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Chinese Theatre photos



The Chinese Theater is probably the most well known theater in the world today. Construction began in January 1926 by Charles E. Toberman for Sid Grauman. The theater opened May 18, 1927 with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's film The King of Kings. Some of Hollywood’s brightest stars attended the premiere, including Ernest Torrence who played the apostle Peter in the movie. During the course of construction Grauman was walking across the theater's forecourt when he was confronted by his chief cement mason, Jean Klossner, who scolded Sid for walking in the freshly laid cement. After making peace with Klossner, Sid asked Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford and Norma Talmadge to come to the theater at once. Upon their arrival, he had them place their footprints in the new curbstone. However, the cement was nearly dry, causing the impressions too faint. In April, just three weeks before the completion of construction, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks were again invited back this time to formally place their hand and footprints and signatures in the center of the theater's forecourt. A few days later, Grauman had Talmadge make similar impressions next to those made by Pickford and Fairbanks. Knowing that the theater's grand opening was to occur on May 18, 1927, Norma Talmadge scribbled that date above her signature instead of the actual date she made the impressions. Since then, scores of celebrities have had their hand and footprints and signature enshrined in the famous courtyard. 

Over the course of the next eighty plus years, scores of Hollywood’s brightest celebrities have placed their hand and footprints in the theater’s forecourt. Stars such as Jean Harlow, Humphrey Bogart, Gary Cooper, Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, Steve McQueen, Jack Nicholson and Clark Gable.  The last celebrity  to be inducted into the Chinese Theater’s forecourt was when Jennifer Aniston placed his hand, footprints and signature into the wet cement on July 7, 2011. Just a few months before that, Peter O’Toole did just the same thing.

Movie premieres were major events at the Chinese Theaters.  Premieres such as Hells Angels, Babes in Arms, The Sullivans, Shane, The Robe, and many more were held at the famous theater.

Sid Grauman sold his share to William Fox's Fox Theaters chain in 1929, but remained as the theater's Managing Director until his death in 1950.

The theater was leased in 1973 by Ted Mann who changed the name to Mann’s Chinese Theater. In 2000, Mann filed bankruptcy and the Mann Theaters were sold to a partnership of Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures  The theater was renamed Grauman’s Chinese Theater.

During the past eight years, thousand’s of Chinese Theater photos have been taken of, not only, the theater but also the scores hand and footprint ceremonies. Today, the vast majority of these photographs are considered historic.  There are more Chinese Theater photos on the web site than any other collection in the world. Beginning with photos showing the groundbreaking of the theater, the collection has images of the theater’s construction, pictures of the front of the theater, numerous premieres, and tourist visiting the theater.  All these photos are in the “Chinese Theater” category of the collection. Photographs of the hand and footprint ceremonies are in the “Hand and Footprint” category of the web site.

All Chinese Theater and hand and footprint ceremony photos are available for purchase.


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