Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 226 - 237 of 237 comments

jhimom
jhimom on December 8, 2003 at 2:43 pm

Box employees union is looking for info on roadshow movie houses of the 50’s and 60’s. If you can help, e-mail Barbara at
Thanks

sdoerr
sdoerr on November 28, 2003 at 4:12 pm

Wow! It would be nice to check out this! I love the Egyptian deco!

William
William on November 11, 2003 at 5:43 pm

The walls of the auditorium were of the same faux-stone as the exterior, with bas-relief sculptures of Egyptian figures carved into the stone. Unfortunately, all of this detail has been covered over with sound absorbing tiles. The ceiling of the auditorium was atmosphic, meant to evoke the feeling of being in a temple courtyard at night. It is painted a deep blue, and if you look closely you can still see the gold stars painted on this fiels of blue. The real glory of the auditorium was the front proscenium area. The detail here began with elaborately painted columns rising from the orchestra pit. Between the two columns on each side of the pit was a large Sphinx figure on a pedestal. Above the columns were horizontal stepped beams rising toward the center of the proscenium, again with incredibly detailed hieroglyphic designs. This was further topped by the gold scarab and six golden swans which are still visible today. Unfortunately, except for the scarab and the sunburst above, all of the proscenium detailed was removed in 1969 when the proscenium was widened for the installation of a Dimension-150 screen.
Today, the ceiling sunburst is the most arresting detail in the auditorium. This cast plaster sunburst radiates out from the top of the proscenium, backlit by hidden bulbs which shine through the open grillwork. Like the Chinese, this pierced grill served not only as decoration, but also as the mouthpiece of the Wurlitzer. The pipes of the Wurlitzer pipe organ were housed in two large rooms located in the ceiling above the orchestra pit. These rooms opened onto the small attic area above the sunburst. The curved ceiling of this area directed the sound through the sunburst into the auditorium.
The long run policy continued at the Egyptian until July 1927, shortly after the opening of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre a few blocks away. During the 30’s-40’s the theatre was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres. In 1949 the theatre was acquired by United Artists chain and was extensively remodeled. The entrance with a canopy that represented the Nile River and other alterations took place.
The theatre ran first run policy day-and-date with UA’s downtown house. The long run policy was revived to some extent into the 70’s when Roadshow pictures ran for many months at the Egyptian.
During the 1969 remodel, United Artists closed the theatre briefly, jackhammered out most of the proscenium, the orchestra pit and the stage floor in order to install a Dimension-150 screen equal in size to that of the Cinerama Dome and the Chinese. Much of the unique charm of the auditorium was lost in this insensitive remodel. The screen and speakers now extend nearly to the back wall of the stage, which originally was 30 feet deep and 75 feet from side to side. The D-150 screen was around 90 feet wide.

William
William on November 11, 2003 at 5:05 pm

The 1922 Egyptian was Sid Grauman’s first Hollywood venture outside of the downtown Los Angeles area. It was also the first major movie palace built in Hollywood, and signaled the begining of Hollywood Boulevard as a first-run rival to the downtown houses. When the theatre was announced in September 1920, it was described as Spanish inside and out, with red tile roof and archways. By the time final plans were drafted, an Egyptian craze had begun to sweep Los Angeles, and Grauman was only too happy to jump aboard. The completed theatre, opened on October 18, 1922 with Douglas Fairbanks picture “Robin Hood” and a stage prologue featuring many costumes from the movie. Grauman had already shown an interest in middle eastern themes with the imposing faux stone interior of the Million Dollar and the remodel of the Rialto in a Persian or Byzantine style. He was also planning the downtown Metropolitan Theatre at the same time the Egyptian was being built, and the Metropolitan was probably the most eclectic and stylized of his theatres. In comparison, the Egyptian is a much purer design, probably owing to the limitations of its name as well as the fact that the architect of his other three theatres, William Lee Woolett, was not chosen for the Egyptian. Instead, Grauman called upon the building firm of Meyer and Holler. They produced a design which was unprecedented for a major theatre. Instead of the usual practice of entering the lobby directly from the street under an overhanging marquee, the Egyptian had an open-air forecourt 160 feet long and 45 feet wide lined with shops on one side.
From there, patrons entered a foyer fronted by huge columns reminiscent of an Egyptian temple. The box office was located here, and patrons could purchase advance tickets for either of the two performances each day. All seats were reserved and could be purchased at the box office, by mail or at Baker Brothers downtown store. Grauman proved with this theatre that he could be successful with only two performances per day by charging the prices of legit theatres, offering a film and a stage show, and running a picture on an exlusive basis for many months. “Robin Hood” ran at the Egyptian from October 18, 1922 until the first week of April 1923.

