Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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teecee
teecee on July 12, 2005 at 9:44 am

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Source: MPTV
Caption: Hollywood and Los Angeles Landmarks Egyptian Theater Marquee: “My Fair Lady” 1964

William
William on June 3, 2005 at 12:07 pm

I have some shots of the auditorium with the D-150 installed in one of my files on the theatre.

markinthedark
markinthedark on May 5, 2005 at 2:50 pm

Does anyone have pictures of this theatre when it had its D-150 screen installed?

Tom10
Tom10 on April 15, 2005 at 5:37 am

G.A.DeL.: Terrific post card. It’s an amazing building.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on April 14, 2005 at 11:28 am

Here is an old postcard showing the entrance area of the Egyptian.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 11, 2005 at 12:46 am

Thanks so much Don, for the kind words about the theater! I will look further into the group. It’s funny that I remember some of the old theaters had a strange echo-like sound to them… but it’s one of the things that I miss the most in today’s theaters. I wonder if Cinemathque has considered that the classic films just sound all the more authentic with the accoustics the way they were? At least I think so.

The Egyptian has special meaning to me. I was only a few months old early in 1951, when my mom took me there. She went to see a film premier. She has always been a big movie fan. She arrived and realized she HAD to use the ladies room. She found a beautifully dressed red head with another lady sitting in the waiting room outside the door (I wonder if it is still there?). Mom asked the lady if she could me for a few minutes. She knew it would be alright because the lady was a pregnant Lucille Ball. Lucy said “of course” and when my mom came back, chatted with her about her own condition. Lucy said she was so excited about the baby. The baby turned out to be Lucille Arnaz, born later that year… and I wrote to her about 3 years ago. She sent me a reply and said it was a great story and published my letter on her website. Of course, later around the age of 5, 6 and 7… I remember sitting in the theater and looking up at the beautiful sun ornament fully lit and glowing above the curtain. It all stays with you.

The Egyptian is definitely on my list when I visit Hollywood next month. Thank God for this group. At least they are on the right track and have not destroyed anything and the theater may one day be fully restored. Thanks again.

DonSolosan
DonSolosan on January 10, 2005 at 11:51 pm

Christian,

The Cinematheque is generally only open in the evenings on weekdays. On weekends they offer tours, a special documentary “Forever Hollywood” and then normally two movies. Their programs are usually themed (Film Noir, etc.), and whenever possible they get people involved in those movies to come by for a Q&A session. These can be classic old movies or stuff that has recently been released. They seem to rely heavily on volunteers; if you spoke to someone and didn’t get a clear answer about the Cinematheque’s mission, it’s possible they’re just helping out to get access to the cool movies.

As for the Egyptian itself, edward1 is correct that it’s a disappointment. Partly because it has been greatly reduced in size, but also because of improvements to correct acoustic problems. The beautiful walls and ceiling, for the most part, have been covered with panels that leave the place feeling like a black box in one of them newfangled multiplexes. But it appears that they have been preserved, which is good.

If you can get past that, then the Egyptian is still a good place to see movies because of their programming. They’ve also just reopened the Aero in Santa Monica, which is closer to where I live, so I give the Cinematheque a thumbs up.

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 10, 2005 at 9:59 pm

There have been a number of marquees above the entrance to the Egyptian…. here are some great photos to show how dramatically those signs altered the entrance ….

1924 – small vertical sign on right wall…
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater1/00014533.jpg

1930 – larger vertical on left wall and broad electric marquee over entrance to courtyard…
http://jpg1.lapl.org/pics39/00039150.jpg

1955 – larger curved neon “wall” in the art-moderne style….
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater1/00014528.jpg

1969 – the horizontal neon stripe tubes were removed after the 60s…
http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater1/00014548.jpg

1989 – the theater had turned into a tri-plex at this time…
http://jpg3.lapl.org/pics18/00028678.jpg

pianoman
pianoman on January 10, 2005 at 4:30 pm

Geez! I mean, they could’ve saved the huge wall in front, but …….

