Grauman's Chinese Theatre
Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a movie theater
Movie theater
A movie theater, cinema, movie house, picture theater, film theater is a venue, usually a building, for viewing motion pictures ....

 at 6925 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood Boulevard
-Revitalization:In recent years successful efforts have been made at cleaning up Hollywood Blvd., as the street had gained a reputation for crime and seediness. Central to these efforts was the construction of the Hollywood and Highland shopping center and adjacent Kodak Theatre in 2001...

 in Hollywood
Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Hollywood is a famous district in Los Angeles, California, United States situated west-northwest of downtown Los Angeles. Due to its fame and cultural identity as the historical center of movie studios and movie stars, the word Hollywood is often used as a metonym of American cinema...

. It is on the historic Hollywood Walk of Fame
Hollywood Walk of Fame
The Hollywood Walk of Fame consists of more than 2,400 five-pointed terrazzo and brass stars embedded in the sidewalks along fifteen blocks of Hollywood Boulevard and three blocks of Vine Street in Hollywood, California...


The Chinese Theatre was commissioned following the success of the nearby Grauman's Egyptian Theatre
Grauman's Egyptian Theatre
Grauman's Egyptian Theatre on Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California, is one of the world's most famous movie theatres. Opened in 1922, it was the venue for the first-ever Hollywood premiere.- History :...

 which opened in 1922. Built over 18 months, from January 1926 by a partnership headed by Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
Sidney Patrick Grauman was an American showman who created one of Southern California's most recognizable and visited landmarks, Grauman's Chinese Theater. He was the son of David Grauman who died in 1921 in Los Angeles, California and Rosa Goldsmith...

, the theater opened May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil B. DeMille
Cecil Blount DeMille was an American film director and Academy Award-winning film producer in both silent and sound films. He was renowned for the flamboyance and showmanship of his movies...

's film The King of Kings. It has since been home to many premieres - including the 1977 launch of George Lucas
George Lucas
George Walton Lucas, Jr. is an American film producer, screenwriter, and director, and entrepreneur. He is the founder, chairman and chief executive of Lucasfilm. He is best known as the creator of the space opera franchise Star Wars and the archaeologist-adventurer character Indiana Jones...

's Star Wars
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, originally released as Star Wars, is a 1977 American epic space opera film, written and directed by George Lucas. It is the first of six films released in the Star Wars saga: two subsequent films complete the original trilogy, while a prequel trilogy completes the...

- birthday parties, corporate junkets and three
Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 ceremonies. Among the theater's most distinctive features are the concrete blocks set in the forecourt, which bear the signatures, footprints, and handprints of popular motion picture personalities from the 1920s to the present day.


After his success with the Egyptian Theatre, Sid Grauman
Sid Grauman
Sidney Patrick Grauman was an American showman who created one of Southern California's most recognizable and visited landmarks, Grauman's Chinese Theater. He was the son of David Grauman who died in 1921 in Los Angeles, California and Rosa Goldsmith...

 turned to C.E. Toberman to secure a long term lease on property at 6925 Hollywood Blvd. Mr. Toberman contracted the architectural firm of Meyer & Holler
Meyer & Holler
Meyer & Holler was an architecture firm based in Los Angeles, California noted for its opulent commercial buildings and movie theatres, including Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian theatres, built during the 1920s...

 (who had also designed the Egyptian) to design a "palace type theatre" of Chinese design. Grauman's Chinese Theatre was financed by Grauman, who owned a one-third interest, and his partners: Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford
Mary Pickford was a Canadian-born motion picture actress, co-founder of the film studio United Artists and one of the original 36 founders of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences...

, Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr. was an American actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He was best known for his swashbuckling roles in silent films such as The Thief of Bagdad, Robin Hood, and The Mark of Zorro....

, and Howard Schenck. The principal architect of the Chinese Theatre was Raymond M. Kennedy
Raymond M. Kennedy
Raymond McCormick Kennedy was the guiding light and architect of the Grauman's Chinese Theater that opened in May 1927.-Early life:Raymond McCormick Kennedy was born in New Brighton, Pennsylvania in 1891...

, of Meyer and Holler.

During construction, Grauman hired Jean Klossner to formulate an extremely hard concrete for the forecourt of the theatre. Klossner later became known as "Mr. Footprint," performing the footprint ceremonies from 1927 through 1957.

There are many stories regarding the origins of the footprints. The theater's official account in its books and souvenir programs credit Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge was an American actress and film producer of the silent era. A major box office draw for more than a decade, her career reached a peak in the early 1920s, when she ranked among the most popular idols of the American screen.Her most famous film was Smilin’ Through , but she also...

 as having inspired the tradition when she accidentally stepped into the wet concrete. However, in a short interview during the September 13, 1937, Lux Radio Theatre broadcast of a radio adaptation of A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born (1937 film)
A Star Is Born is a 1937 Technicolor romantic drama film produced by David O. Selznick and directed by William A. Wellman, with a script by Wellman, Robert Carson, Dorothy Parker and Alan Campbell. It stars Janet Gaynor as an aspiring Hollywood actress, and Fredric March as an aging movie star who...

