In 1930, a construction crew member fell to his
death while working on the Fox Theater’s clock tower.
His apparition has been seen floating around
the clock tower ever since, trying to fix the hands on the clock.
Known as “The Place to Go!” The Fox Theater website states “The Fox Theater of Bakersfield epitomizes an era of elegance, romance and big screen entertainment otherwise impossible to experience this side of Hollywood.” This glorious classic venue is a treasure indeed. “Beginning at the sidewalk on a rainbow of polished terrazzo and inside amid towering gold leaf, she is the exquisite blend of Spanish Colonial and Art Deco.”
The three-story Fox Theater, with its impressive clock tower, is a glorious example of a Spanish Colonial (Mission) Revival-style, pumped up with inspiring Art Deco additions. Its expansive size takes up the whole corner of H St. and 20th St, plus half-way down each block. The grand entrance is on the corner of the two streets, with a curved marque, decorated with green and orange-red glitzy lighting. The word “FOX” appears in lights on the clock tower. The clock has a blue light background with bright orange-red numbers.
It is indeed an icon, beloved by the people of Bakersfield and surrounding areas as a cultural arts anchor, offering performing arts, live shows and films, and community events as well.
Wow! Pictures of the auditorium are quite beautiful as well, built in an atmospheric, Mission-style tradition with the added plus of Art Deco style on the inside, featuring a rare Skouras signature interior. The original 1930 auditorium design had the “illusion of half buildings built into the walls for maximum effect.” However, in 1953, that was removed and the Skouras Art Deco decor took its place. The ceiling of the auditorium is still blue with little stars, with “a neon glow of an indigo sky” giving the impression that the guest is sitting outside.
The Fox Theater is a treasure indeed, designed by well-known Los Angeles architect S. Charles Lee. “Known for his trademark,’The Show Begins on the Sidewalk’, Lee’s designs would later gain classic status as “paragons of style and beauty.” Opened on Christmas Day 1930, The Fox proudly started showing “Talkie Films”.
Besides films, prestigious artists gave concerts here as well, including the Metropolitan Opera baritone Lawrence Tibbett (1933), the world-renowned soprano Kirsten Flagstad (1939), the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra (1939), and the classic pianist Arthur Rubinstein (1940).
The Fox Theater was built by Beller Construction, and supervised by local architect Charles H. Biggar. The theatre has an iron frame with poured concrete over the structure, which protected the theater from another danger no-one thought of at the time: earthquakes! In 1952, the earthquake that leveled many buildings in Bakersfield didn’t touch The Fox Theater.
Perhaps because the theater survived the earthquake, Fox officials were eventually inspired to renovate their gem, giving her a more refined, updated appearance with a remodel of the marquee, box office, and main entrance with a lovely touch of Art Deco ”embellished with glitzy 50’s bright metals, terrazzo and neon.”
The original Mediterranean Village interior found in the auditorium was replaced with a contemporary Art Deco motif inspired by Fox West Coast Theaters’ Charles P. Skouras.
The Fox Theater did well through the 1940s, 1950s, but started to slide in the 1960s and 1970s, probably because people were leaving to live and shop in the suburbs. In 1977, it closed its doors. It opened briefly for a season starting in 1983-1984, but sadly, after that, it was dead in the water for ten years, inching toward a date with the wrecking ball. Oh no! However, The Fox Theater Foundation, a non-profit organization, came to the rescue and officially saved this artistic treasure.
With the help of 380 “Save The Fox” donors, the Fox Theater Foundation had enough for the down payment to buy this grand Dame of a theater. The Foundation’s goal is to complete a five-star restoration, once again making the Fox Theater the heart of downtown’s cultural district. Apparently this time around, there is a spectral 1930s-era construction worker not on the payroll still willing to help!
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who die suddenly in accidents while trying to finish a task or goal, sometimes try to continue to make their goal, in spirit form.
In 1930, a construction crew member fell to his death while working on the Fox Theater’s clock tower.
Spirit of the 1930 construction crew member
His apparition has been seen floating around the clock tower, trying to fix the hands on the clock.
He has been seen for as long as this Fox Theater has been open, meaning that many witnesses have watched him going about his duties.
Despite this, I can’t find any hard evidence made public concerning this dedicated spirit.
On hauntedhouses.com, there are many stories of spirits still trying to do their jobs, who are not willing to admit how they died and aren’t ready to go just yet, held as they are in this world with a yearning to continue in their work for many reasons.
2001 H Street
Bakersfield, CA 93301
The Fox Theater is located on the corner of 20th St. and H St. in the heart of old downtown Bakersfield.
- Fox Theater page on Cinema Treasures
- The Historical Fox Theater
- 10 buildings that many say are haunted in Bakersfield – The Bakersfield Californian
- Bakersfield’s Fox Theater page on United States History website
- Featured photo of Fox Theater on Cinema Treasures: “Side wall of modernized auditorium”
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr