Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections: Downtown | North of Downtown + East L.A. | San Fernando Valley | Glendale | Pasadena | San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier | South, South Central and Southeast | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | Long Beach | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.

Grauman's Chinese: an overview

6925 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 | map |

More pages about Grauman's Chinese: street views 1926 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | forecourt | lobby areas | basement lounges | vintage auditorium views | recent auditorium views | upstairs boxes & offices | projection booth | stage | basement | attic and roof | Chinese Twin | Chinese 6 |

Opened: May 18, 1927 by Sid Grauman (1879-1950) as his second theatre in Hollywood -- the first was the Egyptian, opened in 1922. The Chinese has remained a major first run venue since its debut. Photo: Bill Counter - 2010

Sid sold his interest in the Egyptian to West Coast Theatres shortly after opening the Chinese. Earlier Grauman operations in Los Angeles were the Million Dollar (1918), the Rialto (1919), and the Metropolitan (1923). Grauman sold his interest in these downtown theatres to Paramount in late 1923. The Metropolitan was renamed the Paramount in 1929.

Over the decades the Chinese has hosted premiere engagements of major films as varied as "Hell's Angel's (1930), "Grand Hotel" (1932), "King Kong" (1933), "Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Shane" (1953),  "Auntie Mame" (1958), "West Side Story (1961), "Goldfinger" (1964), "Hello, Dolly" (1969) and "Star Wars" (1977). The list goes on and on. 

Phone: 323-464-8111   Website: | showtimes | Imax | on Facebook |
Architects:  It was a design-build Meyer & Holler project with Raymond M. Kennedy as the principal architect. The firm had earlier done the Egyptian Theatre for Grauman. Some of their other theatre projects included the West Coast in Long Beach, the Cabrillo in San Pedro, the Fox Fullerton and the Oriental on Sunset Blvd. 

The lobby murals were executed by Keye Luke, better known as an actor. The paintings on the brick side walls of the auditorium were done by Xavier Cugat. Yes, the bandleader. Bernard V. Gerow, Harold F. Wilson and Louis Ghiloni were credited by the L.A. Times as sculptors on the project.

The 150' x 250' lot size for the Chinese allowed for one of the largest stages in town, all seating on one level and room left over for a forecourt designed for huge crowds of adoring fans during premieres. In some promotional materials at the time of the opening the cost was given as $1.2 million, probably a seriously inflated figure.

A preliminary sketch for the theatre's asbestos curtain by Raymond M. Kennedy. It was part of a November 2012 Christie's Popular Culture auction.

A rendering of the facade by architect Raymond M. Kennedy appearing in a Christie's catalog. Many of the decorative aspects of the design were the responsibility of John Gabriel Beckman, who was also involved in a number of other Meyer & Holler projects.

A rendering of the ceiling design from Meyer and Holler. Thanks to David Saffer for locating it. The lighter area at the right is the ceiling design for the area under the booth overhang. 

A main floor plan that appeared in American Architect. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for sharing the image. Visit, his amazing site about the theatre. Among other wonders, he's got a playlist of every film that's played the theatre from 1927 to the present.

A section view of the theatre from Volume 1 of "American Theatres of Today" (1927) by R.F. Sexton and B.F. Betts. 

A facade drawing that's dated February 4, 1926. Thanks to Martha Wade Steketee for the image of the drawing, appearing as a post entitled "Blueprints and Celluloid Dreams" on her blog "Looking Outside." Originals are 30" x 44." Also see an image of the main floor blueprint from Ms. Steketee's collection. Its last revision was dated June 1926.

Seating: 932 after the Imax renovations of 2013. It was 1,990 in 1927 -- all on one level. 2,058 and even higher numbers are frequently seen mentioned. Later the seating was down to 1,492. When the house was reseated in 2001 the capacity ended up at 1,151.

One of the areas adjacent to the booth had been used by Grauman as a private box with limited seating. That box and the area on the other side of the booth got added seating in the 50s. The booth area was also used as a private box when the booth was downstairs between 1958 and 2001.

This 1927 seating chart comes from Kurt Wahlner. He has it on his superb page "A Tour of Grauman's Chinese Theatre 1927" where he notes: 
"Theatre historians have long insisted that Grauman's Chinese originally had a seating capacity of over 2,000. Cinema Treasures has it at 2,200 seats. In his 1968 monograph on the Chinese, historian Terry Helgesen estimated the capacity at 'nearly 2,400.' Our analysis of all the historical photos indicates that the actual seating capacity was 1,990, not counting the upstairs boxes. 
"This seating chart has been created by scrutinizing all of the available photos, and is corroborated by surviving ticket stubs. An interesting detail here is the fact that the seats in the sides of the theatre are wrapped neatly around the sidewall columns, since a patron was only looking at the narrower stage."

Hillsman Wright, of the L.A. Historic Theatre Foundation notes the floor of the seating area was originally maple, replaced by concrete in the 40s. The whole floor was demolished in 1958 (along with the pit and front of the stage) and a concrete floor with a new slope was installed.

With the 2001 renovation pushing the lobby into the rear of the seating area, it was necessary to go down steps to the new back row. The 2013 renovation design results in the last row again more or less at lobby level (as it was in 1927, but now farther forward) and the front rows substantially lower -- achieved by excavating the front of the auditorium. This allows for both stadium-style seating and a higher Imax format screen. 
The project begins: The Chinese was developed by Sid along with C.E. Toberman (1880 - 1981). Toberman had been the developer of the Egyptian Theatre in 1922 and was a principal in many other Hollywood projects. Others with a stake in the venture included West Coast Theatres (soon to become Fox West Coast) and part of the United Artists cabal: Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks and Joe Schenck (head of United Artists).

Grauman was thinking about a theatre at this location even before opening the Egyptian Theatre in 1922. This article located by David Saffer in the February 1, 1920 issue of the L.A. Times discusses the $60,000 purchase by Sid and a partner of a 150' x 240' parcel for the theatre at Hollywood Blvd. and Orchid Ave. This lot didn't become the the theatre location -- it ended up as the parking lot east of the Chinese. 

"It is planned along lines far removed from those of Grauman's Egyptian..." More property was acquired in 1924 and the firm Meyer & Holler had been selected as the architect and contractor. Big surprise. They had also done the Egyptian. David Saffer located this article in the September 14, 1924 issue of the Times. Their chronology about the opening of the Egyptian was a little off. It has been open a little less than two years, not "more than two years ago." The project ended up with 420' of frontage on Hollywood Blvd. and 250' of depth. It was the whole block between Orchid Ave. and Orange Dr.  

The "first definite authentic announcement" of the project came in this October 10, 1925 Motion Picture News article. Here they give the proposed cost as $5 million. Thanks to Mike Hume for finding the article. He's got it on the page about the Chinese on his Historic Theatre Photography site. 

An early design concept from Meyer and Holler. The drawing appeared in the October 1925 issue of Los Angeles Realtor as part of a collage titled "Five New Playhouses for Hollywood." The others were the Warner, Hollywood Playhouse, Music Box and El Capitan. Thanks to Esotouric for locating the image. The issue is in the Special Collections Division of the Los Angeles Public Library.
A November 1925 newspaper item located by Ken McIntyre for a thread about the construction on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 

This bit of the batch of the structural steel used in the building is an interesting souvenir. Thanks to Parker Kaufmann for this photo of the paperweight in his collection. Around the center it says "Punching from structural steel Grauman's Chinese Theatre - Los Angeles - McClintic Marshall Co."

"Tea will be served by Chinese girls." The groundbreaking was announced in this January 5, 1926 L.A. Times article. Thanks to David Saffer for locating it. 
An ad for the January 5, 1926 groundbreaking. Thanks to Jerry Miles for locating it for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 

The Chinese art experts Liu Yu Chang and Moon Quan advising on the work at the "unique and palatial playhouse." It's a story that appeared in the October 3, 1926 issue of the Times.  

A rendering for one design scheme for the pagoda and an adjacent structure. It appeared in the November 1926 issue of Los Angeles Realtor, as part of "The Home of the Theatre," a full page spread that included five new Hollywood theatres plus the Egyptian. They noted that "Hollywood theaters are famous the world over."

As it got closer to opening, the project was a high security area "posted with a heavy guard." Thanks to David Saffer for locating this March 13, 1927 Times story. 

In "Grauman Plans Surprises for First-Nighters," an April 10, 1927 Times story, they discuss what happened to a missing bird in the lobby carpet pattern:

"... All of the elaborate carpets to ornament the palatial playhouse, which faithfully reproduces the glorious artistry of the early Chinese dynasties, were woven in China by native craftsmen. What appears to be a glaring imperfection in one of the brilliant foyer carpets probably will arrest the attention of visitors fortunate enough to be numbered in the first night audience. Of the four birds necessary to complete the symmetrical design of the fabric, one is missing. 

"The deficiency is not any failure in craftsmanship, but a curious example of the jocularity of the oriental aesthetic. The missing bird, according to the explanations of the master-craftsman weaver, due to the perfection of his delineation, has transcended the limits of the woven fabric and flown away and will be found quietly reposing high up on one of the beams of the main auditorium..."  
A pre-opening view with the construction fence still up appears, along with several other photos, with an article on pages 18 and 19 in the April 16 issue of Exhibitors Herald. See the continuation of the article on pages 39 and 40. Thanks to Mike Hume for locating this. 

The April 30, 1927 beginnings of the famous collection of hand and foot prints. Here Sid is with Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks a few weeks before the theatre's opening. Thanks to Vienna's Classic Hollywood blog for locating the photo by J.O. Milligan for a post about Sid. There are many alternate versions told about how the whole thing started. Kurt Wahlner offers six of them along with an interactive map and many forecourt details on his "Forecourt of the Stars" page.