Grauman related another version of how he got the idea to put hand and footprints in the concrete. He said it was: "pure accident. I walked right into it. While we were building the theatre, I accidentally happened to step in some soft concrete. And there it was. So, I went to Mary Pickford immediately. Mary put her foot into it." Still another account by Jean Klossner (the construction foreman at the time) recounts that Klossner autographed his work next to the right-hand poster kiosk and that he and Grauman developed the idea then and there. His autograph and hand-print, dated 1927, remain today. The theater's third founding partner, Douglas Fairbanks, was the second celebrity, after Talmadge, to be immortalized in the concrete.

Sid Grauman sold his share to William Fox
William Fox (producer)
William Fox born Fried Vilmos was a pioneering Hungarian American motion picture executive who founded the Fox Film Corporation in 1915 and the Fox West Coast Theatres chain in the 1920s...

's Fox Theatres chain in 1929, but remained as the theater's Managing Director until his death in 1950. Charles Skouras bought the Chinese Theatre which became part of a chain of theatres for his company known as Fox West Coast Theatres. John Tartaglia (also see artist of Saint Sophia (Los Angeles)
Saint Sophia (Los Angeles)
Saint Sophia , was built by Charles Skouras in 1952, in what was then the Greek section of Los Angeles, California. It is located at West 15th Street and South Normandie Avenue in what is now the Harvard Heights neighborhood. This Greek Orthodox church is the result of a Hollywood success story...

 became the Head Interior Decorator of Grauman's Chinese Theatre as well as the chain of theatres, then owned by Fox West Coast Theatres, in 1952. He would later carry on the work of Jean Klossner, by recommendation of J. Walter Bantau, for the Hollywood Footprint Ceremonies. John performed his first ceremony as a Master Mason for Jean Simmons in 1953, for the first premiere in Cinemascope of "The Robe". Although Jean's replacement was initially thought to be a temporary job for John Tartaglia, his dedication to the job would last as a 35-year career in which he last performed as the Master Mason/Cement Artist in honor of Eddie Murphy in May of 1987 - thereby leaving behind one of the greatest legacies in Hollywood.
The Chinese Theatre was declared a historic and cultural landmark in 1968, and has undergone various restoration projects in the years since then. In 1973 it was purchased by Ted Mann
Ted Mann
Ted Mann was an American businessman, involved in the film industry, and head of Mann Theatres. He famously changed the name of Grauman's Chinese Theater to Mann's Chinese Theater when he purchased the National General Theatre chain that owned it in 1973...

, owner of the Mann Theatres chain, and husband of actress Rhonda Fleming
Rhonda Fleming
Rhonda Fleming , is an American film and television actress.She acted in more than 40 films, mostly in the 1940s and 1950s, and became renowned as one of the most beautiful and glamorous actresses of her day...

. From then until 2001 it was known as Mann's Chinese Theatre. In the wake of Mann's bankruptcy
Bankruptcy is a legal status of an insolvent person or an organisation, that is, one that cannot repay the debts owed to creditors. In most jurisdictions bankruptcy is imposed by a court order, often initiated by the debtor....

, the theatre, along with the other Mann properties, were sold in 2000 to a partnership of Warner Bros.
Warner Bros.
Warner Bros. Entertainment, Inc., also known as Warner Bros. Pictures or simply Warner Bros. , is an American producer of film and television entertainment.One of the major film studios, it is a subsidiary of Time Warner, with its headquarters in Burbank,...

 and Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures
Paramount Pictures Corporation is an American film production and distribution company, located at 5555 Melrose Avenue in Hollywood. Founded in 1912 and currently owned by media conglomerate Viacom, it is America's oldest existing film studio; it is also the last major film studio still...

, who also acquired the Mann brand name. In 2002 the original name was restored to the cinema palace, although the other theatres in the attached Hollywood and Highland
Hollywood and Highland
The Hollywood & Highland Center is a shopping mall and entertainment complex at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in the Hollywood district in Los Angeles. The center also includes Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre, home to the Academy Awards. The historic site was once the...

 mall retain and continue to operate under the name Mann's Chinese 6 Theatre.

