TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Hollywood,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Quenty
Quenty on November 15, 2004 at 12:37 pm

Going through my personal archives recently I pulled out an original Program from the Dedication of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre" “Presenting the premier of the supreme production of all times, past, present and future CECIL B. DEMILLE’S "The King of Kings” by Jeanie Macpherson on “Wednesday Evening May Eighteenth.” It is about ½ thick and is full of wonderful pictures and line drawings of everyone from May Robson, to Beatrice Joy, Sid Grauman, Cecil B. Demille, Mary Pickford, Douglas Fairbanks, on and on. It has artist drawings of the Theatre’s interior and even4 color Art Deco graphics of the theatre, plus of course, advertising. It shows some wear but really is quite remarkable. Has anyone seen one of these?

RobertR
RobertR on November 4, 2004 at 8:02 pm

I was at the Chinese a few times but never saw a movie in the old twin. Thanks for sharing the pics.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on November 4, 2004 at 4:44 pm

Thanks “GraMann” for the wonderful photos. Now, I am homesick. I absolutely love the Chinese. Your photos really bring back fond memories. Did you ever get a photo of Ted Mann and his wife’s wax figures in the lobby?

As mentioned above on this page, I did relief work as a projectionist there, off and on, for 20 years.

Performances there used to be absolute perfection. The union business agent, Ralph Kemp (Local 150, IATSE), before sending me to break-in, told me this. “This is the most famous theater in the world. If you screw up something there, you will read about it in Variety and Hollywood Reporter the next day.

If they ever employed full-time projectionists again, I would leave New York in a heartbeat and return. Did you know Kenny Krenz, Bob Purlmutter or Mike Schliger, the regular operators?

Divinity
Divinity on October 26, 2004 at 8:47 pm

Has anyone ever been in the theatre during an earthquake/power failure?

Trolleyguy
Trolleyguy on October 26, 2004 at 8:43 pm

Yes, gas pipes feeding exit signs were very common in theaters and other buildings even through the mid-20th century. The reason being was that if the electricity were to fail, the gas lights would still illuminate the exits in an emergency. Nowadays, back up emergency light systems work with a battery circuit to continue the lighting in case of power failures.

BhillH20
BhillH20 on October 26, 2004 at 7:12 pm

There seems to be statuary missing from upstairs private box/projection room area in main auditorium.

mattepntr
mattepntr on October 11, 2004 at 6:21 pm

Yes, the “Chinese 6” is a seperate structure adjacent to the original, along with a shopping center. The original auditorium is intact, but lost a few rows of seats downstairs when the snack bar was opened up and extended back.

Bway
Bway on October 11, 2004 at 8:47 am

I’m a little confused about the “7 screens” when I was there about 10 years ago, the original auditorium was intact. Are the additional 6 screens built adjacent to the original theater? I can’t imagine that they would have cut up the main auditorium.

mattepntr
mattepntr on October 11, 2004 at 1:16 am

When the Chinese was a single screen theater, they also had this really great tradition of painting the poster art for the film playing on the side exterior wall of the theater. These were HUGE and always well done! The “Superman” S, the “Earthquake” poster art, and the “Star Wars” logo come to mind. You can sometimes find photos that show this wall art. Very cool!

mattepntr
mattepntr on October 11, 2004 at 1:12 am

The first film I ever saw at the Chinese was “Earthquake” in ‘74, and I’ll never forget it. They had strung fishnets all across the ornate platerwork on the ceiling. This caused a lot of nervous chatter and laughter among the audience before the movie started. I’ll never forget the SENSURROUND announcement before the movie started. This loud male voice booms out “ATTENTION!!” and everyone jumped! Since then, I’ve seen countless films there, always a great show. The adjecent twin theaters were also really good. Picture and sound were state of the art. I saw “Gremlins”, “Ghostbusters” and “Dune” there.

JimRankin
JimRankin on October 6, 2004 at 4:57 am

I heard that it interfered with the large screen projection. You would think that during the “restoration” it could have been reworked so as to be able to be withdrawn automatically up into the attic just as the movie began (and then lowered automatically at the end of the projection), rather the way the chandeliers are raised and lowered in the Kennedy Center, but that would have probably added a thousand dollars to the cost.

