TCL Chinese Theatre

6925 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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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 on April 1, 2004 at 12:41 pm

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

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 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

Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan 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.

William on February 13, 2004 at 9:21 am

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

Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan on February 13, 2004 at 9:12 am

Where are the courtyard trees and awning?

RockDoc50 on February 13, 2004 at 7:29 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 4:58 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 4:15 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 3:33 pm

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

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 4, 2004 at 10:58 pm

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 8:11 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 2:02 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 6:40 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 1:53 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

Manwithnoname on January 16, 2004 at 1:07 pm

I also saw “Earthquake” there and if debris fell from the ceiling it wasn’t fake. I also saw “Dirty Harry” first run but it was across the street at the Paramount (now El Capitan).

RockDoc50 on December 30, 2003 at 4:13 pm

I saw “Earthquake” at the Chinese Theatre as well as many other first run movies (I especially remember “Dirty Harry”). Does anyone remember if, in addition to the “sensurround” sound, if there were also fake debris that fell from the ceiling during the quake scenes? For some reason I remember that happening.
Where does the time go?

sdoerr on November 23, 2003 at 10:31 am

WOW, such a nice theatre! Great to see it restored

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on November 16, 2003 at 5:32 am

On April 9, 1958 Grauman’s Chinese Theatre had the world premiere of “WINDJAMMER” projected in the CineMiracle process. CineMiracle was almost the same as 3-strip CINERAMA and in fact was shown in many CINERAMA theatres and ended up being owned by CINERAMA.

DavidT on November 15, 2003 at 7:00 pm

Grauman’s Chinese was where CinemaScope was introduced in Hollywood with the premier of “The Robe” in 1953, followed by most of the widescreen 20th Century-Fox epics of the period. During the peak Cinemascope years a hugh electric sign/marquee spanned the forecourt. It was quite spectacular but obliterated the famous entrance. It was replaced by two flashy but more conventional marquees on either side of the forecourt. These too have been removed.

Donald John Long
Donald John Long on November 13, 2002 at 4:30 pm

This IS the most famous movie theater in the world! This is where KING KONG was shown on its premiere engagement in 1933, and a 13-year-old boy named Ray Harryhausen sat in the dark and was mesmerized by movie monsters, and became one of the 20th Century Hollywood’s greatest cinema geniuses. This is where Forrest J. Ackerman sat in the dark watching KONG and was transported to Skull Island, and became the world’s leading authority on sci-fi, fantasy and horror, and his friend Ray Bradbury saw it with him there again in 1938.

And this is where I saw the wonder film of the 20th Century – MGM’s FORBIDDEN PLANET in CinemaScope, Eastmancolor and Stereophonic sound, as a special birthday gift from my dad on my 9th birthday, August 9, 1956. It was an unforgettable experience. The doorman led us into another world.

Robby the Robot was there in the theater lobby, behind velvet ropes, standing guard in a corner, his electronic computer brain and lights flashing every so often, his head turning, and saying, “Welcome to Altair-4!”

We returned in October to see “The King And I” in CinemaScope 55 there. I have returned often, with all the classic Hollywood movie stars' hand-and-footprints, and the touristy stuff, there’s a lot to see besides a movie! This is the Mecca for all Hollywood film fans the world over.

Manwithnoname on June 11, 2002 at 6:32 am

For the first time in decades the theater is no longer Mann’s Chinese but once again designated Grauman’s. The 6 screens next door are part of a shopping mall which is designed to resemble the famous sets from “Intolerance”. All 7 theaters share a common box office.