Season 1
Episode 27: The Stanley Hotel – Part 1: The Shining, King, and Kubrick

 Passport visits the scene of Stephen King’s most famous nightmare.

Check into room 217 (or is it room 237?) to uncover the ghost story behind the most famous place in American horror.

In 2006, Passport host Neil Innes found himself outside the house of Stephen King in Bangor Maine.  He didn’t get to meet King that day… but it didn’t change how he felt about his work. A lifelong fan of King and Kubrick, The Shining has always held a special place in his heart. And so this Halloween, Passport traces the legacy of a single nightmare – one that still echoes 45 years later – all the way back to the place it all began: The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado. 

Stephen and Tabitha King only spent one night in The Stanley – The only guests in an old hotel the night before it closed for the winter. That night, King awoke from a nightmare, smoked a cigarette, and outlined The Shining – one of the biggest horror novels of all time. But that’s not all that happened. King’s The Shining changed the genre, Kubrick’s film adaptation changed horror cinema. But The Stanley has a remarkable story of its own. 

In part 1 of Passport’s 2-part Halloween special, Neil checks into The Stanley to investigate that story with the people who know it best –  historian and writer Rebecca Pittman and filmmaker and paranormal expert Karl Pfeiffer. It’s a ghost story that stretches from 1909 to King’s only night in the infamous Room 217.  And for those of you wondering about Room 237, Neil and Andrés also approach the hedge maze of the definitive adaptation –  Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.



5 of the most haunted hotels in America.


    Laughing children, ghost maids, lords and the musical spirit of FO Stanely’s own wife… take your camera and your ghost hunting gear!

    Over the years, more legendary stars than you can count have checked in, but one has never checked out – they say Marilyn Monroe haunts room 1200.
    A Confederate soldier, laughing children, dead nuns, and a ghostly dancer are all paranormal guests of this former convent and theater turned hotel.
    Spend the night in one of the oldest hotels in the U.S. and you just might get to chat with the spirit of Charles Dickens (who used to live there) or tell the hotel’s (very) long-dead founder about your stay.
    A judge who was shot in the lobby, a gambling addict who threw himself down a well, and a bride who killed on her wedding night are just a few of the ghosts here…  so take care wandering these halls.


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On Twitter: @passportpod

On The Web:

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Karl Pfeiffer: on Twitter

Rebecca Pittman:  on Facebook.  

This week’s show was written, produced and edited by Neil Innes.

Big thanks to Rebecca F. Pitman and Karl Pfifer for helping us make this show… you can find more info about them in the show notes.

Our theme tune is by the incredible nick turn with original music for this week’s show coming from my friend and genius Ben Chatwin. Definitely go and check him out wherever you get your music. Other bits and bobs by Rochelle Rochelle, Carlton Banksy, The Regal Beagle and Ray Nobel and his Orchestra. 

The show is mixed and mastered by Julian Kwasneski

Eliza Engel is our Production Assistant. 

Stacey Book, Dominique Ferrari and Avi Glijansky want to play with us for ever and ever and ever and ever…  They also executive produce the show… 

Which is hosted by Neil Innes, and a man who is the Best goddamned bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine. Or Portland, Oregon, for that matter. Andrés Bartos.

We’ll see you in the same place, for Part 2.



NEIL: You’ve always been the host here.


NEIL: I’m going to have to take this edit away and correct it.

ANDRÉS: good luck.



ANDRÉS: A destination isn’t always a place.

NEIL: Sometimes it’s a new way of seeing things.

I’m Neil Innes

ANDRÉS: And I’m Andrés Bartos.

NEIL: From Frequency Machine, this is Passport.

ANDRÉS: Your ticket to everywhere.


[Song playing]

NEIL: Sometime in the spring of 2006, I found myself in Bangor, Maine. I was standing outside a big red and white colonial mansion. Black gates stylistically fashioned and shaped with spider webs and bats. The house itself seemed to be slanted like a cartoon drawn by a kid. It was the house of Stephen King. Off to the side is a gate for cars, with a buzzer and a label saying push button to call.