The opening: The initial policy was two shows daily with reserved seats: a matinee and evening show both preceded by an elaborate prologue. The policy lasted (on and off) until 1934 when the prologues were abandoned and the Chinese went to a four shows a day policy. And lots of double features.

This article and collage of drawings of the new theatre appeared in the May 15, 1927 issue of the L.A. Times. Thanks to Mike Hume for locating it for his Historic Theatre Photography page about the Chinese. 

A May 18 ad. Thanks to Michael Coate for sharing this in a post for the Friends of 70mm group on Facebook.

The cover of the opening program, beginning May 18, 1927. On the screen was Cecil B. DeMille's "King of Kings" and on stage was a giant scripture-inspired prologue with a cast of over 100 accompanied by an orchestra of 65. Constantin Bakaleinikoff was the conductor.

The program's dedication page. Thanks to Christopher Crouch for these program views appearing on a post on his blog Cinelog. This opening show ran for months on a twice-a-day reserved seat policy.

An ad appearing on opening day offering to sell bonds backed by a 50% mortgage on the theatre. It's from the collection of Cezar Del Valle
See a pdf of the L.A. Times review of the opening that appeared in their "Society of Cinemaland" column on May 22. Thanks to Mike Hume for making it available. A photo of the opening night crowd of 50,000 and a story about the event appear on page 23 of the May 28 Exhibitors Herald. The theatre's opening bill was reviewed on page 39 of the same issue. Four photos of the building appeared in the June 11, 1927 Exhibitors Herald. Thanks to Mike for locating the Herald items on Internet Archive. 

An early Mott Studios view of the top of the Chinese from across the street at the Roosevelt Hotel Cinegrill. The photo was added to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page by Brian Michael McCray.
Book of Secrets: There was supposedly once a tunnel under Hollywood Blvd. from the Chinese to the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The stars could make a public entrance on the red carpet for a premiere then escape the fans undetected later.
Pipe Organ:  It was a 3/17 Wurlitzer, opus 1541. Instead of the normal chamber location, the organ at the Chinese (like the one at the Egyptian) spoke via a "tone chute" so that the sound emanated from the ceiling. The single chamber was directly in front of the proscenium wall, above ceiling level. See the attic and roof page for a view inside what's left of the chamber. 
Jim Lewis comments on the installation: "The United Artists and Chinese Wurlitzers were the same model, a Style 260 Special with two extra stops beyond what the usual 260 had. That really didn't mean much to the overall sound as they were rather soft." Organ expert Tom DeLay notes that the largest pipes, the 32' Diaphones, were in a recess in the proscenium wall offstage right above the swirchboard. They spoke onto the stage rather than directly into the auditorium. 

Much of the wall was removed during the 1958 Cinemiracle renovations but you can see what's left of the recess in this detail from a 2019 photo by Mike Hume. The hollow tile area to the right of the bottom of the white oval is the filled-in area that remains of the switchboard recess. Jim Lewis notes other organs in town that had 32' Diaphones included the Egyptian (also with them positioned backstage), the United Artists, the Million Dollar, the Forum/Wiltern and the Metropolitan/Paramount.

Who played on opening night? Thanks to Jim Lewis for locating this May 17 article from the Los Angeles Record. We're advised that Albert Hay Malotte was an "acquisition" by Sid for for the "dual dedicatory performance." Kurt Wahlner's notes about "King of Kings" on list Frederick Burr Scholl as the organist on opening night. At least he's the one credited in the program. Kurt comments:

"Grauman was comfortable with last minute changes in his work. Stories abound about how chaotically Grauman’s shows came together, so nothing would surprise me. After engaging Scholl and sending the program to the printer, something could have ended the playdate for Scholl, Malotte engaged, the squib was printed in the Record the day before the opening. Could have happened. Or Scholl could have played anyway. I have never seen a review of the opening night ceremony. Malotte DID play at the Chinese for one special 'Sunday Night Musical' Sunday, August 14, 1927 at 7:30, a program that would have been presented prior to the regular presentation at 8:15. This is the only gig that I know of."
Scholl had been the initial organist at the Egyptian in 1922 and moved over to the Carthay Circle when that theatre opened in 1926. Page 394 of the October 1927 issue of American Organist has an article about him (with his first name spelled Frederic) plus a photo. It's on Google Books. Kurt has a bio of Scholl on his site. Jim Lewis found a 1928 photo of Scholl taken when he played the Capitol Theatre in Sydney, Australia as well as a shot of a billboard for that engagement. See an October 21, 1960 L.A. Times obituary of "Fred" that was also located by Jim. 

An ad for the Wurlitzer installation at the Chinese from the February 25, 1928 issue of Motion Picture News, available on Internet Archive

A view of the console that appeared in the February 4, 1928 issue of Motion Picture News in an article about the theatre's communications systems titled "Brain and Arms of Showmanship...." Thanks to Mike Hume for making it available as a pdf. There were actually two consoles, one at either end of the pit. The one at house left was a dummy, just there for symmetry. The photo also appears on the site Pipe Organ Database, a listing that also includes some notes about the instrument by Eric Schmiedeberg.

Fox West Coast gave the organ to the Catholic Diocese of Los Angeles in 1957 and much of it ended up installed at St. Finbar's Church in Burbank. Tom DeLay comments: "Ken Crome said the Chinese Diaphones were cut up by his father when the organ was removed by Lee Haggart to go to the church. Things were done to that poor organ that should not have been done to a pump reed organ." The console, now minus its Chinese ornamentation, is installed at the Stanford Theatre in Palo Alto.
The early years: Long runs were the rule in the first few years of operation. "King of Kings," the opening film, ran 24 weeks. See the Chinese Theatre website curated by Kurt Wahlner for lots of year-by-year data on engagements at the Chinese. Initially, the stock in the operation was owned equally by Sid, United Artists and West Coast Theatres. That changed shortly after the opening. 

This October 26, 1927 L.A. Times article discussed the purchase by UA of the shares that had been held by West Coast Theatres. This didn't affect the operation as it was still run by Sid. Several years later when Sid thought he was going to retire, it was Fox West Coast that ended up managing the theatre.

The cover of the Chinese Theatre program for "The Gaucho," a United Artists release with Douglas Fairbanks. This was the theatre's second attraction, opening November 4, 1927 for a twelve week run. With the film was the Grauman prologue "Argentine Nights."

 The inside of the program for "The Gaucho." 

An ad for the theatre (and Sid) in the 1928 Film Daily Yearbook. 

The first talkie to play the Chinese was "White Shadows in the South Seas" (MGM) which opened August 3, 1928. Edwin Schallert reviewed the presentation in "Crowd Throngs To Reopening," his August 5 story for the Times. Some of his comments:

"The first presentation of sound pictures at Grauman's Chinese Theater was accomplished with all due ceremony last night.. A feature picture without dialog, but with a synchronized musical accompaniment mechanically reproduced, and effects -- a Fox Movietone newsreel, and a short vaudeville subject were the items chiefly representing the change. The program also included a prologue, luxuriantly staged... On the whole it did not hit a definite stride last night, and certainly the presentation needs building up..."

Motion Picture News reviewed "White Shadows" in their August 11 issue and they too were not enthusiastic about either the film or the Grauman prologue.


Another early talkie premiere was Warner's "Noah's Ark," a silent directed by Michael Curtiz with an added music and efects soundtrack. It premiered November 1, 1928 and went on to a twelve week run.

A page inside the "Noah's Ark" program. Thanks to Cochise Miller for sharing these two images on the Vitaphone Project private Facebook group. The film got 5 pages of ads and photos in the November 3 issue of Motion Picture News.

One of the early sound films getting an even longer run was "Broadway Melody" (MGM) which opened February 1, 1929 for a 19 week engagement. It's considered the first talkie musical.

"Sid Grauman to Turn Producer" was the headline for an April 1929 L.A. Times story located by David Saffer. They noted that after a bit of vacation in Europe he planned to return and build a studio between Culver City and Santa Monica to produce both sound features as well as "atmospheric prologues." They noted:

"Grauman's retirement from the theatrical business will take place as soon as his interest in the Chinese Theater is disposed of, he said. Joseph M. Schenck, president of United Artists, also owns an interest in the theater and he is negotiating the deal for its sale... The sale of the Chinese Theater is being negotiated with Publix Theaters, releasing subsidiary of Paramount-Famous-Lasky, which now operates the United Artists Theater downtown. Grauman said the theater deal is entirely in Schenck's hands.."

"Sid Grauman Retires Today" was a June 16, 1929 Times story where he announced plans to travel but said he might consider opening a small theatre in a few years. Prior to the sale, Sid had a one-third interest in the operation with UA holding two-thirds. Evidently the proposed deal with Paramount didn't happen and when the sale of his third took place it was to West Coast Theatres, in the process of becoming Fox West Coast. 
The sale meant that United Artists still had two-thirds of the business but they had no desire to run it thenmselves. The ads and signage started saying "Direction Fox West Coast Theatres" and Rusty White was transferred from Loew's State to the Chinese as manager. Eventually UA sold their two-thirds share to Fox as well.

A flyer for the run of "Hollywood Revue of 1929," an MGM release that had a 13 week run beginning with its world premiere June 20, 1929. Note that Harold B. Franklin of Fox West Coast put his name at the top. Thanks to Todd Franklin (no relation, we assume) for the flyer, appearing in his Movie Theater Stuff album on Flickr.  

In New York a "Human Billboard" for the film was constructed on the facade of the Astor Theatre. For the L.A. run, a similar attraction to was constructed at a site along Wilshire Blvd.


This story about the Human Billboard for "Hollywood Revue" where "...real girls were used in the display..." appeared in the August 24, 1929 issue of Motion Picture News. It's on Internet Archive.

With Fox in charge, and Grauman flitting in and out, the elaborate prologues became a less frequent part of the programming. Fox tried a number of other things including structuring shows around a band onstage, offering special late night performances and supplementing the films with various acts produced by Fanchon & Marco. And sometimes they just ran movies. And there were occasional dark periods as well.

