TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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trooperboots
trooperboots on February 9, 2005 at 2:28 am

Hi Gustavelifting… I understood it was Norma Talmadge who was being given the tour by Sid Grauman and it was poor Norma who made the mis-step. Her square is very prominant in front of the entrance doorway.

William, that is great information! I also have another tidbit concerning Yul Brynner’s square. At the time of the premier for “The King and I”, which also starred Deborah Kerr, it was said the 2 were not on speaking terms and quite angry with each other because each thought they deserved top billing in the film. Yul apparently was asked to come to place his prints first, so he had his ceremony and wrote “THE KING” along the top of his square in huge letters. When Deborah placed her prints in the cement in a separate ceremony a short time later next to his, she wrote “AND I” in letters that were even larger than Yul’s. If that is a true story, it sure is a good one, because after seeing their squares in person, it looks like it could have happend that way. Her “AND I” is absolutely gigantic! Have you heard that one?

uncleal923
uncleal923 on February 8, 2005 at 9:28 pm

According to the play I mentioned earlier, A DAY IN HOLLYWOOD/ A NIGHT IN THE UKRAINE, Grauman got the idea for the footprints when he accidentally stepped back into wet cement while watching the masons laying the pavement. Is that an accurate account? Did they take artistic liberties?

William
William on February 8, 2005 at 9:16 am

Another square that is missing from the forecourt is the one Charlie Chaplin did in January of 1928 for the opening of his film “The Circus”. At some point during the Senator Joseph McCarthy hearings in the early 1950’s, the hate campaign directed at Chaplin resulted in his square being removed. One story has it that Fox West Coast Theatres the operators of the Chinese Theatre, became tried of the nuisance of cleaning up the daily vandalism of his square.

Also the first square that Jean Hersholt did with the Dionne Quintuplets in October of 1938. Was replaced with a pair of squares for stars Bob Hope and Dorothy Lamour. Jean Hersholt later did a second square in October of 1949.

On Edward Purdom’s square it was later replaced by Yul Brynner’s square. The story has it that Fox West Coast Theatres decreed that Purdom’s square should be removed on “Moral Grounds” as he had become romantically involved with Linda Christan, who at the time was married to (Fox star) Tyrone Power. The affair caused a considerable scandal for the time. And also shows the power and pull of the Studio had.

A set of imprints were done for just promotional purposes for the film “Herbie Goes to Monte Carlo” in 1977 of Herbie the Love Bug car.

trooperboots
trooperboots on February 7, 2005 at 7:16 pm

GrauMann, thanks for the details. I think Rhonda Fleming, who was Mr. Mann’s wife, is still there, but I cannot be sure. She sure was a fine actress, however, and don’t think her name should be removed. Her square was just to the left hand side of the main doorway. She is still on the unofficial map of the forecourt.

William, I recall “The Egyptian”. It was a magnificent technicolor epic which also starred Jean Simmons and Victor Mature. The name of the star was “Edmund Purdom” (who replaced Marlon Brando when he turned down the role). If they took his name away, that’s a real shame. He is still alive and well in Europe and has been living in Rome and has been making films in that country for the last few decades. He will be 80 years old this year. Wouldn’t it be great if we could get him to come back and re-do his slab? “The Egyptian” is available on DVD and even the soundtrack co-written by Bernard Hermann and Alfred Newman is available on Amazon. It’s an incredible score.

William
William on February 7, 2005 at 5:55 pm

There is one name that comes to mind, Edward Purdom that his footprints removed from the forecourt in the late 50’s. He was one of the stars in the Fox Feature “The Egyptian” (1954).

trooperboots
trooperboots on February 5, 2005 at 2:48 pm

Hi Jim and RobertR, As far as I know, no names have been removed to make way for someone else (although it is possible for another reason) and we have never run out of room in the forecourt yet.

If memory serves me, 1 or 2 of the stars did put their prints in the cement, and because it was not prepared correctly those squares crumbled in a short while, so those stars were asked back to put their prints in cement once more, although I don’t believe with a second ceremony. Although there are a couple of hundred stars whos names are imprinted, there is still cement left in the forecourt for more, but the ceremony is now only reserved for major movie stars only (although I am not sure how they judge that criteria).

When the Chinese Theater was restored 3 or 4 years ago, they removed a long awning that ran for many years from the sidewalk to the main entrance… that opened up some concrete patches, then they also removed some palm trees. In these areas, there is new space to add future names.

