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Grauman's Chinese: the lobby


The lobby in pre-snackbar days. This 1927 Mott Studios view in the California State Library collection is looking from the house left alcove alcove across the main lobby space. The opening on the left leads into the auditorium.



The lobby in 2007. The wall to the left has been opened up and the snackbar area pushed into what had been seating. It's all plush and impeccably maintained. The lobby is still tiny by movie palace standards but impressively ornate.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The ceiling and folding screen mural high on the lobby's north wall. The lobby murals are by artist Keye Luke, who went on to a career as an actor, notably in the Charlie Chan films. Dangling from the light fixtures were originally incense burners to give the smell of sandalwood as the patrons entered the lobby. It's a 2013 photo by by Wah Wu that appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.  Thanks!



Thanks to Don Solosan for this c.2010 north wall mural photo taken for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation. The LAHTF works to preserve historic theatres in the Los Angeles area by supporting events, offering tours and promoting awareness of the architectural merit of these treasures. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



A 2007 photo of the north lobby mural by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr. At the bottom of the shot we're looking into the snack bar area -- in  1927 it was the rear of the seating area. From 1958 until 2001 there was a projection booth there.

Mr. Bariscale has done a series of L.A. landmarks articles on his blog Big Orange Landmarks. See his great Chinese Theatre page (#55 on the list) for many photos and lots of historical detail. Also see his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.



A 2006 photo of the south wall lobby mural (over the entrance doors) by Cariberry on Flickr



A lobby mural detail from Berger Conser Architectural Photography. It's from the book "The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of Tinseltown" by Anne Conser and Robert Berger, available on Amazon. Also pay a visit to the Robert Berger Photography website where 16 photos from the book are displayed in his Last Remaining Seats section. 



 The lobby ceiling. Photo: Don Solosan - LAHTF - c.2010



Another look up at the lobby ceiling. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



Need another chandelier photo?  This 2006 photo is by Cariberry on Flickr.



Thanks to the wonderful Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photographs Collection for this c. 1955 ceiling view. Browse the collection for many more Chinese Theatre photos as well as several hundred other Hollywood theatre photos.



Thanks to The Real Devil Doll on Flickr for this 2006 exit sign photo.



A 2001 view looking straight in from the entrance doors at the new bar area created by Behr Browers Architects as part of the renovation they directed. That whole area where the snackbar is was created by pushing the lobby into what had been projection booth and seats. The booth went back upstairs to its original location.  Thanks to Behr Browers for the 2001 photo on their Grauman's Chinese Theatre page. 



If you were going to work behind a snackbar this is the one to pick.  Thanks to Franck Bohbot for this superb shot from behind the bar looking at the entrance doors. It's in his 2014 Cinema Series. Many of Mr. Bohbot's photos are also on the website of Institute, his representatives. Some of the Cinema Series photos also appear on their Story Institute page.



The snackbar area. It's in the space originally occupied by the last several rows of seats and (later) a downstairs projection booth that was a 1950's change for a better projection angle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007. Also see a 2004 snackbar photo by Scott Neff on Cinema Tour.



The ceiling above the snackbar -- an area that used to be the back of the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A ceiling plasterwork detail in the snackbar area. Thanks to Wah Wu for the 2013 photo, one appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A 2007 snackbar photo by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.



A perhaps 1990s photo by Walman Photography of the snackbar from a Mann Theatres souvenir booklet. The website Silver Screens has it on their page about Los Angeles Theatres.



A c. 1955 snack bar view from the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection. This was long before the north wall was opened up.



The ceiling as we look toward the house right lobby alcove. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr.



The house right end of the lobby. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale in his Chinese Theatre set on Flickr.
 


The decoration above the entrance to the house right lobby alcove. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2013 photo, one originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A detail of the figure atop the entrance to the alcove. It's a 2013 photo by Wah Wu that appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A look in toward the ceiling of the house right alcove. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



The house right side alcove. Through the opening and to the right are the stairs down to the men's room and up to the booth and private boxes. Straight ahead you end up at the top of the house right aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The southeast corner of the house right alcove as it was arranged in 2006. Thanks to Cariberry on Flickr for the photo.  At the right that's the alcove's exit to the forecourt.



