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Home :: Archive :: 1995 :: February ::
Re: Ghost Light
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 6, No. 0097.  Monday, 13 February 1995.
 
(1)     From:   John Mills <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Feb 1995 13:30:08 -0700 (MST)
        Subj:   [Ghost Light]
 
(2)     From:   Cary Mazer <
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        Date:   Friday, 10 Feb 1995 09:56:26 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0090  Re: Ghost Light
 
(3)     From:   Alice Kroman <
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        Date:   Saturday, 11 Feb 1995 00:27:39 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 6.0090 Re: Ghost Light
 
 
(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           John Mills <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Feb 1995 13:30:08 -0700 (MST)
Subject:        [Ghost Light]
 
The Ghost light:  At Ind. Univ. in the late fifties we used the light, wheeled
tripod, bare bulb with no switch and all, but to the best of my recollection we
did not call it the ghost light.  But I no longer remember just what we did
call it.  I think though it was "fire light." State law required that the "fire
curtain" or "asbestos" be lowered whenever the theatre was unoccupied; hence
the last two things the stage manager did in closing up was lower the fire
curtain and set out the light which was called fire light by association with
the curtain. (It strikes me that we may even have been so prosaic as to call it
simply the night light).
 
(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Cary Mazer <
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Date:           Friday, 10 Feb 1995 09:56:26 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 6.0090  Re: Ghost Light
Comment:        Re: SHK 6.0090  Re: Ghost Light
 
> It seems that we began having ghost lights somewhere around 1875.  I can't
> learn if there was such a thing before electricity.
 
There were indeed Ghost lights before electricity--usually an array of gas jets
on a crossbar on top of a post, in the shape of a T.  One can be seen in the
middle ground of the caricature by "Spy" of Henry Arthur Jones conducting a
rehearsal, which appeared in Vanity Fair 2 April 1892.
 
Cary
 
(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
 
About the ghost light issue.  I am aware of the placing of a sort of street
light on the stage and that this is called a ghost light.  But in the theater
where I do a lot of work, there is another type of ghost light.  Some light
boards will leave one or two lights glowing even after the board has been shut
off and the main power supply disconnected.  It is truly rather eerie because
there is no logical pattern to which light will be the ghost light each night.
Eventually it will fade out after about ten minutes, but it is still rather
odd. Perhaps this is where the 'ghost' in ghost light came from.
 
Any ideas on this?
 
Alice Marie Kroman

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