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. The land was sold to CIM by the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation
The Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation is a not-for-profit cancer research organization focused "discovering the talent to discover the cure." The Foundation states that its goals are to: "identify the best and brightest early career scientists in cancer research, accelerate the translation...

 of New York and Barlow Respiratory Hospital of Los Angeles. CIM Group also owns the Hollywood and Highland
Hollywood and Highland
The Hollywood & Highland Center is a shopping mall and entertainment complex at Hollywood Boulevard and Highland Avenue in the Hollywood district in Los Angeles. The center also includes Grauman's Chinese Theatre and the Kodak Theatre, home to the Academy Awards. The historic site was once the...

 retail mall next door to the Chinese Theatre, as well as numerous other residential and commercial properties in Hollywood. On May 27, 2011 both Grauman's Chinese and the adjacent Mann Chinese 6 were purchased by nightclub owner/producer Elie Samaha and producer Donald Kushner
Donald Kushner
Donald Kushner is an American producer who has worked with animation, live-action and theater productions.He attended high school in Providence, received an undergraduate degree from Syracuse University in 1971 and a Boston University law degree in 1973...

 as Chinese Theatres, LLC.

The exterior of the theater is meant to resemble a giant, red Chinese
Chinese architecture
Chinese architecture refers to a style of architecture that has taken shape in East Asia over many centuries. The structural principles of Chinese architecture have remained largely unchanged, the main changes being only the decorative details...

A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist,...

. The architecture
Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and construction. Architectural works, in the material form of buildings, are often perceived as cultural and political symbols and as works of art...

 features a huge Chinese dragon
Chinese dragon
Chinese dragons are legendary creatures in Chinese mythology and folklore, with mythic counterparts among Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, Bhutanese, Western and Turkic dragons. In Chinese art, dragons are typically portrayed as long, scaled, serpentine creatures with four legs...

 across the front, two Authentic Chinese Ming Heavens dogs guard the main entrance, and the silhouettes of tiny dragons up and down the sides of the copper roof. To the dismay of many fans of historic architecture, the free-standing ticket booth was removed (which was not original to the theatre, but rather installed in the 1930s), along with the left and right neon marquees—but their absence brings the theatre back closer to its original state. The auditorium has recently been completely restored along with much of the exterior, however, the wear and tear on the physical structure over the years has caused some of the external décor to be removed, rather than repaired.

In 1944, 1945, and 1946 the Academy Awards
Academy Awards
An Academy Award, also known as an Oscar, is an accolade bestowed by the American Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to recognize excellence of professionals in the film industry, including directors, actors, and writers...

 ceremonies were held at the Chinese Theatre; they are now held at the adjacent Kodak Theatre
Kodak Theatre
The Kodak Theatre is a live theatre in the Hollywood and Highland shopping mall and entertainment complex on Hollywood Boulevard and North Highland Avenue in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles...


Grauman's Chinese Theatre continues to serve the public as a first-run
First run films
A film is said to be in its first run when it has been just released. In North America most new films earn most of their theatrical viewers in the first few weeks after their release. In North America different movie theatres pay different rates to show films depending on how recently they have...

 movie theater. Many Hollywood films have had their premiere
A premiere is generally "a first performance". This can refer to plays, films, television programs, operas, symphonies, ballets and so on. Premieres for theatrical, musical and other cultural presentations can become extravagant affairs, attracting large numbers of socialites and much media...

s at the Chinese Theatre throughout its history. Today its premieres are attended by celebrities and large throngs of fans as they have been since 1927.

The film premiere of Kevin Kerslake
Kevin Kerslake
Kevin Kerslake is an American music video director. He has directed videos for Stone Temple Pilots, Filter, R.E.M., 311, Faith No More, Green Day, The Used, 10 Years, Depeche Mode, The Smashing Pumpkins, Papa Roach, Nirvana, Sonic Youth, Rise Against, Insane Clown Posse, The Offspring, and Blue...

's Electric Daisy Experience and subsequent block party
Block party
A block party is a large public party in which many members of a single neighbourhood congregate, either to observe an event of some importance or simply for mutual enjoyment. The name comes from the form of the party, which often involves closing an entire city block to vehicle traffic...

 with Kaskade
Ryan Raddon , better known by his stage name Kaskade, is an American DJ and record producer. On October 20, 2011, DJ Magazine announced the results of their annual Top 100 DJ Poll, with Ultra Records Kaskade placed at #30...

 at Grauman's on 27 July 2011 turned into a small riot, including a "field jail" and three arrests. Police shot nonlethal rounds, and the crowd set fires, threw bottles and rocks, and jumped on three police cars, setting one on fire. Three individuals were arrested.


There are nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autograph
An autograph is a document transcribed entirely in the handwriting of its author, as opposed to a typeset document or one written by an amanuensis or a copyist; the meaning overlaps with that of the word holograph.Autograph also refers to a person's artistic signature...

s in the concrete of the theater's forecourt.

