The Palace Theater Ghost
The Louisville Palace Theater on Fourth Street in Louisville is a stunning example of the golden age of American movie palace. The theater first opened in 1928 as Loew's Theater, the building was designed by famed stage designer and theater architect John Eberson. Eberson, who designed theaters across the Southeast and Midwest, created stunning, sumptuous atmospheric theaters, built to create the experience of magic and luxury for the patrons. Costing the staggering, for 1928, sum of over a million dollars to build, the theater was the gem of Louisville's theater row. It also is said to be the one of one of Kentucky's friendlier ghosts.
Loew's Theater went along through the ups and down of the American movie theater business through the course of the 20th Century. The theater was renovated several times, changed ownership multiple times, and finally succumbed to the pressure of multiplexes and the changing, more blockbuster-focused movie business in 1978. After operating as nightclub for a period in the 1980s, the theater was taken under the wing of new owners who lovingly restored it to its original glory, and it now operates as a movie palace and concert venue.
In the 1990s, workers restoring the theater began to report encounters with the spectral figure of an older man with a flat-top haircut, dressed in older work clothes, and wearing thick-rimmed glasses. The workers reported that the figure appeared to take an interest in their work, peering down off the balcony to see what they were doing and quietly watching from the shadows.
One worker, who had been putting in long hours in the rush for the grand re-opening, was painting the ceiling, lying on a high scaffold, when he felt the long hours getting to him and he quietly fell asleep. The man was surprised to hear a voice speaking into this ear, saying "Wake up!", and when he did he was surprised to see that he had nearly rolled off the scaffold in his sleep. Te ghostly voice had saved his life.
The ghost persists in the theater to this day, quietly overseeing the theater. So who is this mysterious figure? During the 1960s, the theater was managed by a man named Fred Fisch. Fisch's grandson heard about the ghost and supplied a picture of his grandfather to the theater staff. Everyone was amazed, the man in the picture was the same man that many people had seen around the theater, down to the flat-top haircut and glasses.
So Fred remains a welcome and friendly presence in the Louisville Palace Theater. Keep an eye open for him the next time you see a show there.