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Hollywood Movie Palaces


Egyptian Theater

Movie Palaces is a term used to refer to the large, elaborately decorated movie theaters built between the 1910s and the 1940s. The late 1920s saw the peak of the movie palace, with hundreds opened every year between 1925 and 1930.  Hollywood’s first movie palace was Grauman’s Egyptian Theater located on Hollywood Blvd. at Las Palmas Ave. The Egyptian's grand opening was also the occasion for Hollywood's very first movie premiere in October of 1922. The movie that opened the new theatre was "Robin Hood" staring Douglas Fairbanks and Wallace Berry.) Staged in typical Grauman fashion with bright lights, stars and a red carpet, that initial gala inspired countless subsequent movie premieres a Hollywood tradition which continue to this very day. Inside, the auditorium seated 1,760 people, dwarfing all previous Hollywood theaters.


Chinese Theater

Hollywood’s second movie palace was also founded by Sid Grauman. Grauman's Chinese Theatre opened over 70 years ago, with the 1927 debut of the original silent version of "King of Kings," produced by Cecil B. DeMille. Since then, the Chinese Theatre has been the site of more gala Hollywood movie premieres than any other theater. With an auditorium that seated 2200 spectators, it was ornate and elaborate.  In the forecourt of the theater hare hundreds of hand and footprints of some of Hollywood’s most notable celebrities.  The first two stars to place their hand and footprint and signatures in the forecourt’s cement were husband and wife, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks, in 1927.   Since then hundreds of celebrities have been honored in the theater’s forecourt.


El Capitan Theater

The third movie palace type theater to be built in Hollywood was  the El Capitan Theater.  Originally, the theater was not a movie type theater but a legitimate play Theater. The El Capitan began as a live theatre in 1926. It boasted a 120-foot stage, and featured plays on stage with stars that included Clark Gable, Buster Keaton, Will Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks Jr. It was a "legitimate" theatre until 1942, when it became the Paramount movie theatre. It was the site of the world premiere of "Citizen Kane." Later, the theater was purchased by the Walt 






Warner Bros. Theater

Hollywood’s fourth movie palace was the Warner Bros. Theater on Hollywood Blvd.  The bothers Warner, who had become successful at movie making, decided to get into the business of showing films.  After fourteen months of construction, the Warner Bros. Theater opened amid great fanfare on the evening of April 26, 1928. The event was also the premiere of “Glorious Betsy”, starring Delores Costello and Conrad Nagle.  The theater’s auditorium seated over 2700 people, and at that time, was the largest theater in Hollywood.  Behind the massive screen was the twenty-six ranks of the four-manual Marr and Colton pipe organ.  Warner Bros.Theater was one of the few theaters that was large enough to convert to Cinerama in 1952.


Pantages Theater

The fifth movie palace to adorn Hollywood was the Pantages Theater, which opened on June 4, 1930. The long-awaited opening was for the newest, largest, most original and certainly the most ornate theater in Hollywood. With a seating capacity of 2812, the Pantages Theater was located on the north side of Hollywood Boulevard, just east of Vine Street.  The opening attraction was the world premiere of “Floradora Girl”, starring Marion Davies.  The invited guest – practically every movie star in Hollywood – stepped from their limousines onto the red velvet-carpeted sidewalk and saw, for the first time, the lavish marble and bronze entrance lit from the elaborate

The largest collection of Hollywood Theater photos is Take a look. 


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