Egyptian Theatre

6712 Hollywood Boulevard,
Los Angeles, CA 90028

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Showing 201 - 225 of 237 comments

Bigdom78987
Bigdom78987 on July 3, 2004 at 2:58 pm

Why can’t they just make theatres like they used to?
(Actually this isn’t just true of theatres: Old everything is better in quality and style such as office buildings, homes, clothing, etc.)
The egyptian still could have been restored exactly as it was minus the proscenium and that still would have been thousands of times better. One of the worst mistakes was redoing that stupid modernistic lobby they have now and that dumb steven spielberg screening room. Just look at the old pictures and you’ll see what i mean.
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GaryParks
GaryParks on June 19, 2004 at 2:35 pm

Just to answer some of the debate about how the Egyptian was redone:

If you restored the original proscenium, you would have an absurdly small screen. I’m both a lover of movie palaces and Egyptian architecture (both real and reel), and that proscenium was a beauty, but practicality is practicality.

If you brought back the auditorium sidewalls to their original look and texture, removing the new retractible structure built within, you would recreate the same problem that the Egyptian faced with the advent of talkies. As a room for amplified sound, it was lousy. No, I wasn’t there back then, by I have read about the problems encountered with the auditorium every time a new innovation in presentation came along.

Although I applaud reuse of old theatres which bring them back to their aesthetic glory days with as little visible modernity as possible, it was evidenced to me that what American Cinematech did was a great technical solution. I would rather have seen the interior structural members painted in some sort of sandstone hue to blend nicely with the surviving historical elements, but that would be almost my only complaint—that, and the removal of the stained glass Egyptian panels in the lobby, and the heavy wood doors leading into the auditorium, which had striding figures on them and tall sceptre-like handles that made the act of opening the doors one of great moment.

edward
edward on April 30, 2004 at 8:31 pm

It should be mentioned also that the historic Pig & Whistle restaurant was reopened in the right hand retail space on the Blvd. (6712 Hollywood Blvd, a former pizzeria) The Egyptian courtyard can be seen to the left.
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Although only in name, it was a nice touch to bring back an old Hollywood landmark formerly located at 6301 Hollywood Blvd. (a picture of it appears in the book SEVERED by John Gilmore. An odd fact is that much of the original decor of this place was purchased by Micelli’s and is now located in a space nearby .(Miceli’s Italian Restaurant, 3653 Cahuenga Blvd W, Los Angeles)

I’ve been to a few screenings at the Egyptian. Considering how far gone the theater was, it’s a miracle the Cinematheque saved it. The auditorium and lobby are a disappointment but the projection and sound is good. Definitely much better than a multiplex experience. The exterior and courtyard have been restored nicely and make the visit worthwihe. The El Capitan is much more impressive for interior decor but is missing its original proscenium columns ( lack of funds to recreate). Some nice landmarks on the otherwise run down and forgettable Hollywood Blvd.
I don’t think it will ever thrive again unles major retailers take over more of the retail spaces. Go downtown to Broadway, it’s much more interesting.

JimRankin
JimRankin on April 8, 2004 at 10:33 am

For those who love the Egyptian style, there are a number of theatres that have had that theme, and an entire special issue of “Marquee” magazine was devoted to them in their issue of: Vol. 29, #3; Third Qtr. 1997, and the issue features wonderful color covers of the EGYPTIANS in Milwaukee (in the form of a wonderful color painting by artist Mark Hylton of Columbus, OH) and Ogden Ut. The table of such themed theatres includes 45 examples of those now, or at one time, with us. An introduction and Prologue carry one to those ancient days, and individual articles on the Ogden and Hollywood help detail the existing examples. Many other photos are included.
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)

NeilShattuc
NeilShattuc on April 6, 2004 at 4:25 pm

I have one question why isn’t there any mention of the monkey cages on the right hand side of the walk way up to the theater entrance also there was a wishing well at the end right of the door. They were
there late 1930’s early 1940’s

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on April 6, 2004 at 2:53 pm

I know I most get over the fact that I am dissapointed in the renovation of the Egyptian. I have been a huge supporter in the revival of Hollywood Blvd. I first saw Hollywood Blvd in 1963 when the Blvd was lovely. I remember you could walk from The Chinese to the Pix and look at all the wonderful stores and restaurants and all the reserved seat attractions playing in the movie palaces along the Blvd. I watched the slow deterioration of the Blvd through the years. I remember a major revival of the Blvd in the 1980’s only to have the Metro Red Line tear up the street and again the street went into decline. I supported going to the Egyptian at the time when the Fashionable thing to do was go to the Westside to see movies. I am happy that finally Hollywood Blvd is turning around but it still hasn’t met critical mass yet. I think with the Egyptian and Hollywood and Highland it has helped Hollywood turn a corner on the one hand but on the other they still haven’t gotten it right yet.The Arclight development on Sunset is a first class attempt to get it right,but the auditoriums are glorified screeing rooms with the exception of the Cinerama Dome.The Big success story happened in another part of Hollywood, Pacific’s Grove. This complex actually captures the glamour of the Old Hollywood versus the glamour of the new Hollywood at the Arclight. The Grove is now one of the highest grossing Megaplex’s in the country. I think a recent success story is The Pantages Theatre on Hollywood blvd. Disney pushed the Nederlander Organization to restores the house if they wanted The Lion King. The Pantages is now the Premiere broadway house in town. My hope before I leave this earth is to have Hollywood Blvd back where it was between the 1930’s thru the early 1960’s.I hope the Egyptian in time will be brought back to a point where the theatre is as magical as the picture on the screen. I make these comments because I love the history of the area and have great effection for what once was.brucec

