddenly from the same stall to my left a very clear and very male voice gently but loudly sighed (as though in relief).
Again I quickly leaned way over and looked but there were still no feet: there was no (visible or corporeal), individuals in the bathroom with me.
To maintain the silence I held my breath and I put on my pants, listening for footsteps that never came (or rather, departed...).
I quickly went to the three stalls to my left, all of which were still empty (and no automatic toilet flushers).
I had indeed been "alone" the entire time I was in the bathroom.
Later, just as we were winding down, I spoke with the woman who worked with the theatre's historical society.
When I am researching or investigating something, I never ask Leading Questions, I always ask direct ones.
I asked her about what the techs had told me, that the place had a reputation for possible haunting.
"Oh yes," she said enthusiastically.
"There are cold spots and places you feel you're Being Watched..."
"Is there anything with that main public restroom?" I inquired casually.
"Oh yes," she replied.
"Toilets will flush themselves and you can hear voices..."
With that verification, I told her she could chalk up One More Person who'd experienced that very phenomenon.