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Grauman's Chinese: street views from 1926 to 1954

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

The Grauman's Chinese pages: 
| Chinese 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 | Chinese Twin | Chinese 6 |


1926 - A September look east as the steel rises for the Chinese. At the top is the Hollywood Hotel. At the bottom is the chi-chi Garden Court Apartments. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo. It was a post of his on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



1927 - A postcard view from above by Burton Frasher taken prior to the theatre's opening. Michelle Gerdes found it on eBay. The Harold Lloyd footprint insert on the left was added later.


  
1927 - A wider view of the theatre before the May opening. The photo by Burton Frasher, Sr. (1888-1955) appears in a 90th Birthday album on the TCL Chinese Facebook page. Kurt Wahlner, curator of the history site GraumansChinese.org, notes that the sign for "King of Kings" is visible in the forecourt and the storefront windows were still covered. He likes that they were still growing vegetables next door when the Chinese opened.

Kurt adds: "Grauman’s Chinese sits under the warm California sun just prior to its opening in May, 1927. The theatre is 140 feet wide by 250 feet deep. Since land was cheaper in Hollywood at the time, Grauman envisioned a spacious theatre with no balcony, the largest stage in Hollywood, and a large forecourt area, where patrons could mill about during the intermission between his lavish stage prologues and the feature film. Note the fact that there is no conventional marquee. Subsequent operators would fix this problem, but Grauman did not want much signage at the theatre — at first."



1927 - We're getting ready for the opening. Note the "King of Kings" sign near the front doors ready to be hung. The photo was on the Brittanica Blog at one time but has now vanished from their site.



1927 - Another pre-opening view is this postcard from the Theatre Talks collection of Cezar Del Valle. Thanks, Cezar! 

A version of the photo (without the modern lettering) appears on Kurt Wahlner's superb page "A Tour of Grauman's Chinese Theatre 1927." He credits it to Burton Frasher, Sr. and comments: "This photo was taken from the roof of the one-story building across the street from the Chinese. The Chinese had been designed and built by Meyer & Holler Inc., a construction company whose chief designer was a man named Raymond M. Kennedy. What Kennedy came up with for the Chinese certainly has no architectural predecessors — not even people familiar with Chinese architecture know how to classify it — and it is this uniqueness which has made it the most photographed building in Los Angeles."



1927 - The theatre's opening night, May 18, 1927. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



c.1927 - An early postcard view appearing in a number of collections including Elizabeth Fuller's wonderful Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. They were still selling this card as late as 1953, the postmark on the one she has. On the rear: "The Chinese Theatre has been the scene of Hollywood’s greatest premieres. In the forecourt of this famous theatre may be seen the foot-prints in the cement of many of filmland’s celebrities, both past and present."

The card is also in the Cinema Postcards From the Americas collection of Roloff de Jeu on Flickr. He notes it's a Curt Teich card and the publication date is on the card. He says "In the right bottom corner, you see a code, 1A-H445. The A is for the Thirties (B for Forties, C for Fifties, etc.), the 1 is for the first year, so it's from 1931." The photo it's based on is obviously earlier than 1931. The card also appears in the collection of Michelle Gerdes on Flickr.



1927 - A USC Digital Library collection photo of a Douglas Fairbanks premiere from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce collection. It's also in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The USC collection also has another view of the same event.

Chinese Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner advises that there was only one Fairbanks premiere at the theatre: "The Gaucho," November 4, 1927.



c.1927 - An early street view in the AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection, a part of the Margaret Herrick Library Digital Collections.



c.1927 - An undated USC Digital Library view from the L.A. Chamber of Commerce collection. It's a great look at all the foliage atop the parapet wall.  Note here we still have four palm trees in the forecourt -- soon to be down to two.



c.1927 - Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for this early postcard view of the theatre. It's one of over 400 cards in his collection, until recently all viewable on Picasa -- but Google has now pulled the plug on that platform.



c.1927 - Did you like Brian's colorful card? This card uses the photo it was based on. It's in the collection of the California State Library.



