How to Throw a Haunted House Party Alfred Hitchcock Style

Book a stay on the Alfred Hitchcock floor at Arthouse Hotel and have a scream this Halloween in Liverpool with all your friends.

Halloween is just around the corner so we’ve taken a look at how the master of macabre, Alfred Hitchcock, chose to celebrate his love of horror and haunting. The bash he threw for the Warner Brother top brass in March 1956 showed that Halloween must have surely been his favourite time of year.

7 East 80th Street haunted house party

source: LIFE

Our Hitchcock movie-themed hotel rooms are dedicated to the great director and his work, to help our guests celebrate all things spooky in style.

Check out this amazing account of the spookiest party in town during 1956 at Alfred’s own horrifying New York Haunted House Party.

The perfect party location

In true Hitchcock fashion, it was all about location, location, location when it came to planning his grand New York Haunted House Party.

Hitchcock Haunted House Party search

source: The Splendid Table

He sent out his team, Young and Rubicam, to track down a Hitchcock appropriate venue to host his hotly anticipated house party.

  • The stipulation was that the venue should;
  • Be able to cater to a number of VIP guests
  • Have a glamorous yet chilling interior
  • And most importantly have its very own supernatural presence

The task at hand seemed daunting at first when the team first attempts to secure out a genuine haunted house in New York.

The Wine Cellars of Brooklyn Bridge

They came up trumps with Hitchcock’s first two criteria but were stumped time and time again when it came to finding a real live haunted house.

Luckily a tip came in that the wine cellars under the Brooklyn Bridge ticked all the boxes on Hitchcock’s list.

Together Young and Rubicam and an excited Mr Hitchcock took a tour of the cellars and discovered, at last, the ideal space in which to host Hitchcock’s epic Halloween bash.

Brooklyn Bridge Wine Cellars

source: The Cave Wine Storage

The walls were dripping, dank and dark and even the whispers of the team members echoed around the cavernous space creating ghostly whispers.

Sadly a Hitch presented itself.

There was no plumbing throughout the cellars and Hitchcock’s most distinguished guests could not expect to go without washrooms for the entire shindig. Prices for temporary fixtures were assembled totalling $800.

The wine cellars were a no go and the search continued.

The Old Merchants House

The people of New York all began to get involved in the search and tips kept rolling in about supposedly haunted buildings that were ideal for Hitchcock’s house of horrors.

The Old Merchant House was scouted as another possible venue. The perfectly preserved period home was ideally spooky and was rumoured to have ghosts of its very own.

The Old Merchant House

source; NY Adventure Club

Those who inherited The Old Merchant House told stories of ghostly happenings. Convinced that nine members of the Treadwell family who lived and died on the property continued to haunt it they opened the home up as a museum.

Hitchcock, upon visiting the house was overjoyed with the preservation of the home and believed it would make a smashing venue for his VIP haunted house party.

The Old Merchant House 2

source: landmarkinteriorsAgain, it was not to be as the kin of the Treadwell family could not consider a party being held inside their historical landmark giving Hitchcock and his team a blunt no when the idea was suggested.

The search went on.

Today The Old Merchant House is still perfectly preserved and receives regular visitors with a keen interest in the history of the home and its haunting past.

Last resorts

Taking matters into his own hand Hitchcock reached out to the American Psychic Research Society who responded that New York had become too modern a city to host any sort of supernatural spirit.

Hitchcock then placed an advert in The Times real estate section asking for people to call in with any ideas. Young and Rubicam were bombarded with over 100 telephone calls a day but none of the leads could conjure evidence or even stories of ghostly presences in their proposed properties.

Hitchcock's The Times Real Estate Ad

source: Reddit

There were suggestions of homes in Jackson Heights with real graves in the garden, a place in Englewood for sale with reports of a poltergeist but Hitchcock preferred to stay in the city centre.

On Staten Island, there was an agent trying to rent his property to Hitchcock for $5000 because it had nightly spiritual torments which gave Hitchcock chills but not because of the ghosts.

The Winning Location

7 East 80th Street

source: LIFE

After his short but exhaustive search for the most haunted house in New York Hitchcock and his team settled on the towering townhouse on 7 East 80TH Street.

The abandoned cobweb-laden mansion was sans spirits but Hitchcock’s patience was spent and he settled for a venue that looked haunted but wasn’t.