Variations of this honored tradition are imprints of the eye glasses of Harold Lloyd
Harold Lloyd
Harold Clayton Lloyd, Sr. was an American film actor and producer, most famous for his silent comedies....

, the cigar of Groucho Marx
Groucho Marx
Julius Henry "Groucho" Marx was an American comedian and film star famed as a master of wit. His rapid-fire delivery of innuendo-laden patter earned him many admirers. He made 13 feature films with his siblings the Marx Brothers, of whom he was the third-born...

, the magic wands of Harry Potter
Harry Potter (film series)
The Harry Potter film series is a British-American film series based on the Harry Potter novels by the British author J. K. Rowling...

stars Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Radcliffe
Daniel Jacob Radcliffe is an English actor who rose to prominence playing the titular character in the Harry Potter film series....

, Emma Watson
Emma Watson
Emma Charlotte Duerre Watson is an English actress and model.Watson rose to prominence playing Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. Watson was cast as Hermione at the age of nine, having previously acted only in school plays. From 2001 to 2011, she starred in all eight Harry Potter...

 and Rupert Grint
Rupert Grint
Rupert Alexander Lloyd Grint is an English actor, who rose to prominence playing Ron Weasley, one of the three main characters in the Harry Potter film series. Grint was cast as Ron at the age of 11, having previously acted only in school plays and at his local theatre group...

, the legs of Betty Grable
Betty Grable
Elizabeth Ruth "Betty" Grable was an American actress, dancer and singer.Her iconic bathing suit photo made her the number-one pin-up girl of the World War II era. It was later included in the LIFE magazine project "100 Photos that Changed the World"...

, the fist of John Wayne
John Wayne
Marion Mitchell Morrison , better known by his stage name John Wayne, was an American film actor, director and producer. He epitomized rugged masculinity and became an enduring American icon. He is famous for his distinctive calm voice, walk, and height...

, the knees of Al Jolson
Al Jolson
Al Jolson was an American singer, comedian and actor. In his heyday, he was dubbed "The World's Greatest Entertainer"....

, the ice skating blades of Sonja Henie
Sonja Henie
Sonja Henie was a Norwegian figure skater and film star. She was a three-time Olympic Champion in Ladies Singles, a ten-time World Champion and a six-time European Champion . Henie won more Olympic and World titles than any other ladies figure skater...

, and the noses of Jimmy Durante
Jimmy Durante
James Francis "Jimmy" Durante was an American singer, pianist, comedian and actor. His distinctive clipped gravelly speech, comic language butchery, jazz-influenced songs, and large nose helped make him one of America's most familiar and popular personalities of the 1920s through the 1970s...

 and Bob Hope
Bob Hope
Bob Hope, KBE, KCSG, KSS was a British-born American comedian and actor who appeared in vaudeville, on Broadway, and in radio, television and movies. He was also noted for his work with the US Armed Forces and his numerous USO shows entertaining American military personnel...


Western stars William S. Hart
William S. Hart
William Surrey Hart was an American silent film actor, screenwriter, director and producer. He is remembered for having "imbued all of his characters with honor and integrity."-Biography:...

 and Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers
Roy Rogers, born Leonard Franklin Slye , was an American singer and cowboy actor, one of the most heavily marketed and merchandised stars of his era, as well as being the namesake of the Roy Rogers Restaurants franchised chain...

 left imprints of their guns. The hoofprints of "Tony", the horse of Tom Mix
Tom Mix
Thomas Edwin "Tom" Mix was an American film actor and the star of many early Western movies. He made a reported 336 films between 1910 and 1935, all but nine of which were silent features...

, "Champion", the horse of Gene Autry
Gene Autry
Orvon Grover Autry , better known as Gene Autry, was an American performer who gained fame as The Singing Cowboy on the radio, in movies and on television for more than three decades beginning in the 1930s...

, and "Trigger
Trigger (horse)
Trigger was a palomino horse, made famous in American Western films with his owner/rider, cowboy star Roy Rogers.-Pedigree:...

", the horse of Rogers, were left in the concrete beside the prints of the stars who rode them in the movies.

The first person not associated with the movie industry to have a signature and handprint in front of the theater is Grauman's mother. On February 19, 2011, Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers are an American professional basketball team based in Los Angeles, California. They play in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference in the National Basketball Association...

 superstar Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bryant
Kobe Bean Bryant is an American professional basketball player who plays shooting guard for the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association . Bryant enjoyed a successful high school basketball career at Lower Merion High School, where he was recognized as the top high school...

 became the second person outside the movie industry to be so honored when he had his handprints and footprints embedded. Additionally, Charles Nelson, the winner of a "Talent Quest," had his handprints and footprints embedded in the "Forecourt of the Stars."

Full list of footprint and handprint ceremonies

See also

External links

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