1928 - A Louis Stellman photo in the collection of the California State Library. Note the interesting thatched hut in the forecourt. Chinese Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner has determined that the photo is from the August 3 to October 21 run of "White Shadows In The South Seas," a film that triggered David Lean's desire to make movies. Kurt says: "The couple embracing in the left poster case is the same as that as you see on the sheet music for the film - very little paper exists on this film, which is rather a good movie."

He notes that in this photo there are no heaven dogs at the entrance. Also, as seen seen in the November 1927 view of "The Goucho" premiere, "the stenciled awning was there from the very beginning. They were a little bit freer with taking it in and setting it back up then, and here, you see the framework covered with grass roofing. Ahh, back when labor was labor, and people had jobs!"



1928 - Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for this photo by K. O. Rahmn of the forecourt adorned with weird statues for "Noah's Ark," a Warner Bros. Vitaphone release directed by Michael Curtiz that opened November 1. Rahmn was also the Mary Pickford Corporation staff photographer at the time.

Warners evidently wanted to put the film in the Chinese as a prestige move even though their new Warner Hollywood was open. Kurt relates a Terry Helgesen story about Jack Warner bringing organist Frank Lanterman (from the Alex) over to play when the film was screened at the Chinese -- before it had a soundtrack. Lanterman made it sound so good that the Chinese booked the film and Warner thought he had put one over on Sid. It turned out to be the 2nd lowest grossing silent film at the Chinese.



1928 - A snapshot from the Kurt Wahlner collection taken with the theatre decorated for Christmas during the run of "Noah's Ark." The film, a silent with added soundtrack, starred Delores Costello and George O'Brien.

Note the signage above that left awning. Kurt comments: "Somebody must have seen this picture when they designed the readerboards in the 2001 remodel. I think that is a cutout of Charles King in the middle of the pagoda’s swoop advertising the opening of 'The Broadway Melody' February 1, 1929. Sort of looks like a fellow in tails holding a sign."  See Kurt's GraumansChinese.org website for a sumptuous history of the theatre.



1929 - The Chinese during the run of "Hollywood Revue," an MGM release that had its world premiere at the Chinese June 20 and headed on to a 13 week run. The photo appeared on the Facebook page Garden of Allah Novels. Note the lettering for the show on the east side of the building.

Todd Franklin has a version of the photo in his Movie Theater Stuff album on Flickr and a version is also in the Los Angeles Public Library collection Another take of the same view is in the collection of the L.A. County Natural History Museum. There's also a smaller but less cropped image taken during the same run that Henrik Hoflund Pedersen located on Amazon.

"Hollywood Revue" is noteworthy for sequences shot in two strip Technicolor as well as parts of the film shot in 70mm. Some theatres actually exhibited the sequences in 70mm. While the Chinese ran several Fox Grandeur films in their 70mm versions in 1930-31, it's unknown if this run involved anything other than a 35mm print.



1929 - An Orville Blake photo from the California State Library collection. Kurt Wahlner dates this one as taken during the run of "Hollywood Revue of 1929," which opened June 30 for a 13 week run. See Kurt's page detailing the films to play the Chinese in 1929.

more 20s views:  birds eye view - looking east - USC | theatre roof - view looking north to the hills - USC | Hollywood panorama - USC Digital Library | c.1928 - big premiere night - Los Angeles Public Library



1930 - The May 27 premiere of the Howard Hughes production "Hell's Angels." It's a photo in the USC Digital Library collection. The film ran eighteen weeks.



1930 - Another USC Digital Library view of the "Hell's Angels" premiere. It's from the California Historical Society collection.



1930 - A "Hell's Angels" premiere view from intrepid theatre researcher Ken McIntyre's collection Photobucket.  Note the plane parked in front of the theatre.


 

1930 - A fine look into the forecourt during the "Hell's Angels" premiere. It's a USC Digital Library  photo from the California Historical Society.