7 East 80th Street stairs

source: LIFE

This was no problem for the master of suspense and horror as he and his crew set to work stirring up the dusty corners of the extensive property and adding some eerie extra touches here and there.

Hitchcock placed coffin shaped bars around the home, and well placed hidden speakers provided spooky moans and groans of fictional ghoulies throughout the building.

7 East 80th Street house party host

source: LIFE

Using the ancient furnishings to his benefit Hitchcock accentuated the decay of century-old paintings, elaborate antique chandeliers and thick dusty drapes. The perfect mood lighting was installed and Hitchcock’s haunted house party was finally taking shape.

The Monstrous Menu

A stickler for the finer details Hitchcock ensured that if he couldn’t frighten his guests with real ghosts he would try instead with his party menu.

Inside the carefully crafted Tombstone Shaped invitations guests received a copy of this cleverly conceived menu of the macabre;

Carte de Morte

Aperitifs

Morbid Morgue Mussels, Suicide Suzettes avec Crepe, Consommé de Cobra, Vicious-Soisse

Entree

Home-Fried Homicide, Ragout of Reptile, Charcoal-broiled Same-Witch Legs, Corpse Croquettes, Barbecued Banshee au Gratin, Opium Omelette en Brochette, Stuffed Stiffs with Hard Sauce, Gibbeted Giblets, Monster Thermidor, Tormented Tortillas, Ghoulish Goulash, Blind Bats en casserole

Dessert

Fromage d’Abbatoir, Python Pudding, Morphine Meringue Glace, Fresh cut Lady Fingers (in season)

The Liqueurs

 Bloody Marys, Anisette d’Arsenic, Hennessy’s Heroin, Dead Grand-dad, Formaldehyde Frappe

Guests came dressed to impress in all manners of upper-class attire, and photos show that the drinks were flowing as the spookfest played out.

7 East 80th Street Party cake - LIFE

source: LIFE

On top of all the extravagant food, there was also a detailed party cake made to resemble a church and graveyard, complete with inedible cobwebs draped across so that it almost looked a part of the house.

Not to leave things to chance Hitchcock utilised his movie know how to give his guests an extra fright in the night.

7 East 80th Street man in bed

source: LIFE

One of his cheeky tricks included a decrepit old man left in one of the upstairs bedrooms. Clever makeup and special effects made this character seem like he could have been left to pass away in the house and forgotten.

This was not the only haunting house party Hitchcock threw during his years as master of suspense. Other notorious party rumours circulate about the director hosting events in LA where guests were handed shovels and asked to exhume several buried skulls bureid around the property garden.

Hitchcock and Shovel

source: theretroset

If we could attend any Halloween party we think Hitchcock’s soirées might have been the most terrifying ones of all time.

Staying with Arthouse Hotel on the Hitchcock floor

We know that any party might pale in comparison to Hitchcock’s fright fests but there are plenty of spooky happenings going on during Halloween in Liverpool 2017.

Hitchcock Arthouse Hotel room

Book to stay in one of our Hitchcock hotel rooms at Arthouse Hotel this Halloween and prepare to be dazzled by the décor and enticed by the exquisite ensuite bathrooms.

Arthouse Hotel is right in the middle of all the best Halloween action taking place in Liverpool. Make sure you get yourselves booked into one of our Hitchcock themed suites or our other movie-themed hotel rooms and have yourself a scream this Halloween.

Call 0151 601 8801, email info@sigantureliving.co.uk or check out some of our best accommodation offers here and book direct.

Movie themed Hotel Room: 63 Unknown and Bizarre Facts About Mary Poppins

Known as the greatest Disney movie of all time, Mary Poppins and its star-studded cast was an obvious choice that inspired our Mary Poppins movie themed Liverpool hotel room.

Here we have unearthed an astonishing 63 little-known facts about the filming, production and cast of the hit film. See how many you didn’t already know.

P.L Travers

P.L Travers author of Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins was a book first published in 1934 written by P.L Travers.

Walt Disney struggled to gain film rights to the novel from author P.L Travers it took 20 years for him to convince her.

Travers had full script approval but not final script approval which resulted in her disappointment at the finished product.

P.L Travers spent 10 days at a time in story meetings that she insisted were recorded so that her ideas and suggestions were documented.

Mary Poppins was based on the Travers’ Aunt Helen but also subconsciously moulded around a fairy tale creature from Hindu Mythology called The Mother Goddess.

