Grauman's Chinese Theatre is a famous cultural attraction located in Hollywood, California. The theatre is widely regarded as one of the most famous movie theatres in the world, and is the frequent location of movie premiers and other important Hollywood events. In addition to the theatre itself, many visitors flock to Grauman's to see autographs made by famous movie stars in the cement of the forecourt.
The history of Grauman's Chinese Theatre began in the 1920s, when Sid Grauman first conceived of the idea of building a movie theatre shaped like a giant Chinese pagoda, to complement other fabulously decorated movie theatres in Hollywood. By the 18 May, 1927 premiere of “King of Kings,” the theatre had been finished, complete with cultural artifacts from China and lavish carvings, paintings, and textile designs. Grauman's other projects included the Egyptian Theatre, a few blocks away from the site of the Chinese Theatre.
The forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre is probably the most famous feature of the building, with two giant red columns holding up a towering roof. A large carving of a dragon is situated above the doors, while two heaven dogs from China guard the doors. The concrete tiles in the courtyard are signed by well known actors and actresses, and many of the tiles are also marked with hand and footprints. In some cases, more unusual mementos can be found, like the wand prints of the Harry Potter stars, Betty Grable's leg, hoofprints from equestrian stars, R2D2s wheel marks, and cigar prints.
The distinctive building was designated a historic and cultural landmark in 1968, in recognition of the place it has in Hollywood's history. The theatre is located along Hollywood's “Walk of Fame,” which immortalizes famous movie stars with plaques in the pavement along Hollywood Boulevard. Visitors to Hollywood often traverse the Walk of Fame and try to visit Grauman's Chinese Theatre as well, to admire the extensive decorations, which were refurbished most recently in 2001.
By convention, Grauman's Chinese Theatre is one of the most sought-after locations for Hollywood movie premiers. This is not terribly surprising, since Sid Grauman first popularized the idea of star studded premieres to promote movies and the theatres they were shown in. The famous facade of Grauman's can often be seen in coverage of movie premiers, and it is also featured in the ceremonies held to immortalize the autographs of movie stars in the concrete of the forecourt.