"Grauman's Chinese Theater" has been a Hollywood landmark since it's opening in 1927, and no visit to Los Angeles would be complete without a stroll around the the theater. The Chinese is known to have had the most movie-premiers of all Hollywood movie theaters. If you have the time, go and catch a movie - and take a little extra time to look at the interor: red carpets and lavish decorations - if you close your eyes you might find yourself back in a time when "Singing in the Rain" premiered. If you don't want to watch a movie, there are tours of the theater every 1/2 hour. But no worries if you can't do that either - the outside architecture is quite impressive, and between looking at all the famous hand- and footprints in the cement, the souvenier-booths, the gift-shops, the walk of fame, and various characters and performers in front of the theater you will be quite busy.
More often than ever you will see a tourist crouching down to shadow their palm and feet prints over a famous personality's outlines. If you decide to do the same, make sure some unsuspecting tourist doesnt decide to stamp your hand off whilst at it! ouch!!
Grauman's Chinese Theatre located on Hollywood Boulevard is the premier theatre and center of attraction on this busy street. It opened in May of 1927 and was THE spot for movie goers. It has been renovated since the 1994 Los Angeles earthquake and was declared and given historical landmark status in 1968.
The forecourt is a tourist friendly hub for shutterbugs. It is where the stars have their hand and footprints etched into the sidewalk along with drawings and notes. The theatre hosts inside tours during the day about every half hour. I did not take a tour during this visit but definitely will during the next visit.
The artwork and architecture of this theatre is just stunning. It is as authentic, colorful and rich in tradition as any of the temples I have seen in China yet with a more modern feel. I was just in awe of the intricate artwork as is obvious by all the photos I took. The photos I snapped are just a small sampling and really do not do justice to the beauty of this theatre.
What struck me most about Hollywood and Los Angeles was all the rich history and flavor this city has to offer. While walking around downtown Los Angeles I found many a forgotten theatre and marquee tucked away amongst the city streets in desolate alley ways and forgotten corners. It was a walk through the past.
Walking along Hollywood Boulevard during the evenings means fighting the theatre going crowds along the streets. Movie lovers pack the boulevard for blocks on end to visit these theatres.
I know most of us think of Hollywood as a star studded fantasy land yet it offers so much more in tradition and history which are two aspects that I enjoy most. I hope you enjoy the photo montage. Remember to click the images to enlarge.
Money, ambition and imagination are the ingredients present in most American realizations. The absence (or the disregard) of a local culture, was the reason of a diversified copy of models and styles from Europe, but also from the whole world.
The interesting note is that immigration from all the world turned USA in a complex mixture of races and civilizations, giving sense and cultural legitimacy to most of the copies made only to... copy.
Sid Grauman, a theatre producer well succeeded with his experience of a theatre in Egyptian style, decided to build another one in its neighborhoods, matching a Chinese look. Opened in 1927, the success was even bigger , and the theatre became an icon of Hollywood.
Now, you may be one among the hundreds browsing the autographs and footprints of the actors immortalised by the movies, fighting for a ticket to a premiere, or as we did, deciding that... yes, it is there, big, beautiful and looking Chinese, only a few kilometers from Chinatown.
I headed over to Hollywood late on a Monday morning, the stretch of Hollywood Boulevard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theater was crawling with tourists mixed in characters such as Spiderman (we had a nice little chat about the Chicago Bears), Batman and a very scary transvestite alien that I failed to recognize and people trying to give away tickets to sit in the audience of various TV and talk shows.
Graumann's opened in May 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings. The guidebooks say that it was at that premiere that actress Norma Talmadge stepped in concrete, giving birth to the tradition of celebrities making hand and footprints that people flock here to see although the first prints are listed to be Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks on this list of the celebrities currently immortalized in concrete.
If you want to see the interior, you need to buy a ticket as this is still an active movie theater.
I suppose Grauman's could easily qualify as a tourist trap but it's so well known that you almost have to go see it and the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Grauman’s Chinese Theater (pic 1) is one of the most popular venues in LA, especially for premieres when long barriers wont allow you to get closer but you may see the original stars walking on the red carpet and not the mimics that occupie the area the other days.
It opened on May 18, 1927 by Sid Grauman that had already one theatre in egyptian style so he decided to have one in chinese style! There are organized tours inside the theatre during the day where you can check the stunning interior, but that’s what I’ve heard about, we didn’t go inside, we preferred to walk along the real Chinatown which near downtown and not in Hollywood. By the way the theatre is was declared as historic cultural landmark in 1968.
If you don’t go inside don’t forget to check the hand prints and signatures in front of the Chinese Theater. The forecourt is full of concrete blocks where some celebrities left their signatures with footprints and handprints (pic 2 shows Mel Gibson’s block). Some of them have also small drawing and notes.
Like the Walk of Fame the area is packed with tourists that try to find their favourite celebrities, take photos of them and some of them trying to see whose shoe fits them! :)
Mann's Chinese Theatre opened over 70 years ago and is one of the most famous landmarks in Los Angeles. The first film ever shown here was the silent film "King of Kings," produced by the legendary Cecil B. DeMille. Since then, the Chinese Theatre has been the site of more Hollywood movie premieres than any other theatre. The outside of the theatre was updated a few years ago, so it is more accessible than ever. This is a great place to see a movie while you are in town!