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 4, 2005 at 11:43 pm

Hello Edward1, Thanks for the note about Cinamateque. I went back to their website for an hour and had no idea the organization was about preservation and presenting classic film. I had the impression they were about “experimental film making”. At the time I visited the Egyptian, it did not seem there was anyone around who could tell me what the organization was about or doing. I was there around noon, yet the courtyard was so austere, unoccupied and uninviting. Cinemateque seems very worthwhile and I will see if someone can tell me more. Thanks so much for inspiring me to take a second look!

socal09
socal09 on January 4, 2005 at 8:14 pm

It seems clear in the theater description above that there are TWO screens in this theater. The main auditorium and a small screening room taking over part of the lobby. The theater itself is a huge disppointment to visit but the Cinemateque is a fantastic organisation promoting the appreciation and preservation of motion pictures. Take a quick look and go downtown instead to Broadway to see true old movie palaces in original condition.

uncleal923
uncleal923 on January 4, 2005 at 6:37 pm

I don’t live around Hollywood, but I am planning to visit someone there soon. Is this theater still a twin, or did they return it to single screen during the so called “restoration”?

trooperboots
trooperboots on January 1, 2005 at 7:21 pm

I found an early view of the Egyptian Theater Courtyard taken in 1924. The photo shows the space as almost a carnival-like atmosphere … certainly entertaining …

http://jpg2.lapl.org/theater3/00015761.jpg

trooperboots
trooperboots on December 29, 2004 at 2:58 am

Yes, this is Sid Graummans Egyptian. I would like to add a couple of thoughts on this theater, if

I may. I was very thrilled when I saw the Egyptian was to be “restored” a few years ago and saw a wall at the entrance and construction workers busily working behind it.

In March of this year I finally came back and stopped by to see what was done. In the courtyard. I found the business on the left side of the entrance was newly reconstructed, but empty and a “For Lease” sign in the window. Though the last time I saw the theater exterior was in 1998, there was already graffiti staining 2 walls. I was very happy to see the “Pig N' Whistle” restaurant replicated, and it looks like a great job on that…. but the entrance to the theater itself seemed empty and lifeless. I still have NO idea what Cinemateque is but also not compelled to find out more about it other than to have scanned their confusing website and scratch my head about their “mission”.

I was raised in Hollywood in the 1950s and remember the theater when it had a massive neon sign over the sidewalk and many potted plants along the walkway to the elegant entrance. I don’t advocate replacing the 50s neon by any means, but it just seems to me the romance and beauty is missing from this remodelling job that was there even in the 50s. A restoration to it’s 20s appearance would be ideal, but if not economically possible, perhaps some nice potted plants or a coffee kiosk in a 20s theme would warm this place up and make it more atmospheric and bring some much needed life to the courtyard.

Needless to say, I have little interest in seeing the stripped-down interior. I love “urban”, but only in the historic context of what historic Hollywood was and COULD BE once more. This seems more “urban” in the current strip mall sense… and there are thousands of those types of spaces without making our historic sites look like them as well. What happened to our culture and history?

uncleal923
uncleal923 on December 28, 2004 at 12:23 pm

Is this the Egyptian Theater that was built by Sid Graumman, or was that demolished? I plan to visit the LA area and, considering it’s entertainment history, it would be dumb not to visit a picture palace.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on October 26, 2004 at 5:42 am

scenicroute – I agree 100%. Could you contact me directly: got a projection question regarding another theatre here on CT.
Will

scenicroute
scenicroute on October 25, 2004 at 4:45 pm

I was one of the people who posted negative reactions to the ‘restored’ Egyptian but I need to clarify my stance. Yes, it’s great that the theater is still open and vital but it did not have to be altered by a group that claims to be about film preservation. On top of that, the Cinemateque boasts that they restored this theater, it’s not a restoration, it’s a remodel. Don’t advertise something you never accomplished or ever attempted. As a side note, I was a projectionist at the Hollywood Egyptian for five years. The sound quality was (when kept up by the notoriously lazy UA) was superb. When we ran 70mm (“Return of the Jedi”/ “Oklahoma”) it was astounding. The theater didn’t have the echo or loss of clarity some concrete palaces suffer.

rjcarr
rjcarr on September 17, 2004 at 3:02 pm

fantastic i would love to visit.

GaryParks
GaryParks on September 1, 2004 at 12:49 pm

Thanks to Jim Rankin (fellow THS member) for bringing up Tom Wolfe’s “From Bauhaus to Our House.” I read this enlightening book nearly two decades ago before going to art school, and applauded all the way through. I recommend it for everyone who seeks to MAKE THE PUBLIC HAPPY by venturing into any field of design, but particularly architecture. The Bauhaus has a valid place in the history of architecture, but it was embraced far too widely, mainly, I think, because it made it possible to build “fine” buildings cheaply. Personally, as an artist of stained glass and occasional mural work (and some theatre decorative restoration both professionally and as a volunteer), I resent the Bauhaus Movement for putting thousands of sculptors and decorators out of business, both past and future. I have long thought of the Bauhaus/“International Style” as the ultimate aesthetic slap against multiculturalism, in that a skyscraper in Rio de Janiero looks like a skyscraper in Cairo and looks like one in New York—no references to local/regional/national history or ethnic influence whatsoever.