There is a page that has a map of the forecourt and where to find the stars…. if you look at the map, you will see a light blue area around the footprint squares… that is aprox. how much room is left. Perhaps 2/3 to ¾ of the space has been used so far. It should last a little while longer …..
View link

RobertR
RobertR on February 5, 2005 at 12:17 pm

Jim
I always wondered also how they have not run out of room all these years if they did not move some of them.

JimRankin
JimRankin on February 5, 2005 at 11:40 am

Does anyone know if it is true that various celebrities' names in concrete in the forecort have been removed to allow room for latter day stars' imprints? If so, which?

Ziggy
Ziggy on January 31, 2005 at 7:15 am

Thank you, Christian, for that great photograph. I always enjoy seeing the photos of the stage shows these theatres used to have, even if it’s just to see what I have missed (sigh). “Footlight Parade”, by the way, is one of my favorite films!

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 30, 2005 at 10:52 pm

I found a wonderful photograph of the “Etude Ethiopian Chorus” onstage at Grauman’s Chinese theater performing a live musical prologue that came just before the showing of the movie “TRADER HORN”… the photo is dated 1931….

http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics04/00001962.jpg

There is a movie about a company that performs prologues for movie theaters… and it contains some great muscial numbers by Busby Berkeley that could not possibly be performed on a real stage. The movie is called “Footlight Parade” and starred James Cagney, Joan Blondell, Dick Powell, and Ruby Keeler from 1933. Future stars Dorothy LaMour and Ann Southern played chorus girls and were not credited in the titles.

Does anyone know other prologues that were performed at the Chinese Theater or any other theater and perhaps how common they were?

JimRankin
JimRankin on January 21, 2005 at 8:07 am

Many people have wondered if the theatre building shown in the MAJESTIC film were actual theatres dressed for the sake of the movie, and the answer to this is ‘no’; both the exterior and the interiors were very elaborate sets actually crafted to “give homage” to Hollywood’s EGYPTIAN theatre (hence the strange mixture of Art Deco, Baroque, and Egyptian decor) and because the director spent part of his youth as an usher in movie palaces. From the extraordinary details one can, when viewing stills on the DVD of the film, notice e

Bway
Bway on January 20, 2005 at 7:32 am

Jim, thanks! That’s just what I was looking for!
I suspected it may be a set (meaning not a real theater), and that website is great that shows the progression of the set building!Were the interior scenes a set too?

JimRankin
JimRankin on January 19, 2005 at 9:10 am

The village of Ferndale California was the site of the mock-up of the facade of the title cinema for the film THE MAJESTIC. They have a web site showing a sequence of photos of the construction of the facade on a parking lot there: www.victorianferndale.org/chamber/parklot.htm
The sequence of photos displays in the same spot as the page loads upon your screen, so be patient for all of them to load.

A complete site for the movie on the Internet Movie Data Base is found here. The actual model for the MAJESTIC was no one theatre, but an amalgam of several facades of the past with the plot line and interior of the lobby of the BIJOU in the 1951 film THE SMALLEST SHOW ON EARTH. It too was a series of set pieces so well strung together that one believes that he is in the same place. In fact, when the MAJESTIC was being planned, the Director wrote to the Guestbook of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America, and I was among those who responded to his inquiry for examples of historic movie palaces to draw his inspiration from and to direct his art department to. I replied with various examples, and inquired if he knew of the British film of 1951 I mention above, and he replied that he was amazed that anyone remembered the little-known film. It turned out that his design for the lobby of the MAJESTIC was based on that film, though the lobby of the 19th century BIJOU was really out of date with any movie palace, though I doubt he realized or cared about that. So, the MAJESTIC was also a series of sets and no such actual theatre existed for the film of 2001.

Bway
Bway on January 19, 2005 at 7:19 am

I also noticed that in the movie “The Majestic” with Jim Carrey, they use the Chinese theater both outside in the courtyard and in the auditorium at the beginning of the movie.
Also, while on the subject of “The Majestic”, does anyone know where the “Majestic” Theater is that they use in that film is? They use the interior and exterior of an old theater as the basis of the film, and was wondering if it was a real theater, and if it is, where it is and what it’s called.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on January 18, 2005 at 8:51 pm

Did any of you guys in California know that Grauman’s Chinese Theater is the setting for the Day in Hollywood from the 1970s Broadway Musical “A Day in Hollywood/ A Night in the Ukraine”?

uncleal923
uncleal923 on January 9, 2005 at 6:46 pm

Thank you guys. I hope these will be helpful when I visit California in March.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 8, 2005 at 1:39 am