The Chinese in the 30s:  Grauman had an ongoing role at the Chinese up until his death in 1950. There were other "managers" but he was always the "managing director." Sometimes (at least in the early 30s anyway) he produced prologues, sometimes he was just around for ceremonial events like footprint ceremonies. But he never again had an ownership stake. After mid-1929 he was working under contract to Fox West Coast.

In addition to working for Fox, Grauman tried a bit of film producing and presented a few legit shows at other theatres including the Hollywood Playhouse and the Mayan. Among Grauman's noteworthy early 30s successes at the Chinese was his work organizing the ballyhoo and directing the prologue for the Howard Hughes production "Hell's Angels."

A Roosevelt Hotel Cinegrill view taken by an unknown photographer during the May 27, 1930 premiere of "Hell's Angels." Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for dating the photo. It's on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles from Brian Michael McCray.

70mm Grandeur at the Chinese in 1930: Beginning April 19 the Chinese had a four week run of "Song o' My Heart," which was filmed in both 35mm as well as the 70mm Fox Grandeur process. But the run at the Chinese was in 35. Film historians such as Miles Kreuger believe that the 70mm version was never shown.
The Chinese was equipped with the special Simplex 70mm projectors to show "The Big Trail," an 8 week run beginning October 2, 1930. The ad for the film at the Chinese, "projected entirely in Grandeur" is from David Coles' article "Magnified Grandeur -- The Big Screen 1926-1931" on the terrific site
The machines probably had been moved over from the Carthay Circle. In February the Carthay had them installed for a seven week run of "Happy Days." Grandeur used a frame with four jumbo perforations, about 25% higher than a 35mm frame and twice as wide. The aspect ratio was about 2.13 to 1. The image area was almost the same as the 1955 TODD-AO image. The sound was a wide mono optical track using a scaled up version of the Fox Movietone technology. Sound quality was evidently quite good due to the wider track.

For more information about early L.A. widescreen runs in various formats see the great 70mm & Wide Gauge: The Early Years page from Michael Coate and William Kallay on They list the "Song o' My Heart" run at the Chinese as 70mm although no evidence for that has surfaced. More information about various early widescreen processes is also on the film and theatre tech resources page here on this site. 

Grandeur was only one of many widescreen processes the studios experimented with in the late 20s and early 30s. By 1931 there had been a lot of talk about abandoning 70 as the new wide standard and going to 50mm instead. All of the experiments were doomed as the depression deepened and boxoffice receipts continued to plummet. By late 1931 nothing was happening except continued enthusiasm from a few partisans. Theatres continued to open with prosceniums "ready for wide film" but the formats were all dead -- only to be resurrected again in the 50s.

A few frames of the 70mm Grandeur film from the now-vanished website Critical Flicker. It's part of an illustration from the December 1929 Photoplay magazine. Note the Western Electric variable density soundtrack at the left.

A view of one the hand built Simplex 70mm projectors for Fox Grandeur. The photo is from the article "Magnified Grandeur." This first generation Grandeur machine was for 70mm only.

A photo by Carey Williams of one of the second generation of Grandeur machines. It appears on the page "Simplex Grandeur 70 Projector," where there's also an interior view. This dual gauge 35/70mm machine is quite different than the earlier one pictured above. There's another photo as well as an article about the second generation Grandeur machines in the August 1, 1931 issue of Motion Picture Herald. It's on Internet Archive.

See the Chinese booth page for more about the theatre's projection booth and its equipment. Head to the Carthay Circle projection page for more about both generations of 70mm Grandeur projectors.

More 30s history:  There were occasional Grauman prologues in the early 30s. One that was well received was for MGM's "Hell Divers," opening Christmas Day 1931.
Grauman was off doing other things for at least part of 1931 including presenting a season of live shows at the Mayan Theatre downtown. His productions there included Kauffman and Hart's "Once in a Liftime," Elmer Rice's "Street Scene," "Mrs. Bumpstead-Leigh" with Mrs. Minnie Maddern Fiske and "The Man in Possession" starring Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.

"Fox Theatres Everywhere." It's a Fox West Coast circuit-wide pass for 1931. Thanks to Bob Foreman for spotting these images when the medallion came up for sale on eBay. For a vast treasure trove of historic theatre delights visit Bob's site Vintage Theatre Catalogs.

Grauman's theatres always had a reputation for smelling nice. The system he used at the Chinese was called Per-Fu, from the West Coast Perfume Corporation. An ad in the February 13, 1932 issue of Motion Picture Herald noted that it "Deodorizes - Refreshes - Pleases." The stuff came in solid pellets, inert until placed in their "electric disseminator" where you had a rheostat to control the "strength of aroma desired."

This January 30, 1932 ad in Motion Picture Herald featured both Sid and the Chinese. "Per-Fu is a fact not an experiment." It was available through your local National Theatre Supply Co. office. The issue of Motion Picture Herald is available on Internet Archive.

Grauman's Chinese was represented in the September 4, 1932 Motion Picture Electrical Parade and Sports Pageant at the Los Angeles Coliseum. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for sharing the postcard from her collection. "Rain" had a four week run at the Chinese beginning September 10. The parade is discussed on page 19 of Tracey Mollet's book "Cartoons in Hard Times" and on page 21 of Kathryn Cramer Brownell's "Showbiz Politics: Hollywood in American Political Life." Mary Mallory has an article about the first parade, in 1931, on the site Daily Mirror.  

The cover of a 1932 Playgoer program for the Chinese. Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for sharing this from his collection on Flickr. It also appears in the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation Group Pool on Flickr that's curated by Michelle Gerdes. 

In addition to keeping an eye on the Chinese, in October 1932 Fox had Sid manage the reopening of both the Pantages and the United Artists with the ads noting that the theatres were now "under the Direction of Sid Grauman."  But neither house got a Grauman prologue for the reopening -- the stage shows were by Fanchon and Marco.

An ad for the March 24, 1933 premiere of "King Kong" at the Chinese.

Another ad for the "Graumanesque Premiere" of "King Kong." Thanks to Richard Wojcik for posting these on Vintage Los Angeles. Grauman's prologue for the film had a cast of 100 including "Glorifying 50 Creole Belles - Jungle Settings - Weird Voodoo Dancers - Darktown Dudes" plus a "free menagerie, strange beasties and King Kong himself." 
A promotional shot for "King Kong." Thanks to Los Angeles Guy for locating this one for a post on the Lost Angeles Facebook page. 

A display somewhere in town for "Queen Christina," which premiered February 9, 1934 and went on to a six week run. Sid produced a prologue for this engagement starring ballet dancer Marie "Gamby" Gambarelli. Thanks to Martin Turnbull for locating the photo for his Hollywood's Garden of Allah Novels Facebook page. 

Later in 1934 the Chinese went to a double bill policy with continuous performances and the prologues were no more. There were stage shows after 1934 but not on a regular basis.

Need a light? Here's the cover for the matches available at the two Fox West Coast Theatres' "World Famous Show Places" the Carthay Circle ("Showplace of the Golden West") and the Chinese ("World's Most Unique Screen Palace"). It's on the Carthay Circle History Facebook page thanks to Mark London who spotted it on eBay.

A ticket from 1936 in the Kurt Wahlner collection on Playing that week on a double bill were "It Had To Happen" and "Exclusive Story."

A 1936 Burton Frasher photo of Grauman with Mary Pickford. It's on Calisphere from the Pomona Public Library collection. 

In case you were wondering what Sid was up to in 1938 it was offering the public a chance to "skate with noted stars" at his Hollywood Rollerbowl in Stage 2 of the Warner Sunset Studio. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for locating this August ad. Also see a Rollerbowl sticker that Kurt Wahlner spotted on eBay. It's unknown how long Sid was actively involved with this but his name was still on the operation at least through June 1942. See ads for the Rollerbowl that Kurt spotted in the center of the program for a 1942 Roller Derby event at the Pan Pacific.  
The Chinese occasionally featured stage shows "on the famous stage" such as the four week May 1939 run of "Revue Folies Bergeres" advertised as "Intact! Complete! From Paris."

A ticket for the August 15, 1939 premiere of "The Wizard of Oz" from the collection of Alison Martino. It's an image she shared on her Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page.

The Chinese and Sid in the 40s: In Sid's spare time in 1942 he teamed up with Charles Toberman to take over the Hollywood Playhouse on Vine St. They did a few renovations and reopened the house using the El Capitan name with the first production being Ken Murray's "Blackouts." It ran seven years. In 1942 and 1943 Sid was operating the Alcazar Theatre in San Francisco. "Sid Grauman's Highlights of 1943" opened in December 1942. "Born Happy," starring Bill Robinson, opened at the Alcazar in April 1943 and later played the Biltmore, the Mayan and the Orpheum

The Chinese hosted the Academy Award ceremonies in 1944, 1945 and 1946. Initially the events were banquets given in hotel ballrooms. When they grew too popular and a theatre was needed for more seating, the Chinese was chosen.

Grauman's Chinese during the March 8, 1946 Academy Awards. It's a view from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.

In 1949 Sid Grauman was given a special Oscar for showmanship, the only one ever given to a theatre operator. He was still the managing director at the time of his death in 1950.

Cinemascope at the Chinese - 1953:  During the 50's the Chinese was the home for most of the major Fox Cinemascope pictures including the first Cinemascope feature "The Robe," opening in September 1953. The east wall of the theatre was painted with each new title and the legend above read "Hollywood's Home of Cinemascope."

A look at the Cinemascope signage installed in 1953 for the first film in the process, "The Robe." It stayed up until 1957. It's a photo by George Mann on Flickr. Thanks to Brad Smith for making Mr. Mann's great collection of theatre photos available in the Theatre Marquees album, also on Flickr.