NeilShattuc
NeilShattuc on April 6, 2004 at 1:19 pm

Betwen 1938 and 1944 I saw just about every movie release on Hollywood Blvd. As a child gowing up I went to the movies every weekend and more during school vactions. I delivered the Hollywood Citizen News after School to get money for the movies. If the film
was released I saw it. My sister worked as a cashier and usher at the Vogue, Pantages and Apollo. The theaters were beond compare to any I ever been in and I still am a big movie goer. When I am on vacation there better be movie house. I am glad to see that someone
trying to do something to bring Hollywood back. Clean it up.

Knatcal
Knatcal on February 25, 2004 at 9:31 pm

In the mid 1980s during a trip into Hollywood I saw “Back to the Future” at the Egyptian Theatre. The theater had seen better days by that point but features like the covered entry way still remained. The American Cinematheque has taken out the covered walkaway and restored the forecourt to its early grandeur. The auditorium is nice for screening films in spite of the now stark lobby.

geovhill
geovhill on February 8, 2004 at 1:24 pm

This is a gem.
There is nothing like the Egyptian Theatre.
This goes back to the days when theaters were art forms!
It went through many changes over the years, and very few of them were good changes.
The Egyptian Theatre was neglected and changed for far too many years.
At one time,(even in the 1960’s) it was too new to be treasured, and very recently was thought to be too old to be like it was.
Now, it is a part of the history of Hollywood that we want to keep!!
Thank you.
George Vreeland Hill
G

PAULB
PAULB on February 5, 2004 at 3:39 pm

No Meredith. It’s me, the mysterious Paul brennan.

Meredith Rhule
Meredith Rhule on February 5, 2004 at 2:49 pm

I had noticed that one person posting here is “paulb.” That wouldn’t by chance be Paul Balbirnie, manager of the Eqyptian Theater, would it? :)

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 5, 2004 at 11:20 am

I just hope that one day LA and NY will have movie theaters based on the American Cinemateque which will be able to show the films from the silents to the roadshows in the environments they were originally shown(adaptive ingenuity will be of use here) with a smaller theater for the films from the ‘70’s on(I can’t picture Altman in a movie palace or roadshow type house..)
By the way apropos my comment about the Film Forum, they have the best programmer in the world, I only wish he had a theater to show the films in and not a screening room.

William
William on February 5, 2004 at 11:04 am

The former twin was originally a store that was converted into theatres. The last time I saw the twins, they were being used for plays or rock bands. The twin was the worst place to see a movie on Hollywood Blvd. They were just leased to UA, not owned. A few years before UA left the Egyptian Theatre. They had plans to turn the Egyptian Theatre and block area around it, into something like the Arc-Light, Chinese Theatres. They would have the large main theatre plus a modern 6-10 plex theatre location for new & move-over films and new stores and food on the site. But something went wrong with the city end and the plan was dropped and then the Northridge earthquake.

RobertR
RobertR on February 5, 2004 at 10:36 am

Thats why I brought up the former twin, couldent they have used that for 2 more screening rooms?

William
William on February 5, 2004 at 10:19 am

Most of the money for the new Disney concert hall came from Walt’s widow. And that has been a long troubled trip from ground breaking to opening. There would be some problems with returning a large say D-150 type screen back into the theatre. Most of it would be space. The curved screen could not be flown into the fly tower of the theatre like a regular type screen, because to return the former D-150 screen was 90 feet wide.
I would have liked to see the Egyptian Theatre fully restored like it once was. American Cinemateque has done a fine job returning the theatre back from the dead. One of the things they wanted was to have two screening theatres at one location. Like the Motion Picture Academy in Beverly Hills and like the Director’s Guild (which has three screening theatres). If they had not put in that second screening theatre (named after Steven Spielberg). They would have had more room to restore the main house. Every one has brought up good points on the restoration here. It’s like the old theatre owner twinning his single screen theatre. So he could make more money at one location. American Cinemateque can offer a film maker two state of the art screening rooms for his or her films.

