Lloyd lost as Vancouver gives up her ghost

VANCOUVER–Came here to see a ghost but it’s gone.
I’m actually in Vancouver to visit the set of Continuum, a new sci-fi police drama coming May 27 to Showcase. The series is about a policewoman from the year 2077 who travels back to 2012 and teams with present day cops in pursuit of escaped convicts from the future. And, if you’re wondering, no, the Leafs still haven’t won another Stanley Cup.
The drama stars Rachel Nichols (Criminal Minds) as back to the future cop Kiera Cameron. Calgary-native Victor Webster  (The Lot) co-stars as her present-day police partner. Its a first series from UBC grad Simon Barry.
The series shoots on location all over Vancouver, which has been chillier than usual this past winter.
Showcase has kindly ensconced out of town press at the Sutton Place hotel, just three blocks from a construction site at Granville and Robson.
That’s where I headed this morning to see the “ghost,” an old fashioned, outdoor billboard painted on a brick wall to advertise the 1922 Harold Lloyd comedy Grandma’s Boy. The silent film–Lloyd’s first five reeler as the sign says–played 90 years ago around the corner from the sign at the Capitol Theatre. There are several old movie houses that still stand–albeit in various stages of disrepair–on Granville street.
The sign was revealed when construction workers recently raised the building next to it. That building went up 90 years ago and kept the sign hidden. Unfortunately, the same crew knocked the Lloyd sign down three weeks ago. Here’s all that remains at the site.

The “ghost sign” was on the near wall which has been torn down

Too bad there could not have been a way found to lift that brick section out and preserve the sign, but the real bricks are probably worth more today than the nostalgia value of preserving a piece of movie history. Lloyd was as popular as Charlie Chaplin and Buster Keaton in the ’20s, a real crowd pleaser best remembered for dangling from that clock in Safety Last, released in 1923.
Lloyd died in 1971 at 77. His birthday was March 8; the Vancouver ghost sign came down March 7.
The front wall of the building, which has art deco flourishes, is being preserved. It has a historical plaque on it. A lot of good that did.

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