Seeing Dead People

So I dragged Elaine to another cemetery this weekend. Elaine says I’m turning her into a ghoul. That wasn’t really my intention. I find graveyards sort of fascinating, but then I write about vampires so I guess that kind of follows.

Holy Cross Cemetery does not have the eerie vibe that Hollywood Forever has. Beautiful place on a hill, like a fancy park with dead people buried in the lawn. The celebrities here are of a more recent vintage than most of the spirits we visited last week. People who were actually alive while I was alive.

Which apparently makes all the difference.

Rudolph Valentino and Charlie Chaplin’s mother Hannah have been gone so long that they have almost passed into legend, as if they never were living beings at all. Dead when I was born, dead now, no difference. But John Candy? I remember watching John Candy on TV, waiting impatiently for his movies, laughing at his guest spots. Now he’s up there in the wall above Fred MacMurray.


And suddenly looking for dead celebrities isn’t so fun anymore. It’s as if the cold wind of mortality had brushed against the back of my neck, raising the hairs, chilling the soul. Because Rudolph Valentino is so dead, he’s in black and white.

But John Candy wasn’t.

And the walls of the mausoleum, stacked with row after row of bodies in tiny claustrophobic cubicles, seems cold and forbidding. I’m eager to get back outside into the sun, back to the rolling green lawns with the gorgeous view of the city, away from John Candy lying silent in his tomb.

That was when Elaine told me that she didn’t want to go to any more cemeteries.

Neither do I.


10 thoughts on “Seeing Dead People

  1. So you remember John Candy from back when you were alive, huh? Is there something we should know? Or was that just a slip-up of past tense verb usage? Inquiring minds want to know!

  2. So, Roboclow the vampire author writes about the walking dead but gets nervous around dead people?

    For what its worth, your last few posts about Pickfair Studios and Hollywood Park Cemetary got me all into silent film stars and the silent film era this week. I’ve been Wiki-ing anythng and everything. Heck, I even stayed up late Sunday night and watched a Harold Lloyd short on Turner Classic Movies.

    I’ve even studied up a bit on the Pickfair and Greenacres estates and google-earthed to see what they look like today! (BTW, Pia Zadora tore down the original Pickfair and built some gaudy thing on the same footprint as the original house. Greenacres – Harold Lloyd’s estate – has been restored and pretty much the same except for losing several acres to subdividing.)

    And its all your fault.

    Now you go and post about getting spooked by John Candy at Holy Cross but didn’t get spooked at Hollywood Forever even though Virginia Rappe followed you home and threw a can of Dr Pepper at you?????

  3. Well, here’s the thing. Looking at John Candy’s grave, I could picture him lying there in my mind because I knew exactly what he looked like. That’s what really creeped me out. The silent actors seemed fuzzy and black and white, but I could envision him in living color.

    Virginia and I seem to have made our peace. I had always thought of her as someone who set out to ruin Fatty Arbuckle’s career, not as some poor girl who died at a party. I think all she wanted was some sympathy.

    I love Sunday Night Silents on TCM. I was surprised that they had Harold Lloyd this week since Monday was Charlie Chaplin’s birthday. BTW, the Los Angeles Temple is built on Harold Lloyd’s old studio.

    To help save Pickfair Studios, go to the petition here:

  4. OK, I see that. Actually, I think crypts are creepy with all those bodies stacked up. I don’t get why people want to be laid to rest like that – especially in earthquake country. Imagine the mess when the big one strikes!

    From what i’ve read Virginia Rappe was of dubious character, to put it mildly. I can see why she’d want to hang around and not move on. Was there ever a movie made about what happened to Fatty Arbuckle?

    I had no idea that the LA Temple grounds had once been Harold Lloyd studios! How cool is that?

    Still, I blame this new found interest in the silent era all on you. I watched Sunset Blvd a few years ago (on TCM, of course!) and it really resonates now with all the stuff i’ve been reading. Its pretty tragic how most of the film pioneers from the silent era were looked down on by the industry once talkies took off.

    1. I have to admit I considered the earthquake angle myself. People raining down all over. Yikes!

      Here’s an interesting Rudolph Valentino note for you. He is buried in a borrowed crypt and was only supposed to stay there until his (much more elaborate) tomb was built, probably something on the scale of Douglas Fairbanks’ grave. Anyway, the lady who let him borrow her tomb died the same year and was interred in the space beside him. His big tomb was never built, but supposedly the huge statues of the saints in the mausoleum were created for his tomb and wound up there when they had nowhere else to go.

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