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Egyptian Theatre: the forecourt

6712 Hollywood Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90028 | map |

The Egyptian Theatre pages: an overview | Hollywood Blvd. views 1922-1954 | Hollywood Blvd. 1955-present | forecourt | lobby - earlier views | lobby - recent views | auditorium - earlier views | auditorium - recent views | booth | backstage | Egyptian 2 & 3 | along Las Palmas Ave. | along McCadden Place

1922 - Sid selling tickets for the first show. It's a photo that appeared in the October 14 issue of Exhibitors Herald. It's on Internet Archive. Note that the light fixtures hadn't yet been installed above the ticket windows and we have temporary wiring draped out of the box at the center one. The Herald's caption: 

"Sid Grauman sheds his coat and becomes 'highest salaried' ticket seller in the world. Picture snapped at opening of box office of Grauman's new Hollywood theatre. Douglas Fairbanks buys first tickets for dedicatory performance, October 18, which marks world premiere of star's United Artists attraction 'Douglas Fairbanks in Robin Hood.' Fairbanks will personally direct the presentation of his new special on Broadway, after which it will be road-showed in larger cities." 
 
The photo was taken by Joseph C. Milligan. He shot several others of Fairbanks at the theatre before the opening. His 1922 city directory listing advertises him as "Commercial, Flashlight, Publicity and View Photographer." His business was located in the Mason Opera House Building. 
 


1922 - Douglas Fairbanks in one of the display cases. It's most likely a photo taken by J.C. Milligan. Thanks to Phillip Aguirre for locating this for a post on the Photos of Los Angeles private Facebook group.
 
 

1922 - Floral tributes arrayed at the entrance the day of the opening. It's a photo that appeared with "First Pictures of Opening of Grauman's Hollywood Theatre," a full page spread in the November 4 issue of Exhibitors Herald. It's on Internet Archive. They noted that the decor at "Grauman's new Egyptian film temple" was "distinctive and elaborate, though reserved."

 

1922 - The Egyptian's October 18 opening night crowd -- and the first Hollywood premiere. The film was "Robin Hood" with Douglas Fairbanks. This photo appeared in the November 4 issue of Exhibitors Herald.
 
 

1922 - It's another opening night photo from the November 4 issue of Exhibitors Herald. Left to right it's Jesse L. Lasky, vice-president of Paramount; Fred Niblo, director, who was also master of ceremonies for the evening; Enid Bennett, who played Maid Marian in 'Robin Hood'; Los Angeles Mayor George Cryer; an unidentified woman -- perhaps Sid's mother, and Sid.
 

1922 - Images from the opening that appeared in the November 11 issue of Exhibitors Herald. It's on Internet Archive. Thanks to Mary Mallory for locating this for a post on the Hollywood Heritage Facebook page. The Herald's caption: 
 
"Picture at left shows holdout crowd at opening of Grauman's new Egyptian theatre in Hollywood. Right view shows long shot of exterior from end of Egyptian court. Cecil B. DeMille, Paramount producer, in a speech at the dedicatory performance, said: 'Every producer of motion pictures welcomes the advent of Sid Grauman and men like him, men who have taken the word showmanship and shoved it into capital letters. Sid Grauman and the scores of showmen of his ilk all over America, work on audiences like a tuner with a piano. They tune the public to the picture they are presenting.'" 
 

 
1922 - The crowd heading in for the "dedicatory performance." The photo is in the Herald Examiner collection of the Los Angeles Public Library. It's also been on the SoCal Historic Architecture private Facebook group as a post of Nile Hight and on the Water and Power Associates Museum page "Early L.A. Buildings (1900-1925) page 3."
 


1922 - A postcard view of the new theatre's forecourt in the California State Library collection. Note that the signage isn't saying "Egyptian" yet. 


1922 - A look at the east doors in the forecourt from the October 27, 1922 issue of the local newspaper "Holly Leaves." That caption reads: "Grauman's Hollywood Theater -- Las Palmas Entrance. Showing Egyptian motif as carried out in open court by Meyer and Holler, the Architects." Thanks to Cezar Del Valle for the find, included in his Theatre Talks blog post about Grauman's Egyptian

The Meyer and Holler plans for the building show the doors actually opening and that Grauman had an easement through the adjoining property. Those two doorways under the stairs led to restrooms.  
 

1922 - "The Usherial staff as costumed during run of the production." The photo appeared with an article in the December 2, 1922 issue of Exhibitors Herald about the theatre's initial promotional push prior to the opening of "Robin Hood." It's on Internet Archive.


1922 - A peek through the columns in a view in the USC Digital Library collection from the California Historical Society. The photo was used as part of an ad for California Stucco.

"Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, California, famous the world over for its unique, distinctive Egyptian architecture, is finished with California Stucco. This remarkable structure vividly portrays the possibilities of this material, for the architect can produce in California Stucco almost any architecture he can conceive. Grauman's Egyptian Theater was designed and built by Meyer & Holler, Inc., of Los Angeles."



1922 - A view from the USC Digital Library collection taken during the run of "Robin Hood." This was used as part of the same ad for California Stucco as the photo above. Grauman had added a couple big pots to the look since the opening.



c.1922 - The forecourt's steps to nowhere --"Stairs like those that run to roof tops in distant Asia Minor give access to the planes above, where one may view the front of the decorated theater from a charming angle."