The idea of Cinemascope, "The Miracle You Can See Without Glasses," had been kicking around for years. Inspired by the widescreen panoramas of the triple screen sequences of Abel Gance's "Napoleon" (1927 + variations thereafter), French inventor Henri Chretien designed an anamorphic lens to compress a picture by a factor of two during photography and spread it out again during projection.

A fanciful promotional piece from Fox to convey the glories of "The Robe" in Cinemascope. It was much like the ads for Cinerama. Thanks to Martin Hart for the image on the American Widescreen Museum site. It's from page two of his wonderful Cinemascope section.

Nobody was interested in anamorphic photography until Fox dusted off the idea when faced by the competition of TV, 3-D, and Cinerama.  They borrowed the stereo sound idea from Disney's "Fantasia" and the more recent stereo success of Cinerama. Instead of Cinerama's 5 speakers behind the screen plus surrounds, Cinemascope went with 3 plus the surround track. Instead of a separate sound reproducer, they put magnetic stripes on the film. Instead of a deeply curved screen, Fox opted for a shallower curvature for better focus.

The enlarged view of a 35mm Cinemascope frame shown here has the original Fox 4 channel magnetic striping and reduced size (Fox-hole) perforations to make room for 2 sound tracks inside the perforations. The original aspect ratio for the format was 2.55 to 1 and the prints were to have no optical sound track. Most later mag prints also had a 1/2 width optical track visible and were intended to be shown at 2.35 to 1, the currently used ratio.

Exhibitors had to do a new wider screen, buy new Cinemascope lenses and aperture plates, add adjustable masking, buy new speakers and amplifiers, change out their old projector sprockets and add a new attachment atop the projector to read the magnetic sound tracks. Most releases were soon available in mono optical versions for theatres opting for less costly conversions.

This photo is of the Simplex gear that probably was in the Chinese booth at the time. On the top it's a new 4 channel magnetic sound head, a Simplex XL projector in the middle (with a Bausch & Lomb anamorphic lens) and a Simplex SH-1000 optical soundhead underneath. Thanks again to Martin Hart. The illustration is from the brochure "Cinemascope - Information for the Theatre" on his American Widescreen Museum site. See the main Cinemascope section for lots of data and illustrations.

Need a light? This book of matches in the Kurt Wahlner collection marks the end of an era at the Chinese. He dates this as 1957, the year the big Cinemascope signage came down and new readerboards with dragons atop got installed on either side of the forecourt entrance. See his page on Marquees and Signage at the Chinese for a fine history.
Cinemiracle at the Chinese - 1958:  The Chinese was equipped for 3-strip Cinemiracle projection in 1958 for the only film in the process, "Windjammer." For the Cinemiracle remodel the stage was gutted and much of the proscenium removed. The screen size was 40' x 100' with an actual image size of 38' x 92.'

A new booth was built on the main floor. Boxoffice magazine ran an article on "Windjammer" on April 14, 1958 which included ads for the Hurley screen and the Century projectors employed. The same issue had another article on the Cinemiracle process and the renovations necessary. "Too Exciting To Describe" was the heading on one ad running with the story.

A ticket to the premiere of "Windjammer" at the Chinese. It's from the Chinese Theatre page of the In Cinerama website curated by Roland Lataille. It's packed with Cinerama and Cinemiracle photos and memorabilia.

The Chinese in 1958 during the run of "Windjammer." Thanks to Richard Wojcik for the photo, a post on Vintage Los Angeles. "Windjammer" ran at the Chinese Theatre for 37 weeks, then moved over to the Music Box (then called the Fox) for an additional 15 week run -- but not in the 3 projector format. The Cinemiracle process was sold to its competitor, Cinerama, Inc. The L.A. Times reported the sale in an item in their January 13, 1960 issue headed "Cinerama Buys Cinemiracle for $3 Million."

70mm at the Chinese:  The theatre was later equipped for 70mm. The first feature was a May 1961 re-release of "The King and I" in "Grandeur 70." It was filmed in Cinemascope 55 but had played its original 1956 release in 35mm.

A full size frame from a 70mm print of "Star Wars." It's from "The Original First Week Engagements of Star Wars," an article by Michael Coate on the great site The six channel stereo sound on 70mm prints was, like Cinemascope, via magnetic tracks. Two were outside the sprocket holes and one inside on both sides of the image.  The aspect ratio is 2.21 to 1.

The Chinese has enjoyed many of long runs of major films in 70mm, including "West Side Story" (December, 1961 - 57 weeks), "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" (1968), "Hello, Dolly!" (1969), "Star Wars" (1977), "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984), "Return of the Jedi" (1987) and "Titanic" (1997).  For a great compilation of information about 70mm runs at the Chinese (and other theatres), see the 70mm in Los Angeles page on

Originally the 70mm installation at the Chinese included three Norelco DP70 35/70mm projectors, installed in the downstairs booth built in 1958 for Cinemiracle. One got pulled out along the way to make room for some gear that didn't stick around. The two that remained were used for decades and were relocated upstairs in 2001.

The theatre was equipped for all sound formats conceivable including Dolby Digital, SDDS, and conventional 6 track mag. The house was THX certified in 1987 prior to the run of "Return of the Jedi." You'll find links to more information about Cinemascope, Cinemiracle, 70mm and other different projection processes on the film and theatre technology resources page. See the booth page for more on projection at the Chinese.

Fox West Coast and the Consent Decrees: National Theatres, the 20th Century Fox subsidiary headed by Charles Skouras, was the holding company for Fox West Coast and other regional theatre circuits such as Fox Intermountain and Fox Evergreen. As a result of the consent decrees, starting in 1949 the United Artists Theatre circuit began operating a number of theatres formerly managed by Fox in the L.A. area, many of these being locations they already owned, but also including other major houses such as the Egyptian and Loew's State

National was spun off as a separate corporation in 1951 with Charles Skouras remaining as the CEO. Part of the deal with the Feds was that they would sell off a number of their theatres to other operators, reducing their number of theatres by 50% within six years. In some cases they were required to divest specific theatres. In 1951 the Fox circuit still had 550 theatres. In 1957 they were down to 275. Skouras died in 1954 and was succeeded by Elmer C. Rhoden, the mastermind who was later behind the circuit's Cinemiracle fiasco of 1958. By 1960 the holding company was known as National Theatres & Television.

Fox West Coast becomes National General: By 1963, National Theatres had been absorbed into National General Corporation, a holding company run by Eugene Klein. The top of the circuit's directory ads still said "Fox West Coast Theatres" but National General was added. Klein had been an investor in National Theatres and stepped in to organize a restructuring when the company was in difficulty. The other interests of NGC and Klein included insurance, sports teams and thoroughbred racing. By 1968 some theatre marquees began appearing with the NGC logo, such as at the remodeled Fox on Hollywood Blvd. 

A souvenir book cover c.1970, when the theatre was operated by National General, the successor firm to Fox West Coast. Thanks to Christopher Crouch for the image from a post on his blog Cinelog. From 1967 to 1970 National General, under a waiver from the consent decrees, also operated a film production and distribution business in addition to the theatres. Distribution of films produced by National General and various partners continued under the National General Pictures banner until 1973 but under different ownership.

The Chinese under Ted Mann: In 1973 National General sold their theatre division to Ted Mann for $67.5 million. At the time there were 240 theatres in the circuit. The Chinese was renamed Mann's Chinese. In 1979 Mann built the Chinese Twin (also known as the Chinese II and III) on property that had been a parking lot just east of the main theatre. That building was demolished in 1999 for construction of the Hollywood and Highland mall.

It's only since 2001 that the Grauman's name has been restored to the building. The circuit took extraordinary care of the building including doing a substantial interior restoration in 2001. The Mann circuit got seriously over extended in the 80s and 90s and, after a reorganization, was acquired by WF Cinema Holdings, a joint venture of Warner Bros. and Paramount/Viacom. After the initial enthusiasm of the new partners subsided, the circuit, later called Cinemerica, gradually began disposing of properties as buyers emerged or leases expired. For the public, the theatres were still branded with the Mann name.
The 2001 Restoration: 
Behr Browers Architects spearheaded a serious restoration of the building's interior for along with forecourt renovation and the addition of the Chinese 6 upstairs in the mall. The firm designed seismic retrofit work including a shear wall at the rear of the stagehouse. The concession area got a renovation and the booth got moved back upstairs. The new bar was pushed into the auditorium area where booth and seating had been.

Some of the balcony soffit area that had been covered up above the booth ceiling was restored and now graces the area in front of the new bar. Also included in the work was restoration of many interior and exterior decorative surfaces. New carpeting and wider seats were also installed. PCL Construction was the contractor.

Decorative finishes wonder worker Amy Higgins re-lacquers the lobby ceiling during the 2001 restoration. Thanks to Amy for this photo from her website

Amy Higgins restoring finishes in the forecourt. Her work also included lots of plaster repair.

Some of the cast stonework on the facade before restoration.

The same piece after restoration work. See scenic artist/restoration artist/plaster wizard Amy Higgins' Grauman's Chinese page for many photos detailing her work on the project. also has information on other projects she's been involved with. Thanks for the photos, Amy!

Work on the exterior and forecourt during the 2001 project included removal of the island boxoffice and construction of a new one east of the historic building. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007

Saving the Dragon: The 1957 vintage signage with the famously animated neon dragons atop the readerboards came down with the 2001 renovations and were replaced with smaller format signage. The two pieces got saved by Hollywood Heritage and the one that is now owned by the Museum of Neon Art in Glendale has been restored and is on display.

This photo of one of the dragons is from "A piece of L.A. history awaits a return to its neon glamour," a September 2013 L.A. Times story by Nita Lelyveld about the project. Check out additional photos of the dragons on Kurt Wahlner's page about signage at the Chinese. Sandi Hemmerlein also has some nice dragon views in her 2013 Avoiding Regret article "The Neon of LA and Its One Darkened Dragon."

