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Grauman's Chinese: recent auditorium views


The vista across the auditorium as it looks following the Imax renovations. Thanks to Hunter Kerhart Architectural Photography for the October 2014 photo. Keep up with his explorations: Hunter on Facebook | hunterkerhart.com | on Flickr |



A look to the rear of the house before the first screening of  "Star Wars: The Force Awakens." That's Levi Tinker with the light saber. The December 2015 Wendell Benedetti photo for the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation originally appeared as a post by Hillsman Wright on the LAHTF Facebook page. Thanks, Wendell!

The LAHTF works to preserve historic theatres in the L.A. area by supporting events, offering tours and promoting awareness of the architectural merit of these treasures. The organization was active through the 2013 planning and renovation process as an advocate for the project and as an adviser to assure that the historic elements of the auditorium were protected. www.lahtf.org | LAHTF on Facebook



Thanks to Wendell Benedetti for this photo of the auditorium in June 2015 prior to screenings of "Fantasia" and "Fantasia 2000." It originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



Thanks to master architectural photographer Franck Bohbot for his great 2014 photo. It's in his Cinema Portfolio, featuring many other California theatres as well.

The photo is also seen in a 2014 Boing Boing post "Beautiful Movie Palaces of California" as well as in a 2015 National Geographic article "A Night at the Cinema: Reviving the Glamour of Old Hollywood."



The rear of the house as seen by Franck Bohbot in 2014.  The photo appears in Mr. Bohbot's Cinema Portfolio and also in a 2014 Fast Company Design piece: "9 Theaters That Harken Back To the Golden Age of Cinema"



A closer look at the rear seating section taken by Franck Bohbot in 2014. Thanks, Franck!



Just after the Imax renovations the theatre is again looking majestic and mysterious in this Bob Freeman photo for L.A. Weekly. It's with a September 12, 2013 story by Michael Nordine about the renovation project.

See the upstairs boxes page for some views from that position both before and after the renovation.



A post-renovation curtain view. It's the same curtain that was in use previously, with extra material added at the top to deal with the height of the new screen. The Imax picture is 46' high x 94' wide. The curtain dates from about 2006. One without a pattern had been in use previously.  Thanks to Stephen Russo for his September 2013 photo.



The carpet pattern now includes a dragon motif. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his September 2013 photo of this area in front of the curtain. It appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A September 2013 LAist article "Newly Renovated Chinese Theatre..." by Sharon Knolle about the reopening included this view to the rear of the house from Coyne Public Relations.



This terrific look up the center aisle and the new incline after the Imax renovation appeared as part of "Yellow Brick Road Meets the Red Carpet," a Park La Brea News/Beverly Press story about the theatre's reopening that seems to no longer be on their website. The photo is by Aaron Blevins.



Looking in at the new rake of the floor from the house left aisle. The audience was there for the first attraction after the September 2013 reopening, an Imax 3-D version of "The Wizard of Oz."  Photo: Bill Counter.



Adrian Glick Kudler's September 2013 Curbed L.A. article "See All the Lovely Renovations at the IMAX - ready Chinese Theatre" included this wonderful vista across the auditorium.



The main chandelier after its refurbishing for the Imax remodel. Work included refitting it with LEDs. Thanks to Sandi Hemmerlein for her 2013 photo. It appears with her Avoiding Regret blog's 2012 article "Behind the Scenes at Grauman's Chinese."



Thanks to Stephen Russo for this September 2013 chandelier view, appearing initially on the LAHTF Facebook page.



Looking forward toward the top of the proscenium from the house right aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



Looking up toward the rear wall from the house right side aisle. At the rear of the house the seating is now way above the aisle height, which remained at its original level. Note the new decorative railing. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



One of the side aisle ceiling fixtures. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013 



Looking toward the house left side aisle from the top of the left center aisle.  The lobby is off to the left. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



From the side aisles getting into the rear of the seating area was a warren of stairs and ramps after the 2001 renovations. Here we're looking in from the house right side. It was straightforward getting to the seats from the two center aisles after the 2001 renovations except that you had to go down a few steps. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013

After both the 2001 and 2014 renovations the side aisles make a perfect entrance to the seating area at the mid-auditorium crossaisle as the auditorium level and side aisle levels coincide at that point. Now it's an even more interesting journey down to the crossaisle because you're so far below the now-elevated seating level at the rear of the main floor.