The photo was included in "A Theater Designed in the Egyptian Style," an article by Frederick Jennings in the March 1923 issue of Architect and Engineer about the new theatre that featured forecourt views, auditorium photos, and a floorplan. It's on Internet Archive.



c.1922 - Looking out from the entrance into the forecourt "which would have delighted the eye of Cheops himself." Those are the boxoffice windows over on the right. The photo is from the March 1923 issue of Architect and Engineer. It's on Internet Archive.


 
c.1922 - The forecourt from the street. It's a photo in the New York Public Library collection. The shot was included in the article about the theatre in the March 1923 issue of Architect and Engineer, where it comes with the following caption: "Lined on the right with palm trees and potted plants that embower a sparkling fountain, the transmosaic left martials a row of Oriental shops that will delight the theater's patrons."
 


c.1922 - Thanks to the superb Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection, now owned by the McAvoy family, for this forecourt view.  Mr. Torrence is the author of "Hollywood, The First 100 Years," available on Amazon, and the 2012 book "The Hollywood Canteen." He's the grandson of legendary Hollywood developer C.E. Toberman, who built the El Capitan, Egyptian, and Chinese theatres, along with many other landmark buildings.



c.1922 - A west wall photo from the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection. The site has over 30 additional photos of the theatre to browse.



c.1922 - A fine postcard look at the forecourt's west wall. The suspicion is that the "Egyptian" lettering for the card was added by an artist to an earlier photo. Note that we don't yet have that little readerboard up on the roof -- it got installed before the "Egyptian" did. It's a card in the California State Library collection.


c.1922 - The Egyptian usherettes. It's a famous card that shows up in many collections. Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for sharing this image of the copy he has. The same card elsewhere: California State Library | All Posters | David and Noelle's Movie History | Found Image Press | Art.com | Gary Parks comments:

"This wall is the one wall in the whole theatre that depicts a full scene, and inscription, completely copied from an Egyptian original. The glyphs carry the names and titles of 18th Dynasty Pharaoh, Menkheperre Thutmose III, who is shown being escorted in an apparent ritual by the deities Set and Horus. The style here is consistent with the rather whimsical take on Egyptian wall paintings exhibited throughout the whole building, which lends a fantasy feel that an academically accurate approach would have lacked."



 
1923 - A dinosaur in the forecourt. The photo appeared in the March 31 issue of Exhibitors Herald with the caption: "Original dinosaur used in Cecil B. DeMille's Paramount picture 'Adam's Rib,' is placed at Sid Grauman's Egyptian theatre, Hollywood, to advertise run of picture at Grauman's Rialto, Los Angeles." The film's L.A. premiere was February 24. Thanks to Jean Hunter for the find. She added the item as a comment to a post of a "Don Juan" premiere photo posted by Richard Adkins on the Hollywood Heritage Facebook page
 

1923 - A look in toward the "Adam's Rib" dinosaur from the street. It's a shot from the Marc Wanamaker collection that appears in Angus Wall's Netflix documentary "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre." Thanks to April Wright for spotting a post of the image on a "What's New on Netflix" page on the site Tribute.ca. Check out April's Going Attractions... page on Facebook.

 

 
1923 - The display at the right was advertising "The Covered Wagon," the second film to play the theatre. It opened April 10 and ran almost eight months. It's a postcard in the California State Library collection, their catalog #15286970205115. Note the drapes at the sides of the entrance.
 
 

1923 - A teepee and a stagecoach to promote "The Covered Wagon." Sid's prologue was titled "Pioneer Days." By this time they had added the little single-line readerboard on the roof above the entrance. It appears to be advertising something on May 9. It's a photo from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives. Thanks to April Clemmer for sharing it. Visit her April's Old Hollywood site for information on the events and walking tours she hosts.


1923 - A postcard based on a photo taken during the run of "The Covered Wagon." The title is seen in the display frame on the right. Thanks to Brian Michael McCray for sharing this one from his collection. Also see a version with slightly different coloration from Cezar Del Valle's Theatre Talks collection. The California State Library also has a version of this one.



1923 - A wider view taken during the run of "The Covered Wagon." It's a Los Angeles Public Library photo. A version of this one is also in the collection of the L.A. County Museum of Natural History. The readerboard on the roof in both this shot as well as in the postcard above reads "East Long Beach Night." Scott Collette did the research and discovered the the night in question was September 4. Pacific Electric ran special trains from Long Beach. The Long Beach Press-Telegram, a sponsor of the event, sold 1,400 tickets and touted the excursion as a great success in a September 5 story.
 

1923 - A Navajo blanket weaver as part of an exhibit in the forecourt during the run of "The Covered Wagon." It's a postcard in the California State Library collection.
 

c.1923 - An ad for the Russwin hardware that was employed at the Egyptian. Thanks to the Ronald W. Mahan Collection for sharing this image of the ad.  
 
 
 
1923/24 - Checking out a "Pharoah's Chariot" used in Cecil B. DeMille's "The Ten Commandments." It was the third film to play the theatre, opening December 4, 1923 for a seven month run.  The image is one that appears in the trailer for "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre," a documentary made by Angus Wall for Netflix to show at the theatre's 2023 reopening. See the trailer on YouTube. The forecourt was frequently used to display artifacts from the film being shown. It's a tradition that continued as late as "Alien" (1979).
 