Mann's Chinese Theatre was orginally called Grauman's Chinese Theatre, after owner Sid Grauman. You'll still hear it refered to as such in Los Angeles. Sid was the one who came up with the idea of putting the stars' handprints and footprints in wet cement in front of the theatre in order to attract more customers. Now, the large entryway is covered with them. A little known fact.... Sid's co-owners were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks!
Inside the theatre, there are 2,200 bright red seats and red carpeting. Overhead, a chandelier is set in the center of a large, ornate starburst, surrounded by a ring of dragons - which is, in turn, encircled by a ring of icons portraying scenes from Chinese drama. Smaller Oriental lamps glow at the sides of the auditorium, hanging between intricately-carved stone columns; black & white murals of trees and pagodas fill the spaces in between.
The Chinese Theatre now offers a half-hour guided walking tour of the theatre. The charge is $5 (and kids under 5 are free). The tour takes guests inside the historic theatre, and the guide tells guests about the the history of the theatre, the footprints in the forecourt, the architecture, and the premieres that have been held there.
Mann’s Chinese Theatre, which used to be called Grauman’s Chinese Theater, is located on Hollywood Boulevard, right on the Walk of Fame.
Hand- and footprints of you favourite actors… Just within reach ! What an great idea !
The place is quite crowded…a fact that would have pleased Sid Grauman, owner of the theatre, who, in order to attract more customers, decided to immortalize celebrities’prints in wet cement on the courtyard just before the entrance. Well…objective achieved !
A lot of artists choose this spot to perform their show, so you might as well come across Michael Jackson !
Let's start with the obvious. It is a theater. And a really cool one at that. They have fairly good prices on Snow-caps, and pop-corn, and admission isn't all that bad.
Oh yeah, a lawyers dream is out in front, in the uneven footing you will find walking on the hand and foot prints of your favorite movie stars. As a law student I can see plenty of potential future clients who stumble and trip in the footsteps of long dead actors like Shirley Temple....wait, still alive....Long dead actors like Al Pachino...wait, still alive too....Long dead actors...aw forget it! Actors like Eddie Murphy, and Catherine Zeta Jones. And you can complete your crazed movie fan stalking fantasy by touching the hands or feet of the stars, immortalized in concrete.
Grauman's Chinese Theater is a little smaller than I thought it would be. It's where you see (and walk on) your favorite stars handprints and footprints-definitely an LA must see. Warning: you may have to wait to get a piccie of your fave's print-lots of other people may be standing on it.
One thing that struck me: were Henry Fonda's hands really THAT SMALL?!!!!
I'll post a few more pics in my travelogue
Outside the Mann Chinese Theatre, you can check out the many handprints of the stars (and footprints). From Marilyn Monroe, to Tom Hanks and Shirley Temple, you can see whose hands are the same size as yours. Great fun and full of tourists with cameras all there for the same thing. F.Y.I, my hands are the same size as Marilyn's and my feet as Susan Sarandons.
Well, now....you know that you have to see The Chinese Theatre while you're here.
The whole district around the theatre is LA's equivalent to Times Square. It can be a bit tacky and flashy, but is fitting for the entertainment district.
That said, as cynical and hyper-commercial as Hollywood can be, I challenge you not to get butterflies when you first see the Grauman's come into view.
At a pedestrian level, this is a chaotic as Los Angeles gets. The sidewalk and court of the theatre is full of tourists, cameras, and a slew of "characters"(people dressed up as celebrities and movie characters, asking for a quick buck in exchange for a photo). But, the theatre is a working house, and is simply stunning on the interior, as well - what a fantastic venue to see a horror flick in particular!
Furthermore, Grauman's is still one of the city's most popular venues for premieres. Thus, arrive on the right night and you won't be allowed near the Chinese - but you can stand behind the barriers, across Hollywood Blvd., and hope for a glimpse of some celebs on the red carpet.
Off the Beaten Path: The adjacent "Mann's Chinese Six", a modern cineplex, has a stunning lobby and concessions area that continues the Chinese theme, but in an anime motif that will impress.
We bought tickets off the box office on the main Hollywood Boulevard next to the theatre for a film.
It was lovely to be able to sit in the seats that many celebrities have over the years. We paid £11.25 each which wasn't bad for such a famous cinema.
Make sure when you are buying tickets it is for Graumans and not in a screen inside the Chinese Complex.
Yet another Hollywood landmark! Be one of the millions (billions?) to visit this world's famous theatre.
The theatre has a jade-green bronze roof that rises 90 feet into the air, 2 giant Heaven Dogs (from China) guarding the entrance, a 30-foot high dragon carved from stone sits above the entrance ... and many more exotic art from China.
Also, check out the hand and foot prints in its famous forecourt.
p/s: if you can, see it @ night too!
In front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre, you will see many of the most famous stars of past and present, in the form of their handprints and footprints! It is very fun, as people visiting the site will put their own hands into the handprints or their own foot into the footprint to compare how much bigger or smaller their own hands/feet are! There are also autographs etched into the area from the stars. Stars that have their hand/footprints here include: Clark Gable, Marilyn Monroe, Jimmy Stewart, Shirley Temple, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Cary Grant, Paul Newman, Judy Garland, the entire cast of the original "Star Trek," Clint Eastwood, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas - just to name a few! (The whole list of stars is posted in the website below.)
This theater, complete with dragons, temple dogs, and Chinese-style roofs, has a long history; it began screening movies in 1927. The courtyard hosts a collection of hand and foot imprints --including R2D2!
As of May, 2005, movie tickets cost $11.00.