The rear of the auditorium with the new floor slope after the Imax renovations. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



The post-renovation view out toward the lobby from the left center aisle. The thing at the left was the booth from 1958 until 2001. It's now the bar area in the expanded lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



Looking toward the lobby from the top of the right center aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



Looking into the auditorium from the lobby at the right center aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



Looking into the auditorium from the lobby at the left center aisle. One goes up a slight incline to the rear of the center seating section behind the snack bar. Photo: Bill Counter - September 2013



The Imax screen up on the frame, not yet stretched and masked. The August 2013 Stephen Russo photo originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page. Many more of Stephen's photos of the screen installation appear with a Beyond The Marquee article by Steve Czarnecki.



The Hollywood & Highland Facebook page once featured this August 2013 shot of the silver Imax screen being hoisted into place.



The screen halfway up. The August 2013 Stephen Russo photo is part of "Check Out the Installation...," a Beyond the Marquee article on the renovation that features many photos about the process of getting the new screen hung. Thanks, Stephen!



Preparations for hoisting the new screen into place are seen in this Stephen Russo photo featured on the website Beyond The Marquee. Here the screen is laid out on top of the seats. The riggers are inserting the 94' long top batten into the screen's upper pocket.



The Chinese Theatre Facebook page gave us this August 2013 construction view with several speakers, the side masking, and curtain in place -- but no screen installed yet.  Note the speaker up near the top of the frame at center -- an Imax speaker configuration peculiarity.



Here we're in front of the cross aisle, an area below the original auditorium floor level. Escott O. Norton, who took the August 2013 photo for the LAHTF Facebook page, calls our attention to the new railing beyond. The item hanging down is one of the side chandeliers, down to get retrofitted for LEDs.
  


A look at the old end standards incorporated into the new seating installation. It's an August 2013 Stephen Russo photo on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A construction photo once appearing on the Chinese Theatre Facebook page gives us a view when the seats were getting unbagged.  On the left there's the chandelier, lowered for relamping.



An August 2013 proscenium view after the seat installation from "Check Out the Installation...," a Beyond The Marquee article by Steve Czarnecki about the Imax renovations. That's the chandelier hanging down on the right of the photo.



A look across the rear of the auditorium after the August 2013 seat installation from "Check Out the Installation...," a Beyond The Marquee article by Steve Czarnecki about the Imax renovations.



A construction view after the re-terraced floor has been poured. The front of the main floor now extends down through what had been the orchestra pit and stage and on into the former basement areas. Much of the stage had already been removed for installation of the huge, deeply curved Cinemiracle screen in 1958.

Here we're not going wider but back farther onto the stage and much deeper -- to accommodate the 46' high Imax screen. The Cinemiracle screen frame was 40' x 100' with a picture size of 38' x 92'. The Imax width is 94'.  Thanks to Stephen Russo for his July 2013 photo, originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



The vista toward the rear of the house after the new floor was poured. The July 2013 photo by Bob Freeman is part of the Curbed L.A. article "Inside the Chinese Theatre's...Makeover" by Adrian Glick Kudler.



Looking along the cross aisle of the new floor. The July 2013 photo by Bob Freeman is part of the Curbed L.A. article "Inside the Chinese Theatre's...Makeover" by Adrian Glick Kudler.



A July 2013 ceiling and sidewall construction view by Bob Freeman from the Curbed L.A. article "Inside the Chinese Theatre's...Makeover" by Adrian Glick Kudler.



The ceiling area just above the proscenium. The July 2013 photo by Bob Freeman is part of the Curbed L.A. article "Inside the Chinese Theatre's...Makeover" by Adrian Glick Kudler.



A construction shot from house right. The July 2013 photo by Wendell Benedetti originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A view toward the proscenium. Photo: Stephen Russo - LAHTF Facebook page - July 2013



Another construction view from July 2013. Thanks to Wendell Benedetti for the photo, originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.