1923/24 - Estelle Taylor, one of the stars of "Ten Commandments," posing with some of the theatre's usherettes in a Pharoah's Litter from the film. Thanks to April Clemmer for sharing this photo from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives

 

1923/24 - "Positively No Free List." It's a promotional photo for "The Ten Commandments" featuring actors Estelle Taylor and Noah Beery that's on display in the Egyptian's lobby. It appears in "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre," the eleven minute documentary made by Angus Wall to celebrate the theatre's reopening. See the trailer on YouTube. The photo is from the Cecil B. DeMille Photographs collection at the Margaret Herrick Library of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.



1924 - The forecourt decorated for the run of "The Thief of Bagdad." It was the fourth film to play the Egyptian, opening July 10. The photo, in the Los Angeles Public Library collection, comes from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives. The photo also appears in the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection.



1924 - A young lady getting her snapshot taken with one of the elephants in the forecourt for "The Thief of Bagdad." Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for sharing the photo from his collection. Visit his website on that other little Grauman house down the street: GraumansChinese.org



 
1924 - The entrance lettering -- with a new "Egyptian" line added. It's a photo in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Note the little readerboard at the top telling us that "The Thief of Bagdad" is still playing. Also see several shots taken during the run of this film that appear on the street views page.
 

1925 - A January 11 L.A. Times article commented on the "great register" in the forecourt where visitors could leave their name and address. Also of note was "The Little City," a forecourt attraction featuring Lilliputians, who would also appear on stage in the prologue before the film "Romola."

1925 - A view of the Liliputians mentioned in the article above as appearing in the prologue to "Romola." The photo by J.C. Milligan was used in this card from the California State Library collection. On the back of the card: 
 
"Souvenir from Grauman's Egyptian Theatre, Hollywood Blvd. & McCadden Place, Hollywood - California. Sid Grauman presents 'The Lilliputians' who will be seen on the stage in a most novel attraction every afternoon and evening."
 
 

1925 - A big gathering to celebrate the opening of "The Iron Horse," a John Ford epic from Fox that opened February 21. Presumably this was the cast of the Grauman prologue. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for sharing the photo from his collection. Visit his extraordinary website for Grauman's Chinese: www.graumanschinese.org
 
Kurt notes that the sign on the left says: "BEFORE THE COMING OF 'THE IRON HORSE' the Historic Stage Coach was the only transportation of the plains. This one made its final trip from Atchinson, Kansas to Cheyenne in 1869 on the picturesque Overland Trail. Loaned to Grauman’s Egyptian by courtesy Union Pacific Railway."

The sign in the middle says: "AN EVENT of utmost historic significance to Hollywood is the bringing here from the Capital in Sacramento of the most prized possession of the State of California, The Original 'IRON HORSE,' the first engine to cross the plains, 1863-68, feeling its way as just ahead the track layers battled hostile Indians and wintry weather to weld east and west to unite America."

 
 
1925
- Sioux Indians who appeared in "The Iron Horse" posing for publicity shots. Thanks to Marc Wanamaker for sharing this photo from his collection. It's one of many rare images featured in "Hollywood's Trains & Trolleys," the 2019 book Marc co-wrote with Josef Lesser. It's available from Amazon or your local bookseller. 
 
Marc notes that Sid arranged with the Central Pacific to transport the C.P. Huntington locomotive from Sacramento to Los Angeles. At the Sherman yards it was transferred to a Pacific Electric flatcar for the run down Hollywood Boulevard. A crane moved it into the forecourt. Ramon Vdp comments that this particular locomotive, now residing at Sacramento's California State Railroad Museum, isn't one seen in the film. Wikipedia has an article about it. 



1925 - A shot spotted on eBay by Kurt Wahlner that was taken a month into the run. Written on the back was the date March 22, 1925. 
 
 

1925 - There's a Bedouin patrolling on the roof. It's the last two weeks for "The Iron Horse." The image comes from film footage in the collection of Hollywood Heritage that showed the locomotive coming down the Red Car tracks on a flatcar but, sadly, didn't include shots of the crane lifting it into the forecourt. Thanks to April Clemmer for sharing this version of the shot that's from the Marc Wanamaker collection. Visit her April's Old Hollywood site for information on the events and walking tours she hosts. 



1925 - It's a shot taken during the run of Charlie Chaplin's "The Gold Rush," a film that opened June 26 and ran until the end of October. Sid used a version of this employing black and gold inks as a souvenir for the theatre's 3rd anniversary. It's a photo from Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives that April Clemmer shared in a presentation about the theatre's history.  
 
 

1925 - This lovely postcard view with a cameo of Sid is based on the "Gold Rush" shot above, although the card artist rendered the readerboard unintelligible. The image is from a copy in the California State Library collection. Theirs was published in 1930, although Sid was no longer associated with the theatre by then. The Los Angeles Public Library has a black and white copy.

 

1925 - A card in the New York Public Library collection that has the appearance of being derived from the same photo as the one above. What's playing? Well, the readerboard isn't helpful. For this card it just says "Twice Daily," perhaps something added by the photo retoucher. A version of the card appears in Elizabeth Fuller's Old Los Angeles Postcards collection on Flickr. And there's another version with somewhat different coloring in the California State Library collection.