BhillH20
BhillH20 on October 5, 2004 at 8:38 pm

Why haven’t they rehung the lantern on the main auditorium chandelier?

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 13, 2004 at 6:46 am

“GrauMann” is to be praised for the service he has done everyone in preserving on-line for posterity these two souvenir brochures with wonderful photos of the wonderful Chinese Theatre. The earlier one with the finely detailed text by the late Terry Helgesen is especially good, and reveals the changes that have occurred over the years to this theatrical mecca. A memorial biography of him occurs in Marquee magazine of the Theatre Historical Soc. of America, of which he was a member for decades. His vast collection of theatres memorabilia is now preserved at the Archive of the Society in Elmhurst, Ill. ( www.HistoricTheatres.org ) Brochures such as these are often referred to as ephemera since such often disappear after a few years, so they are the more valuable as reproduced here; it is only a pity that there is not some way to enlarge them on screen so as to better read the text.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on September 13, 2004 at 12:02 am

Wow! 36 pages, and I’m exhausted. But I had to smile when page 6 listed among its premieres of outstanding productions that nearly-forgotton Jackie Susann potboiler “The Love Machine.” Ah, Hollywood in the 1970’s.

Bway
Bway on August 31, 2004 at 12:08 pm

I have been to Hollywood many times, but only got to see a movie in the Chinese theater once. Each other time I was there, there was never a good movie to see there.
It was so impressive to see the interior of the theater. It has such a glow of the glory days of Hollywood.

ejaycat
ejaycat on June 28, 2004 at 1:45 am

Here are some interesting pics, the first one interesting to me because it’s from the 1950s and it’s in color, plus you can see a PE Red Car rolling along in front of Grauman’s. And in my opinion this part of Hollywood Boulevard looks better now than it did then:
http://www.uncanny.net/~wetzel/chinese.JPG
These next two photos are interesting to me because they show Grauman’s Chinese theater the night of March 8, 1946, when the Academy Awards were held there for the 3rd and last time; the 1st pic shows the theater itself, the 2nd pic shows the fans seated in bleachers across the street:
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics50/00044983.jpg
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics50/00044961.jpg
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics50/00044961.jpg

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on April 23, 2004 at 11:03 pm

I have seen movies at the Chinese since the late 1960’s. I have seen movies like Hello Dolly, Whats UP Doc,Batman, Jagged Edge, Interview With a Vampire and many others. I actually sat in the two row balcony for the movie The Goodfellas before the recent renovation. The Chinese always has a superb film presentation. Isn’t it wonderful to have the curtains open and close for the presentation. During the current renovation the lobby was expanded into the back of the Auditoruim where the projection booth was and a few rows were lost. Before the renovation the Chinese sat 1500 and now it seats around 1100.The best film presentation in LA is the Chinese, El Capitan ,Cinerama Dome, Fox-Village,and National of LA’s surviving single screen theatres. These are also industry theatres that host many premieres.brucec

heychez
heychez on April 8, 2004 at 10:09 pm

When I worked for Mann many years ago, I was able to go work the preview of City Slickers. The back half of the auditorium was assigned seats and the studio took care of that. The front half was general seating for other celebrities, which is where I was working. I remember seeing Jim Carrey during his early In Living Color days sitting next to Tom Bradley who was dressed in Cowboy garb for the event. Mr. Bradley turned to Jim and asked him “What do you do?”. Later, we got to watch the the movie from the small private balcony. I think it was called the Cathay lounge.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 6, 2004 at 11:57 pm

For those of you outside of LA, and wanting to see a vision of this famous theatre, there is a VHS video that has at least ten minutes within its 55-minute length devoted to color filming of the ornate CHINESE THEATRE. It is called “The Movie Palaces” and is part of the “America’s Castles” series filmed for A&E television network. My detailed review of it, and ordering instructions for it are at: View link
This video was filmed before the recent restoration, and therefore is a time capsule of sorts, and those desiring to view the theatre in other stages of its life would do well to contact the Theatre Historical Soc. which has a great many photos as well as drawings of this palace.