More 2013 photos on the LAHTF Facebook page: from house left - new floor - Benedetti - September 2013 | proscenium -  Benedetti - September 2013 | floor slope comparison 1927/2013 - Benedetti | looking across with seats - Benedetti - September 2013 | installing the screen -  Benedetti - August 2013 | screen halfway up - Benedetti - August 2013 | booth front view - Escott O. Norton - August 2013 | surround speaker - Stephen Russo - September 2013 |



A June 2013 shot from Andy Oleck's terrific "TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX Renovation - Time Lapse Video" on YouTube. We're up high up on the backstage wall looking into the seating area. The front slab has been removed and they're digging out space for the new lower half of the floor.  Forms are already in place for the seating risers in the upper section.



Here a bit earlier in Andy Oleck's video the stage is completely gone as is the wall that was at the back of the orchestra pit. Still to be demolished is the curved wall that was the audience side of the orchestra pit.



A June 2013 view from the backstage wall during the renovations, looking down through a hole in what was the stage into the basement below. The shot is from Andy Oleck's superb "TCL Chinese Theatre IMAX Renovation - Time Lapse Video," a 2 & 1/2 minute condensation of the whole renovation on YouTube.

The steps in front of that pink and turquoise wall were once the entrance for the musicians into the orchestra pit. Beyond the wall some of the 1958 floor slab (and the orchestra pit underneath it) still remains to be excavated. At the top of the frame is the excavated former seating area at the front of the auditorium.



A pre-Imax view along the curtain showing the screen's incursion onto the former stage area. The beam we see above is original but wasn't part of the original proscenium arch -- that was farther upstage. This configuration was done as part of the 1958 renovations when the actual proscenium was removed to accommodate the 100' wide Cinemiracle screen. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - LAHTF Facebook page - May 2013



Thanks to Elizabeth Daniels for this ceiling view, one of 33 photos with an April 2013 Curbed L.A. story by Adrian Glick Kudler: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



An Elizabeth Daniels photo, part of an April 2013 Curbed L.A. photo gallery with the Adrian Glick Kudler story: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



A view across the rear of the house by Elizabeth Daniels. It's one of her 33 fine views on Curbed L.A. with the April 2013 story "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



An interesting view from house right back near the lobby. All this would get seriously rearranged during the Imax renovations. Thanks to Elizabeth Daniels for the photo, one of 33 she did that appear with an April 2013 Curbed L.A. story by Adrian Glick Kudler: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



A view taken from the top of the ten steps necessary to get you to the last row of seats as configured in the 2001 remodel. The 2013 renovations raised the back row of the center sections to lobby level and lowered the area near the screen to allow a greater rake to the seating. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - LAHTF Facebook page - April 2013. Also see his view looking back up the stairs.



A pre-renovation side aisle shot, part of an April 2013 Curbed L.A. photo gallery by Elizabeth Daniels. Adrian Glick Kudler wrote the story: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes For a Renovation."



A photo giving one giving a nice feel for the sweep of the screen area and pre-Imax seating layout. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - LAHTF - 2012



A wonderful view of the auditorium while the Chinese was running "Breakfast at Tiffany's" for a 25 cent admission price as part of the 85th birthday celebration in 2012. It's a photo that once appeared on the Chinese Theatres Facebook page.



A detail of the decorative work above the center of the proscenium. It's a 2012 photo from Wendell Benedetti on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A wide-angle look from the front of the theatre. Note the screen height and floor level prior to the 2013 Imax renovations. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - LAHTF - 2012



A peek house left at the vertical striplight that illuminated the main curtain from the side. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A look upward from the middle of the center aisle. Photo: Wendell Benedetti - LAHTF Facebook page - 2012



Looking up at the ceiling during the May 2012 LAHTF tour of the theatre. It's a photo by Stephen Russo appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



Exploring the house left side aisle down near the screen. It's a 2012 Wendell Benedetti photo on the LAHTF Facebook page.



A view up the house left side aisle toward the lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The house right side aisle. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



A sidewall detail from 2012 by Stephen Russo. It originally appeared on the on the LAHTF Facebook page.