On the right note a platform in front of the mural. At the front of it there's a throne and a seated pharoah-like figure. Atop a lectern behind the figure was the "great register" for visitors to sign. It was also out for several other engagements including "The Ten Commandments," "Romola," "Don Juan," and "Old Ironsides." 


c.1925 - Usherettes at the podium in front of the west wall mural. But here there's no registry book. In this shot they seem to be in awe of some early Egyptian appliance. Thanks to the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection for the image, their #T-018-16. Among the 34 images indexed under "Egyptian" in their archive you'll find two more shots at the podium but in those views people are signing the registry book.


 
1925 - The forecourt on November 5 for the premiere for "The Big Parade." Thanks to Margot Gerber for sharing the photo in a Facebook post celebrating the theatre's 100th anniversary. Earlier Carol Momsen posted it on the Photos of Los Angeles private Facebook group. You can see the Egyptian's program for "The Big Parade" and the Grauman Prologue on Silent Film Still Archive.
 
 

1925 - A Bedouin patrolling the parapet. Thanks to Kurt Wahlner for spotting this shot in a group of photos on sale on eBay. Visit his site about the Chinese: www.graumanschinese.org. We're looking east with the buildings of Hollywood and Vine in the distance in the upper left. In the lower left it's a bit of the tile roof above the entrance. In the lower right they're completing the building at 1638 Las Palmas, still there just south of the former Las Palmas Theatre. The photo went out to newspapers with a December 30 date and this caption: 
 
"This man, walking the top ledge of Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood in resplendent regalia, has the only job of its kind in the world. All he has to do is walk back and forth all day long to add a bizarre and colorful touch to the famous showhouse. He has had the job for more than a year."
 


c.1925 - Welcoming the Pacific National Bank and Goodyear Rubber. It's a fine view of the original entrance doors from the Marc Wanamaker collection that makes an appearance in "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre," the mini-doc by Angus Wall. See the trailer on YouTube. Note that there was an entrance vestibule -- we can see in toward the inner set of doors. Also see a detail for a better view of that curious rolling cart.
 

1925 - Thanks to Marc Wanamaker's Bison Archives for this shot taken during the run of "The Big Parade." They were filming in the forecourt for "Mummy Love," a short produced by Joe Rock released by Film Booking Office on January 10, 1926. Steve Massa notes: 

"The director sitting in the chair is Marcel Perez (standing behind him is Joe Rock's brother Murray), and the actors doing the acting are Yorke Sherwood, Neely Edwards, Alice Ardell and Fred Peters." 

Thanks to Woody Wise for sharing this fine version of the photo in a 2023 Facebook post. It appears on page 44 of the 2010 the Arcadia Publishing book "Location Filming in Los Angeles" by Karie Bible, Marc Wanamaker and Harry Medved. There's a preview on Google Books. The Los Angeles Public Library also has this one on their website. 
 
 

1926 - "Realtors Have Night at Show" was the heading for this photo by J.C. Milligan that appeared in the January issue of Los Angeles Realtor. Thanks to the Special Collections division of the Los Angeles Public Library for making the issue available. The Realtors were there to show appreciation to Sid for providing several numbers from the show's prologue for an entertainment they gave recently. Some of the copy:  

"AT THE BIG PARADE - Left to right: Herman Sims, Secretary Tom Ingersoll, Ruth Roland, President George Coffin. A party of about 300 man and women made up a party representing the Board at 'Realty Board Night' at Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, Monday evening, January 11th. Prior to the prologue which preceded the presentation of The Big Parade, Sid Grauman made an address of welcome after which he introduced Ruth Roland, film star. Miss Roland who operates extensively in  Los Angeles real estate declared her faith in the future of Southern California ..." 

1926 - The May 14 double premiere of Mary Pickford's "Sparrows" plus "The Black Pirate" with Douglas Fairbanks and Billie Dove. It's a photo by J.C. Milligan in the Los Angeles Public Library collection, a donation from Marc Wanamaker. Also see a somewhat cropped version, credited to the late Steve McAvoy, that appeared with "The Egyptian Theatre is Celebrating 100 Years of Movie Magic," a birthday post on the Netflx Tudum blog. The photo also appears on the website of the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection, their #PRM--004-4.


1926 - The long view down the forecourt for the premiere of "Sparrows" and "The Black Pirate." The little readerboard says "Doug and Mary Premiere Tonight." The photo by J.C. Milligan is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The premiere photo also appears in the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection. Among the site's array of Egyptian Theatre photos you'll also find a shot taken the night of the premiere with the crowd looking in from the street.

The version of the photo in the AMPAS Tom B'hend and Preston Kaufmann Collection notes that it was supplied by Marc Wanamaker. It's also on Wikipedia where they have it mistakenly dated as 1922. See the Wikipedia article on Grauman's Egyptian for a nice history of the building.


 
1926 - A model of the ship used in "The Black Pirate." It's a photo from the California Historical Society in the USC Digital Library collection. Pat Saperstein's November 2023 Variety portfolio "Photos: Hollywood's Stunning Egyptian Theatre Renovation" includes a version of the shot where it's credited to the Howard MandelBaum/Everett Collection. It's actually a version of this wider view from the Netflix collection. The McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection has another wide view of the ship taken from out in the street but with different spectators. 
 
 

 
1926 - The Egyptian was the first Los Angeles theatre to be wired for Vitaphone and hosted the west coast premiere of Warner's feature "Don Juan," opening August 20 for about a three month run. Initially they ran the silent version, then did a second premiere on October 27 for the one with an added Vitaphone sound and effects track.  
 
