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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.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the historical significance of Grauman's Chinese Theatre?
Grauman's Chinese Theatre, opened in 1927, is a Hollywood landmark renowned for its lavish Chinese-inspired design and the tradition of movie stars leaving their handprints and footprints in the cement of its forecourt. It was the brainchild of showman Sid Grauman and has hosted numerous high-profile premieres and events, becoming a symbol of the glamor of Hollywood's Golden Age. The theatre is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, underscoring its cultural and historical importance.
Can visitors see the handprints and footprints of celebrities at Grauman's Chinese Theatre?
Yes, visitors can view the famous handprints, footprints, and autographs of over 200 Hollywood celebrities embedded in the forecourt of Grauman's Chinese Theatre. This tradition started accidentally when Norma Talmadge stepped on wet cement, and now it's a rite of passage for Hollywood's elite. The collection includes impressions from icons like Marilyn Monroe, Clint Eastwood, and recent stars, offering a tangible connection to the legends of cinema.
How has Grauman's Chinese Theatre contributed to the film industry?
Grauman's Chinese Theatre has been an integral part of the film industry, not only as a prime location for movie premieres but also as a cultural touchstone that celebrates the art of filmmaking. It was one of the first theatres to be equipped with IMAX technology, enhancing the cinematic experience for audiences. The theatre's unique atmosphere and historical significance continue to make it a sought-after venue for premieres and special events in the entertainment industry.
Is Grauman's Chinese Theatre still used for movie premieres?
Absolutely, Grauman's Chinese Theatre remains a favorite venue for movie premieres and Hollywood events. Its iconic status and state-of-the-art facilities, including one of the largest IMAX auditoriums in the world, make it a prestigious location for studios to debut their films. The theatre's ongoing popularity ensures that it continues to be a central hub for cinematic celebrations and an attraction for tourists and movie enthusiasts alike.
How can someone visit Grauman's Chinese Theatre and what can they expect?
Grauman's Chinese Theatre is open to the public, and visitors can take guided tours to learn about its history, architecture, and the stories behind the famous handprints and footprints. Tours typically include a visit to the opulent main auditorium, a behind-the-scenes look at the theatre's workings, and insights into the many events that have taken place there. Visitors can also attend movie screenings, experiencing the grandeur of the theatre firsthand.