I pushed. “Hello Mr. King”

And then a voice almost singing the word “Noooo”

As a kid, Stephen King upset me in a good way. Not in that 26 year old standing rejected outside of some scary gates kind of way. I slept with the light on for a long time after I read Salem’s Lot longer when I read Pet Sematary. I lasted the first 10 minutes of the “It” TV mini series before running home, crying in the rain.

Stephen King wired my brain weird. And of course I’m not alone. 61 novels, five nonfiction books, and more than 200 short stories. Of the 50 film adaptations so far and more than two dozen in production right now, nothing seems to have etched itself into the mind of people quite like The Shining.

[Song playing]

NEIL: The thing is that all the haunting images from The Shining in all of its forms can be traced back to one point in time, one night in late September, or so the story goes, in 1974. And to one place too. The Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado.

[Scary music]

NEIL: Today on Passport and our haunted stories series, we go there to revisit one night which still terrifies and inspires the creative world.

ANDRÉS: I mean, you’ve like lost your mind basically for the last, at least two weeks. I don’t think you could talk about anything that wasn’t Stephen King related.

NEIL: Yeah, I know.

ANDRÉS: It’s kind of nice though. It’s nice to see, like you go off the deep end.

NEIL: I did. I totally did. I re-read the book. I re-read Stephen King’s book about writing.

I read the Kubrick archives book.

ANDRÉS: Well, you have this thing with Stephen King, man.

NEIL: Yeah. I didn’t realize that I did.

ANDRÉS: but you really do more than anyone I know.

NEIL: I was trying to work it out. I think I’ve read about. 60% of his work.

ANDRÉS: That’s insane.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: When we used to have bookshops, I remember that there would always be like a setup.

One table was like the new Stephen King book and I was always like, there’s another one?

NEIL: Exactly. I mean, and then you think about that, his work that is not Stephen King in the, in the mind of the world. Like, people don’t think about the Shawshank Redemption, they don’t think about Stand By Me.


NEIL: And then you kind of think to yourself, well shit, you know, this guy, he’s had every single thing he’s ever done optioned.


NEIL: Plus all of his short stories.

ANDRÉS: Yeah. I always, I always have the same impression like ah, Stephen King, and then you start reading and you’re like ah, I forgot.

NEIL: But you don’t stop reading it. That’s the problem that I always used to have.

ANDRÉS: But what you were saying before though, the like the pop culture impact is insane.

NEIL: It’s just, just, just tuned in to everybody’s brain. Even if you know it or don’t, it’s endless.

ANDRÉS: It is endless. This story is one part your unrequited love for Stephen King.

NEIL: Yeah. Yes, very unrequited.

ANDRÉS: He’s not interested, Neil. Stop calling.

NEIL: He won’t even like,

[Noise of something moving]


ANDRÉS: What was that?

NEIL: Is that Harriet [censor beep] with us?

ANDRÉS: Is that outside?

NEIL: Harriet.

ANDRÉS: Harry?


ANDRÉS: Are they gone? Okay. All right. Let’s see how this goes.

Yeah, I’ve got goosebumps now. But this is a perfect segue. As I was saying before, we were interrupted by the ghosts that we have in this recording session. Um,



ANDRÉS: One part of this is your unrequited love for Stephen King, but then the other part is,

[Noise of something moving]

ANDRÉS: Can I not talk about it?

NEIL: It sounds like someone’s dragging a body.

ANDRÉS: It’s never happened.

NEIL: Never

ANDRÉS: In five, what, five months we’ve been here.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Anyhow. Um, one side is the unrequited love.

The other side is this movie that probably is one of the most important movies for you and me, which is The Shining.

NEIL: Yeah and I mean, you know, the end, the most unknown attributing factor to both is an unknown hotel. Really, I mean, around the world, it’s unknown because of the film.

ANDRÉS: Yeah, because the overlook is like, I can have it in my head as we’re talking. The tricycle, the carpet, the twins.