This shot of the second premiere was used by Warner Bros. in promoting the film. Thanks to Richard Adkins of Hollywood Heritage for the photo, a post on the Hollywood Heritage Facebook page. Also see a fine street view of the premiere from Netflix that appears in "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre," a documentary by Angus Wall for Netflix. Thanks to Pat Saperstein for including the street view in her November 2023 Variety portfolio "Photos: Hollywood's Stunning Egyptian Theatre Renovation."
 

1926 - A signage detail from the "Don Juan" premiere photo. Note the Western Electric PA horns above the little readerboard saying "Warner Bros. Studios." Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for sharing a large scan of the copy of the photo that's in his collection on Flickr. It also appears in the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation Group Pool on Flickr that's curated by Michelle Gerdes. 
 

1926 - Another detail from Eric's "Don Juan" Vitaphone premiere photo that allows us a look at the Sphinxes and other ornaments displayed on top of the forecourt wall. Craig Owens notes that the item on the right appears to be a prop from the Golden Calf scene in DeMille's 1923 "The Ten Commandments." See a Bizarre Los Angeles Archives shot from the film on the site FineArtAmerica. A different view from the film can be seen on the site Pixels.


1926 - A view of the forecourt taken by some uncredited photographer for Life. The photo appears on Google/Life Images. Note "Don Juan" on the readerboard above the entrance. In the lower left is a different location for the podium and the "great register."



1926 - A Life shot looking out toward Hollywood Blvd on Google/Life Images.  In 1927 West Coast Theatres would be running the place as Grauman shifted his attention to the Chinese. West Coast would put a boxoffice out at the street and add signage across the entrance.



1926 - A portion of the forecourt west wall in a view from Google/Life Images.



1926 - We get a look at the theatre's entrance as Sid Grauman hosts a meeting of an early exhibitors organization, the Motion Picture Theatre Owners of America. Thanks to Christopher Crouch on Cinelog for the photo, where he gives it a 1931 date. His 2013 post "The Parallel of MPTOA '31 & NATO '13" discussed the challenges faced by the exhibition industry at the present and at the equally difficult times then. The photo also appears in the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection and in the collection of the Los Angeles Public Library.



c.1927 - A Bedouin atop the roof and a fall moon. The photo appeared with "Life o' the Show-House: Light," an article by Nellie Barnard Parker from the publication "Light" that was reprinted in the February 19, 1927 issue of Exhibitors Herald. Ms. Parker comments:

"Perhaps the most compelling of any of the Los Angeles theatres is Sid Grauman's Egyptian Theatre. Its approach from the street is a long spacious forecourt where patrons are entertained before the performance and during intermissions. It is brilliantly illuminated by forty-five spot lights partially concealed in lotus-lily fixtures. A Libyan Sheik in the long flowing robes of the desert paces methodically back and forth on the roof of the building, outlined in the glare of two spots. An artificial moon adds the romantic touch when the real man in the moon has sojourned to Shanghai. This bit of advertising is both splendid and unusual.

"Usherettes, dressed in the garb of slaves, stand in the foyer under an overhead spot. The playhouse is a replica of a palace of ancient Thebes. Hieroglyphics and symbols abound, clearly discernible under proper lighting. The main luminaire -- a behemoth among fixtures -- is of Egyptian design in colors of gold with golden iridescent rays emanating from an ingenious system of concealed lighting, giving the effect of a colored sunburst. About 3,000 colored lamps give a magical, mystical beauty to this theatre and during the prologues the color effects are marvelously alluring." 

The article also discusses the Orpheum, Carthay Circle and Forum theatres. Thanks to Mike Hume for finding it on Internet Archive. See the page about the Egyptian on Mike's Historic Theatre Photography site for more of his research and photos.  
 

1927 - A motley crew signing the guest register during the run of "Old Ironsides." The film opened January 28. Thanks to the McAvoy/Bruce Torrence Historic Hollywood Photographs collection for the image, their #T-018-10. Among the 34 images indexed under "Egyptian" in the archive you'll find another shot with a group signing the big book during "The Ten Commandments," #T-018-8.


 
1927 - A fine postcard view looking down the forecourt toward the new signage at the street. Next week it'll be "Chang" along with the Fanchon & Marco "Sea Nymphs" Idea. It's in the California State Library collection.
 

1927 - "Where the Stars see the pictures." Thanks to Scott Collette for grabbing this detail from the image above and including it with nine other items for an Egyptian 100th birthday post on his Facebook page Forgotten Los Angeles. Scott notes that "Chang" was a December booking. 
 
 

1928 - A look into the forecourt when the theatre was running "Four Walls," a film with John Gilbert and Joan Crawford that had opened first-run at Loew's State on August 31. The title is up on the readerboard on the roof, along with a cutout of Mr. Gilbert. Take a look back in the left corner for a strange added structure. This shot is from a visit beginning 3:28 into "1920s Hollywood California...," a 5+ minute long Hollywood travelogue on YouTube from Periscope Films. Also see a "Four Walls" shot of the front of the marquee from the same footage.
 

1928 - The added building in front of the "doors to nowhere." It's another shot from the Periscope Films footage. It's unknown what they were doing with this. 
 