A closer look at that guy in the corner. The statue later got moved around the corner to the top of the aisle. Here it looks like he needs a bit of repair work. It's a 2004 photo by Michael Lumley on Flickr.
 


The ceiling of the house right lobby alcove. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



A closer look through the doorway to the house right aisle.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The new home at the head of the house right aisle for the statue formerly in the house right alcove. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2012 photo on the LAHTF Facebook page.



The stairs down to the men's room. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



Looking from the house right lobby alcove down into the auditorium.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012


 
Thanks to master architectural photographer Franck Bohbot for this wider view of the house right alcove.  It's in his superb 2014 Cinema Portfolio, featuring many other California theatres as well. The main lobby area is off to the left.



A 2006 photo of the doorway leading to Aisle C by Cariberry on Flickr



The view back out into the main lobby area from the house right alcove. It's a 2007 photo by Floyd Bariscale in his 43 item Chinese Theatre set on Flickr. 



A 1927 look back into the main lobby area from house right alcove. The doors we see exit onto the forecourt. It's a Mott Studios photo in the California State Library collection.



The house left alcove as seen from the middle of the lobby. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Bobc007 for adding his 2009 photo to the site's TCL Chinese Theatres page.

Also of interest on Cinema Treasures are many 2001 lobby photos by Christoper Crouch including: side alcove | snackbar | another snackbar view | ceiling | chandelier | mural | lobby statue | exit doors |



A peek into the house left lobby alcove. The 2007 photo is by Floyd Bariscale on Flickr



The house left lobby alcove. That's the house left aisle and the stairs down to the ladies lounge beyond. The area included an impromptu exhibit of a 70mm Imax projector.

The projector was sitting there after the lower level of the booth was cleared out to make room for new IMAX laser projectors.  Thanks to Escott O. Norton of the LAHTF for his March 2015 photo. See the full 39 photo set about the installation on the LAHTF Facebook page.



An alcove ceiling fixture detail. Thanks to The Real Devil Doll on Flickr for the 2006 photo.



The sign for aisle B in the house left lobby alcove. It's a c.2000 photo from the website L.A. Time Machines, no longer with us.



A platter from the 70mm Imax system that was headed out the door.  The stairs are to the ladies lounge with the left sidewall of the theatre beyond. Photo: Escott O. Norton - LAHTF - March 2015. Thanks, Escott!



The stairs down to the ladies lounge at the top of the house left side aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A display at the top of the house left aisle photographed in 2012 by Stephen Russo for the LAHTF Facebook page. The stairs down to the ladies lounge are just out of the frame to the left.

Also on the LAHTF Facebook page:  lobby statuary - Stephen Russo - 2012 | north wall mural - Russo - 2012 | drinking fountain - Michelle Gerdes - 2012 | decorative medallion - Wah Wu - 2013 | side aisle statue and medallion - Wendell Benedetti - 2013 |



Looking back into the main lobby from the house left lobby alcove. Those doors on the right head out into the forecourt. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A 2007 view out from the house left alcove by Floyd Bariscale in his Chinese Theatre set on Flickr. 



We're in the house left alcove looking out at the expanded lobby area following the renovations by Behr Browers Architects.  Thanks to BBA for the 2001 photo, one appearing on their Grauman's Chinese Theatre page. 



Thanks to the Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photograph Collection collection for this c.1958 view from the house left alcove.  The snack bar would stay in the original lobby space until the 2001 renovations.

Pages on Grauman's Chinese: 
| Chinese overview | street views 1926 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | forecourt | back to top - lobby | lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | upstairs boxes and offices | booth | stage | basement | attic | Chinese Twin | Chinese 6 |

Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resourceswelcome and site navigation guide |

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