The dragon owned by MONA being restored in a warehouse in Pomona by Paul Greenstein and Richard Ankrom. It's a David Allen photo from his November 2017 Inland Valley Daily Bulletin story about the project. See Glen Norman's Chinese Neon Dragon album on Facebook for some photos and a video shot at the 2018 unveiling. 

Projection goes digital:  The first digital presentation at the Chinese was "The Last Samurai" in 2003. Within a couple of years, most presentations at the theatre were digital with film use becoming a rarity -- only for special events or premieres when directors favored film.

The film gear in the booth when the theatre closed for the 2013 renovations was a 35/70mm Norelco AAII projector with a Christie platter. Used infrequently. In the #2 spot there was a 2K Christie digital projector. See the booth page for photos.

New owners:  In May 2011 the Chinese Theatre and the lease for the Chinese 6 in the adjacent Hollywood and Highland complex were sold by Mann Theatres. The sale involved the business and the Grauman's Chinese building. The land under the theatre has always been leased. The land had been sold to CIM, the Hollywood and Highland complex owners, in a separate transaction a few years earlier. The initial 99 year ground lease expired in 2023.

The Chinese is now operated by nightclub operators/producers Elie Samaha and Don Kushner as Chinese Theatres, LLC. Others with ownership shares in the operation include Peter Locke, Steve Markoff, Enrique Steiger and Film Finances, Inc. Alwyn Hight Kushner was initially the chief operating officer for the complex. The Chinese 6's lobby space in the mall has been upgraded for event use and is being promoted as Grauman's Ballroom. Steven Lieberman designed a new all-white exterior lighting scheme to replace the colored lamps that had been used for several decades.

The Grauman's exterior and interior are both protected by the landmark status it received in 1968. See Alex Ben Block's January 2012 Hollywood Reporter story for a discussion of what the new group's plans were at the time for the Chinese as both a theatre and as a brand.

In 2013 the operators entered into a "naming rights" partnership with the Chinese electronics firm TCL ("The Creative Life") thus the current name TCL Chinese. A story about the partnership appeared in Beyond the Marquee. The story noted that the Chinese "is the most visited attraction in Hollywood, drawing over four million annual visitors, more than the Sistine Chapel at The Vatican." The story was also covered by the L.A. Times.

The 2013 Imax renovations:  The theatre closed May 1, 2013 to upgrade projection and sound equipment, rebuild the booth, and re-slope the floor. The architects for the renovation were Blair Ballard Architects (BBA) in Laguna Beach. Adrian Glick Kudler had an April 30 story about the pre-renovation closing on Curbed L.A.

An April 13, 2013 L.A. Times story by Richard Varrier included mention of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation's support of the project and its assurances that the essential historic fabric of the auditorium would be protected. Deadline Hollywood and L.A. Times both had April 2013 articles about the then-pending project. With an early April 2013 story on Curbed L.A. by Adrian Glick Kudler there were photos from BBA showing the look before and the simulated difference after the renovations. The story noted: 

"'[W]e're not changing anything that's historical about the building,' President and COO Alwyn Hight Kushner tells us. 'All of the beautiful character-defining features will stay as is.' The floor (changed many times over the years) will be put on a steeper slope and the enormous new screen will descend partway into what is now the basement, according to Hillsman Wright of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation, who's been working with the Chinese. The projection booth will also be moved forward and lowered a bit (over the theater's fake balcony)."

The floor's new slope resulted in raising the back row of seats to lobby level and lowering the front into the basement to allow the installation of a modified stadium seating plan and the taller screen. Seating capacity is now 932, down from the 1,151 that was the number after the 2001 remodel. Don't miss Andy Oleck's amazing 2 & 1/2 minute time lapse video of the whole 2013 Imax renovation process on YouTube.

The auditorium after the old floor was dug out and the new floor poured. Thanks to Wendell Benedetti for his July 2013 photo, originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.  The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation documented the renovation process and consulted with the owners and architects. More on the organization:

A July 2013 Curbed L.A. story on the makeover had a construction update and also included photos of the new floor configuration. The  L.A. Times ran an August 6 story discussing the reopening. Variety ran a September 2013 article discussing the changes wrought by the renovation. Curbed L.A. had a September 19 article and photos about the reopening.

At the time of the reopening the rebuilt two-level booth had two 2K Imax digital projectors on a lower level and two 4K Christie digital units for non-Imax films above on the new second level. There was no film equipment installed. Space space is available on the upper level for a 35/70 machine and platter if an installation is warranted in the future. The sound system was a new Imax brand installation.

There are more construction photos to see on the recent auditorium views page. The theatre reopened in September 2013 with the Imax digital 3-D version of "The Wizard of Oz."

The Return of Film - 70mm Imax: The lower level of the booth got 70mm Imax film equipment installed for the November 2014 run of Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar." The two digital projectors and the film unit were on tracks so it was an easy changeover to slide the equipment for the desired format into position at the center port.

Imax Laser projection:  Imax installed its new laser projection system at the Chinese in March 2015 with the first film on the new gear being the April run of that great epic "Furious 7." Along with that was an "immersive" sound upgrade. See the projection booth page for photos and more about the booth and its equipment.

Screen size: The Imax silver screen size is 46' high and 94' wide. The floor was sloped down into former basement areas to accommodate the increased height. The first several Imax films in scope format used 87' of that width. With the installation of the Imax laser projectors in 2015 the picture width for Imax presentations was increased to 92'.

A smaller picture size is used for non-Imax presentations. The top and side masking is movable. To raise the height of the bottom of the image for non-Imax shows, a 9' high sectional berm is maneuvered into place at the bottom of the screen. Head to the page about the stage for data on various screen sizes previously used at the theatre.

The forecourt furor: There have been souvenir stands, various kiosks, displays, and other merchandising going on in the forecourt for decades. In the fall of 2016 an ugly discussion erupted about various carts obscuring certain footprints. See the posts on the Vintage Los Angeles and LAHTF Facebook pages for lots of unhappy comments and name-calling.

Curbed L.A. also covered the fracas with their "Famous handprints... covered up by souvenir stalls" story on October 2. More comments on Vintage L.A. followed an October 2 post about the story on Curbed. And, of course, there was a petition. VLA declared victory in an October 3 post. There were followup stories in the Hollywood Reporter ("Vendor carts removed...") and on Curbed ("...famous handprints no longer blocked...").

A new ground lease and TCL redux: The 99 year lease on the property the theatre is located on was renewed in 2022. It was set to expire in 2023. The current owner of the land is not known. Had a renewal not been negotiated, the building would have reverted to the property owners.

It was announced in January 2023 that the TCL naming rights deal had been renewed. The PR man for the Chinese, Jerry Digney, noted that it was for another ten year period. See a January 6 story in Boxoffice.

A look into the famous forecourt. Photo: Bill Counter 2007

Grauman's Chinese at night. Photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The theatre once stood alone. Here we see it surrounded by new construction.  The mall dates from 2001, the brown building this side of the theatre came along later.  Photo: Bill Counter - 2012

A c.2012 aerial view of the Hollywood and Highland area that was located by Ken McIntyre for a post on the private Facebook group Photos of Los Angeles.

The Chinese in the Movies: Grauman's Chinese has had leading or supporting roles in an amazing number of movies.

In "Free and Easy" (MGM, 1930) Buster Keaton arrives in Hollywood and goes to a premiere at Grauman's Chinese. The film is something called "The Love Call" starring an actor he met on the train. The footage is actually from the December 5, 1929 premiere of "Condemned" with Ronald Colman. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for identifying the shot. See the listing for "Condemned" on his site. On the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post there's another shot of the premiere where you can see a banner saying "Colman."

This shot appears in George Cukor's "What Price Hollywood?" (RKO Pathe, 1932) starring Constance Bennett and Neil Hamilton. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for another shot from the premiere footage as well as views of the Wiltern, Fox Wilshire and Warner Beverly Hills marquees from a montage later in the film. Kurt Wahlner notes that this footage was shot at the April 29, 1932 "Grand Hotel" premiere. The vertical signs look strange as they've been doctored for "What Price." At the Grand Hotel premiere they were actually turned off -- and that one on the left isn't even in the correct position.

A washed up star thought dead comes back to take revenge on the director and actors doing a remake of what had been his greatest triumph in Robert Florey's "The Preview Murder Mystery" (Paramount, 1936). This shot is from footage of the Chinese seen at the beginning that Kurt Wahlner has identified as being from the April 7, 1931 premiere of "Dirigible." He comments: "You may notice a dirigible-shaped cutout suspended over the entrance. Additionally, if you play with the curves, you may see that the hanging banners say 'DIRIGIBLE.'" See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of a visit to the Fox Westwood Village where the star of the remake meets his fate. Reginald Denny, Gail Patrick, Frances Drake and Rod La Rocque are the stars.

We get a footprint ceremony near the beginning of Robert Florey's "Hollywood Boulevard" (Paramount, 1936). It's all about the fleeting nature of fame in the town and what happens when a largely forgotten star's salacious memoirs appear in a scandal magazine. John Halliday, Marsha Hunt and Robert Cummings are featured. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for a couple more screenshots including a view of the the El Capitan as we look down the street of the title. 

We see some footage shot during the 1932 "Grand Hotel" premiere again in "It Happened in Hollywood" (Columbia, 1937). Note the roof sign for the El Capitan in the upper center. Fay Wray and Richard Dix star. She's a glamorous actress, he's a horse-riding western star who will be down on his luck when talkies come in and his studio thinks westerns are over. Harry Lachman directed. The cinematography was by Joseph Walker. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a later shot looking down Hollywood Blvd. toward the Warner. 

