Today, Martine and I visited the Grier Musser Museum near downtown Los Angeles for their annual Halloween display. Susan Tejada, the museum’s curator, has gathered together an incredible collection of memorabilia relating to All Hallows Eve, from paper to dolls to battery-powered moving skeletons. (The most frightening is one in a cage above a toilet in the bathroom screaming that he wanted out.) Almost every inch of the rooms open to view is crammed with Victorian memorabilia (the house on Bonnie Brae Street goes back to the 19th century) and exhibits relating to Halloweens past and present.
In addition, there is a room with television and film exhibits relating to The Wizard of Oz (about to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its release), The Nightmare Before Christmas, and Monster High. If it weren’t for the fact that the tour is guided by Ms. Tejada, one could spend hours among the thousands of items on display.
The late Huell Howser, whose PBS television show visited the Grier Musser Museum twice over the years, had a sure knack for highlighting the very best of California, especially the Los Angeles area. Two visits was a singular mark of recognition.
In a room on the second floor, we saw the above photograph of Susan Tejada’s grandmother. I am always stunned when I see a photograph from over a century ago of a young woman who, even today, would be accounted a great beauty.
For some reason, this year we are spending more time getting into the Halloween spirit. In my case, it involves reading several books of spooky stories and visiting the Grier Musser Museum. Unfortunately, children have not come here to trick-or-treat for almost twenty years now. The schools have attempted to replace door-to-door trick-or-treating with school parties—especially in neighborhoods such as mine consisting mostly of multistory apartment buildings. Neighborhoods of posh single family homes still are inundated with lisping ghosts and monsters of short stature.