Ghosts at the KC Rail Experience
“Perhaps the best feature [in the KC Rail Experience] is its ‘ghosts’ – right down to the seams in women’s stockings. They succeed in bringing Kansas City’s history alive.”
In 2005 I was asked to costume 20 “ghosts” which would become the core of a permanent exhibit in the lower north end of Union Station. The following is a series of photos of the characters in various stages of dress, both before and after they received their ghostly hard coating.
Meant to depict people from Union Station’s past, these “ghosts” include a Pullman Porter, Harvey Girl and Sailor, Gandy Dancer, and movie star, etc. They are motion sensor activated so that when you approach they tell you their story.
It was a great privilege and pleasure to work on this figures. And several spooky things happened during the process. Perhaps the most interesting was the statue of Lester Brown, the railway mail clerk, then 90, who you can see photographed with his identical ghost figure. Molded from real people’s faces (but not Lester’s own) imagine my surprise when I opened the box for Lester’s head and found the “ghost” head to be Lester’s “spitting image.” See for yourself in the photos!
Other “magic” in the “ghost” making process occurred when I put together the movie star whose image works so well for Ginger Rogers, a Kansas City home town girl!
Most dear to my heart, however is the WWII sailor, who is wearing my Uncle Jack Carey’s uniform. A veteran of the Normandy invasion, Jack married Kitty Rhone in the 1940’s. Our Harvey Girl is named Kitty in her honor – and she flirts with Jack. She is wearing an authentic Harvey Girl uniform from the private collection of the president of the Railroadiana Collector’s Association, Bob James.
The other rail road uniforms are also authentic and great care was given to depict the “ghosts” both accurately and affectionately.