1928 - A look back to the street. On the readerboard they were advertising their next attraction: "The Fleet's In" with Clara Bow and James Hall. It's another shot from the 5+ minute Hollywood travelogue from Periscope Films on YouTube. In that footage are views of the Chinese, El Capitan, Warner and other Hollywood sights. Also see a nice view of the front of the marquee when "The Fleet's In" was playing that's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
 
 

c.1937 - A Herman Schultheis photo looking out from the colonnade at the theatre's entrance. It's in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Also see a view Mr. Schultheis took of the top of the columns at the theatre entrance.



1939 - A photo from the September 30 issue of Motion Picture Herald. Thanks to Mike Hume for locating it on Internet Archive. Jean Hunter had added the item as a comment on a thread about the theatre begun by Richard Adkins on the Hollywood Heritage Facebook page. The Herald's caption: 

"Conceived by W.C. Ricord, Jr., for the outer courtyard of the atmospheric Grauman's Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood was the wishing well illustrated below and constructed by the staff. In the bottom are two horseshoes with a bucket hanging above and copy reading: 'Toss your coin in the horseshoe and your wish is sure to come true.' 'Rick' reports that in 11 days he collected $35 and a few slugs."



 
1940s? - A card looking east from Elizabeth Fuller on Flickr. Take a day and browse her wonderful Old Los Angeles Postcards collection -- 686 at last look. A version of this card is also in the collection of the California State Library where they assign it a date of 1925.
 

early 1940s - The cactus garden along the west wall. Thanks to Noirish Los Angeles contributor Ethereal Reality for spotting this snapshot on eBay to share on Noirish post #59151. Tommy Dangcil notes that he's the one who bought it and it's now in his collection. That's the animal cage in the center. Cashier Totty Ames talked about coming to work there in 1943. She's quoted on page 193 of Paul Zollo's 2002 Cooper Square Press book "Hollywood Remembered: An Oral History of its Golden Age." She says: 

"The Egyptian was in excellent condition then. They had just taken the monkeys out when I got there."

Mike Callahan comments: "A courtyard photo I have dated February 1944 shows palm trees, no monkey cages in this location. So, I would guess 1941 to 1943, give or take a few months." Mike located an L.A. Times item from October 8, 1941: "... No matter how often Eddie Albert passes the monkey cages in the forecourt of Grauman's Egyptian, he'll always stop for a contemplative stare."

 

1942 - Another cactus garden snapshot. Thanks to Kim Cooper of Esotouric for finding the photo in the Huntington Library collection for a post on the Esotouric's Secret Los Angeles Facebook page. She also shared it in a post on the LAHTF Facebook page. Esotouric offers provocative and complex bus tours and other events focusing on neglected neighborhoods based on "a simmering stew of original research." 


 
1943 - A view of a G.I. visiting Hollywood contributed to the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page by Gianpiero Leone. He's in a chariot in the Egyptian's forecourt that was the one Eddie Cantor rode in for "Roman Scandals" (1933).
 

1945 - Various props on display along the west wall. And note that scale in the lower right. Thanks to Mick Circeo for sharing this and 7 other Hollywood shots on the Images and Memories of Los Angeles Facebook group. He noted: "My step-grandfather was the only grandfather I knew on my mother’s side. He was on military leave in LA in 1945 after WW2, and took a few snapshots."


1940s? - A view of the boxoffice windows and an Egyptian beast guarding the entrance doors. The photographer is unknown. This area was enclosed and made into new lobby space during the United Artists remodel in 1950. The doors were removed and new glass ones installed out at the column line. Where the statue is in this photo became the niche for a new snackbar.


 
1946 - A look at the east side of the forecourt from the Kurt Wahlner collection. Note the non-Egyptian style flagstone masonry on the added planters. Mr. Wahlner is the curator of GraumansChinese.org, a website devoted to the history of another Sid Grauman showplace, the Chinese.
 

1940s - Looking in on the east side of the canopy. Thanks to Marc Wanamaker for sharing this from his Bison Archives collection. It's one that was used by April Clemmer for a presentation about the theatre's history. Visit her April's Old Hollywood site for information on the events and walking tours she hosts.



1948 - A look toward the entrance, part of a series of shots taken by some happy tourists seeing the sights. Noirish Los Angeles post #25261 includes the whole set. Thanks to Ethereal Reality for finding the photos on eBay.



1950 - United Artists Theatre Circuit gave the Egyptian a major renovation in 1949. "Few Touches Necessary in Brightening The Famous Egyptian Theatre - Reconciling The Pharoahs To '50" headlined a Boxoffice article on page 124 of the March 4, 1950 issue.

"Designed by one of California's leading landscape artists, the pre-entry court of the Egyptian is vivid with the beauty of California's flowers. Interest in the area is highlighted at night by dramatic spotlighting thrown on colorful backgrounds." 
 
 

1951 - A great look at the new boxoffice and forecourt canopy taken by Kurt Hutton that first appeared in the April 28, 1951 issue of Picture Post with an article titled "Two Men in Hollywood." The image from the Hulton Archive appears on the Getty Images site and on Photos.com. It also makes an appearance in the November 2023 Financial Times story "Netflix is unlikely $70mn savior of L.A.'s Egyptian Theatre." Also see another boxoffice shot of similar vintage but looking across the street. 
 

1960s - Looking down the forecourt's covered walkway toward the entrance doors in a premiere shot appearing in "Temple of Film: 100 Years of the Egyptian Theatre," the Netflix documentary by Angus Wall. This shot, as well as other premiere clips, can also be seen in "How Netflix saved iconic Grauman's Egyptian in Hollywood," a November 2023 segment from the Today Show. Thanks to Paul Rayton for spotting it on YouTube.