PHOTOS AVAILABLE:
To obtain any available Back Issue of either “Marquee” or of its ANNUALS, simply go to the web site of the THEATRE HISTORICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA at:
www.HistoricTheatres.org
and notice on their first page the link “PUBLICATIONS: Back Issues List” and click on that and you will be taken to their listing where they also give ordering details. The “Marquee” magazine is 8-1/2x11 inches tall (‘portrait’) format, and the ANNUALS are also soft cover in the same size, but in the long (‘landscape’) format, and are anywhere from 26 to 40 pages. Should they indicate that a publication is Out Of Print, then it may still be possible to view it via Inter-Library Loan where you go to the librarian at any public or school library and ask them to locate which library has the item by using the Union List of Serials, and your library can then ask the other library to loan it to them for you to read or photocopy. [Photocopies of most THSA publications are available from University Microforms International (UMI), but their prices are exorbitant.]

Note: Most any photo in any of their publications may be had in large size by purchase; see their ARCHIVE link. You should realize that there was no color still photography in the 1920s, so few theatres were seen in color at that time except by means of hand tinted renderings or post cards, thus all the antique photos from the Society will be in black and white, but it is quite possible that the Society has later color images available; it is best to inquire of them.

Should you not be able to contact them via their web site, you may also contact their Executive Director via E-mail at:
Or you may reach them via phone or snail mail at:
Theatre Historical Soc. of America
152 N. York, 2nd Floor York Theatre Bldg.
Elmhurst, ILL. 60126-2806 (they are about 15 miles west of Chicago)

Phone: 630-782-1800 or via FAX at: 630-782-1802 (Monday through Friday, 9AM—4PM, CT)

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on April 6, 2004 at 10:55 pm

So there was a balcony! ;) My recollection of my only time inside the main auditorium was that there were these seats that were on an upper level, but were obscured by a ceiling to floor plastic drape of some kind. Judging by the looks of it, at the time, it seemed like one to me. Whatever the case, it is a nice theater.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on April 1, 2004 at 2:47 pm

The original projection room was upstairs. Then, in the late 40s, it was moved downstairs. When I worked there in the 70s to 90s, to enter it, I had to walk into the left entrance of the main auditorium, the same as the public. The projection room was to the immediate right, covered by a doorsize, burgundy drape. The area upstairs that once had been the projection room was converted into a small, two-row balcony (I think it had 14 seats), but it was never open to the public during regular movie presentations. Instead, it was where celebrities were allowed to sit, having entered the side of the building from a concealed, non-public door. Today, the projection room is back upstairs to its original location, and only a couple “out-of-view” seats remain.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on April 1, 2004 at 12:41 pm

As an FYI, the Chinese does not have a balcony.

JodarMovieFan
JodarMovieFan on April 1, 2004 at 9:31 am

I’ve visited this theater on the trips I’ve made to LA and saw “Star Trek: Generations”, in 1994, in the smaller auditorium, which was quite impressive soundwise (it was THX). It wasn’t until 2001, I went and experienced a movie, in the main auditorium, and saw Angelina Jolie’s “Original Sin”. The theater was going through a renovation and the balcony was closed :( . The movie, itself, was quite a bore as it put me to sleep, not too bad if you need a sleeping aid. The sound seemed a bit muddled and quiet, not the fault of the theater’s sound system but the film’s soundtrack. Perhaps, the next time I visit there, there will be an event film booked there so I can experience the theater’s full sound potential.

The whole theater design is quite impressive and is unlike any other I’ve been in. And, yes, like the proverbial tourist, I tried to match my foot and handprints to the some of the stars on the sidewalk. The help staff, in their Asian costumes, are a nice touch. In the Washington DC area, you don’t see the help staff in uniform much anymore at any place, much less costumed, even for event films.

gugenheim84
gugenheim84 on March 18, 2004 at 7:02 pm

If you visit LA or even live there, if you haven’t experienced seeing a movie at Grauman’s then you just aren’t a part of LA history. I was 9yrs old and I knew I was someplace special when I saw the small brass courtesy light on the side aisle that read, -l o g e-

Elegant but, you can wear your walking shorts
if you show a little respect for the grand old dame

Hollywood’s only Royal Pavilion

ryan0290
ryan0290 on February 13, 2004 at 11:32 am

I thought the trees were especially important to the ambience of the courtyard, the awning I guess can go. Maybe they need more room for the paw prints of stars.