A valued spectral manager has been given a special honor.
The three story Boulder Theatre building, that shares walls with its diner/bar and other stores along 14th street, retains both its 1905 original decor on the upper floors, and its glorious 1935 restoration art-deco design, courtesy of The Fox Theater Company, which did a fantastic job blending the two styles. The art deco work above the Marquee helps promote the latest events, groups, and presentations of the 21st century, and is truly beautiful, with its colored tiles depicting a lovely nature scene. The yellow brickwork is fancy, and the dentils along the top recreate the upscale look of 1906!
Inside, the theater is designed to handle the multiple uses that are needed to keep the income flowing in, including all sorts of live music and drama, and films as well. The theatre is doing well financially, having found the right combination of entertainment to appeal to everyone. Their website states, “The Boulder Theater produces events that span most musical genres. We also have clients who host corporate and private events. From opera to movies to disco to rock, the historic Boulder Theater has a diverse and colorful past that is being continued with a thriving present and is primed for an exciting future.”
Six levels of seating are provided, with a bar in the middle of the first floor seating. Attendees can choose between two balconies for seating. Every seat has a good view of the stage area.
Its popular restaurant/bar, George’s Food And Drink, serves a variety of interesting entrées and beverages. The bar’s outside street entrance is just to the right of the main theatre entrance. George’s was renovated in 2007, and opened in 2008 to meet the dining and drinking needs of their patrons. It has inside and outside seating, complete with umbrellas.
The original building was constructed in 1905, and began mostly as a musical stage venue and concert hall, opening in 1906 as The Curran Opera House. A screen was added for silent movies, probably paired with an organ for live music during shows. It was financed by wealthy billboard sign owner James Curran.
From the release of the first Warner Brother’s “talkie film”, The Jazz Singer in 1928, The Curran Theatre became more invested in sound films. Stage concerts and shows didn’t return until 1978. During the early thirties, The Curran Theater kept its doors open with double features, and “Country Store Nights”, a promotional carrot to get people hoping to win a free bag of groceries if they sat in the right seats. The people of Boulder loved their theater by supporting it; bringing in enough profit to interest the moguls of The Fox Theater Company.
In 1935, The Fox Theater Company purchased The Curran Theater, renaming it The Boulder Theater. In 1936, the new owners gave the building a lovely renovation, overseen by Robert Boller of Kansas City. The building was expanded, and given a beautiful art-deco design, inside and out. Its beautiful façade has been declared a Colorado Historic Landmark.
In 1978, The theater was sold to Mountain Productions, and a new renovation followed. The Boulder Theatre became a “state-of-the-art” concert hall. A great variety of artists appeared here, from blues/folk singer Bonnie Raitt, to the controversial Punk Metal Band The Plasmatics, to keyboardist Jeff Lorber, and even the legendary talented writer and stage performer Timothy Leary, who some say didn’t have both oars in the water from his over-use of psychedelic drugs.
Some people blame the movie-house style of seating for the lack of success that followed, but perhaps what the owners were offering just didn’t float the boats of the Boulder public. The Boulder closed down after only fifteen months, in 1983.
From 1983-1993, the theatre had two more owners, who both dropped the more over-the-top fare, and transformed the venue back to its multi-use roots. In 1993, it closed again, but not for long.
Finally, an owner came along with the right combination of offerings. Since then, the good people of Boulder have been entertained with classic films, events like the Boulder International and Adventure Film Festivals, filmmakers like Warren Miller, and some 250 concerts given by “the most respected national, international and local artists performing today.” A variety of community events, such as E-town’s live radio show tapings, have had a popular appeal as well.
In 2007, more of the theater’s patrons wanted more real dinners, not just the light snacks and bar fare offered in The Boulder’s little bar and eatery just south of the theatre, in the same building. It was time once again to renovate to accommodate the desires of patrons.
A Boulder Theater spokesman and publicist, Ms. Coffield, explained in a 2008 Boulder Camera Daily article: “We were finding that people wanted more of a heartier meal, so we decided to broaden our menu. We kept a lot of the same stuff. The food was great, but people wanted more. We’re calling it contemporary comfort food.”
On June 27th, 2008, the newly renovated restaurant/bar reopened, initially with the name “The Lounge”, but quickly renamed to George’s Food and Drink, in honor of the Boulder Theater’s resident spirit. George’s Food and Drink opened its doors in July of 2008.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
In the 1920s, when The Boulder was known as The Curran Theatre, a gentleman of the name of George Paper was the manager. George really loved his job. He loved being involved in all the details of upkeep and managing staff, acts, etc.
There are two theories as to how George Paper died. For now, all we can say is that whatever the true reason for his death, George wasn’t ready to accept it, and he was not willing to go to the next step. He still wanted to work at his theater, in this dream job, for which he had a real passion.