The rear of the house prior to the 2013 renovations. Note the steps that had been necessary since 2001 to get down from the level of the expanded lobby. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



One of the strange Chinese-deco end standards. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012
 


The rear of the main floor before the new floor slope work of 2013. The draped area at the left is now part of the snack bar. It used to be the booth until that was moved back upstairs in 2001. The height of the last row of seats was raised in the 2013 renovations -- they're now above lobby level instead of down a flight of steps as you see here. Photo: Bill Counter - 2012



The view from the house left terrace at the rear of the auditorium. These areas to either side of the snackbar were created in the 2001 renovation and can be used for either handicap seating or as
a private box. This area was reconfigured in the 2013 remodel. Thanks to Stephen Russo for his 2012 photo.
 


A sweeping vista at the front of the theatre. Photo: Don Solosan - Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation - c.2010. Thanks, Don! Also see a fine 2010 proscenium view from John Harrier Jr. on Flickr.



A look back at the rear of the house from the front row. Thanks to Don Solosan for his c.2010 photo for the LAHTF.



Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Hollywood 90038 for this c.2010 view of the end standards. See the site's page on the Chinese for many more views of the theatre -- but this one is no longer there.



A c.2010 look at the seating at the rear of the house showing the effects of the 2001 renovations. That's the back of the expanded snack bar area at right. Note the stairs up to lobby level behind the seats at center. It's a photo by Mr. Hollywood 90038 that once appeared on the Cinema Treasures page about the Chinese. 



A wonderful 2009 view down the house right side aisle from Mike Renlund on Flickr.



Looking toward the rear of the house in 2009 from the Mike Renlund collection on Flickr. That's Mr. Renlund in the photo.



A nice view of the ceiling plasterwork and chandelier in a 2009 photo by Mike Renlund on Flickr. Also by Mr. Renlund: another shot to the rear | screen view | exterior - "Street Fighter" | Hollywood & Highland at night |



In a pre-Imax view we see that the auditorium retained much of its 1927 splendor. The theatre looks great despite loss of ornamentation at the proscenium due to wider screen installations. The main chandelier has also been reduced in size. With the 2013 renovations, the floor now drops down more in the front and has risen in back. That side exit you see here aligns with the cross aisle of the new seating configuration. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The back wall showing the two private boxes and the booth now back upstairs (as of 2001) as it was in 1927. Note the pre-IMAX floor slope. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007

 

The coming attractions didn't look promising on this particular afternoon. The screen as seen here was masked for 1.85 to 1. The full screen size was substantially larger. The beam above represents the original proscenium line. Note even here how far back the screen has been pushed onto the stage. And in 2007 it was quite a shallow curve compared to the deeper screen installed for Cinemiracle in 1958. With the 2013 Imax installation the screen now goes almost back to the theatre's rear wall. Photo: Bill Counter - 2007



 A June 2007 curtain shot by Bobak Ha'Eri from the Wikipedia article on Grauman's Chinese Theatre.



A nice 2006 ceiling view by Larry Crews that once appeared on his now-vanished Flickr account. 



A 2006 photo by Jon W on Flickr gives us our earliest view of the new curtain with the printed design.
 


Looking toward the screen in a 2004 photo by Andrew West on Flickr. Oh, no -- it looks like the usher is coming over to say "No photos, please."



A 2004 shot looking toward the rear of the auditorium by Andrew West on Flickr.



A 2004 house left side aisle view by Scott Neff appearing on the Cinema Tour page about the Chinese. Among the other photos on the site are: proscenium view during a show - Matt Luthans - 2003 | main chandelier -  Scott Neff - 2004 | proscenium view - Ken Roe - 2004 | proscenium view - Scott Neff - 2004 |



A terrific 2001 look toward the screen from the Grauman's Chinese Theatre page of the architects for the restoration project that year, Behr Browers Architects.



The auditorium ceiling in a 2001 detail view from Behr Browers Architects, the firm in charge of that restoration for Mann Theatres.



 A 2001 view of the rear of the house, this one appearing here thanks to Heliphoto. It's in the Interiors Portfolio section of their website. The firm specializes in aerial and architectural photos in the L.A. area.



A look at the configuration at the top of one of the center aisles to accommodate the increased lobby size in the 2001 renovation. Thanks to Behr Browers Architects for the photo. 

Pages on Grauman's Chinese: 
| Chinese overview | street views 1926 to 1954 | street views 1955 to present | forecourt | lobby | lounges | vintage auditorium views | back to top - 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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