NEIL: Yeah.

As soon as I started looking at Colorado now, I was like, this is no place for a horror story.

It’s like,


ANDRÉS: It’s just too nice.

NEIL: It’s just weed and pink eyes

ANDRÉS: It’s just sunny

NEIL: and microbreweries and everyone’s just lovely. So I had to, it was tough to find a way in, but I found a doozy.

ANDRÉS: All right. When you started, you had, in your mind, the Stanley was the Overlook.

NEIL: For all extensive purposes The Stanley is the Overlook.

ANDRÉS: Right. But in your, in your brain space,

NEIL: I gotta be honest. The one I always think about, even when I was rereading King’s book


NEIL: Is Kubrick’s fucking hotels.

ANDRÉS: Of course.

NEIL: But then when I did see, when I, when I was looking at Colorado and when I looked at this hotel, I was like, wow, like that’s the place.

ANDRÉS: That’s where it happened.

NEIL: This is the old haunted hotel.

ANDRÉS: This is the hotel that changed movie history as well as literature.

NEIL: Yeah, yeah.

[Song playing]

NEIL: In his beautiful nonfiction book on writing, Stephen King tells us, start with character, write it and write it until you know it and then throw it away so you can be free to do what you want. So let’s do that to Colorado.

[Song playing]

NEIL: Welcome to the highest overall state in the USA. Denver, Colorado lays claim to the invention of the cheeseburger.

It’s the only state in history to turn down the Olympics in 1976. It held the world’s first rodeo in 1869. More than one third of the state is government owned. Colfax Avenue in Denver is the longest continuous street in the country. It’s also home to the world’s largest hot spring, the international church of cannabis, numerous official UFO watchtowers, and maybe the world’s only washing machine museum.

Colorado is both ass backwards bonkers weird and mind-blowingly beautiful. It’s a strange, high, gorgeous place, which now runs on tech, craft beer and marijuana, three things they do incredibly well. But for the rest of the world receiving postcards, the great outdoors dominate Colorado. Fishing, kayaking, climbing, hiking, skiing, biking, and boating.

[Song playing]

NEIL: But wait, this doesn’t sound like a horror story, does it? Alright. Forget all that.

[Page turning]

NEIL: Um, let’s go here. King also said, the most important thing to remember about backstory is that everyone has a history and most of it isn’t very interesting. Stick to the parts that are. Life stories are best received in bars an hour or so before closing time. And only if you’re buying.

So just imagine we’re at a bar somewhere and it’s snowy and I’m buying. A horror story should have a traumatic history. So let’s start sometime in the mid 1800s. Let’s start with a rich man, a dream, maybe an infectious disease. All right, let’s start with tuberculosis.

[Carriage wheels and horses neighing]

NEIL: Back then, they called them Lungers. By the 1860s, they were everywhere in Colorado. Suffering hordes heading to the mountains for clean air. Before TB, the place was a haven for criminals, trappers, and miners thanks to a series of gold and silver rushes. The small towns were riddled with drunkenness, gambling, prostitution, and crime, but then slowly over time, Colorado was a place filled with physicians and doctors, learned people and successful businessmen.

Freelan Oscar Stanley was one of them. F.O Stanley made his fortune in photographic plates, a precursor to film before he and his brother founded the Stanley Motor Carriage Company and they built steam powered automobiles, and they did good business. At the turn of the 19th century, at 57 years old Freeland contracted TB for the second time in his life.

And so Colorado’s clean air suddenly smelled pretty good. He fell in love with it. Especially Estes Park, a small town in the foothills of the Rockies. And in 1907, he began construction of a resort for upper-class East Coasters. A health retreat for sufferers, just like him.


NEIL: It opened on the 4th of July in 1909.

This hotel was kind of a technological marvel for the time. No expense was spared. Steam, hydraulics and electricity were used throughout.

Stanley’s high falutin’ friends could golf and bowl and horseback ride, while at night in the concert hall, there were tuxedos and ballgowns and thick cigar smoke and billiards.