The below description of the theatre, is what it looked like during the theatres golden era.
In keeping with the style of an Egyptian temple, the exterior was very imposing, with little ornamentation. The outside faux-stone wall were a warm, dusty pink, with a few hieroglyphic-style paintings. The interior of the auditorium was where Grauman let the Egyptian style run wild. Like the Chinese, when one enters the auditorium there seems to be a balcony overhead. However, it is only the old projection booth and private boxes, since the theatre never had a balcony. The ceiling of this under-balcony area is still decorated with some of the original stencil painting.

jerryhollywoodnobody
jerryhollywoodnobody on November 8, 2003 at 12:00 pm

cinematreasuresm is a very good website but among missing topics is a section on screen size! Where are the biggest size screens?

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on November 7, 2003 at 10:58 pm

The restoration of this theatre doesn’t even come close to what this theatre looked like even in the 60’s. The earthquake is no excuse on how this theatre looks today. The theatre looks the way it looks because American Cinematheque thought this would be hip and the cutting edge in cinema presentation and sound. They got what they wanted because the presentation and sound is excellent but the auditorium is boring. I believe 6 million was spent on both The Chinese restoration and The El Capitan. The Pantages cost between 10-12 million. The Downtown Orpheum according to sources cost around 4 million for its restoration. I have been told the Egyptian could be returned to its original state. I love the programing and I love what American Cinematheque stands for but I am not in love with the way the theatre looks it was a major letdown. brucec

edward
edward on October 22, 2003 at 6:08 am

Due to significant damage from the1994 Northridge earthquake and vandalism, the auditorium of the Egyptiam required major rehabilitation. The steel structure now seen in the auditorium is required to reinforce the building structure. What was left of the original auditorium decor was saved and restored. The additions of the late 50’s (in particular the marquee) were demolished and the courtyard restored. Perhaps not an accurate restoration of the original, but a successful renovation by the American Cinematheque of a neglected Hollywood movie palace.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on October 21, 2003 at 10:28 pm

I saw many films at the Egyptian through the years. Im glad the theatre has been preserved but I am dissapointed in the renovation for the amount of money spent. The renovation at the Chinese is far superior. The best seat in the house is in the new balcony. I have been around the world and have seen restoration where new meets old done with more sensitivity and a lot less money. I am happy with the programming that has been brought to the Egyptian. Bruce

Senorsock
Senorsock on January 23, 2003 at 5:32 pm

I suppose this is better than no Egyptian at all. They tore up the front of the house and made the auditorium much shorter to accommodate a larger lobby. Rather then renovate, they built a new theater within the old one. It’s disappointing at best.

William
William on October 10, 2002 at 8:34 am

When the Egyptian open it seated 1771 people. During the 30’s-late 40’s, The Egyptian was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres. The theatre was reseated around 1947-48 , this reduced the seating to 1538 people. During the 40’s to early 60’s, this was MGM’s showcase house in Hollywood. Also during that time the Egyptian theatre installed the TODD-AO film system. For the Roadshow opening of “OKLAHOMA”. Other Roadshow films shown at the Egyptian were “Ben-Hur”, “Mutiny on the Bounty”, “My Fair Lady” (which ran for 2 years), “Funny Girl” (which was the last to run). In the late 60’s the Egyptian installed a D150 film projection system for the opening of “Patton”, But “Patton” opened over at the Pacific’s Beverly Hill’s theatre (which was the old Warner Beverly Hills). During the 60’s, till the theatre closed it was run by United Artists theatres. During that time UA made a twin theatre out of a store just to the east side of the theatre. During the 70’s-90’s, the Egyptian was the showcase house for 20th Century Fox Pictures. Today American Cinematheque has returned the Egyptian back to the style and respect, these movie palaces should have in every city. No matter how big or how small. Now the next house to restore is the old Warner Theatre in Hollywood. If you loved what they did to the Egyptian, then the Warner/Pacific will blow you away. It been 24 years since the Pacific covered and redraped that house.

TomDavis
TomDavis on June 17, 2001 at 1:41 pm

I attended the world premier of “Ben-Hur” at The Egyptian.

gvg3
gvg3 on February 22, 2001 at 12:20 pm

What a Beautiful Theater. Now this is how I would love to watch todays movies! The old with the new! Can’t beat that, lets go to the Movies!