In 1937 Janet Gaynor comes to Hollywood and her first stop is the Chinese Theatre forecourt in William Wellman's "A Star is Born" (Selznick International). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for two more views from the film. It played the Chinese for all of one week beginning April 20.

In Norman Taurog's "Mad About Music" (Universal, 1938) both Sid Grauman and the Chinese Theatre make an appearance. The film stars Deanna Durbin and Herbert Marshall. Deanna plays a girl at a school in Switzerland who makes up stories about herself and an imaginary explorer father.  

In "Star Dust" (Fox, 1940) aspiring stars Linda Darnell and John Payne try out footprints at the Chinese. Walter Lang directed. The film also stars Roland Young, Charlotte Greenwood, Donald Meek and William Gargan. The cinematography was by J. Peverell Marley. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for seventeen more shots from scenes at the theatre.

There's a scene in Norman Taurog's "Words and Music" (MGM, 1948) when Lorenz Hart (Mickey Rooney) has come to Hollywood and a real estate agent points out Grauman's Chinese while giving a tour of the area. The film about the songwriting team of Richard Rogers and Lorenz Hart also stars Tom Drake and June Allyson. Thanks to Marlaine Wilson Hysell for spotting the theatre in the movie.

Toward the end of Richard Fleischer's counterfeiting tale "Trapped" (Eagle-Lion, 1949) we get a nice U-turn by the cops in front of the Chinese. The film stars Lloyd Bridges, Barbara Payton and John Holt. A real treat is the finale (including an electrocution) at the Los Angeles Railway's streetcar barns at 7th and Central. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot of the Paramount / El Capitan and a quick look at the Holly Theatre, then called the Hollywood Music Hall.

Lizabeth Scott and Arthur Kennedy are out driving when a suitcase of money mistakenly gets thrown into their car near the beginning of Byron Haskin's "Too Late For Tears," also known as "Killer Bait." (United Artists, 1949). On their way home they do a quick drive-by the Chinese. Dan Duryea comes looking for the money. Christine Miller and Don DeFore are also involved.

Jack Carson makes a phone call with Grauman's in the background in "My Dream Is Yours" (Warner Bros., 1949). Michael Curtiz directed the story of an agent who will try anything to turn an unknown singer (Doris Day) into a radio star. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several shots of the Montalban Theatre from the film.  

We get shots of the 1950 Christmas Parade passing the Chinese in William Castle's "Hollywood Story" (Universal-International, 1951). It stars Richard Conte as a producer who rents the Chaplin Studios and decides to make a film about a silent film director killed on the lot years earlier. It's loosely based on the still-unsolved 1922 murder of William Desmond Taylor. We get lots of cameos by silent stars plus Julie Adams, Jim Backus, Fred Clark, Henry Hull and Paul Cavanagh. The cinematography was by Carl E. Guthrie. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for three more shots at the Chinese plus a look at the Admiral Theatre from the opening credits.

The Chinese sort of bookends Stanley Donen and Gene Kelly's "Singin' In The Rain" (MGM, 1952) with nice scenes at the beginning and end of the film. We get lovely facade views (both times enhanced by matte painting work for the signage) plus a forecourt scene at the beginning of the film -- but it's an MGM set. The interior views (the one above is from near the beginning of the film) are also not shot in the Chinese itself. We see the interior set again at the end with Debbie Reynolds running up the aisle. A few more shots from "Singin' In The Rain" are on the Historic L.A.Theatres In Movies post.

Although we're headed to the Shrine Auditorium, George Cukor tries to pretend it's in Hollywood at the beginning of "A Star is Born" (Warner Bros., 1954). This shot was taken across from the Chinese during the 1953 premiere of "The Robe." See the post on the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies site for several more Hollywood Blvd. shots as well as many at the Shrine Auditorium.

Lucy digs up the forecourt in a 1955 episode of "I Love Lucy." Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for additional photos from the episode.

In Frank Tashlin's "Hollywood or Bust" (Paramount, 1956) we have this nice forecourt view as part of a process shot during the opening credits. The Dean Martin/Jerry Lewis film comes back to the Chinese for a premiere later, but they use studio sets. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for several more shots from the film.

We get this nice view east on Hollywood Blvd. in the Jerry Lewis film "The Errand Boy" (Paramount, 1961) but the rest of the Chinese that we see for a preview is done on studio sets. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post about the film for the faux-Chinese set, a look at the Fox Westwood Village and several fine aerial views of Hollywood that begin the film.

The theatre is seen several minutes into Dennis Ray Steckler's "Wild Guitar" (Fairway International, 1962). We also get views of the Egyptian and the Pantages. The full film is available on YouTube. Arch Hall, Jr. and Nancy Czar star.

We get a wander through the forecourt in the 16 minute documentary short "Stopover in Hollywood" (Paramount, 1963). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a screenshot.

We get a look at the facade in "What A Way To Go!" (Fox, 1964) as one of Shirley MacLaine's husbands, Pinky (Gene Kelly), has his film premiered there. He later gets trampled by the mob. Note that this is old footage with the show's title matted in. Look at the age of the vehicles. Also, in '64 there was no signage across the arch.

Kim Novak pays a visit to the Chinese early in Robert Aldrich's "The Legend of Lylah Clare" (MGM, 1968). The film, a sordid satire of Hollywood, stars Kim Novak as no-good star Lylah as well as the actress Elisa who stars in a biopic about her years later. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner of for the screenshot. Of course we come back later for a big outside premiere scene -- and a look inside the theatre. Several more shots from the film showing the Chinese, plus a peek at the El Capitan, are on the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post.

We get a view of the Chinese and the Hollywood Hotel beyond in Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" (Paramount, 1972). The shot is from 1944. Note the signage still employed in the parking lot east of the theatre. Kurt Wahlner on his Chinese Theatre site notes that "Climax" and "San Diego I Love You" are playing. Thanks to Patrick Sweeney for the screenshot, a post of his on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. It's now also on the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post about the film.

Where do you visit if you want to become a star? The Chinese, of course. Philomena Nowlin does that in the opening sequence of "Miss Melody Jones" (American Films Ltd., 1972). See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for three more fuzzy shots of the Chinese from the film.

The Chinese appears in Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles" (Warner Bros., 1974). Cinematography was by Joseph Biroc who six years earlier had shot the Chinese in "The Legend of Lylah Clare." See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for an exterior view as well.  Note the cows in this lobby shot. Harvey Korman is buying a box of Raisinets.

The Chinese makes an appearance in "Black Starlet" (Omni Pictures, 1974). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post about the film for a screenshot.

The facade shows up during a premiere turned riot in "The Day of the Locust" (Paramount, 1975) but the shooting was actually done on a set rather than at the theatre. Thanks to the site Films in Films for the screenshot. The film actually does go inside a real theatre when they visit the Fox Ritz on Wilshire Blvd. when they're supposedly going to the movies in Glendale. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots from that scene.

One of the dragons gets a quick cameo during a musical number in "The First Nudie Musical" (Paramount, 1976). The book, music, and lyrics for the movie are by Bruce Kimmel. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for sixteen more shots from the film including more views of Hollywood marquees and a look at the lobby of the Fox Venice.

We oogle the Grauman's forecourt at the beginning of Michael Winner's "Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood" (Paramount, 1976). Later in the film we return to the theatre for a premiere of one of the canine star's films. The Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post also has several shots from a visit to the Mayan Theatre for another premiere.

An aspiring starlet played by Candice Rialson hits Hollywood and, of course, visits the Chinese near the beginning of "Hollywood Boulevard." (New World Pictures, 1976). The film about "the street where starlets are made" features Mary Woronov, Paul Bartel and Jonathan Kaplan. Direction was by Joe Dante and Allan Arkush. Jamie Anderson did the cinematography. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the Monica/Pussycat Theatre and the Gilmore Drive-In from the film.

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong drive by the Chinese in a truck made of marijuana in Lou Adler's "Up In Smoke" (Paramount, 1978). Also featured are Wally Ann Wharton, Zane Buzby, Stacy Keach, Strother Martin and Edie Adams. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several more shots from the film as well as a promo shot done in the Chinese forecourt.

The theatre makes an appearance in "The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood" (Cannon/Golan-Globus, 1980). Alan Roberts directed the comedy about the hooker getting a movie deal that stars Martine Beswick, Chris Lemmon and Adam West. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for views of the La Reina and El Portal theatres from the film. 

We get a finale atop the Chinese with a Marilyn look-alike in a curious homage to "White Heat" in Vernon Zimmerman's "Fade to Black" (American Cinema, 1980). It's a tale of an unhappy film buff on a killing spree. Thanks to Colonel Mortimer for the screenshot and Jonathan Raines for researching the film. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a crowd shot at the Chinese as well as views of five Westwood theatres from the film.  
Charles Bronson heads north on Orange Dr. in Michael Winner's "Death Wish II" (Filmways, 1982). He had to stop for several street characters asserting their right to walk in front of the car. The film also stars Jill Ireland and Vincent Gardenia. Thomas Del Ruth and Richard H. Kline did the cinematography. The Chinese was running "Excalibur," a film that got a seven week run beginning April 10, 1981. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the El Capitan, Pussycat and Vogue theatres from the film.  

We get a look at the Chinese while we're cruising the town in Martha Coolidge's "Valley Girl" (Atlantic Releasing, 1983) with Nicholas Cage and Deborah Foreman. Thanks to Chas Demster for the screenshot on his Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles blog. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post about the film for several shots of the Sherman Theatre.

We see a lot of Hollywood Blvd. in Robert Vincent O'Neill's "Angel" (New World, 1984). Fifteen year old Molly is a high school student by day, a hooker by night. Here we're in front of the Roosevelt Hotel looking toward the Chinese and the Chinese Twin. The film stars Donna Wilkes, Cliff Gorman, Dick Shawn and Rory Calhoun. John Diehl is the killer preying on teenage hookers. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a dozen shots from the film. 