For a while, Freeland Oscar Stanley was the Jay Gatsby of Colorado.

He sold the hotel in 1930 and he died 10 years later, the ripe old age for any time of 91. Turns out the Rocky Mountain air is good for you.

REBECCA: A lot of people think because it’s called Estes Park, it’s a park. It’s actually a town and the Stanley Hotel dominates it.

It’s just a drop dead gorgeous location.

NEIL: This is Rebecca F. Pittman. Ex runway model, teacher, journalist, author, and painter. She’s written many books on hauntings and histories of old American buildings, including the Stanley Hotel.

REBECCA: It goes way back to Indian tribes. There’s still some ruins you can see from wars, Indian Wars. The trappers, the prospectors, it’s just an incredible place.

And so I was up there a couple of times a month and was surprised no one had written a comprehensive book about the hotel.

NEIL: Now the Stanley Hotel stands as bright as ever. A georgian shard of spectacular white with a blood red roof. It’s listed on the U.S. national register of historic places and it caters now for weddings, parties, anything and more.

It has four different accommodation options spread across multiple buildings, lodges, and more permanent residences. But how much of the hotel’s sheen is down to the success of the film and the book? I asked Rebecca and it turns out that she had asked the owner, John Cullen.

REBECCA: He said this would not be the first hotel that was saved by a hit movie.

And I think that’s, that’s quite a comment to make. And The Shining definitely put it on the map. It really did.

NEIL: The beauty of this place and its wild success is sometimes overshadowed by something else. Not King, not Kubrick. The Stanley is haunted, of course.

 [Horror music]

REBECCA: When I was there, Mary Orton was the head tour guide, scary Mary, and the things that happened around her Neil, if I hadn’t witnessed them, I wouldn’t have believed them. And she would comment that the ghost children at the hotel and they’re the most reported haunting are people hearing children in the hallway, which inspired King I’m guessing, but she said, they’re here right now. And I looked and you could see a little hand print press into her skirt.

[Horror music]

ANDRÉS: Oh, dear. I suddenly regret doing this recording session so late.


NEIL: I was here talking to her alone. I’ve done all of these interviewees alone in this building,

ANDRÉS: just in the dark.

NEIL: I mean, even if you don’t believe in ghosts.

ANDRÉS: That’s scary.

NEIL: Yeah. It just, it gets, gives you the willies.

ANDRÉS: I don’t know what it is about a little like ghost children.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: That’s particularly

NEIL: it’s particularly bad, kids, and that’s where Stephen King lives, like it’s making you remember what you were when you were little and what you were afraid of.

ANDRÉS: Right, right.

NEIL: I quickly realized that the Stanley is one of the most haunted places in America. Didn’t really understand just how haunted it is.

ANDRÉS: I mean, it’s got all the pieces. America, prospectors, you know, Indian burial grounds, the whole nine yards.

NEIL: I mean that, that when I, when I, when I talked to her, when I found out it went back that far, and why it existed is it was built to save people from death. And I was just like, oh, this is going to be good.


ANDRÉS: Yeah. But wait, this is something we, so we’ve, we’ve hit the king. We’ve hit a little bit of the Kubrick. The thing I haven’t hit is do you believe in ghosts, Neil Innes?

NEIL: No. I believe. I very much believe that other people do and have seen things, you know, I mean, I, I didn’t know. I think ghosts have a lot to do with your memory.

ANDRÉS: I was going to say

NEIL: That’s where ghosts sleep.

ANDRÉS: If I ascribed to anything that places have memory, then maybe we project stuff on that.

NEIL: I think that’s totally true

ANDRÉS: But when bad stuff has happened in a place some of that somehow just kind of lingers there

NEIL: and Stephen King has this great line. He said that ghosts and monsters are real. They live inside us. Sometimes they win.

ANDRÉS: Oh, nice.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS:Oh, that’s good.

NEIL: But that’s why I love horror.


NEIL: It’s, it’s that thing where you can watch a man run around with an axe and murder high school kids by a lake or whatever.