Another link some of you might enjoy is the LIVE Web Cameras at the theater which are on-line at the following link. Both cameras are placed in the forecourt so you can view the tourists viewing the names of the stars, or if you time it just right, witness a gala premier in action as the stars arrive. One camera is mounted right above the front door….

http://www.manntheatres.com/webcam/

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 7, 2005 at 1:16 am

Here is your link Gustavelifting…

View link

uncleal923
uncleal923 on January 6, 2005 at 7:46 pm

Is there a way I can find just what’s playing in the original theater when I visit California?

mattepntr
mattepntr on January 6, 2005 at 7:33 pm

Here is a link to some trivia about Sensurround and “Earthquake”.
Some of the facts are extremely dubious and dippy, but there’s a
photo of the installation of the speakers taking place at the Chinese.

http://members.aol.com/earthquakemovie/trivia.html

After Sensurround fell from popularity in the late seventies, Universal
shut down development and sold off the equipment. The Sensurround horns
became highly sought after by Home Theater buffs (the real kind that have
projectors in their houses).
A couple years ago, the Directors Guild had a retrospective on great movie
sound. They painstakingly reconstructed a Sensurround system from parts they
found wherever they could. Universal supplied a 4-track mag stereo Sensurround
print of “Earthquake”, and the show was an absolute sold-out event!

Vito
Vito on January 4, 2005 at 3:44 am

Well said Christian, during the 50s hollywood did all it could to beat the evil black box popping up in homes across the world.
Sure they were gimmicks, but oh my, what fun in those good ole days.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 3, 2005 at 9:17 pm

Hello Jim .. yes I think most of us on this site understand that THX has vastly improved the sound fidelity of film and understand that Dolby was basically a noise reduction system. The point I was trying to make is that since the THX system has superior lower frequency capability (as well having improved the entire sound spectrum), then it makes sense that the old “Sensurround” system in theaters is indeed obsolete. To put it another way, a film like “Earthquake” or “Rollercoaster” made in the old “Sensurround” system can be played in a theater once more with the same (or more accurately, far better) effect than the old “Sunsurround” system ever could… thus the old “Sensurround” system as it was installed in theaters is now obsolete since I would imagine a modern THX system could replicate the effect.

As for Hollywood using “gimmicks” and “tricks”… all I can say is that it is part of show business and whether 3-D glasses, Sensurround, Smell-o-rama, or Cinemascope, it brought them into the movie palaces and in my book, it is part of the lore of the classic cinemas.

Vito
Vito on January 3, 2005 at 4:04 am

Yes Jim, Dolby noise reduction and stereo tracks greatly enhanced the movie going experience. As for THX, it is just speaker array
and baffle system with it’s own cross-over network. Did you know, theatres with THX have to be certified by them? An inspection team visits the theatere from time to time to rate the quality of the presentation right down to the noise level of the HVAC (heat/ac)

JimRankin
JimRankin on January 2, 2005 at 11:20 pm

It is unlikely in the extreme that any insurance company demanded a net below the ceiling as part of their policy coverage, but since insurance lives on premiums paid by the insured, and the insured can only pay premiums if they are making money, then any company would cooperate in any scheme to prosper the insured if no one would attach any suspicion of compliance to the insurance company. Insurers are very savvy as to what can damage an insured and foster a claim — something to be avoided — so they would have barred any theatre from employing any method that might cause a claim. Standard language to this effect is in all policies, even in a homeowners' policy to the effect that one cannot put any property in jeopardy. Especially in Hollywood are such antics to be expected, and the insurance industry has long worked with them and knows the score. As to THX, that was an attempt at greater fidelity; “Sensurround” was strictly intentional rumbling noise, and thus a very limited gimmick in the face of Dolby, THX and other greater fidelity systems which can virtually shatter ears in normal use anyway.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 2, 2005 at 1:27 pm

I understand it was only at the very end of the fun of “Earthquake” that the net was added, so most people who went to see it never saw the net rigging. I was there in the last week or two of the run. I do remember that the stories of falling plaster were from patrons, not the management of the theater. I myself never saw any plaster bits or even dust coming down during the film I do recall I was a little concerned, which is why we sat towards the rear of the theater, and not under the ornate light fixture. Is it possible the net was added by request of the insurance company and not because of some “hype?”

The information on the sound system is enlightening… I never knew how the process worked! I also did not know that many films were made in “Sensurround”. I think with the advent of THX, the process is pretty much obsolete now. Yes Vito, it sure was fun!