13 July 2016

Room 371

There are a lot of details and nods to The Twilight Zone scattered throughout the Hollywood Tower Hotel, aka The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror. Some of them require an astute knowledge of the tales that permeated the show, while others are more direct in their relationship to what lies beyond the fifth dimension. There are also a number of pieces simply meant to set the time and place of a hotel that was abandoned on the dark side of Hollywood in the fall of 1939.

Then there are those pieces, much like the one we’re examining today, that could be an innocuous piece of set dressing or something a bit more sinister. They don’t have any direct correlation to The Twilight Zone, but they seemingly tell a story, or preface a story, that could live within that world. Take this notecard for example. It can be found on a bulletin in the maintenance area at the end of the attraction, where guests can view their ride photos.

The handwriting can be a bit tricky to make out. For those of you who can’t read the note it states:
“We have a very nice Ford Model T for sale, it runs great. 6 spare tires and almost enough spare parts for a complete engine rebuild. Will sell for $360.00. Please pay in silver coin. The Jorgensen Family, room 371”

Nothing out of the ordinary here, right? A family is simply selling their old car. But why?

They’re in a hotel, possibly on vacation or there on business. Do they live in the hotel? Did they decide to stay in the area and realized that they didn’t need a car? Even if they were staying in Hollywood, given the day and age, they would surely need some means of getting around aside from trolleys and transit. Did they run up an incredible bill from room service and have to find a way to pay for it? Why did they have six spare tires? Is something enticing them to stay in the hotel, even though they know it’s time to leave? Model T’s had stopped being created in 1927, even twelve years on might be a stretch to see one of these on the road, much less someone purchasing a used vehicle for $360, when that was the brand new price in 1927. Are the Jorgensens a step removed from their own time?

The answer to any one of these questions could lead us down a rabbit hole that was so often the hallmark of The Twilight Zone, where everything is just an inch off of center. Perhaps there is nothing to this note, and we may never truly know one way or another. In fact, it’s best left to our individual imaginations. For my part, however, I’d like to think it was left here as a way to connect the Hollywood Tower Hotel to whole host of stories it contains. Some of them we’ve heard of, some of them we haven’t, but one thing is certain, there is always room for more stories in The Twilight Zone.

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