 
1965 - Thanks to Warren Beckerman for this photo he took looking in toward the entrance doors  during the 68 week  run of "My Fair Lady."
 

1979 - The Space Jockey artifact from "Alien." It was later set afire by vandals. The image by an unknown photographer is one that appears on number of sites including an Alien Explorations page about the engagement at the theatre as well as on the From Script To DVD page about the Egyptian.

1983 - A photo of a display in the doorway formerly leading to Pig 'n Whistle taken by an unknown photographer. It's one from the Cezar Del Valle collection. Mike Callahan notes: 

"The side doors were installed in May 1927 to provide access to patrons of the Egyptian Theater. The entrance was modified in February 1944 to comply with fire safety regulations. Two 'official' historic reports were prepared for the Pig'n Whistle and neither mentions this modification." 

He also comments that the Pig 'N Whistle location in the 1960s was Master Mart, a clothing store, and only became a restaurant again when it was leased to the pizza operation Numero Uno in 1974.


1983 - Another forecourt mural shot from the Cezar Del Valle collection. Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian with a serious enthusiasm for L.A. theatres. You can see what he's been up to recently on his Theatre Talks blog. Thanks, Cezar!



1990s - Allan Ellenberger's 2010 Hollywoodland post "Grauman's Egyptian Theatre Mural" included this pre-restoration view of the west wall mural.

 
 
c.1992 - Looking toward the columns from inside what had become an enlarged lobby as a result of the 1949 renovations. The columns were stripped down to the structural steel and incorporated into the wall we see here. The current columns are from the 1998 restoration work by American Cinematheque. In the murk to the right there's the snackbar with an Egyptian mural overhead. The photo is one from the Cinematheque's collection that was once part of a lobby display. 


 
1997 - The Historic Resources Group, a firm specializing in planning for historic preservation, once had this pre-restoration forecourt view on their site. The were the preservation architects for the American Cinematheque renovations. Project architects were Hodgetts + Fung (Craig Hodgetts, Ming Fung).
 

c.1997 - The boxoffice windows after demolition of the 1949 vintage lobby expansion but before restoration work. It's a photo that appeared, uncredited, with the presentation Netflix made about their renovation plans to the city's Cultural Heritage Commission on January 7, 2021. 
 

c.1997 - The entrance columns getting reconstructed. The columns had been stripped to the steel and the area enclosed for the 1949 renovations done by United Artists. It's a photo frequently seen as part of an American Cinematheque pre-show collage. It also appeared, uncredited, with the presentation Netflix made about their renovation plans to the city's Cultural Heritage Commission on January 7, 2021.


2006 - Thanks to Donna Grayson for sharing this shot looking east on Flickr. It's Included in her Hollywood Set set of over 700 photos.



2006 - A west wall mural detail by Donna Grayson that she posted on Flickr.



2007 - The red carpet rolled out for an event. Photo: Bill Counter



2007 - A view east. Photo: Bill Counter



2009 - An eastern view from the forecourt panorama by Bryan Groulx on the site 360 Cities. Also see the auditorium panorama on the site done by Carel Styuyken. 



2010 - The forecourt at night. Photo: Bill Counter



2010 - Shop spaces in the forecourt -- at the time they were offices for the American Cinematheque. Photo: Bill Counter



2010 - Allan Ellenberger's 2010 Hollywoodland post "Grauman's Egyptian Theatre Mural" included this photo of the west wall mural. His site features current Hollywood news as well as research into lots of historical topics. See his History posts and Hollywood Architecture posts for lots of wonderful items.



c.2012 - The Egyptian's vertical sign, new for the 1998 American Cinematheque renovation. Thanks to former Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page contributor Laurel Canyon Rider for the photo.



2012 - A wide angle forecourt view. Thanks to Wendel Benedetti for his photo, originally appearing on the LAHTF Facebook page.



2012 - A look west toward the mural and the entrance columns. The column are a reconstruction done during the American Cinematheque renovations. In the 50s United Artists had extended the lobby out to the column line and for that project the columns were stripped down to the structural steel.  Photo: Bill Counter



c.2012 - The entrance doors. Obviously not the originals -- but in 1998 the doors were put back where the original doors had been. Thanks to former Vintage Los Angeles Facebook page contributor Laurel Canyon Rider for the photo.



2012 - A night view looking east. The stairs get you to the roof -- if you're hired as a Bedouin to patrol the parapet, as was done in the early days. The doors lead nowhere -- there's a blank wall behind. Thanks to Lin Rhys for the photo.


 
2012 - The signage above the entrance doors. Photo: Lin Rhys
 

2012 - The theatre's 90th Birthday Party on October 18. It's a photo, perhaps taken by Brian Boskind, included in a set of nine shots of the event on a Facebook post by Margot Gerber, former Egyptian Theatre publicist. That's Margot in the center. She notes that she produced the birthday event every year from 1999 until 2019.


2016 - Mural restoration work in the forecourt being done by Silverlake Conservation. It was made possible by a 2016 grant from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association. Thanks to the theatre for the photos - this one and the one below were with an August post on the Egyptian Theatre Facebook page.



