Chinese Theater


Grauman's Chinese Theatre, located at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. is, by far, the most well known theater in the world. The Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Grauman's Egyptian Theater which opened in 1922. Built over 18 months, beginning 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. It has since been home to many premieres, birthday parties, corporate junkets and three Academy Awards ceremonies. Among the theater's most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, handprints and footprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day. There are many great Chinese Theater pictures available through this site that include may different views of the theater During the course of construction, a accident occurred that later evolved to one of Hollywood's greatest tourist attractions: placing of celebrities' hand and footprints in the forecourt of the Chinese Theater. There have been many stories as to the origin of the tradition, and all can be dismissed as folklore. The most popular of these fabricated tales suggests that the idea for the hand and footprints was sparked when Sid Grauman witnessed Norma Talmadge step into fresh cement as she got out of her car while visiting the theater. It has also been the popular belief that Norma Talmadge was the first celebrity to place hand and footprints in the theater's forecourt. The true story, which lacks the glamour of the other tales, is that Sid 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.  Shortly after the grand opening of the Chinese Theater, Charles, E. Toberman built the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel, just down the street. Over the course of eighty years, hundreds of Chinese Theater images, Chinese Theater pictures and Chinese Theater photos and photographs have been taken. Sid Grauman sold his share to William Fox's Fox Theatres chain in 1929, but remained as the theater's Managing Director until his death in 1950. In 1968 the Chinese Theatre was declared a historic and cultural landmark, and has undergone various restoration projects in the years since then. It was leased in 1973 by Ted Mann, owner of the Mann Theatres chain, and husband of actress Rhonda Fleming. In 2000, Mann filed bankruptcy and the Mann Theaters was sold to a partner ship of Warner Bros. and Paramount Pictures which continued to manage the theater under the Mann name. In 2008, the land the theatre sits on was sold to the CIM Group for an undisclosed price. Mann Theatres continues to have a long-term lease on the venue for movie premieres and will continue to operate it as a film house. On this site are more Chinese Theater photos, Chinese Theater images and Chinese Theater pictures than any site on the web.

Click to Enlarge
Construction of Grauman's Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Construction of Grauman's Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Chinese Theater under construction
Click to Enlarge
NOTICE FOR HAND & FOOTPRINT PHOTOS
Chinese TheaterConstruction of Grauman's Chinese Theater
AER-1926-2-1
Sept. 21,1926
Chinese TheaterConstruction of Grauman's Chinese Theater
AER-1926-2
Sept. 21,1926
Chinese TheaterChinese Theater under construction
HB-093
1927
Chinese TheaterNOTICE FOR HAND & FOOTPRINT PHOTOS
T-000
Click to Enlarge
Notice of Premieres
Click to Enlarge
Groundbreaking ceremony for Grauman's Chinese Theater. L to R: Sid Grauman, Charlie Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, Conrad Nagel and Anna Mae Wong.
Click to Enlarge
Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Early construction days of Grauman's Chinese Theater
Chinese TheaterNotice of Premieres
T-001
Chinese TheaterGroundbreaking ceremony for Grauman's Chinese Theater. L to R: Sid Grauman, Charlie Chaplin, Norma Talmadge, Conrad Nagel and Anna Mae Wong.
T-017-0
January 5, 1926
Chinese TheaterChinese Theater
T-017
2012
Chinese TheaterEarly construction days of Grauman's Chinese Theater
T-017-1
1926
Click to Enlarge
Construction Of The Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Early days of construction of the Grauman's Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Construction Of The Chinese Theater
Click to Enlarge
Ushers At The Chinese Theater
Chinese TheaterConstruction Of The Chinese Theater
T-17-3
1926
Chinese TheaterEarly days of construction of the Grauman's Chinese Theater
T-017-4
1926
Chinese TheaterConstruction Of The Chinese Theater
T-17-5
1926
Chinese TheaterUshers At The Chinese Theater
T-17-6
1927