1930 - A terrific photo of the "Hell's Angels" premiere from the Zimmerman collection appearing in the Angel City Press book "Spectacular Illumination: Neon Los Angeles 1925-1965" by Tom Zimmerman with J. Eric Lynxwiler. The authors note: "In 1930, Olesen’s Spectacular Illumination company was party to one of the most elaborate premieres in Hollywood history. No expense was spared for the debut of Howard Hughes’s Hell’s Angels, and Oleson provided two hundred searchlights, advertising balloons, and created smokescreens in the sky on which he projected the film title."

Chris Nichols discussed the book and included this photo and other Hollywood views with his August 2016 Los Angeles magazine article "These Photos Will Transport You to a Neon-Soaked 1930s Hollywood."  The photo also appears with other discussions of the book on Curbed L.A., City Lab, and the KCRW blog.



1930 - An amazing look east on Hollywood Blvd. during the run of "Hell's Angels." Tanks to Martin Turnbull for the photo, appearing on his Garden of Allah Novels Facebook page.



1930 - The Los Angeles Public Library has this nice view showing quite an array of signage for "Hell's Angels."

more "Hell's Angels" - premiere from across the street - USC Digital Library | premiere lights -- from Selma & Vine! - Vintage LA | premiere lights - same on Garden of Allah  | premiere looking east from above - Los Angeles Public Library | premiere lights from Roosevelt roof - Vintage Los Angeles | daytime street view - Los Angeles Public Library



1930 - A Los Angeles Public Library collection photo of the December premiere for Josef von Sternberg's "Morocco."



1930 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre on the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles for this closer look at the "Morocco" premiere.



1931 - Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for this June photo taken during the run of "Trader Horn." It appears on Kurt's fine page "What's playing at the Chinese, anyway?," a survey of the theatre's changing signage over the decades.



1932 - Signage across the street for the April 29 premiere of "Grand Hotel." The shot is one from the newsreel coverage of the event that appears on the DVD for the film. The film opened April 30 for an eleven week run. What else played in 1932? See Kurt Wahlner's films of 1932 page for the whole list.



early 30s - Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for this fanciful postcard version of a premiere night. It's one of over 400 cards in his collection that were once displayed on Picasa until Google discontinued that platform.



1932 - This shot from the Theatre Historical Society Facebook page gives us a fine view of the signage east of the theatre before the July 15 world premiere of "Strange Interlude," starring Norma Shearer and Clark Gable.



1933 - Thanks to Kurt Wahlner of the Chinese Theatre history site GraumansChinese.org for this view of the "Dinner at Eight" premiere. The film opened August 30 for a six week run.



1934 - A great card from Cesar Del Valle's Theatre Talks collection. It's a Bob Plunkett photo of the Chinese running "The White Parade" with Loretta Young and John Boles. Thanks, Cezar!

Note that here we have a boxoffice installed in the forecourt -- an addition made when the Chinese abandoned the deluxe two-a-day format and went "grind" in 1934. Earlier, the boxoffice had been tucked back into the northeast corner of the forecourt.

Versions of the card are also in the collections of the California State Library and the L.A. County Natural History Museum. Some versions identify it as a "Brookwell Photo" in the lower right rather than one by Bob Plunkett.



early 1930s - A Frasher Foto Card view looking east toward the Chinese from the California State Library. Note the signage on the side wall saying "Direction Fox West Coast." Sid was still around but now working as an employee of Fox West Coast Theatres.



1935 - A shot with the Chinese running the Will Rogers feature "The County Chairman" which opened February 1. Thanks to the historian-of-all-things-Chinese Kurt Wahlner for dating it. It's an L.A. County Natural History Museum photo. Kurt notes that the banner is for "The March of Time" newsreel, making its debut on that week's program.

The LACNHM also has another take of the same view. See Kurt's Grauman's Chinese 1935 page for all the films the Chinese ran that year.



1936 -  A Life magazine shot on Google/Life Images taken during the run of "Captain January" with Shirley Temple. It opened May 1 for a one week run playing with another Fox film "Everybody's Old Man." Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for the find, appearing on his Noirish post #40551. At the El Capitan the play was "5 Men on a Horse."