2016 - A detail of the 2016 work by Silverlake Conservation. Photo: Egyptian Theatre Facebook page



2016 - Art restorer Nathan working in the forecourt as part of the 2016 upgrade of the building. This photo is just one of many restoration views in the set "KTLA Morning News with Gayle Anderson Visits the Egyptian." The 26 photo set on the Egyptian Facebook page has many shots of forecourt work as well as discussion of roof repairs, lobby improvements and the reworking of the booth.



2016 -  A lovely look along the heads of several Pharoahs toward roof repairs being done above the theatre's entrance. It was an October post on the Egyptian Theatre Facebook page. 



2016 - The forecourt from the top of the east stairs. Photo: Mike Hume



2016 - The columns at the entrance. Photo: Mike Hume



2016 - The reconstructed boxoffice windows left of the entrance doors. Photo: Mike Hume



 
2016 - The door and stairs to nowhere on the east wall. Photo: Mike Hume. Thanks to Mike for all his fine photos. His Egyptian photo set originally appeared on the LAHTF Facebook page. For more treats visit his Historic Theatre Photography website, which includes a page on the Egyptian. You can also find his work on the Historic Theatre Photography Facebook page. 
 

2021 - Alas. The palm trees are gone as Netflix begins their renovations. Thanks to Chris Listak for his July photo.
 

2021 - The entrance columns again stripped down to their steel. In 1949 United Artists had extended the lobby out to that line, removing the original plaster covering. They had been reconstructed for the 1997-1998 American Cinematheque renovations. Photo: Bill Counter - November 15
 

2022 - Building a pyramid. Photo: Bill Counter - January 31
 
 

2022 - Lots of dirt from the big dig inside the auditorium. Photo: Bill Counter - May 2
 

2022 - The size of the pile of dirt would rise and fall depending on what's being excavated inside. Photo: Bill Counter - August 19
 

2022 - It was time to take the tile off the roof and strip the parapet wall down to its structural elements. Photo: Bill Counter - September 16
 

2022 - Perhaps a record high for the dirt pile, much of this representing a huge dig under the lobby to inspect and fortify the foundations in this area. Photo: Bill Counter - October 14
 

2022 - One of the fixtures on the retail wing. One of these was an original, the rest were re-creations for the 1997-98 Cinematheque renovation. Photo: Bill Counter - December 19
 

2022 - The new dig along the retail spaces. Photo: Bill Counter - December 19
 

2023 - The parapet and columns still deconstructed. Photo: Bill Counter - February 21
 

2023 - The view out from the east exit passageway. Photo: Bill Counter - February 21
 

2023 - The rebuilt parapet wall with new stucco and the frame up for the little readerboard on the roof. Photo: Bill Counter - June 9 
 

2023 - A closer look at the sign frame. Photo: Bill Counter - June 9
 

2023 - Putting the entrance columns back together after reinforcement. Photo: Bill Counter - July 26 
 

2023 - The reassembly project from the other side. Photo: Bill Counter - July 26 
 

2023 - Columns reassembled and the tile reinstalled on the roof. There had been problems with leaks previously. Photo: Bill Counter - August 2 
 

2023 - A look in as the theatre gets closer to the reopening. Photo: Bill Counter - September 5 
 

2023 - Storefronts looking like new. The whole wing is a Netflix store and catering kitchen. The stubby concrete pylons in the foreground are part of the new gate. Photo: Bill Counter - September 5
 

2023 - Four men and a fountain. Photo: Bill Counter - September 5 
 
 

2023 - The heads above the gate to nowhere. Thanks to Netflix for the photo. It's one that was taken for them by Yoshihiro Makino. 
 

2023 - A first peek through the construction fence at the new gates. Thanks to roving theatre explorer Stak for the September 24 photo. 
 

2023 - Almost ready to open. Photo: Bill Counter - October 14  
 
 

2023 - The entrance at dusk. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3. The theatre was open for an invitational screening of David Fincher's "The Killer." A November 9 showing of that was the public opening. The American Cinematheque did their own grand opening party with a screening of "Singin' in the Rain" on November 7.
 
 

2023 - A later look in. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3
 


2023 - A more festive evening. It was a community invitational gathering with food, tours, and screenings of the Netflix documentary "Temple of Film." Photo: Mike Hume - November 8, 2023. Don't miss the fine page about the theatre appearing on his Historic Theatre Photography site.
 
 

2023 - The west wall mural. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3
 

2023 - Behind the columns. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3
 
 

2023 - A view from the front doors. Photo: Mike Hume - November 8
 

2023 - The stairs to nowhere. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3
 
 

2023 - A peek into the catering kitchen via the door under the stairs. Photo: Bill Counter - November 8 

2023 - A late night view to the street. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3
 
 

2023 - The Netflix store. Photo: Bill Counter - November 10
 
 

2023 - Looking toward Hollywood Blvd. in the Netflix store. Also see a view in the other direction. Photos: Bill Counter - November 8 
 
 

2023 - The west wall fountain and what had once been a door into Pig 'n Whistle. Photo: Bill Counter - November 12 
 
 

2023 - Tile featuring pigs below the display window.  Photo: Bill Counter - November 12
 
 

2023 - Winged guardians of the fountain. Photo: Bill Counter - November 3

The Egyptian Theatre pages: an overview | Hollywood Blvd. views 1922-1954 | Hollywood Blvd. 1955-present | back to top: forecourt | lobby - earlier views | lobby - recent views | auditorium - earlier views | auditorium - recent views | booth | backstage | Egyptian 2 & 3 | along Las Palmas Ave. | along McCadden Place |

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