ANDRÉS: All day

NEIL: But that’s not horror, you know.

ANDRÉS: No, not really

NEIL: Like digging up your kid and putting him in a pet cemetery in the hopes that he would come back to life.

ANDRÉS: That’s horror.

NEIL: That’s horror. Because the horror is losing a kid.

ANDRÉS: And what it drives you to do.

NEIL: Yes. And that’s, you know, part of the reason that horror was so bad for so long and then, and then good and then so bad and then good. It’s cause people keep remembering this thing, you know, it’s gotta be good drama or it’s not good, it’s not good horror. 

ANDRÉS: Because otherwise yeah, if it’s just boobs and a truck and then a dude in a hockey mask, it’s fun.

It’s a lot of fun, but it’s not going to get into that reptilian brain because all of that stuff, the feelings you have in a hotel at a certain hour of night, movies that make you freak out, it’s all that reptile brain. That thing that’s telling you, you should not be here right now.

NEIL: Yeah. Yeah. And, and, and, and also the thing where it’s three days later and you’re like, oh, I shouldn’t have watched that.

Now I know.

ANDRÉS: And that The Shining.


NEIL: That’s The Shining.

ANDRÉS: That’s The Shining. There’s scenes that I know they’re coming and they still have the effect.

NEIL: Yeah. It has this giddiness to it that’s also funny.

ANDRÉS: Right.

NEIL: It’s like that laughter, when you get so scared you start laughing.

ANDRÉS: Absolutely. When things get rich a fever pitch


[Song playing]

NEIL: After the break, that one haunted night at the Stanley Hotel and what happens when a moment of inspiration grows into the most iconic horror film of all time. See you in a minute.

[Song playing]

KARL: The Stanley has always known about, obviously I have a lot of background in like being super into the supernatural of all types and varieties and so that was sort of the iconic haunted spot.

NEIL: This is Karl Pfeiffer, a true horror lover.

KARL: Back when I was, we’ve got this wonderful thunderstorm going on outside right now, that’s very appropriate.

There was just quite a blast right there. Setting the mood.


NEIL: Karl is a writer, ghost hunter and filmmaker.

KARL: I think it’s, it’s a cool way to illustrate the history of a place. You know, like I think the idea of ghost brings that history alive to the present.

NEIL: For this story, he covers all bases. He’s close to the place too.

Where are you now, man?

KARL: I’m in Colorado still. So I’m still only about 45 minutes from The Stanley or so.

NEIL: It’s still got its hooks in you.

KARL: Yeah. To have just kind of a, a historic hotel from a hundred years ago that carries that kind of a weight now where it’s not just a landmark of Northern Colorado, it’s a very unique, distinct landmark in probably the better part of the country.

NEIL: Karl has a strange history with the Stanley Hotel and with ghosts. In fact, they offered him his big break in a way.

KARL: I was just like, always into the dark and creepy kind of stuff. So I just ate up everything I could about aliens and then ghosts and when I was in high school and college that’s when the ghost hunters fad kind of took off.

And so I was kind of at a good spot to build kind of a ramshackle career on these topics of the paranormal, because they’re in the zeitgeists right now.

NEIL: He won the first season of Syfy’s Ghost Hunters Academy. Karl is a king megafan too. And it was the cover of one of the author’s books which intrigued him. 

KARL: The cover of IT was like so iconic to me as a little kid, seeing that like in the box in the basement that I was like, with the creepy claw coming out of the drain, I was like, that looks awesome.

NEIL: One time he found himself on a ghost tour of the Stanley and ended up just staying as the resonant paranormal investigator. Yup. That’s how haunted.

Karl: In all, in five years, I spent about 250 nights at the Stanley Hotel doing paranormal investigations, um, which the numbers still blows me away. It’s amazing.

NEIL: Karl knows the Stanley’s legendary status more than most.

KARL: The main building would be sitting, uh, at the top most proudly. And then beside it was kind of a slightly smaller version, uh, the manor house, and then slightly further from there is the concert hall. It’s continuing to expand with these white and red properties, uh, all over the grounds now.