At the far left note the elaborately stenciled canopy out to the sidewalk. It was sometimes set up, sometimes not. Kurt Wahlner notes that it was replaced by a plain version by November 1936.



1936 -  A Life magazine shot on Google/Life Images probably taken during the run of William Wellman's "Robin Hood of El Dorado" starring Warner Baxter. It opened May 8 for a big one week run playing as a double bill with "Moonlight Murder."  Thanks to BifRayRock for the find -- it's on his Noirish post #40551.  See the Forecourt page for several additional images from the same Life shoot.



c.1936 - Looking through the foliage in front of the Hollywood Hotel toward the Chinese. It's a Life magazine shot on Google/Life Images. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor BifRayRock for the find, appearing on his Noirish post #40362. The post includes many great Hollywood shots of young hopeful actresses hanging out around town waiting for their big break.



c.1936 - An exciting east parking lot view from Life magazine. Thanks to BifRayRock on Noirish Los Angeles for the find. He had it on his Noirish post #40301 with other Life views of Beverly Hills, Wilshire Blvd., and the 1936 premiere of "Things To Come" at the Four Star Theatre.



1936 - A promotional still with Esther Ralston and John Halliday taken for the Paramount film "Hollywood Boulevard." Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding it. We're at Hollywood Blvd. and Orange Dr. -- the Roosevelt Hotel is out of the frame to the left.



1936 - A view looking down onto the theatre from Kurt Wahlner's collection. He dates this as summer of 1936. The image appeared on a brochure for Lansing speaker systems, one of which was newly installed at the Chinese. See all the details in "The Dream Machines," Kurt's history of projection and sound equipment at the theatre.



1936 - A photo of the Welcome Parade from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. That's the Hollywood Hotel visible off to the right. The signage across the street is for "To Mary With love" with Warner Baxter and Myrna Loy. It played for a week along with "36 Hours To Kill." 



1936 - Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for this shot taken during the run of "His Brother's Wife." The film opened August 12.



1930s - A postcard from Brian Michael McCray's Hollywood Postcards collection that used to be on Picasa. Thanks, Brian!



1937 - Fritz Lang's "You Only Live Once" with Sylvia Sidney opened at the Chinese February 3 for a week long run. It was double billed with "Dangerous Number" starring Robert Young. Thanks to Roloff de Jeu on Flickr for the card, which also makes an appearance in other collections. Roloff has many more cards for you to browse in his great Cinema Postcards From the Americas album.



1937 - A July photo by Herman Schultheis in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The crowd is lined up for "Captains Courageous" and "The Great Hospital Mystery."



1937 - Looking east in a Herman Schultheis photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The Chinese is running "Love Under Fire," a Spanish civil war drama with Loretta Young and Don Ameche. It played for a week beginning August 25 with "Wild and Wooly."



1937 - A Bob Plunkett photo on a card in the Cezar Del Valle Theatre Talks collection. The Chinese is running "The Prisoner of Zenda" with Ronald Colman and Madeline Carroll. It ran for a week beginning October 6 along with "The Women Men Marry" with George Murphy. The same "Zenda" shot is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection except their version is labeled "Brookwell Photo" on the left.

also from 1937:  "Heidi"- with Shirley Temple - double billed in November with (of all things) "Night Club Scandal" - Los Angeles Public Library


 
1938 - A nice look at the letters strung across Hollywood Blvd. advertising "Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm." It's a John Swopes photo posted on the Facebook page Vintage Los Angeles by Michael Siskowic.



late 30s - A Frasher Foto card from the California State Library.



1939 - A postcard view of the signage for "Idiot's Delight" with Clark Gable and Norma Shearer. It's in the California State Library collection. Another version of the card appears on Vintage Los Angeles.  The film opened February 1 double billed with "While New York Sleeps."