RobertR
RobertR on February 5, 2004 at 8:54 am

What happened to the space next store where UA had the mini twin? I remember at the end UA ran this place so into the ground it was disgusting. I am just glad it is open and was not torn down. Alot was said about ripping out the arch to put in the d-150 screen. Couldent it have been re-created? More sense might have been to put in a huge 150 or Cinerama screen rather then the unimpressive one there now.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 5, 2004 at 8:26 am

Thank you Bruce.
The point I’m trying to make is that you give somebody Sid Grauman’s Hollywood Egyption and they turn it into New York’s Film Forum. If you don’t see that there is something very wrong here you are simply not paying attention. And as for not having money for the Warner or Egyption if LA can find a mountain of money for a new concert hall(and LA needs a new concert hall like Bagdad needs an American Cinemateque) which is nothing but a major vanity production for the architect, the politicians and the LA rich it could have easily found the money to properly restore these two historic buidings. Let’s face it, culturally we have nothing on the people who created these theaters.

bruceanthony
bruceanthony on February 4, 2004 at 3:35 pm

Im sorry but I am an avid film patron and saw many films at the Egyptian. Im glad its been saved and is being used. This is Hollywood and I hope in the future this theatre is restored. It doesn’t look like a movie palace, or the deluxe roadshow house of the 1950’s and the 1960’s that it once was. Small towns around the US have restored there theatres that look a lot better than the Egyptian.If you want to see what a movie palace looks like go to the Pantages,Chinese and El Capitan. The film programing and picture and sound at the Egyptian are excellent. I guess I am spoiled because I was involved with one of the first authentic restoration of a movie palace the Paramount(3000seats) in Oakland back in 1972. I remember Francis Ford Coppola looking around the theatre in amazement. Im looking for the wow factor and the Egytian isn’t it.brucec

William
William on February 4, 2004 at 12:43 pm

The Egyptian Theatre may be seen as a glorified screening room to what it once looked like. But the real damage happened in 1969 when UA did the D-150 install to the theatre. They ripped out the Egyptian proscenium and installed a giant 90 foot screen. And another problem is when UA dropped the theatre, it sat empty. With homeless people and street kids living inside. UA dumpped this once great palace and left it to rot on Hollywood Blvd. If you see the Paramount movie “Jimmy Hollywood”, you can see some of the theatre damage. And being from and living and working in Southern California area. You can’t drop the earthquake idea from the restoration of the theatre. The theatre was built in 1921-22 and has since gone through many rumbles over the years. Since the theatre is made of brick. It may look solid, but the Egyptian did loss some bricks in the fly tower and side walls during the Northridge Earthquake 1994. An earthquake retro-fit can add 12-15 million on to your budget. It’s not just the walls and roof of the building, it’s also the new building codes and wiring too. The Art-Deco Warner Beverly Hills Theatre would still be standing and in use today. Because the building needed a earthquake retro-fit that the owners were not going to do in 1989. The theatre was razed.
/theaters/504/

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on February 4, 2004 at 9:34 am

Well yes it’s very nice that it exists at all but think of the potential. After all you can show these films in a cineplex and they would look the same. But to have the Egyption and simply convert it to a glorified screening room(which some of the comments make it seem like) is a reel waste. And Hollywood and LA with more money that God(put together) couldn’t support a complete restoration for such a noble purpose? Maybe it has more to do with the egos of those involved including the archictects than with money.

PAULB
PAULB on February 4, 2004 at 3:34 am

here’s a new idea……………..BE GRATEFUL……a long way from the commonsense and good manners of another decade………perhaps all the moaners of this site might ask themselves:
‘how much in cold hard cash did they contribute to what they are complaining about…… eh?

Gregg
Gregg on February 3, 2004 at 11:37 pm

EGYPTIAN THEATRE IN LOS ANGELES RISES FROM THE RUBBLE
View link

RayKaufman
RayKaufman on January 31, 2004 at 1:25 pm

The Egytian’s makeover is not so much “restoration” as it is “adaptive reuse,” and a very sensitive one at that. I don’t believe anyone living in L.A., with knowledge of the available alternatives for this theatre, begrudge the American Cinemateque in any way. In fact, too many historic or preservation minded organizations in this country don’t understand that in order to make their efforts viable, the end result must be monetarily feasible. Otherwise, these grand old dammes are left as show pieces only, a “museum piece” that just doesn’t work or warrant the huge investment to save.

What the Cinemateque accomplished was actually quite remarkable, given the amount of money put into the project. Today, we have a major, seven-day-a-week, functioning theatre showcase, presenting restored and sometimes forgotten films.

I have to disagree with another, previous post here, that the Northridge quake had something to do with this re-do. The steel tubing now running the length of the walls, are to support rolling speaker panels to present film in surround.

VincentParisi
VincentParisi on January 16, 2004 at 6:03 pm

What is the current screen size?
At 733 seats it’s about the size of the auditorium at my high school.
This is a restored LA movie palace and one of the most famous? The American Cinemateque obviously doesn’t know squat about film showmanship or 70mm film presentation. Does anybody? I always wanted to go there but now it seems as though it would be major disappointment.