NEIL: Is that ghost money?


NEIL: From a spa which healed the lungers, a sanctuary, a modern icon of a state to the beautiful sprawling luxury retreat it is now, it would seem like it was always smooth sailing for the Stanley Hotel, but that’s not exactly the case. The war years weren’t good for the old place, the fifties and sixties saw it switching hands and with dwindling numbers, the place fell into disrepair.

KARL: Back in the seventies, even in the sixties, it was just kind of an old decrepit resort hotel. All of the buildings on the property were condemned except for the main building. So it was, it was in a state.

NEIL: In 1974, the hotel turned 65 years old. Stephen King at the time was 26.

He was in a bit of a state too… his mother, Nellie Ruth Pillsbury King, a constant support in his life as a writer, had just passed away. His drinking habit had developed into a bit of a monster. He was drunk as he read his own mother’s eulogy. But in all this darkness, he had four novels written and ready to go.

A novel called Carrie was the first to be published.

[Phone ringing]

NEIL: But from one moment to the next, everything changed. During a phone call from his agent on mother’s day, King went from an alcoholic struggling teacher, living in a trailer to having Double Day buy and option his first book for $400,000.

King, according to his flimsy contracts, got half, 200 grand, about $1.1 million today’s money.

For the Kings, it was time for a change. So Stevie and his wife and fellow author, Tabitha King blindly put a pin in a map of the USA or so the story goes. That pin landed firmly in Colorado.

After years of financial struggle, The Shining was the first book that King wrote with money in the bank. He was a drunk school teacher and father living in a double wide trailer who hit the big time.

REBECCA: He was living in Boulder. He was trying to come up with some idea of a family being stuck in an environment they couldn’t get out of.

And he couldn’t get it to work

NEIL: King had found the rarest of things in the publishing world, a golden ticket. He had one of the most incredible imaginations on earth, but he decided not to go for the epic. He went small. He went personal. He decided to write a novel about a drunk struggling school teacher who fails to hit the big time and attempts to murder his family.

It became an epic anyway, all because of a pin in a map.

[Car starting]

REBECCA: When, um, he decided to go on a short road trip with his wife and see a little bit of the area. And they were heading up to Rocky Mountain National Park and found out it was closed because of snow, turned around and were coming back and they saw the hotel and they went well, what’s that?

They walked in and the guy said, well, this is the last day of the season, uh, we’re shutting down. And he, he said, we can’t spend the night? He goes, well, you could spend the night tonight, but literally most of the staff have gone. So they went up and they gave him room 217.

[Song playing]

KARL: Being there in that mostly empty hotel was where the setting shifted. It said that he had a nightmare.

[Horror noises]

NEIL: That night, the author dreamed of his sons screaming, running through the halls of an empty hotel, being chased by a fire hose with bloodied metal teeth.

KARL: And legendarily, you know, sat by the window with a cigarette. By the time he was done, he had the, the story sketched out in his mind.

NEIL: A 20 something year old man staring out of the window of room 217, smoking a cigarette, thinking of his kids, ghosts, his wife sleeping in the bed.

[Song playing]

NEIL: In the last 10 years, something of a resurgence of a theme has happened in horror films. Trauma, family, racial allegories, relationships, paternal worries. They’ve all made a thematic comeback in the world of the scary.

Rosemary’s Baby, The Exorcist, Don’t Look Now, The Omen, Wicker Man, even Eraserhead and The Shining have all influenced the slew of recent filmmakers. From Ari Astor, Jennifer Kent, Jordan Peele, to Robert Eggers.

Their films now kind of treat the real thing, the real struggle as the monster, which is kind of what The Shining was.

KARL: Very much. That’s why King didn’t really care for the, uh, the Kubrick movie was because for him, it was so much about the family and so much about Jack and his struggle with his demons and the movie for him he was just kind of like, it was just Jack Nicholson.