1939 - Looking east along Hollywood Blvd. from Orange Dr. in a Dick Whittington Studio photo from the USC Digital Library. As you can see from the lettering across the street, the show at the Chinese was "Stagecoach." It opened March 8 and only ran a week.



1939 - The view east with "Stanley and Livingstone" partially up on the theatre's signage. The film, with Spencer Tracy and Nancy Kelly, played August 9 to 14 along with "Quick Millions" starring Jed Prouty and Spring Byington. Across the street at the El Capitan it was the WPA production of "The Mikado - In Swing."  Thanks to James J. Chun for the photo, a post on Photos of Los Angeles.

Chinese theatre historian Kurt Wahlner suspects the photo was taken the afternoon of August 8 after the last show of "Frontier Marshal" and before that evening's world premiere of "Stanley and Livingstone." He notes that that this may be the earliest color photo of the theatre.



1939 - The crowds are in the bleachers for the premiere of "The Wizard of Oz" on August 15. Thanks to Bill Gabel for posting the photo on the Facebook page the Photos of Los Angeles. The signage we see was in the front of the parking lot east of the theatre.  The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a poster for the premiere on their Facebook page. 

The "Wizard of Oz" got a second premiere at the Chinese September 15, 2013 as the opening attraction after the IMAX renovations.
 
more 30s views: street view - Los Angeles Public Library | aerial view east - Los Angeles Public Library | b&w postcard looking east - with streetcar - LAPL | late 30s - aerial view east - Los Angeles Public Library | from high up across the street - Los Angeles Public Library | "Motion Pictures Greatest Year" - 1939 - Los Angeles Public Library | sunset facade postcard - Elizabeth Fuller |



1941 - A "Breakfast Day" shot from the Kurt Wahlner collection. It's on Martin Turnbull's Noirish Los Angeles post #23690 where he notes: "... It’s unusual in that it was taken on February 26, 1941, the one day that the theater offered a 'Breakfast Matinee.' The doors opened at 7:00 AM and served a menu of pancakes and eggs for early-rising filmgoers. I wonder how many people showed up to wolf down their breakfast while watching 'Andy Hardy's Private Secretary' and 'Dr. Kildare’s Crisis.'"



1942 - A view east from a card that popped up on eBay. The rear of the card reads: "GRAUMAN'S CHINESE THEATRE  Scene of many a gala premiere, the theatre is located on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. One of the most interesting features is the sidewalk where hand- and foot-prints of famous movie stars are preserved in cement. The 'Chinese' name of the theatre refers to the architecture. Reproduced by Sprectratone from a Kodachrome by Mike Roberts."

Note that the street level signage in the lot east of the theatre has no letters on it. Kurt Wahlner, curator of the site GraumansChinese.org, also has the card in his collection. He gives it a summer 1942 date due to the colors, the shadows, and the amount of plant growth still on the top of the building. He suggests that the lack of letters on the readerboard might have been due to wartime blackout restrictions. He has a photo with the theatre playing "Dr. Jykell and Mr. Hyde" in September 1941 with the signage still in use. For "Moon and Sixpence" in January 1943 there was nothing displayed. But by July 1943 perhaps restrictions had eased as the sign was again used for "Presenting Lily Mars."  Kurt adds that that the signage east of the theatre was removed sometime between July 1948 and January 1951.



early 40s - A fine Frasher Foto Card looking east on Hollywood Blvd. toward the Chinese and the El Capitan. Vicky Valentine had added the card to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page but it seems to be gone now. Note the El Capitan letters still on the tower -- they came down in 1942 when the theatre was renamed the Paramount.



early 40s - Thanks to Elizabeth Fuller for this card from her Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. "The celebrated street of gala Premieres, world fashions, movie stars and extras, famous shops, hotels and theatres, where beauty, gaiety and glamour reign supreme in a setting seen only in California."  Ben Fentington also has a version of this on Vintage Los Angeles.



early 40s - Another view looking east from Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection. This one has a 1947 postmark.  Ben Fentington also has a version of it on Vintage Los Angeles.



mid 40s - On the Grauman's Chinese page of the site Scenes of L.A. During WWII is this nice photo by Dennis Lewis, Sr. showing the exterior appearance of the Chinese before signage spanned the opening of the forecourt in 1953.



