TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 1,551 - 1,575 of 1,620 comments

trooperboots on January 7, 2005 at 1:16 am

Here is your link Gustavelifting…

View link

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 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.

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 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 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 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 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 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!

Vito on January 2, 2005 at 9:59 am

The last sensurround release I can recall was “Zoot Suit”
Why in heavens name it was produced that way was anyone’s guess.

Manwithnoname on January 2, 2005 at 8:47 am

Frankly, I don’t remember the net under the chandelier but I do remember the sound as my much earlier post indicated. In any event, the hype continued beyond the theatrical run. When the film premiered on network TV it was accompanied by an FM simulcast so viewers at home could crank up the volume and simulate the Sensurround experience. After a few more films (“Midway”, “Battlestar Galactica”) the Sensurround gimmick disappeared.

JimRankin on January 2, 2005 at 6:47 am

AS anyone who read my comment carefully will know, I didn’t say it wasn’t fun, I simply said it wasn’t real in the sense of being able to damage any theatre. I enjoyed the film in “Sensurround” also, but I was under no illusion as to where the sounds were coming from and what was going to happen to me or the theatre during “Earthquake.” Further insight into the whole thing is the development and popularity then of true four channel sound, as on the ‘quad’ amplifiers that nobody could seem to live without then. Also, new high Q ferromagnetic high compliance speakers had just come upon the scene making the subwoofer possible at a smaller size and price than huge pro equipment, and I will bet that the speaker makers were in cahoots with the film maker to to promote this ‘new’ sound. “Now your living room can sound just like the theatre!!” is it easy to remember then saying. It may have all been fun, but just let’s keep the idea of old, falling-down movie palaces out of it!

Vito on January 2, 2005 at 5:28 am

Christian, “Earthquake” played in 35mm four track magnetic sound. The “sensurround” control tones were located in the very low frequences, which would trigger the sub woofers. The sounds heard in the rear were from the surround (fourth channel)track.
Fun was it not?

trooperboots on January 2, 2005 at 2:41 am

Hi Jim, You are probably right about the “Sensurround” hype to gain audiences, but I can tell you without any reservation that when it came time for the earthquake sequences in the film, the huge black speakers at the back of the auditorium rumbled with some heavy ultralow frequencies, which were nothing short of terrifying. Added to that, they must have had other speakers somewhere else, because there were the sounds of screams and breaking glass at the rear of the theater along with the low rumbling sounds at the back of the lower floor. After the movie, I remember many of us went over to look at the massive speakers. I don’t recall any sound system that intense until the advent of THX sound.

I also totally agree with your comment that the old theaters were BUILT… and built far more sound proof and far more substantial than todays boxes. They were more spectacular, beautiful, stylish and atmospheric than almost any modern “theater” today. They were as much of the show as the movies were.

mattepntr on December 30, 2004 at 9:32 pm

Still, the whole thing was FUN.

JimRankin on December 29, 2004 at 8:17 am

Christian speaks of a “huge net under the ceiling to catch bits of plaster” supposedly falling due to the then sensation of low frequency sound of “Sensurround” for the 1974 movie “Earthquake.” I will bet dollars to doughnuts that the entire net and any seeming plaster in it were entirely props to promote the new sound technique (which was NOT all that novel nor convincing in actuality!) It was typical Hollywood hyperbole (‘hype’) that intended to scare the potential patron a little as if to say: ‘Are you man enough to sit in a place that might lose its plaster while watching LA being reduced to rubble?!!’ This ploy was used across the nation as advance men wrote letters to the local papers by a “concerned citizen” to have local theaters inspected for cracks before the film was allowed to play. Such ad men then prevailed upon local building inspectors to parade through movie palaces (there were a few more in business then) with a TV camera crew and supposedly ‘inspect’ and ‘certify’ the “old” building as resistant to their vaunted “Sensurround!!” And, yes, the theatres were in on the joke. It was free publicity as the local TV stations all took it seriously, not knowing or caring anything about ‘old’ theatres which they naively implied were close to falling down anyway. It all worked: people voiced concern about “old” buildings and the movie made millions without any theatre anywhere ever losing anything legitimately in a structural sense, even if some of the patrons came there to really experience something falling from a ceiling, as opposed to enjoying one of the first of the ‘Disaster films’. One cannot help but wonder how much more vandalism to the interiors of palaces was prompted by this disdainful approach to our theatres heritage.