Inspiration for character Mary Poppins

Travers hated the movie and loathed the dancing penguins. She was less than impressed with the home the Banks’ lived in and the change in time period. She despised the music and thought Mary Poppins was far too pretty.

There was a total of 30 songs written by the Sherman brothers, 20 of which were cut by Travers.

If Travers had her way Mary Poppins wouldn’t have been a musical at all.

It is recorded that Travers wept at the movie premier said to be distraught about what Disney had done to her novels. She vowed never to work with Disney again.

P.L Travers was not cordially invited to the premier of the movie in the US, Disney feeling it would be easier to include her in the London premiere. She, of course, informed Disney she would be in the states on the day of the premier and demanded a ticket.

Actors

Both Dick Van Dyke and Julie Andrews had doubts over their roles in Mary Poppins. Van Dyke felt undeserving of the honour event though he still today says it was his best role. Julie Andrews felt immense pressure to do the much-beloved character of Mary Poppins justice. A worry she proved was unnecessary.

Mary Poppins

Angela Lansbury was among Disney’s first choice for the role of Mary Poppins.

Angela Lansbury - first choice for Mary Poppins

When approached to play Mary Poppins, Julie Andrews was also being considered for Eliza Doolittle in My Fair Lady, she was hesitant to accept Disney’s offer until she was passed over for the other role by Audrey Hepburn.

Julie Andrews was cast as Maria in The Sound of Music based solely on her performance as Mary Poppins.

Julie Andrews was awarded a Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Musical or Comedy. In her acceptance speech, Andrews made a point of thanking Jack Warner who had chosen not to cast her in My Fair Lady, leaving her free to be Poppins.

Julie Andrews - Mary Poppins

P.L Travers first contacted Julie Andrews the day after giving birth to her daughter. Travers told Andrews that she was too pretty to play Poppins but had the right nose.

Julie Andrews’ favourite song “Stay Awake” was almost cut from the film by Travers until she pleaded in a letter written to Travers asking for it to remain.

Bert

Dick Van Dyke - Bert

Dick Van Dyke’s cockney accent was coached by an Irish man and Van Dyke blames his shocking accent in the movie on this.

Van Dykes accent was voted one of the worst accents in movies, coming in second only to Sean Connery’s “Irish accent” in The Untouchables.

Dick Van Dyke was not a trained dancer despite his flawless moves in both the dancing penguin scene and step in time routines.

Dick Van Dyke - Bert - Step in Time

Those in charge of animating the dancing penguins were enraged when Van Dyke persistently stepped on the penguins during rehearsals.

Mr Dawes Sr.

Dick Van Dyke - Mr Dawes Sr

It was Van Dyke’s idea to play two roles in the movie, both Bert and Mr Dawes’ Sr, the old bank manager. Disney refused at first but then Van Dyke auditioned after being given an elderly man makeover by the makeup department at Disney.

Van Dyke is referred to as Navckid Keyd in the credits for his part as Mr Dawes.

Other Cast Members

Katie Nanna the nanny who leaves the family at the start of the movie also played the Bride of Frankenstein, quite fitting really.

Katie Nanna - Bride of Frankenstein

The actress who played Mrs Banks wanted to play Mary Poppins but instead agreed to play Mrs Banks with the condition that she had her own song.

Ed Wynn, who played Uncle Albert, was given freedom to adlib his part. In the script, Uncle Albert was also supposed to have a Viennese accent which Ed wynn omitted.

Uncle Albert - Ed Wynn

The young actor that played Michael, Matthew Garber, was terrified of heights, he was therefore given a 10 cents bonus for every take he was suspended in the “Love to Laugh” number.

Love to Laugh - Mary Poppins

Matthew Garber died at a tragically young age of just 21.

The talking parrot on Mary’s umbrella is voiced by the David Tomlinson aka. Mr Banks, he also voiced a jockey and a few of the animated animals in the farm yard.

David Tomlinson - Mr Banks

Inspiration

Walt Disney’s daughters brought the idea of making Mary Poppins the film.

Mary Poppins Novel

“Spoon full of Sugar” was inspired by the polio vaccination being given at schools in a cube of sugar.

There is a deeper meaning to the magical musical Mary Poppins. The mending of a broken family which is symbolised by the kite at the end of the film.

The Disney Way

Walt remained absent from many of the meetings Travers was present in and their relationship grew frostier throughout production.