1940s - A Christmas postcard view looking east toward the Chinese and the El Capitan on Vintage Los Angeles from the Brian Michael McCray collection. The card also appears in Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards set on Flickr.



1940s - A lovely view looking east from Bill Gabel on Photos of Los Angeles. That's the El Capitan / Paramount over there on the right.  Wish we could read what's on the marquee.



1944 - A look at the February 23 premiere of "The Sullivans" from the Hollywood Historic Photos collection.



1944 - Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for this view of the March 2 Academy Awards night. The photo appears as part of Kurt's fine page "The Academy Awards and Grauman's Chinese."



1945 - A Los Angeles Public Library photo of the premiere of "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." It had a four week run in March.



1946 - Grauman's during the 1946 Academy Awards on March 8. It's a view from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The Academy Awards were held at the Chinese three times with 1946 being the last.  Also see a Herald Examiner photo of fans in the bleachers that's in the Library's collection.



1946 - A look at the premiere of "Anna and the King of Siam" from the Hollywood Historic Photos collection.



1946 - Another look at the Chinese during the run of "Anna and the King of Siam" with Irene Dunne, Rex Harrison and Linda Darnell. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the photo.



c.1947 - A Bob Plunkett postcard from Ken McIntyre's collection. It also appears on Flickr in Todd Franklin's Movie Theater Stuff album.  Perhaps earlier than 1947? Todd says his copy was postmarked in 1940.



1947 - A view from Todd Franklin's Movie Theater Stuff album on Flickr of the theatre ready for a premiere. Kurt Wahlner dates this one as being the May 16 premiere of "It Happened On 5th Avenue." Visit Kurt's Grauman's Chinese 1947 page for all the films to play that year.



1947 - The Chinese is running "Kiss of Death" with Victor Mature. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding the card. The film opened August 13 for a two week run.  Ken has also posted an uncropped version of the photo for the postcard on Photos of Los Angeles -- we see more of both the left side of the building as well as the signage at the right.

There's another "Kiss of Death" postcard on Calisphere from the California State Library collection with a Bob Plunkett photo looking east on Hollywood Blvd.



1947 - A Burton Frasher photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. It appears in its postcard format in the Pomona Public Library collection. Note that the theatre is still using signage installed in the parking lot to the right.



1947 - A Frasher Foto Card from the collection of the Pomona Public Library. There's also a zoom version.

also from 1947: "Captain From Castile" - a California State Library postcard
 


c. 1948 - Thanks to R. Christian Anderson for this photo he added to the Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page. There's also a re-post.


 
c. 1948 - The Chinese at Christmas time from the collection of Gianpiero F. Leone. It appeared as a post he did on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page. He also posted it on Vintage Los Angeles. A cropped version appeared on Photos of Los Angeles in 2016 from Bill Gabel.



c. 1948 - A look at the Chinese by Arnold Hylen appearing here courtesy of his grand niece, Greta Gustaffson.  Visit the Facebook page Arnold Hylen Photographer - Los Angeles Images of an Era.

Our tenant in that storefront space on the right, formerly Poggi's, is here seen as Keller's. Kurt Wahlner notes that the change happened sometime between December 1947 and April 1948. By the time of the c.1950 photos of the theatre getting painted, the lettering on the awning is gone but the name is on the glass. The space, originally entered from the forecourt, was reconfigured with an additional entrance on Hollywood Blvd. sometime in 1961 during the run of "West Side Story."
 


c.1948 - A postcard of the Chinese from the New York Public Library collection.



c.1949 - A postcard from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting it. "Located on Hollywood Boulevard, this theatre is famous for its many gala premieres. The famous palm studded forecourt is where the hand and foot prints of famous stars are preserved in the cement." 
 


