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In late 30's and 40's, William Wilkerson founded several nightclubs along the Sunset Strip, among them was the Ciro's and Cafe Trocadera. These two industries alone helped earn William Wilkerson the nickname "Father of the Sunset Strip".
William Wilkerson was also a ladies man. He had a eye for female talent. One of the female talents he discovered was Lana Turner.
Though Wilkerson had founded several nightclubs, his real baby was the 'Hollywood Reporter' which was founded in 1930. The Hollywood Reporter was the first Hollywood-based daily trade newspaper covering the entertainment industry.
In 1936, Wilkerson created a beautiful office for the Hollywood Reporter. A visitor would describe entering a long hand-finished wood hallway with floor-to ceiling mirrors that led to a marble fireplace and a grand staircase to Wilkerson's offices on the second floor. The hallway was Wilkerson's domain. He loved walking up and down it, looking into the offices. Wilkerson put is heart and soul into the Hollywood Reporter. The Hollywood Reporter is where his heart and spirit remain. Though he died in 1962, the remodeling of his former offices seem to have Wilkerson pacing the halls again.
In 1992, the Hollywood Reporter moved to larger quarters. But the following year, another paper took over the space. The other paper is called the L.A. Weekly. Before the L.A. Weekly moved in Jerry Brake, a construction worker, worked on the building's seismic upgrading. Brake set up offices in the front hall, watched as the interior of the entryway was gutted and stripped back to brick. Everything was demolished except for Wilkerson's office on the second floor.
During construction, Brake usually was alone in the building. On occasion, at his desk, he would catch movement from the corner of his eye like a shadow of someone going by his door. During those times, Brake would dismiss it as a trick of light. The lighting had been strung, casting eerie shadows across the floor. One night when Brake was by himself in his office, he felt a tap on his back. He looked to see who it was but no one was there. Brake went out of his office and looked up and down the hallway. Nothing. Brake walked past a room to the left of his office and saw a figure in the corner. Brake looked past it, to a mirror that stood in front of them both, but he only saw himself in the mirror. When he looked back towards the figure, it was gone.
A few days later, Brake was again alone in the building. He heard a noise and went towards the sound down the hall towards the stairs. Brake clearly heard footsteps in front of him and ran after them. When he came around the corner, he could of sworn he saw a figure but the lighting was bad. Brake went to check the rest of the building to find the figure but didn't find it.
Brake told a co-worker the story when suddenly the co-worker went white and pointed to an open side door. The co-worker stammered he saw a man there with gray pants and black shoes.
The thing was it was pouring rain outside and the floor was dry. After that incident, the co-worker never came back to work.
As the remodeling progressed, the grand staircase was removed, an elevator was the only access to the second floor. Late one night, the architect, Ted Powell, was in Wilkerson's office talking with a woman. The two were alone in the building. Suddenly the pair heard what sounded like a broom handle on the ceiling under them. It was no easy feat because the ceiling was nine feet high. Both took the elevator down, searched around but found no one. Just as they became sure it was nothing, both heard footsteps above them in the office. Both made a quick exit out of the building.
Brake stated that out of the 15 different things he saw he dismissed 10 of them as his imagination. But there was five time, he couldn't dismiss it, Brake swore he felt the presence of Wilkerson in the room.
Hope you enjoyed this recounting of Wilkerson's ghost. Have a Happy Halloween everyone.
*I found this story on the Britannica Blog. It was written by Laurie Jacobson. I did my best at putting the story in my words instead of hers. You can find her version at: http://www.britannica.com/blogs/2009/02/haunted-hollywood-9-wilkerson-the-hollywood-reporter-10-oscar-related-ghost-stories-in-honor-of-the-academy-awards/