Disney and Travers

 

Julie Andrews husband designed the costumes for Mary Poppins, a role that was awarded to entice Julie Andrews into the role.

Apparently, Van Dyke paid to play the character Dawes after agreeing to a stipulation from Disney that Van Dyke donate $4000 to a charity Disney was involved in.

After premier, Travers insisted that the dancing penguin’s scene was removed and suggested a number of other small edits. Disney refused them all.

Walt’s favourite song from the movie was “feed the birds” he would often ask the tune to be played by the Sherman brothers until he passed away in 1966.

Both the children actually believed Julie Andrews was magic thanks to some clever camera trickery including the bottomless bag scene in which the looks of wonder on the children’s faces were genuine.

 

The money from Mary Poppins paid for the Florida swamp land Disney World sits on today.

Set, Costume, Music and Script

Most of the nannies in the queue outside the Bank’s home were stunt men in drag.

Nannies in drag - Mary Poppins

Richard and Robert Sherman began writing songs for the movie even before Walt had the rights to the film.

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious took two weeks to create and was said to be inspired by a game that the Sherman brothers played at summer camp when they were young.

This fact was disputed in 1949 by songwriters who claimed they created the word Supercalafajaistickespeealadojus. They sued Disney for $12 million and lost due to the nonsense word having been around for decades despite the Sherman brothers insisting they’d made it up.

Mary Poppins immaculate hair was actually a wig.

Source: The Daily Telegraph

The entire movie was shot indoors in one of four Disney studio soundstages.

The cherry trees on Cherry Tree lane were real but their blossoms were created by artists who hand mounted thousands of twigs and paper blossoms.

Cherry Trees on Cherry Tree Lane Mary Poppins

The step-in time dance sequence took a huge six weeks to film.

The very first audio-animatronic was used in “Spoonful of Sugar” the singing robin that perches upon Mary Poppins finger. The bird was attached to a ring and then cables ran up the sleeve of Mary’s sleeve to the controls

The robins part was whistled by Julie Andrews, a woman of so many talents.

Mary Poppins and the robin

Mary Poppins cost a whopping $6 million to produce with Travers earning a measly $100,000.

Post and Pre Production

Mary Poppins first appeared on an early TV show in 1949 event thought the movie wasn’t to premier until 1964.

Mary Poppins the TV show

The novel, Mary Poppins, was deemed racist at one point by San Francisco’s libraries causing them to pull the book from the shelves because of racial slurs and stereotypes used when Mary travels around the globe.

The movie Mary Poppins was the highest grossing film of 1965 and continued to play all year in direct competition with The Sound of Music.

Mary Poppins was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and won 5.

The Mary Poppins movie soundtrack was at number 1 for 14 weeks, beating popular acts of the time including The Beatles, Rolling Stones and Elvis Presley.

The snow globe from the “feed the birds” scene was missing for years. The founder of the Walt Disney archives finally found the trinket in a janitor’s office at Disney Studios who said he’d seen it in the bin but thought it too pretty to throw away.

the missing snow globe - Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins was the first Disney movie to be released on DVD.

There was nearly a Mary Poppins sequel until it was scrapped by new management and encountered casting issues.

The stage production of Mary Poppins was given to Cameron Macintosh in 1990 by Travers on the proviso that only British writers were used and the plays follow the books, not the movie.

Mary Poppins on stage

Mary Poppins is the only live action Disney movie to be listed in the National Film Registry.

The movie was Walt Disney’s Highest grossing movie ever.

Travers once posed for a Mary Poppins statue that was due to reside in Central Park New York. The design was deemed as offensively bad art by the public and the plan was scrapped.

Mary Poppins Room at Arthouse Hotel

Mary Poppins movie themed Liverpool hotel room

Our marvelous movie themed Liverpool hotel room is practically perfect in every way. Capturing the whimsical magic of Walt Disney’s greatest cinematic creation with its artistic ceiling mural, fun and quirky decor and up to luxury facilities.

What’s each Arthouse Hotel movie themed Liverpool hotel room is within easy reach of Liverpool’s most popular nightlife venues?

It couldn’t be easier for you and your party to find somewhere to “kick your knees up” and “step in time” in one of Liverpool’s favourite night clubs or bars.

Call to book on 0151 601 8801 or email info@signatureliving.co.uk for more information to see if there’s another movie themed Liverpool hotel room we have that’s perfectly suited to you.