1949 - A great shot by Arnold Hylen looking west across the front of the Hollywood Hotel toward the Chinese. Thanks to Greta Gustaffson for making the photo available.
 
more 40s views: fanciful premiere postcard - Elizabeth Fuller | c.1948 premiere - Ralph Morris - Los Angeles Public Library



c. 1950 - A Christmas view from Ken McIntyre's collection. Another version of the card is also on Photos of Los Angeles as a post of Bill Gabel. Note that we no longer have a readerboard in the lot east of the theatre. Kurt Wahlner, curator of the site GraumansChinese.org notes that that the signage was removed sometime between July 1948 and January 1951.



c.1950 - A card with the Chinese set up for a premiere. It was a find of diligent theatre researcher Ken McIntyre.



1950 - A lovely shot taken during the February run of "Mother Didn't Tell Me" with Dorothy McGuire, on a double bill with "The Blonde Bandit." It's from the Kurt Wahlner collection. See his website for listings of Every Film to Ever Play the Chinese.



c.1950 - A photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection showing the theatre getting a paint job.



c.1950 - A closer look at one of the vertical signs getting its paint redone. It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo.



c. 1950 - Another Los Angeles Public Library view showing the paint job in progress. It's a Ralph Morris photo.



1950 - A great photo found by Ken McIntyre looking east from the Chinese across the Hollywood Hotel toward the Security Bank Building.



1951 - Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this deserted view he found for the Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.



1951 - Tasteful display art at its finest. "David and Bathsheba" opened August 30 for a four week run. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for the photo from his collection. It appears on "What's playing at the Chinese, anyway?," his survey of signage at the theatre.
 


1951 - An October shot from the Kurt Wahlner collection appearing in the "Early Widescreen" section of his superbly done "The Dream Machines," a survey of projection and sound at the theatre. The theatre is running "The Desert Fox" and "Havana Rose." The banner says "It's Movie Time U.S.A."



1951 - An evening Christmas view from the California State Library collection. There's also another version of the shot appearing as a post from Bill Gabel on Photos of Los Angeles.



1952 - "Viva Zapata" and modern transportation in a great March shot located by Ken McIntyre.



1952 - This seems to be taken during the run of "The Outcasts of Poker Flat" according to Kurt Wahlner. It was a May 9 opening. It's on the Facebook page Historical Pictures of Los Angeles, a contribution of Sebi Garcia. Thanks!



1952 - "The African Queen" in June at the Chinese. The photo was a post on the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page by Gianpiero F. Leone.



1952 - It's an Associated Press file photo that appeared with Sandy Cohen's 2017 AP article "Chinese Theatre marks 90 years as a Hollywood glamour hotspot."



1952 - Another Associated Press file photo that appeared with article "Chinese Theatre marks 90 years as a Hollywood glamour hotspot" on the AP website. 



1952 - A look at the east side of the theatre from the Classic Los Angeles section of the Kingsley Collection.



1952 - A November shot from the Kurt Wahlner collection. "Bloodhounds of Broadway" and "Mr. Walkie Talkie" opened at the Chinese the last week of November. Thanks, Kurt. Visit his Grauman's Chinese 1952 page for a list of every film to play the theatre that year.



1953 - A classic postcard featuring the Chinese from the Steven Otto collection that appeared on Photos of Los Angeles. About the photo on the top half Steven notes: "Hollywood Blvd. in 1953, judging from the double feature at the Hollywood Theater (‘Salome’ and ‘The Girl Next Door’). The radio towers atop Warner Bros. Theater spell CINERAMA in yellow neon."



1953 - Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler on Flickr for this version of the Hollywood card that appears in his great Paper Ephemera collection. Same photo on top but a different view of the Chinese underneath.



1953 - The premiere of "Shane" on June 4th. It was presented on a new "gigantic panoramic screen" with stereo sound ("The Sound Follows the Action") from a separate 35mm dubber. The photo is from Bob Furmanek's 3D Film Archive site's page "Shane" in Widescreen. Also see his fine Widescreen Documentation article for more details about the era's changes in presentation and how "Shane" was cropped to make it a widescreen movie.



