Scene 1: Hollywood Tower Hotel
Mount Lee, Los Angeles
Southern California, United States
Tuesday October 31st, 7:34 PM
All Hallow's Eve, 1939
(Tower of Terror Film Intro - 1997)
....All Hallow's Eve, October 31st, 1939
Inside an abandoned and dreary room stood an old desk crafted from solid grey oak and reddish - orange flames were burning brightly on the wicks of black wax candles standing upright in silver candelabras next to several dusty bottles with faded labels stating the preserved contents. A mysterious book lay next to the jars, tightly bound in charcoal - grey leather and unusual patterns were engraved onto the dusty front cover.
Suddenly footsteps manifested, echoing off the walls as seven mysterious hooded figures slowly emerged from the shadows and wore navy and silver hooded cloaks trailing across the floor. Red rubies, blue sapphires and green emeralds sparkled on the gold encrusted hilt of a silver dagger that lay next to a torn white envelope, stained blue glass butterfly brooch, brass plated name-badge, pince-nez spectacles and one curly ringlet of shiny blonde hair decorated with a pink ribbon.
The group formed a perfect circle, ominously chanting incantations and one member in particular was significantly shorter in stature as an inexplicable force opened the book, revealing intricate hand - drawn sketches, archaic text and strange markings on hundreds of worn and frayed pages made of tan parchment. Copper pipes groaned and creaked within the walls as an icy gale swept into the space, rattling heavy cast iron chains hanging dangerously on steel support beams.
An unknown symbol appeared and started to spin, resembling an outer sphere and seven - pointed star surrounding a half moon and sun positioned at opposite angles as the ground began to glow luminous orange. Blinding white light forced the congregation to shield their eyes as several fissures opened up, releasing intermittent surges of electrical current and crackling sparks.
A sheet of beige paper was propped up on a metal stand, an invitation decorated with the distinctive emblem "HTH" surrounded by crowns of thorns above words written in black ink "You are cordially invited to a party at The Tip Top Club on the 13th floor of The Hollywood Tower Hotel, All Hallow's Eve, October 31st, 1939, 7:30 PM". Supernatural flames manifested out of thin air, incinerating the invitation and reduced it to charcoal grey ash powder, then vanished as quickly as they had appeared.
Outside, sparkling stars were vanishing from the night sky as dismal grey storm clouds appeared on the distant horizon, northwest of an enormous fifty - foot tall sign "HOLLYWOODLAND" standing on Mount Lee's summit in the rugged Santa Monica Mountains close to Los Angeles. An opulent structure stood near the sign, it's distinctive blend of Spanish Colonial Revival, Art - Deco, Moorish, Gothic and Neo - Mediterranean style architecture towering above Mulholland Drive.
Thirteen stories and 130 feet tall, separate elevator shafts were hidden within two large towers made of rusty - orange/pink sandstone positioned several feet apart beneath the landmark's gigantic steel sign "HOLLYWOOD TOWER HOTEL" illuminated with fluorescent green neon lights attached to the front facade facing south. A private tarmac avenue of steep hills, sharp bends, winding curves and straight stretches led to the premises surrounded by tropical palm trees, heather and vast acres of Redwood forest.
Howling winds shook an imposing set of open gates decorated with the emblem "HTH" visible within the beautiful ironwork that had been forged many years ago by experienced blacksmiths. Glimmering lanterns stood on top of two slightly weathered sandstone pillars as lightning bolts lit up an old rectangular bronze plaque "HOLLYWOOD TOWER HOTEL, ESTABLISHED 1917" partially hidden under the dark shadows of jagged tree branches and autumnal red, brown and gold leaves.
(Benny Goodman - Sing Sing Sing With A Swing)
Inside the hotel, the elevator's brass needle mechanism stopped turning and pointed to the thirteenth floor on an elegantly designed semicircular numeric dial decorated with beautiful solid oak fixtures painted gold - brown. Joyful chimes echoed as a handsome 6'4 bellhop with black hair, hazel eyes and fair skin turned the elevator's lever to activate the brakes and automatic doors slid open, revealing men dressed in black tuxedos and women wearing colorful party dresses on the polished timber dance-floor.
"Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the Tip Top Club" said the bellhop politely, wearing an expensive maroon tunic with gold stripes, charcoal grey trousers and black shoes.
The Big Band Era, exactly ten years after the Great Depression of 1929 and up on stage, a short and bald gentleman wore a white tuxedo and had just started playing the clarinet with great gusto, accompanied by an orchestral ensemble of musicians playing lively music on cellos, drums, cymbals, brass saxophones of the alto, tenor and baritone variety, trumpets, trombones and acoustic guitars.
"Please welcome to the stage tonight, Anthony Fremont and his orchestra playing Benny Goodman's Sing Sing Sing With A Swing!"
Hundreds of party guests were sitting down on cushioned mahogany chairs at round tables as waiters and waitresses rushed to and fro with silver trays on their hands, serving drinks of red wine in fancy glasses, dark chocolate treats, scotch, whiskey, fizzy Coca Cola and various flavors of ice cream. Vibrant flowers and orange balloons were hanging high above Italianate white marble arches supported on robust pillars and some women had fancy dress masquerade masks, reminiscent of those worn in Victorian times.
Glistening Venetian chandeliers were suspended on iron chains attached to hooks on the flat ceiling, at least sixty feet tall and tungsten light- bulbs shone within stained glass Tiffany lamp fixtures. Bartenders shook up rum, vodka and sherry cocktails, adding exotic fruits to the mixture, crushed watermelons, papayas and mangoes. Curving steps led to an impressive staircase of beige sandstone and iron went all the way up to a long balcony adorned with metal railings on the right side of the ballroom.
Downstairs in the ground floor lobby, an antique coffee table stood in between two luxurious crimson - red velvet sofas covered with satin cushions and comfortable armchairs beside an enormous sandstone fireplace, crackling flames and dusty black coals lay burning on top of the iron grate. Hanging on the inverted wall above, a burgundy - gold silk woven tapestry decorated with the initials "HTH" and frilly tassels brightened up the mantelpiece resting on spiral granite columns influenced by Moroccan architecture.
An impressive statue of the American Great Horned Owl perched on it's ebony plinth with enormous feathered wings and razor sharp talons fully extended, almost as if it were alive and hunting for prey. Gilded panels of solid gold lined with narrow slots were slanted at angles of fifteen degrees on the semi-circular ceiling, concealing air - conditioning and heating systems connected to an extensive network of ventilation tunnels on the upper and lower floors.
The upbeat music from the Tip - Top Club was echoing throughout the lobby via the loudspeaker encased within an outer box shaped frame made of varnished teak. Dressed in expensive burgundy blazers, charcoal grey waistcoats and jet - black trousers, male receptionists had to deal with several requests from customers. Rotary telephones were ringing non - stop on the ebony desk underneath the vaulted arch just right of the fireplace as the old brass clock's handles struck seven forty.
"Hollywood Tower Hotel, front desk, yes, be right up in a moment sir!" stated one of the clerks, an enthusiastic and professional fellow and memorized the guest's request.
A lively and busy brown haired bellhop with chestnut colored eyes appeared, aged in his mid - late thirties and unusually short in stature, barely measuring 5'0 and looked rather comical carrying some large and heavy brown leather suitcases. Elsewhere, a dapper 6'1 gentleman of similar age with blue eyes, fair skin and thick locks of dark brown hair styled into spikes and waves covered in pomade wax arrived at the main desk.
"Good evening, sir and welcome to the Hollywood Tower Hotel, did you phone ahead to book and confirm your reservation?" said another clerk, politely greeting the stranger.
"Good evening, thank you and yes, you'll find reservations under the names Gilbert London and Carolyn Crosson" replied Gilbert graciously, taking off his expensive fur - coat.
"Ah yes, the famous theater actor and Miss Crosson, a talented actress and aspiring singer expected at the Tip - Top Club!" exclaimed the clerk, enthralled by the news.
"Indeed, we're rather late and would like our suitcases brought upstairs as soon as possible, please" responded Gilbert swiftly, tapping his fingers repeatedly on the counter.
"Certainly, individual luggage claim tags must be signed by you and Miss Crosson. Under strict security purposes, guests are required to collect their own bedroom keys when claiming luggage and a bellhop will assist you after the party ends" replied the clerk firmly, handing one paper tag to Gilbert and kept the other.
"Unfortunately my bloody glasses are missing!, I was absolutely sure that I'd packed them this morning!" grumbled Gilbert, dipping one of the feathered quills into black ink.
"Do you wish to borrow mine, sir?. I am long sighted too, but you might be able to see a little better" offered the clerk generously, taking off his half - moon spectacles.
"Thank you, I ordered new glasses which should have arrived earlier this afternoon. If someone delivers the package tomorrow, please hold it" muttered Gilbert, borrowing the spectacles and finished writing his signature on the label.
"Dewey!, take Mister London's luggage to 809 and Miss Crosson's to 1012 after the party ends at midnight!" shouted the clerk, summoning one of the porters.
Gilbert had put on his finest black tuxedo and bow-tie and felt his right arm jerking upwards, glaring impatiently at Dewey and thought him to be rather clumsy and irritating. Not making eye contact and humming merrily, Dewey bent down and picked up the suitcases without fuss. Trails of wispy grey smoke drifted away from the tips of burning cigars being enjoyed by industrial tycoons, young and old gentlemen who had prospered and built up huge fortunes worth billions of dollars.
"I apologize, Mister London and one elevator is currently out of order, but I'll make sure you reach your destination!" stated Dewey enthusiastically, retrieving the push trolley.
More party-goers ran onto the floor and literally let loose, doing the famous Lindy Hop and Charleston. Others were half - drunk, happily singing the lyrics of "Sing Sing Sing With A Swing" as colorful confetti popped out of plastic bottles, raining down on the tables. High above the central crown shaped turret on the hotel's rooftop, rotating beacons shone down on the motorcade of luxurious vehicles, Duesenbergs, Bentleys and Rolls Royces.
Chattering journalists and photographers were waiting at the foyer's eastern entrance, an imposing set of nine foot tall dark green doors had been pushed back to make way for one long trail of luxurious scarlet red carpet. A tall, handsome and unshaven 6'6 gentleman aged early - mid thirties with fair skin, almond shaped emerald green eyes and spiky ginger hair styled into a trendy 1930's undercut stood beneath the shelter of the mezzanine's terraced balcony.
He wore formal clothes that only wealth could afford, adjusting the round white collar of his three - piece suit, royal blue with two - tone Oxford brogues made of gleaming black - silver leather. Watching the arrival of Hollywood's elite whilst throwing a small navy velvet box thrice into the air and catching it with his right hand, he smiled cheerfully and put it away into the pocket of his jacket.
Movie professionals were operating top of the range cameras, capturing the action on celluloid as a beautiful young woman with sparkling blue eyes, shoulder length wavy blonde hair and radiant skin gracefully sauntered past, adjusting the hem of her silver dress woven out of the finest silk. Opening her lavish clutch purse, the woman took out a fancy dress mask covered in prismatic glitter, silver pocket mirror and cautiously put on scarlet lipstick.
Jack O'Lanterns were burning brightly underneath narrow alcoves, an amber glow illuminating their bizarrely carved hollow eyes, menacing grins and hard orange integuments as the drifting mass of darkening clouds cast an enormous shadow on the "HOLLYWOODLAND" sign. Carolyn entered the foyer as Gilbert admired his reflection in an antique mirror, fixing his bow-tie and silver cuff-links as the clock struck two minutes past eight.
Dewey reappeared on the sheltered eastern veranda and re-entered the premises, struggling to pass the onlookers on his way to either elevator in the arched passageway behind reception. Screaming fans were pushed back by squads of policemen from the Los Angeles Police Department, wearing identical black uniforms with polished silver badges, peaked hats and leather shoes.
Overwhelmed by the immense weight of two white suitcases in his left hand and another round luxury case in his right hand, Dewey stumbled accidentally and almost tripped. An elderly, plump and short 5'1 woman aged late fifties to early sixties appeared in plain 1930's attire, an old brown hat, grey tweed jacket with forked lapels, white blouse, marble white neck brooch, ankle length medium - brown dress and unfashionable black boots.
Following Dewey, she looked rather stern and ignored the media frenzy, pushing journalists aside with her pointed black umbrella and moth - eaten handbag made of dark brown velvet. Desperate for shallow gossip and rumors, the sensationalist paparazzi fought aggressively for the best vantage point to further boost their careers and the reputations of newspaper offices throughout Los Angeles.
"Is she on her way?, I think she is!, catch her before she boards the elevator to the Tip - Top Club!" chattered the paparazzi, taking out fountain pens and paper notepads
An adorable little girl arrived, wearing an expensive party dress made of sparkling pink satin and silk, eight to ten years of age with sparkling blue eyes, crystal clear skin and one matching pink bow fastened on top of her shiny blond hair which had been styled into waves and curly locks. Questions were fired from all directions at the famous child star, she gave a natural dazzling smile for the flashing cameras and threw her arms high into the air, enjoying the attention.
"Sally!, Sally Shine!, look this way sweetheart and show us those pearly whites!. Is there another technicolor motion picture in the works at Walt Disney Studios?"
"Will your parents be attending the Halloween party with you this evening?, to celebrate your return home and the shining success of your publicity trip!"
"Sally, tell your nanny, Emeline Partridge to smile for the cameras!. Why doesn't the miserable old hag smile?, everyone else does when they see you!"
"Tell us!, what is like to live in one of the hotel's most luxurious penthouses and what you intend to do with your money when you come of legal age?"
"Sally!, is it true that a Spanish Colonial Mansion and private ranch is being constructed somewhere outside of Los Angeles for you and your parents?"
"Film critics have said that you are a cheap imitation of Shirley Temple!, that your dancing and singing skills are sub-par compared to Shirley's!"
A little girl with brown hair, fair skin and austere grey eyes stood by the owl statue, wearing a simple brown dress sown decorated with checkered green patches and glared furiously at the Hollywood starlet blowing kisses to everyone. She ran off to the right, skipping merrily through the atrium and stopped briefly to sign some autographs on black and white film stills.
Gilbert felt someone touch his arm and turned around to see Carolyn playfully waving her Halloween mask whilst signing the luggage label. She smiled merrily and departed arm in arm with Gilbert as Sally, Emeline and Dewey crossed their path. Unfortunately Gilbert suffered a strong jolt of pain and the sharp end of one of Sally's cases jabbed his right knee all thanks to Dewey as the elevator arrived, ringing it's bell and three elderly lodgers disembarked.
"Ouch!. You incompetent twit!, you truly are incapable of conducting yourself in a professional manner!" hissed Gilbert impatiently, admonishing Dewey for being so awkward.
"Sorry!, it won't happen again Mister London!. Next stop, the Tip Top Club before I deliver Miss Shine's luggage to her penthouse!" replied Dewey nervously, feeling worthless.
Dragging Sally by the hand, Emeline checked her pewter grey pocket watch as Gilbert limped into the elevator with Carolyn and Dewey. Sally disobediently broke away, waving and curtsying to the photographers one last time. Emeline lost patience and roughly grabbed Sally's left arm, pulling her back inside seconds before the doors slammed shut. Dewey pushed the lever forward and Emeline frowned at Sally, silently warning her to behave.
The motors kicked in and started humming, propelling the elevator upwards past the fifth floor, then the eighth floor and it came to an unexpected halt on the eleventh floor, grinding and shaking violently as the lights ominously flickered on and off, frightening the quintet. Looming dangerously over the hotel, the storm unleashed it's wrath as Dewey moved the handle back and forth, getting no response.
Bolts of bluish - white lightning struck at precisely five minutes past eight, painfully electrocuting the screaming occupants and the power went out, plunging the entire hotel into darkness. Hundreds of windows violently exploded as shards of broken glass and mangled iron frames were launched into the air, unable to withstand the scorching heat released by the tempest.
Counterweight mechanisms and cables failed under intense stress, the two towers vanished into oblivion and orange sparks flew as the elevator plummeted at high - speed towards the bottom of the shaft. The storm disappeared, having burnt smoldering charcoal grey scorch marks onto remnants of the exposed inner walls, unprotected central steel fire - escape and severely damaged facade.
The elevator's violent crash twisted the doors, cracked the adjoining masonry and black marble sculptures of ancient Egyptian deities shattered into thousands of pieces, hitting rusty brown tiles. Out of nowhere, an inverted manifestation of the hotel appeared among the glistening stars as spine chilling screams of terror echoed throughout the atrium and the hotel's gates slowly closed by themselves....