Like he’s, he’s always been kind of crazy from the get go, you know, like that’s not the story. The story is, is his struggles.

NEIL: King called Kubrick’s film a beautiful Cadillac with no engine. He called it misogynistic and cold. Jack seemingly had little struggle. His Wendy, the role which Shelly Devou played, had been reduced to a whimpering, crying mess.

And to be fair, it wasn’t just an author lamenting the killing of his darling. The film at the time was almost universally panned. Shelly Duval, Jack Nicholson and the great untouchable Stanley Kubrick took heavy fire. It’s almost unthinkable now.

But hang on… wait… let’s go back to the other Stanley, the hotel.

Let’s go back to room 217.

REBECCA: We were coming out of room 217 and the rest of the group went up to the third landing and they were paused by the banister and I stopped and turned around to ask Mary something. And I jumped. I had on a tube top, a sleeveless top, and it felt like something had burned something into my bare shoulder.

[Something burning]

REBECCA: And when I gasped and jumped the people above me with their cameras, all shot pictures of me. And there was this green orb the size of a soccer ball with a tail, like a tendril coming out of it, going across my throat. And she goes, I think that was Sarah. I said, who’s Sarah? She said she was a nanny in the 1900s and she was six feet tall, which was quite tall for a woman back then.

And I’m six foot two. And she says, I think she saw you as a kindred spirit. I said, well, couldn’t she just say hi?

[Song playing]

NEIL: For all those people thinking, I mean, two, three, seven, well, we’ve hit the break point in the legacy of The Shining between the one that lives on the page and the one that lives on the screen.

[Song playing]

ANDRÉS: You just gave me the chills, man.

NEIL: It’s just such a weird, like, I love those stories of like the time that, you know,

ANDRÉS: Keith Richards falling asleep, waking up and he had recorded satisfaction, I think it was?.

NEIL: Recorded the exile on main street.


NEIL: Yeah. Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Yeah, man.

NEIL: I love those. I just love those stories.

ANDRÉS: Yeah. Where like something just drops out of the sky and you’re just there and you catch it.

NEIL: Yeah. And it had this, this had kind of happened to King already. I mean, his wife picked Carrie out of the bin. You know, the, the novel that made him a household name, he hated it.

He’d thrown it away. He came home and she was like, Steve, this is, this is good. And he’s like, she’s the biggest loser. I’ve like created the biggest loser of all time.

ANDRÉS: Yeah. But that’s why we love her.

NEIL: But Tabitha King like you need to finish, just finish it, just finish it. He hit the, hit the fucking big time.

He just hit it.

ANDRÉS: How disaster is just one phone call away.

NEIL: Exactly, yeah.

ANDRÉS: Or the lack of a phone call away.

Oh man. Cause I didn’t know this piece of information that when The Shining happened was already on the way out from, you know, Stephen King in a trailer park.

NEIL: Yeah, it was the first time he was a writer, just a writer.

ANDRÉS: But that’s it, the monster of the book, like what you’re going to do next is such a big part of The Shining.

Writing, you have to write.

NEIL: I mean, he was, must’ve been terrified. He didn’t want to fuck anything up. So he basically wrote a story about himself and what might have happened if he hadn’t have got that phone call.


NEIL: That’s real horror like that worry.

ANDRÉS: Yeah. And now, and now Kubrick shows up.


ANDRÉS: To fuck things up for Stephen

NEIL: To make his corners square.

ANDRÉS: A singular moment.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Just an accident.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: Ending up at this place, this time and then the, just the feeling of being there and transferring it into this thing.

NEIL: Well, it’s funny cause that based on the kind of timeframe, this, the owners and stuff that I’ve looked at, in 1974, it would have been almost closed when, when King and, and his wife stayed there that one night. And it was the last night. It was like, the middle of October.

ANDRÉS: Wait. You’re saying to me, they arrived the last night the hotel would have been opened?

NEIL: Yeah. It’s now open all year, all year round, but then it closed for the winter and they had a live-in caretaker.

ANDRÉS: Oh, come on.