We get lots of shots on the boulevard including this view along the Chinese facade in David Winters' "Thrashin'" (Fries Entertainment, 1986). It's about two skateboard gangs battling for supremacy. The film features Josh Brolin, Robert Rusler and Pamela Gidley. Thanks to Eitan Alexander for the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for shots of the Chinese Twin, the El Capitan and the Hollywood Theatre.
In "Twins" (Universal, 1988) Arnold Schwarzenegger is new in Los Angeles and is looking for his long-lost brother, played by Danny DeVito. Although they haven't yet met, they've both found themselves in front of the theatre. The film, directed by Ivan Reitman, also features Kelly Preston, Chloe Webb, David Caruso, Nehemiah Persoff and Hugh O'Brien. The cinematography was by Andrzej Bartkowiak. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for images of the Granada in Wilmington, the Fox Hollywood and a distance view toward the Paramount. 

Jenny Wright is strolling Hollywood Blvd. near the Chinese and Chinese Twin in "I, Madman" (Trans World Entertainment, 1989). Her character has been reading 1950s pulp novels and the killer in them comes to life. The film also features Clayton Rohner, Randall William Cook and Stephanie Hodge. It was directed by Tibor Takács. The cinematography was by Bryan England. Thanks to Eric Schaefer for spotting the theatres in the film and getting the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a view of Jenny down the street near the Vine Theatre. 

Meryl Streep's agent has a view the Chinese out his office window in "Postcards From the Edge" (Columbia, 1990). The film features Gene Hackman, Dennis Quaid, Gary Morton, Richard Dreyfuss and Annette Bening. Mike Nichols directed, based on a novel and screenplay by Carrie Fisher. The cinematography was by Michael Ballhaus. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot of Meryl in the office with her mother, played by Shirley MacLaine.

We get this look at one of the dragons when Richard Gere gets lost in Hollywood in Garry Marshall's "Pretty Woman" (Touchstone, 1990). The film also stars Julia Roberts, Jason Alexander, Laura San Giacomo, Hector Elizondo and Ralph Bellamy. The cinematography was by Charles Minsky. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for views of the Chinese Twin, Pantages, Vogue and Egyptian theatres from the film. 

Kevin Kline floats over the Chinese in a dream sequence in Lawrence Kasdan's film "Grand Canyon" (20th Century Fox, 1991). Also featured are Steve Martin, Danny Glover, Mary McDonnell, Mary Louise Parker and Alfre Woodard. The film was written by Lawrence and Meg Kasdan. The cinematography was by Owen Roizman.

We get this grainy 1968 shot as part of a very brief Hollywood tour when Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne) and his wife Tina (Angela Bassett) move to L.A. in Brian Gibson's "What's Love Got To Do With It" (Touchstone Pictures, 1993). The theatre was running "No Way To Treat a Lady" with Rod Steiger. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots at the State Theatre as well as views of the Academy in Inglewood and the Hollywood Playhouse. 

Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves end up in front of the Chinese in an overturned Red Line car in the last scene of Jan de Bont's "Speed" (20th Century Fox, 1994). The Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post also has another shot that's looking east.

We have a brief look at the Chinese in "Forrest Gump" (Paramount, 1994). The guy getting out of the car is going to ask Robin Wright, sitting there on the sidewalk, if she wants to go to San Francisco. The film, directed by Robert Zemeckis, also stars Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise and Sally Fields. On the marquee they've put up some nice signage for "Rosemary's Baby," a June 1968 release that never played the Chinese.

We get this look down on the theatre in the Harold Ramis film "Stuart Saves His Family" (Paramount, 1995). They've got "Alfie," a 1966 film, on the marquee. Thanks to Chas Demster for the screenshot on his blog Filming Locations of Chicago and Los Angeles.

Kurt Russell hikes over the hills and gets this view of Hollywood Blvd. in John Carpenter's "Escape From L.A." (Paramount, 1996). L.A. has sheared off from the mainland in a big quake and is now a colony for undesirables.  See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot of the State Theatre and half a dozen lobby shots at the Los Angeles from the film.

We get a shot of the Chinese in a montage of Hollywood views with the opening credits of Doug Liman's "Swingers" (Miramax, 1996). The film stars Vince Vaughn, Jon Favreau (who also wrote the script), Ron Livingston and Heather Graham. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot of the Galaxy 6 from the sequence.   
LAPD guy Chris Tucker points out the wonders of the forecourt and says "See? Just like home, baby" to visiting Chinese detective Jackie Chan in Brett Ratner's "Rush Hour" (New Line, 1998). The film also features Ken Leung, Tom Wilkinson, Tzi Ma, Julia Hsu, Chris Penn, Rex Linn and Mark Rolston. The cinematography was by Adam Greenberg. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for two more shots at the Chinese and five of some action downtown near the Los Angeles. 

Frank Darabont's "The Majestic" (Warner Bros., 2001) starts with exterior views of the theatre running "The African Queen." Here Jim Carrey is walking down the aisle. He's a young about-to-be-blacklisted screenwriter who, after an accident, wakes up in a sleepy town that needs a bit of rejuvenation.  Also featured are Martin Landau, Laurie Holden, Bob Balaban and Hal Holbrook. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several more Chinese shots as well as views of an interior set inspired by the Rialto in South Pasadena.

Britney Spears hugs boyfriend Anson Mount in "Crossroads" (Paramount, 2002). The Chinese is running "Spy Kids" and, beyond, the steel is starting to rise for Hollywood & Highland. The film also stars Zoe Saldana, Taryn Manning and Dan Aykroyd. Tamra Davis directed. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for another Chinese shot, six views inside the Belasco during a big audition and a look at a club scene shot at the Variety Theatre in West Adams.  

There's a fireball in the street when a bomb thrown by Demi Moore is batted away by Bernie Mac in McG's "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (Columbia, 2003). Actually it's not the Chinese but what the film calls the "Los Angeles Theatre." And they did build a lovely roof sign for it. Cameron Diaz, Lucy Liu and Drew Barrymore chase after Demi. Russell Carpenter did the cinematography. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for 28 more theatre shots from the film including more views of the Chinese (as the "Los Angeles"), the real Los Angeles Theatre, the El Capitan, Hollywood, Rialto, Tower and Orpheum.
Jeremy Sisto, Nikki Reed, Evan Rachel Wood and Holly Hunter are going to the movies in Catherine Hardwicke's "Thirteen" (Fox Searchlight, 2003). It's a tale of teenagers discovering various temptations. The cinematography was by Elliot Davis. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot with the west side of the theatre in the background, four views of the Galaxy 6 plus a look at the Hollywood Theatre's marquee. 

The tourists, and even Spiderman, flee when the street caves in and an armored car drops into the Metro tunnel in F. Gary Gray's "The Italian Job" (Paramount, 2003). Edward Norton had betrayed his colleagues after a heist in Venice. Mark Wahlberg figures out he's got the $35 million in gold in Los Angeles and comes looking for it. The film also stars Charlize Theron, Jason Statham, Seth Green, Mos Def and Donald Sutherland. The cinematography was by Wally Pfister. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for six more Chinese shots plus quickie partial views of the Wiltern, the Hollywood and the El Capitan.

We get a nice news-copter view down on a footprint ceremony for Robert Wagner in Ron Shelton's "Hollywood Homicide" (Sony, 2003). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for another Chinese view as well as a shot of Harrison Ford on a bike in front of the Hollywood Theatre, a Pantages view as an evil music mogul pops up from the Metro, a look at the towers of the Warner and an aerial shot of the Music Box/Fonda. Josh Hartnett and Lena Olin costar. 

In "The Aviator" (Warner Bros., 2004) Martin Scorsese's lovely swoop up Hollywood Blvd. uses some colorized versions of Howard Hughes' original promotional footage of the 1930 premiere of "Hell's Angels" but the final shot with planes flying overhead was done with a 40' long miniature set and lots of digital magic. The street views 1926 to 1955 page has photos of the actual premiere.

Most of the forecourt shots for "The Aviator" were done using a set. We do get the real theatre for some scenes passing through the lobby and at the entrance doors. In this auditorium shot note that the production designer has added a strange single-projector booth at the head of the center aisle. In 1930, the booth was upstairs. The film also visits the Pantages. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for more shots from the film.

John Travolta and Uma Thurman have a moment in front of the Chinese in F. Gary Gray's "Be Cool" (MGM, 2005). It's based on an Elmore Leonard novel. The film also pays a visit to the Shrine Auditorium and the Mayan Theatre. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post about the film for shots at those theatres.

In "Footprints" (Our Gal Pictures, 2009), we start with our amnesiac leading lady, Sybil Temtchine, waking up in the forecourt. The film by Steven Peros features H.M. Wynant and Pippa Scott. Various passersby try to help our heroine. Playing at the Chinese the week of the filming was "The Brave One" (2007). Later we go to a show at the Egyptian. The Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post has more shots.

Christina Aguilera looks out her hotel window in "Burlesque" (Sony/Screen Gems, 2010) and sees the Chinese, the Hollywood sign, Griffith Observatory and, on the far right, the vertical at the El Capitan. Which is pretty amazing considering we see her going into the Rosslyn Hotel at 5th & Main. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for four shots at the Montalban Theatre.

We get this great forecourt view when Justin Timberlake flies into town with his not-quite-girlfriend in Will Gluck's film "Friends With Benefits" (Sony/Screen Gems, 2011). See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for another aerial view showing the El Capitan and the Dolby theatres as well as three Pantages shots from a breakup scene at the beginning of the film.

We get a look at the Chinese when Joel Murray arrives in L.A. after a cross country killing spree in "God Bless America" (Darko Entertainment, 2012). He and a 16 yesr old sidekick are targeting people who lack decency. Or are just plain stupid. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the Showcase, Music Box and Alex theatres from the film.

