TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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BhillH20 on October 5, 2004 at 11:38 pm

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

JimRankin on September 13, 2004 at 9:46 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. ( ) 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 3:02 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 on August 31, 2004 at 3:08 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 on June 28, 2004 at 4:45 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:
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:

bruceanthony on April 24, 2004 at 2:03 am

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 on April 9, 2004 at 1:09 am

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 on April 7, 2004 at 2:57 am

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.

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:
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 on April 7, 2004 at 1:55 am

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 5:47 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 on April 1, 2004 at 3:41 pm

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

JodarMovieFan on April 1, 2004 at 12:31 pm

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 on March 18, 2004 at 10:02 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 on February 13, 2004 at 2:32 pm

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.

William on February 13, 2004 at 12:21 pm

They were removed during the recent renovation a few years ago.

ryan0290 on February 13, 2004 at 12:12 pm

Where are the courtyard trees and awning?

RockDoc50 on February 13, 2004 at 10:29 am

I stand corrected about “Dirty Harry.” You are correct—it was premiered at the Paramount. I did see the “Magnum Force” premiere at the Chinese.
I remember sitting right behind David Caradine and Barbara (Hershey) Seagull when they were in the throes of their big romance. I don’t know what was more entertaining, the movie or their interaction in the theatre!
Great memories of a great historical treasure.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 12, 2004 at 7:58 pm

Years ago, after a premiere or the Academy Awards, celebrities were always seen entering but not exiting the Chinese. Reason being, there was an underground tunnel that led accross the street to the Roosevelt Hotel (Sid Grauman had an interest in the hotel also). That way, celebrities could leave anonymously. The tunnel had not been used in the past 30 years. The tunnel is gone, and access to it from either the theatre or hotel was sealed up when the subway between the two building was built under Hollywood Blvd., a couple years ago.

Roloff on February 12, 2004 at 7:15 am

I have several postcards of the theater dating from 1931 to just now, and it’s interesting to see how the facade has changed. In ‘31 the windows with the tent roofs on both 'tower-fronts’ were all clear and clean with decorated arches above them. At some point (Fifties?) the arches were obscured by marquees with the neon dragons. Also, Mann added “Mann’s” signs at the bottem of the window in the top of each tower-front.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 6:33 pm

I wonder how Kenny, the recently retired chief projectionist there for those 20 years, is doing today?

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 1:58 am

I was a projectionist there off and on between 1979 (when the two adjacent theaters were built) until 1999 (when the two adjacent theaters were torn down). I started with a 70 mm. print of Superman and ended with a 70mm. print of Titanic. I was there from open to close, seven days a week for three months when Titanic played. It was and is the greatest movie theater in the world. I miss it and the premieres so much…

DavidT on February 4, 2004 at 11:11 pm

Click to see a couple photo’s of the large electric sign mentioned above, spanning the forecourt.
1956 –
1953 –

egcarter on January 25, 2004 at 5:02 pm

I believe that the two theatres (Chinese 2 & 3) added adjacent to the main house that were subsequently razed, was in 1979, not 1999.

William on January 16, 2004 at 9:40 pm

“Magnum Force” played the Chinese Theatre. Like themanwithnoname said “Dirty Harry” played at the Paramount Theatre across the street. And “The Enforcer” played over at the Pantages Theatre.

bruceanthony on January 16, 2004 at 4:53 pm

I thought Paramount and Warner Bros did a nice job restoring the Chinese. I wish they would bring back the neon dragons on the marquee. I heard they are stored on the Paramount Lot. The small movie signs they put up are a little blah and they are not original from any period. Brucec