When a person accidentally kills himself, or dies in an accident that could’ve been prevented, sometimes they still want to be a part of life in this world. They try to continue to participate in what they loved to do while alive.
An urban legend tells the tale that George accidentally hung himself in 1944, while working above the stage area, trying to fix a lighting rig by himself with no assistant. He fell and his head landed in a noose of wiring, sealing his fate.
However, the obituary that ran in the Daily Camera in April of 1944 makes no mention of any accident, and reported that he died at Fitzsimmons Medical Center. Perhaps he suddenly died of something else. Maybe people initially got him down from the wiring when he was near death, and took him to the hospital, where he did finally die. Perhaps his family and the theater owners didn’t want the world to know of his unfortunate accident.
When people have found their passion in life, working their dream job or providing a needed service, sometimes they want to continue doing so, not letting that fact that they have passed on get in the way.
The Spirit of George Paper
This intelligent spirit has long been an active/proactive resident observer, spectral manager, and protector of the theater. He wants the living to know that he is still there, and wishes to be a part of things very badly, which is hard to do if you have no physical body anymore.
George has found ways to contribute! He has prominently made himself known to the living, starting soon after his death, and continuing through the years. Everyone who has worked here knows it by personal experience. There are no doubters.
The Appearance of George Paper
George appears as a tall man, wearing a 1920s suit and hat.
For many years, theater staff and patrons have reported seeing a tall man wearing a hat disappearing into the bathrooms, leaving only a cold spot behind.
He has also been seen roaming the halls on his inspection tour. George has served as a security force for the theater!
George is fascinated with light bulbs, and has been known to take them from the back stage area, perhaps to study them, or to find the energy to put them in their sockets himself.
He used to be in charge of items like this. But bulbs have changed a lot since the 1940s.
George has made a point of protecting his beloved theater from many theft attempts. He has treated intruders with the full spectral sports package, appearing as a solid apparition who is not pleased, effectively scaring potential wrong-doers.
Recently, a burglar broke into the theatre, not knowing about its spectral security force. Police found the scared, discouraged, would-be thief cowering in the projection booth. He was afraid to go anywhere else, because of the tall man who was wearing a hat who kept appearing in front of him; stopping him from making any progress to steal items, as well as simply terrifying him.
Patrons and staff have felt and experienced his friendly unseen presence as well.
George’s Former Apartment (3rd Floor)
Theatre employees have reported to management odd and eerie occurrences inside the theater’s third-floor VIP room, and the old projection room.
These areas were once George Paper’s old apartment.
People have felt unexplained cold spots and cool breezes.
George’s Bar/Restaurant Manifestations
When the new lounge opened as “The Lounge”, George became very active and restless in the Boulder Theater, letting the staff and owners know that he wasn’t happy and wanted some control in the new space.
Realizing the unhappiness of their theater spirit, management decided to rename the new restaurant/bar after George, which made him really happy, at last feeling that he was still an important part of the living’s world. True to form, George began his usual routine of making himself known to the living.
Sometimes George hangs out near the bathrooms, opening and closing the door to the men’s room and the stalls inside, and turning the faucets on and off.
One employee who was coming down the stairs to the cafe, saw the outline of a man run across it and disappear.
Employees and patrons have both experienced unexplained cold spots in George’s Food and Drink as well, suggesting that George is busy overseeing it with enthusiasm.
A big YES INDEED!
There have been so many experiences with George, that his presence there is certainly very probable. He has made and continues to make his presence known to all employees and management, with patrons also experiencing him as well.
Boulder Theater personnel and management have a fondness for George, and are glad that he is happy and honored to have a little restaurant and bar named after him. He is still on staff, and does his due diligence watching over the place.
While I couldn’t find any published results from any paranormal investigations, hard proof has probably been caught, perhaps in private investigations. Or, perhaps investigations are discouraged because everyone knows of his presence, and they don’t want strangers coming in to annoy George, who would find a way to give them an earful if they did.
Everyone who has ever owned or worked for the Boulder Theater and George’s Food and Drink, has had personal experiences with George. Patrons as well have experienced him being there. The criminal element of Boulder know him as the seen and unseen security spirit; a scary fellow with no patience for break-ins.
Pearl Street Mall, 2028 14th Street
Boulder, Colorado 80302
The Boulder Theater and its lounge/diner/bar, George’s Food and Drink, can be found in the historical section of downtown Boulder, in the center of the Pearl Street Mall, a lovely restored section of downtown, truly well-done! The main cross streets, running east/west, are Walnut to the south and Spruce Street to the north. Predictably, the main cross streets running north/south are 13th and 15th streets. The folks who designed this part of Boulder were organized and sequential!
- The Ghost Hunter’s Field Guide
by Rich Newman
- www.hauntedcolorado.net – Boulder Daily Camera article
By Vince Darcangelo -Thursday, October 30, 2008
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr