Our Spooky Visit to the Hollywood History Museum

Mother's Day always falls near or on my birthday, which sounds great to OTHER people, but it's sort of like having your birthday fall on Christmas. My family has been pretty good about keeping both occasions separate, so they put up with my wanting to celebrate each in very unique ways. Makes it feel less like the same day. This year, I had the opportunity to celebrate Mother's Day in a BIG way and got to do something fun with the whole family!

About a week before Mother's Day, I saw a message in one of the Facebook groups I'm a member of. Someone was looking for families to be part of a new PBS show, Family Travel with Colleen Kelly. I emailed the producer of the show, told them we were an awesome and fun family, and basically begged to be part of the production. The producer wrote back with a few dates. I saw Mother's Day at the Hollywood History Museum and figured A) what a fun way for a Hollywood history buff to spend a special day, and B) they're never going to fill that spot on Mother's Day, so we're practically guaranteed the placement!

Sugar Mama was right! 

Hollywood History Museum outside.jpg

The afternoon of Mother's Day, we arrived at the Hollywood History Museum to find out that we would have a special tour guide. The owner of the museum was going to escort us around the museum herself! This is a special appointment-only high-ticket-item kind of thing, so I was super excited. The museum is located in the building that was once the Max Factor building. On the ground inside the building is Max Factor's own Hollywood Walk of Fame Star.

Max Factor used to do all the stars' makeup before filming, as well as before special appearances. The location on Sunset and Highland is just around the corner from all the Hollywood landmarks, including the theater where the Academy Awards (aka: The Oscars) are currently held. Max Factor was part scientist, part artist. He was the make-up artist to the stars when film transitioned from black & white to color. When it was black and white, he was able to create dramatic looks for the screen, but when movies went color, he had to change his technique. Any woman knows that the colors that look great on a blonde aren't necessarily going to flatter a brunette or redhead. Understanding that, Max Factor did something really smart. He created separate make up rooms, each painted to enhance the looks of the stars based on hair color: blonde, brunettes, and redheads.


Here I am in the Brunettes Only room (pink paint) and then the Blondes Only room (blue paint). Remarkable difference, right?  

Sugar in Brunettes Only Room.jpg
Sugar in Blondes Only Room.jpg

This was without any flash or direct lighting, so the effect is a bit extreme, but you can see how the different shades of wall paint make such a huge difference in my skin coloring. Max Factor understood that and that's why his work made stars look their best.

While getting schooled on Max Factor's techniques in the Blonde Room (filled with part of the largest Marilyn Monroe memorobilia colleciton in the world), we experienced a lot of issues that could only be classified as, well... freaky. Like, supernaturally freaky! So many things went wrong every time we went to shoot. I mean, microphones were going dead with brand new batteries, lights were flickering that had no reason to flicker, and random stands kept falling. We finally came to the conclusion that we were being haunted by ghosts! At one point, the lead camera man (still somewhat hesitant to believe we were actually being haunted) sarcastically said, "Okay ghosties... please let us get this one last shot." As soon as he yelled ACTION, one of the lights SLAMMED down on its stand so hard that it actually bent the stand!!! 

We all were all like, WOAH!!!

My theory was originally that it was the ghost of Marilyn Monroe. It made sense since there was this whole display case with copies of the newspaper announcing her death and copies of the original death certificate, plus her favorite dress that she wore everywhere (including on her honeymoon with Joe DiMaggio) was in that room. It HAD to be her, right?


Marilyn Monroe Death Memorobilia Display Case.jpg

But then the museum owner said, "Maybe it's a Brunette that isn't happy that the Blondes are getting all the attention." I thought about that and remembered the conversation we had just been having right before going into the Blondes Only room.

We were standing near the entrance in front of a display case with a dress worn by Joan Crawford. You know... Mommy Dearest? I briefly told the kids her infamous story and about how she had left her own kids with nothing when she died (even though she was crazy stinking rich) stating in her will that they could go out and earn their own money. So they did. They wrote the book and later sold the movie rights, and now all that's left of her legacy is that she beat her kids.

Take heed starlettes... always leave the kids every penny. 

Slightly shaken up, we then walked over to the Brunettes Only room. Guess who was all over that room? Yep... Mommy Dearest herself, Joan Crawford. Now, I'm not saying that Joan Crawford was haunting us that day, but being Mother's Day, and being that the one thing everyone remembers about her is that she was a scary ass mommy, maybe... just maybe... Mommy Dearest was just a wee bit pissed off on that Mother's Day. 

You could almost hear her yelling, "NO WIRE HANGERS!!!" 

The rest of the tour was uneventful. Not that it wasn't fun. It was fabulous, actually! But no other ghostly encounters or strange mechanical happenings occurred the rest of the day. Which was great because we got to see these amazing Hollywood memorobilia without worrying about any other ghosts.

Check it out! 

Carol Burnett Collection

Carol Burnett Collection

Mae West Collection

Mae West Collection

High School Musical 3 Prom Dresses and Tuxes. FABULOUS!! 

High School Musical 3 Prom Dresses and Tuxes. FABULOUS!! 

It was an absolutely wonderful Mother's Day. One that I won't soon forget. I can't imagine being able to top taping a travel show in an historical Hollywood building and being haunted by the scariest mommy ever, but I'm sure my sweet little family will let me try. :) 


The Joneses with super fun and informative Family Travel Expert, Colleen Kelly

The Joneses with super fun and informative Family Travel Expert, Colleen Kelly

 All images were taken indoors without flash with my absolute favorite, don't-leave-home-without-it, go-to device: Verizon's Samsung Galaxy Camera.