A look at a scene being shot for "Gangster Squad" (Warner Bros., 2013) in front of the Chinese in December 2011. Thanks to Martin Pal for putting it on Noirish Los Angeles. A bit more of the "Gangster Squad" shoot that evening appears on YouTube.

Scenes were filmed at the Chinese for "Gangster Squad" involving gunmen behind the screen spraying the audience with machine gun fire. The scene appeared in an early trailer but was cut and did not appear in the film as released -- we got a new finale shot in Chinatown instead. One more trailer shot of the Chinese is on the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post.

The forecourt is bombed in "Iron Man 3" (Marvel/Disney, 2013). Research gone wrong has produced a product that allows a human to be weaponized. The film stars Robert Downey, Jr., Gwyneth Paltrow, Guy Pearce, Don Cheadle, Jon Favreau, Rebecca Hall and Ben Kingsley. Shane Black directed. The cinematography was by John Toll. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for more eight more shots of the action, including one where we see the El Capitan across the street as one of the perps leaves the scene. 

The 1964 premiere of "Mary Poppins" gets recreated in "Saving Mr. Banks" (Disney, 2013), a film about the battle by Walt Disney (Tom Hanks) to get the rights to film the book by P.L. Travers (Emma Thompson). The shot here is a nice combination of old footage around the edges (top of the building, flashing dragon marquees, etc.) and new stuff in the middle. Note the absence of the forecourt boxoffice and long canopy to the entrance that would have been there at the time. Scroll down to 1964 on the street views 1955 to present page for a look at the actual premiere.

In "I Saw the Light" (Sony Pictures Classics, 2015), a biopic of the singer Hank Williams, we get some 1952 stock footage of the Chinese when Hank comes to Hollywood to talk about a film deal. The film, directed by Marc Abraham, stars Tom Hiddleston and Elizabeth Olsen.

In Woody Allen's "Café Society" (Lionsgate, 2016) we get a nice pan down the pagoda to find Jesse Eisenberg admiring the hand and foot prints of Gloria Swanson. The time is the 30s and posters are out for "Swing Time." Later we see the facade of the Vista when Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart go to see "The Woman In Red." See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for that shot as well as a view of a New York theatre lobby that Woody is passing off as being in Hollywood. 

We get a drive-by of the Chinese running "The King and I" in Grandeur 70 in 1961 near the beginning of Warren Beatty's "Rules Don't Apply" (20th Century Fox, 2016). The movie features Alden Ehrenreich, Lily Collins and Annette Bening. In some other nice archival footage we get to look at the Vogue and the Egyptian as well. See the Historic L.A. Theatres In Movies post for those views.

We see a lot of action in front of the Chinese in Fred Durst's "The Fanatic" (Quiver Distribution, 2019). John Travolta plays a fan with behavioral issues who gets carried away when his favorite star won't give him an autograph. Also starring are Ana Golja as a friend who tries to help and Devon Sawa as the star who gets into big trouble by not being a good celebrity. Conrad Hall was the cinematographer. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for several more Hollywood Blvd. shots.

The east side of the theatre got recreated for Quentin Tarantino's "Once Upon a Hollywood" (Sony, 2019). He did the shoot downtown at 3rd and Spring. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies pages for ten shots of the "Chinese" as well as many views of the Vogue, Ritz/Pussycat, Earl Carroll, Vine and Pantages theatres.  

We get a quick drive-by in "Summertime" (Good Deed Entertainment, 2021). Carlos Lopez Estrada directed the story of 27 young Angelenos and how their lives intersect on a hot summer day. Much of the material for the "spoken word poetry musical" was written by the young stars of the film. The cinematography is by John Schmidt. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for shots of the United Artists, Arcade, Los Angeles and Vista theatres from the film. 

We get some doctored premiere footage for the latest Kinescope Studios epic "Blood & Gold" in Damien Chazelle's "Babylon" (Paramount, 2022). It's a story of early Hollywood starring Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Diego Calva. The cinematography was by Linus Sandgren. This Chinese footage was shot during the 1932 premiere of "Grand Hotel." See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for many shots of the film's scenes at the Los Angeles, United Artists, Orpheum and Warner Grand theatres. 

Australian director Rob Murphy pays a visit to the Chinese in "Splice Here: A Projected Odyssey" (Picture Start, 2022). His film tracks the decline of projection on film and interviews projectionists, archivists and historians who are helping keep the tradition alive. Local interviewees include Quentin Tarantino, Leonard Maltin, Douglas Trumbull, Cinerama restorer Dave Strohmaier, former Cinematheque programmer Dennis Bartok and projectionists Paul Rayton, Mike Schleiger and Ben Tucker. The cinematography was by Joanne Donahoe-Beckwith. The film also visits the Warner Hollywood, the Egyptian and the Cinerama Dome. 

A shot of the October 17, 1956 "Giant" premiere from footage appearing in "Rock Hudson: All That Heaven Allowed" (HBO, 2023). Stephen Kijak directed the documentary. Thanks to Donavan S. Moye for spotting the theatre in the film and getting the screenshot. See the Historic L.A. Theatres in Movies post for a shot from some 1962 footage showing the Hollywood Theatre.

IMDb has a page on the Chinese Theatre with a list of  many more films using it as a location. And, of course, you can always check out the Theatres in Movies site. 

The Chinese on Video: You shouldn't miss Andy Oleck's terrific 2 & 1/2 minute time lapse video of the whole 2013 Imax renovation process on YouTube. Visit the theatre in a 3 minute 2012 "Grauman's Chinese Behind The Scenes" LA Observed tour featuring LAHTF's Hillsman Wright. Also see the 12 minute "Grauman's Chinese Theater: The Tour" by Ms. Random Notes from 2012.

More information: Don't miss, the impeccably researched website by Chinese Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner. Sections include: every film to play the Chinese | signage | Academy Awards at the Chinese | quick view timeline | projection and sound | Also see "Fan's website for Grauman's Chinese Theatre cements its lore," a March 2018 article about Wahlner by David Allen appearing on the O.C. Register website.

Mary Mallory's "Grauman's Chinese Theatre Turns 90" is a fine article on the Daily Mirror blog about the construction and opening.

See the extensive page on Grauman's Chinese on Cinema Treasures and don't miss the photo section. There are a few more interior shots for you to peruse on the Cinema Tour page. Chinese CEO Alwyn Hight Kushner got a nice write up about her job in a January 2015 L.A. Times story.

The orange border is from the original Chinese Theatre stationery. Thanks to actor Stephen Stanton for once including it on his website That link will now get you to his IMDb page. He was a manager at the theatre in the early 80s.

Photo sets of interest include the 2012 LAHTF tour sets by Albert Domasin, Hot Patootie and Michelle Gerdes. And check out Sandi Hemmerlein's Avoiding Regret blog post about the tour. See the Curt Teich Postcard Archive for more Chinese Theatre postcards.

Floyd Bariscale's 2007 Big Orange Landmarks article on Grauman's Chinese is highly recommended. From Script to DVD's Chinese Theatre page by Michael Coate and William Kallay has lots of great photos.

For a run-down on the declining fortunes of the Fox West Coast / National General / Mann Theatres empire see the 2009 posts on Cinelog by Christopher Crouch: "End Credits," "Rise and Fall" and "National General's Chinese."

See Martin Turnbull's blog "The Garden of Allah Novels" and especially his post about the Chinese forecourt: "The Most Famous Slab of Concrete in the World" for a history of Sid Grauman and the Chinese.

Wikipedia's article on the Chinese Theatre has, among other things, a full rundown of the dates of the stars' imprints in the forecourt concrete. Wikipedia also has an article about National General Pictures. There are, of course, many photos of the Chinese on Yelp.

For a lavishly illustrated history of the Chinese (and some Egyptian stuff as well) see the March 2015 GlamAmor article by Kimberly Truhler "Out & About--Hollywood's Historic TCL Chinese Theatre Still Takes Center Stage." The article, with over 70 photos, features many historic views grabbed without specific credits from a variety of sources as well as some nice views of the interior taken recently by Ms. Truhler.

More about Sid Grauman: The definitive book on the career of Sid Grauman has yet to be written. The best we have so far is Charles Beardsley's "Sid Grauman: Hollywood's Master Showman" (Cornwall Books, 1983). It's available on Amazon.  See "Diary of a Celluloid Girl" for a nice 2011 blog post about Sid Grauman. Wikipedia also has an article on Sid Grauman.  

His first Los Angeles theatre was the Million Dollar in 1918 at 3rd and Broadway. He took over the Rialto on Broadway in 1919, opened the Egyptian Theatre in 1922, and the Metropolitan at 6th & Hill (later called the Paramount) in 1923. His downtown interests were sold to Paramount in 1923 -- Jesse Lasky and later Adolph Zukor had already been partners before Sid's exit. Soon after the Chinese opened he turned over his interest in the Egyptian to West Coast Theatres.

Grauman partnered with Charles Toberman again in 1942 by taking over the Hollywood Playhouse following a bank foreclosure. They renamed it the El Capitan and had a long success beginning with a seven year run of Ken Murray's "Blackouts."

See "Sid Grauman's Theatre History," an article by Walter Greene in the July 27, 1929 issue of Motion Picture News. It was the beginning of a 17 page section of ads and tributes on the occasion of Sid's supposed retirement. It's on Internet Archive. 

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

Hollywood Theatres: overview and alphabetical lists | Hollywood Theatres: list by address | Downtown theatres | Westside | Westwood and Brentwood | Along the Coast | [more] Los Angeles movie palaces | L.A. Theatres: main alphabetical listL.A. Theatres: list by address | theatre history resources | film and theatre tech resources | theatres in movies | LA Theatres on facebook | contact info | welcome and site navigation guide

No comments:

Post a Comment