To get back a little bit toward the subject of the Egyptian, I must say that Egypt itself, while blighted abundantly by the Bauhaus influence, is experiencing a strong and prolific movement in creating architecture which reflects that country’s history, both Islamic and Pharaonic. Many examples are beautifully designed, though there are some oddball examples as well.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on September 1, 2004 at 10:38 am

I assume that the members of the American Cinemateque had no interest in the Egyption as a theater but simply as a facility. They ok’d the plans of the architect fully knowing their philosophy and then proceeded to fund accordingly. I am glad that Will brings up the IM Pei pyramid at the Louvre. A beautiful structure in and of itself but a disaster in its positioning. Of course the French will say “But that is the point.” To which I respond that the Parisians are doing to Paris architecturally in a fit of anti western guilt what the germans wanted to do to it during WW 2.
I would have loved to have seen Paris before the pyramid, the Tour Montparnasse and La Defense.
Before I go on about this there must be someone from the American Cinemateque who reads this site. Please explain why you would have done this to Sid Grauman’s Egyption.
Maybe you would consider a position producing Wagner in Europe?

JimRankin
JimRankin on August 21, 2004 at 6:00 am

Like Mr. Faulkner, I was at first equally ready to ‘stand on their chests’ and bellow at them for so lame a job, but then I was reminded of the old dictum: ‘He who pays the piper calls the tune.’ While Messrs. Hodgetts and Fung are clearly NOT preservation specialists, one wonders just how much of the blame belongs to the Cinematheque? Did the architects advise conservative approaches to retain most building character, and were overruled? To be as charitable as possible to them, it is their job to accomplish the client’s wishes, and clearly the client in this case wanted a modern projection facility with 3 screens within an existing single screen theatre; short of building more screening rooms/cinemas onto the building, there was no option but to subdivide the available space. Yes, I am still inclined to think that it could have been done more sympathetically, but then it is obvious that not everyone shares our love of the movie palace in general, and this EGYPTIAN in particular. No, I will never recommend these architects based on this job, and likely neither will any other preservation-minded project consider them either, but as they say: ‘money talks’ (or “SCREAMS” as says a character in “Hello Dolly”) which may mean that these men were inexperienced in this specialized area of architecture, but put out the lowest bid. In a sense, you get what you pay for. And perhaps even the brass of the Cinematheque are indeed seething behind the scenes, but what can they do? Sue the architects? To what end? Demolish the “improvements” and start over? Hardly. No, this “restoration” will now stand as an example to frighten future generations as to how badly a “restoration” can be done, even if it is as they say in their text quoted by Mr. Faulkner: “If we have a prescription it is that of efficiency and performance, two words which are unusual only in their exclusion from the day-to-day world.” You will notice that their twofold “prescription” does NOT include aesthetics! Modern day architects are actually rarely qualified to restore historic period structures, since they are now mostly educated in variances of engineering and to become worshipers of ‘Le Corbusier’ or other demigods as denounced in that landmark book: “From Bauhaus to Our House” by Tom Wolfe (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/–/055338063X/qid=1093092642/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_1/104-4962368-6877528?v=glance&s=books ), perhaps the most perceptive analysis of the pollution of modern architecture ever written, and my review of it is the 15th down on onto the next page. This is a short read that should not be missed!

porterfaulkner
porterfaulkner on August 20, 2004 at 4:37 pm

Will, thanks for that link, the photos are truly horrific. This firm are genuinely proud of their achievement. Its hard to believe that given the history of the Egyptian in Hollywood and the position it held for over 60 years that they can think the are doing everyone a great service.Did they actaully see any reference photos for the building in its heydey?

I know its years too late, way after the dodgy restoration has finished but these architects were clearly the wrong choice. Just read this copy of their “statement” lifted from their website…

“The creation of an appropriate design is a search guided more by rules of conduct than those of appearance. In our work we attempt to frame the goals of each project in terms which are sympathetic to the user, the place, and ultimately the planet. If we have a
prescription it is that of efficiency and performance, two words which are unusual only in their exclusion from the day-to-day world
of architecture, and their near universal application to the world
of design.Our work is correspondingly diverse, marching to no easily identified drummer but, we hope, deeply committed to providing useful and satisfying facilities for human transactions, whatever they may be”.

Craig Hodgetts, Ming Fung

No what does all that crap mean? Ultimately I guess it means we lose another icon…..but perhaps not forever.