Kawartha Lakes Public Library - Digital Collections
Looking Back: There is no ghost at the Academy

Hooper, John, Author
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Written: 20 November 2001
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Geographic Coverage:
  • Ontario, Canada
    Latitude: 44.35012 Longitude: -78.73286
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Protected by copyright: Uses other than research or private study require the permission of the rightsholder(s). Responsibility for obtaining permissions and for any use rests exclusively with the user.
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Lindsay, ON K9V 2Y6
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Full Text

Whenever I read or hear stories about "Mary", the mythical ghost of the Academy theatre, I have to chuckle.

From the time I slept in my carriage in 1928 on the stage of the Academy, while my mother sewed curtains in preparation of the grand opening of the days of sound, until I last visited the "Grand Old Lady of Lindsay Street," I never encountered Mary and I doubt anyone else ever has.

My late father, an employee for over 40 years, not only had an orchestra that sat in the "pit" entertaining customers during vaudeville shows, but it also played during the days of silent movies.

It was back in those days he engineered many sound effects used during the movies. These effects seemed to bring more life to the activities patrons witnessed on the screen, and did so until the first sound movie. (The movie, by the way, was The Jazz Singer and starred Al Jolson.)

Spending numerous hours around my father and Academy Theatre owner E.S. Meehan, I never once heard them make any reference to any ghost named Mary, or any other name.

There were numerous times when my father would hand me the keys to the theatre and I entered the place alone. I made my way to the furnace room where I would fill the hopper with coal during the fall and winter seasons.

I daresay there isn't a single location in the Academy that I have not been in, from the tunnel leading off the men's lavatory to the front of the theatre.

I have been in the dressing rooms, main office, projection room, the ladies room, the balcony, entered the entrance from the room outside the projection rewind room and crossed over the struts from one end to the other making certain I did not step on the ceiling proper. And yes, I have performed on the stage on several occasion singing solos and with the Kiwanis Minstrel shows.

Had there been any Mary, or any other ghost for that matter, I am sure she or he would have made themselves visible if only to frighten me. To me, Mary is just a figment of someone's imagination, but it makes for great reading!

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Looking Back: There is no ghost at the Academy