Movie palaces were HEAVILY built and anyone having any real knowledge of construction would have laughed at their attempts to gain publicity at the expense of the “old” theatres. Any such man would have said that if anything were to fall, it would be the lightweight Fiberglas acoustic ceiling rectangles in the jerrybuilt cinemas then sprouting around the country. Earthquakes can take down theatres and their plaster, but not some silly contrivance of louder sound waves. (Yes, I know; sound waves of sufficient amplitude can, in theory, destroy a building, but had the sound been anywhere near that strong, the audience would have left, or died in their seats! Obviously not the outcome the promoters had in mind for maximum ticket sales.)

uncleal923 on December 28, 2004 at 7:50 pm

Thanks Bway, I hope the family wants to see this place too. Hey, it you go to Hollywood, you must see a movie.

Bway on December 28, 2004 at 12:48 pm

No, the Chineese theater’s auditorium is completely intact. The extra screens were next door, not a part of the original auditorium itself.
They play many of the current movies in the original auditorium. For example, I have seen Dumb and Dumber in the Chineese theater when it was out some years ago.

uncleal923 on December 28, 2004 at 12:15 pm

I am planning a trip to California. I want to spend time in a original LA Picture Palace. Was the original auditorium divided to multiplex the theater?

trooperboots on December 25, 2004 at 1:32 am

I was raised in Hollywood and I remember seeing “Windjammer”, “Pepe” and the premiere of “Darby O'Gill and the LIttle People”… “Seven Faces of Dr. Lao” and “How the West Was Won” were spectacular memories. The last time I went there to see a movie was “EARTHQUAKE” in 1974 and it was towards the end of the run. I clearly remember they added a huge net under the ceiling to catch bits of plaster that had been falling down early in it’s run. It was very distracting to see it up there and wondering if something would fall during he Sensuround experience. I am happy they have decided to take away the clunky neon from the front. I visited the forecourt a few months ago and I think it looks gorgeous.

jmarellano on November 15, 2004 at 5:37 pm

I agree with Manwithnoname, I live (actually close to him) in Monterey Park and go to the Chinese a lot. It will sell a lot of shows during the week, especially when a huge movie opens.

Manwithnoname on November 15, 2004 at 3:10 pm

I will definitely drive from Alhambra to Hollywood for the Chinese or the Dome. How many people in the world get to attend the most famous theater on the face of the Earth? There are advantages to living in So Cal.

Bway on November 15, 2004 at 2:56 pm

[i]I do believe people from outside the area see movies at Grauman’s Chinese.

Hey, I live in New York, and I always try to see a movie there when in California! Actually, I was pretty impressed in how Hollywood Blvd has improved over the last decade. I have been there for the first time around 1991, most recently in 2003, and many times in between, and each time I go it looks better and better.

ejaycat on November 15, 2004 at 2:25 pm

Regarding CConnolly’s comment, I do believe people from outside the area see movies at Grauman’s Chinese.

I know I do. As a teenager in the 1980s, I would drive to the Chinese Theatre with friends from my hometown of Cerritos, CA… a total tract house and shopping center kind of place; I just liked the gritty urban environment of Hollywood Boulevard back then and the history associated with the Chinese Theatre, it was so different from the “looks like everything was built yesterday”-environment that I grew up in. Some movies I saw back then: “The Lost Boys,” “The Witches of Eastwick.” In 1992 I saw the 50th Anniversary restored/re-released version of “Casablanca” at the Chinese Theatre. It was even presented in its original aspect ratio of 1.33:1. That really was a big treat.

I now live in South Pasadena. I still catch movies at the Chinese occasionally. Hollywood Blvd. is slightly more cleaned-up than it was in the 1980s, and now I don’t have to worry about driving there and parking because the Metro Rail now goes to my area; I can take the Gold Line train from South Pasadena to Union Station, transfer to the Red Line subway, go all the way to the Hollywood and Highland station, go up the escalator, and voila! I’m right there!

chconnol on November 15, 2004 at 1:09 pm

Question: does this theater do well? Do people come from outside the area to see movies here?

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?