NEIL: And so as they were arriving, all the staff were leaving. All of the chairs were up. They were the only guests there. You know, he went to the bar, the, the manager served him drinks and

ANDRÉS: He was the only person at the bar, of course.

NEIL: He was the only person in this huge, like ornate, beautiful bar.

ANDRÉS: Because it’s big

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: It really is.

NEIL: And then he stumbled back to bed and he was, the idea that he had had, this family in isolation was going to originally be an abandoned theme park, that they were taking down.


NEIL: And he was like, it’s not, it’s never going to work because you can just walk out.

ANDRÉS: Yeah, no, you need a place that, mountains, you get snowed in and you’re trapped.

NEIL: Snowed in and you’re trapped and you’re with your family.

ANDRÉS: And he was like… serendipity.

ANDRÉS: That’s insane man. It’s friggin wild. Also, as you’re telling me this, Overlook is in my head the whole time. I’ve just seen the actual Stanley. And I can’t, I have Stephen King in the lobby with the carpeting

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: It’s the whole thing. It’s insane.

NEIL: It never, it never goes away.

Damn you Kubrick!

ANDRÉS: Yeah. It’s like brain tattoo.

NEIL Yeah. It totally is.

ANDRÉS: You can’t get it out of your head.

NEIL: Yeah. It’s like, it’s the equivalent of like, seeing Max Schreck walked down the stairs in Nosferatu.

ANDRÉS: Right, yeah.

NEIL: With his hand out

ANDRÉS: With the hand, with the long fingers.

NEIL: And it’s the same watching Danny and his big wheel ride around the hallway.

ANDRÉS: I can hear it.

NEIL: Yeah.

ANDRÉS: The sound of the wheels coming off the carpet and then going quiet and coming off the carpet.


NEIL: So, which is, which is the legacy, what should it be the legacy?

ANDRÉS: Oh man, it’s complicated.


ANDRÉS: Are you going to answer this? Or are you just going to leave me hanging?

NEIL: Maybe hanging on to something


ANDRÉS: you gotta answer some questions.

NEIL: Definitely not going to be a phone call from Stephen fucking King.


ANDRÉS: I think if you actually had a chat with him, you guys would get along.

You just got to get past the nerd gate.


NEIL: This is what this episode is. It’s 55 minutes of me trying to jump the nerd gate.

ANDRÉS: Will Neil make it over the nerd gate?

In the office we’ve been watching you go at it. It’s, it’s been impressive, man.

[Song playing]

NEIL: Going up in part two, the tale of the Stanley Hotel continues with more King versus Kubrick. The artists still influenced by the horror of the film and the heart of the book.

We’ll talk to the front men of Murder by Death and Devotchka, two bands who have embraced the legacy of this horror. Plus the version of The Shining you don’t know.

And Rodney Asher, director of the bonkers Room 237 tells us a story you wouldn’t believe.

In the meantime you can follow us on all social media at PassportPodcast and be sure to rate and review the show wherever you’re listening. See you soon.

[Song playing]

This week’s show was written, produced and edited by me.

Big thanks to Rebecca F. Pitman and Karl Pfeiffer for helping us to make this first part of the show. You can find more about them in the show notes.

Our theme tune is by the incredible Nick Turner with original music for this week’s show coming from my friend and genius, Ben Chatwin. Definitely go check him out wherever you get your music. Other bits and bobs by Rochelle Rochelle, Carlton Banksy, The Regal Beagle and Ray Nobel and his Orchestra. 

The show is mixed and mastered by Julian Kwasniewski. Eliza Engel is our production assistant.

Stacey Book, Dominique Ferrari and Avi Glijanksy want to play with us forever and ever, and ever, and ever.

They also executive produce the show, which is hosted by me and a man who is the best goddamn bartender from Timbuktu to Portland, Maine, or Portland, Oregon, for that matter, Andrés Bartos.

We’ll see you in the same place for part two.



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© 2018, Frequency Machine Studios.
© 2018, Frequency Machine Studios.