1953 - A look at the Chinese shortly after the premiere of "Shane." It's on Vintage Los Angeles from the Richard Wojcik collection.



1953 - Another view located by Ken McIntyre taken during the run of "Shane." It's a photo in the USC Digital Library collection from the Automobile Club of Southern California.  It also can be seen in the Flickr album A Box of Pictures.



1953 - Thanks to Hector Acuna on the page for the non-public Facebook group Mid Century Modern Los Angeles for this great "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes" shot. The film, "Presented on Our New Gigantic Panoramic Screen," opened July 31 for an 8 week run.

Also see a Herald Examiner photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection showing a promotional stunt for the show of pickets carrying signs like "Unfair to Brunettes and Redheads."



1953 - The Cinemascope signage being installed by Luminart. This wonderful shot was once posted on Flicker by Angel Gabrielle but seems to have vanished from that site.



1953 - A nighttime view of the sign in action for the first Cinemascope picture, "The Robe." It's the premiere night, September 24. The photo appears on the site on epnet.com.

Another view of the premiere for "The Robe" is in the collection of Hollywood Historic Photos. The AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann collection has one premiere view with a credit to Marc Wanamaker and another premiere photo from the Gina Zamparelli collection.



1953 - A December photo from the Richard Wojcik collection on Vintage Los Angeles. Richard credits the photo to OERM/Walter Abennseth. In addition to Richard's 2012 post, the shot also had a 2014 re-post, another later in 2014 and another in 2015.



1953 - A detail of the Cinemascope signage from an image that appeared on Shorpy. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for spotting it. He had it as a post on Photos of Los Angeles. Also see a "Robe" color signage detail on Flickr taken by George Mann.



1953 - The second Cinemascope film to hit theatres was "Beneath the 12 Mile Reef," opening December 11 for an eight week run. It's a photo from the Los Angeles Public Library collection.



1953 - Even better -- a color view from Richard Wojcik on Vintage Los Angeles. On a re-post Richard notes that Red Car service on Hollywood Blvd. would end in 1954. He credits the photo to Roger Bogenberger / Pacific Electric Railway Historical Society.



1953 - An entrance detail taken during the run of "Beneath the Twelve Mile Reef." Thanks to Sean Ault for the photo.



1954 - "Hollywood Home of Cinemascope" is on the sidewall in this postcard from the now-vanished website Yesterday L.A. "King of the Khyber Rifles" is the feature. It opened February 4 for a four week run.



1954 - A view of the "Prince Valiant" signage from Martin Hart's terrific website American Widescreen Museum. Don't miss the site's Cinemascope section -- this view is from page 1. The film opened April 2 and ran five weeks.



1954 - Thanks to Richard Wojcik for this shot from the run of "River of No Return" with Marilyn Monroe and Robert Mitchum. It was a post on Vintage Los Angeles. The film opened May 5 and ran six weeks.



1954 - A lovely view from Richard Wojcik on Vintage Los Angeles. The Red Car is stopping to let moviegoers off to see "Broken Lance."  It was running for five weeks beginning July 30.


 
1954 - A look west on the Boulevard toward the Chinese running "The Egyptian" with Victor Mature, Gene Tierney and Jean Simmons. The photo appears on Biff Ray Rock's Noirish Los Angeles post #8546.  It's also on Flickr. The film premiered September 1.



1954 - A great 3 minute compilation of 50s Hollywood footage "Hollywood 1950s Theatres Clubs Restaurants" features the Chinese, Egyptian, Moulin Rouge and more. The footage is from Producers Library and appears on YouTube from Soap Box Productions.



1954 - A street view looking east from the USC Digital Library. It's a Dick Whittington Studio photo. The Chinese is running "There's No Business Like Show Business" with Ethel Merman, Marilyn Monroe and Donald O'Connor. It opened December 24 for an eight week run.

The Grauman's Chinese pages: 
| Chinese overview | back to top - 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 | 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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