Here's a blast from my past: Grauman's Chinese Theatre. Or, Mann's Chinese Theatre as it was known when I worked there in the early 1980s--my first job after moving to Hollywood!
Over the years, Sid Grauman's third masterpeice of cinematic showmanship (the first being downtown Los Angeles' "Million Dollar Theatre" and the second, Hollywood Blvd.'s "Egyptian Theatre") has changed hands
many times, but no matter who owned it, it has remained a Hollywood icon. And, since 1929, scores of actors have had their hand & footprints immortalized in cement in it's famous "Forecourt of the Stars."
There's even a cinematic time capsule buried in the courtyard! However, there was a time when this monument to movie-going was in such a sad state, many wondered if its doors might someday be closed forever.
Looking around today, that may be hard to believe, especially in light of the overhauls that have restored Grauman's Egyptian, Disney's El Capitan and the TCL Chinese to their vintage-era
beauty. But in the 1980's, Westwood Village (near UCLA) was the movie-going hotpsot,
and the theaters on Hollywood Blvd. were slowly being put out to pasture. Under UA ownership, the Egyptian got a facelift with the premiere of "The Return of the Jedi" and the Chinese got a boost with the introduction of the THX sound system around the opening of "Indiana Jones & the Temple of Doom." But, eventually, nearly all of the Hollywood Blvd. theaters--the Warner/Pacific Triplex, Vogue, Fox, Holly, Pix and even the historic Hollywood Theater (opened in 1913)--were closed or repurposed. For instance, the Hollywood is now The Guinness Book
of World Records Museum! And despite the restoration of the Chinese, including bringing back the "Grauman" name, removing the 1950's-era neon marquees and upgrading to IMAX, the wear and tear on the physical structure has been so
pronounced, that over the years much of the decor--inside and out--has been removed, rather than repaired.
So, what exactly, is on this site? 35mm color slides I took for a film school project in 1981 when I still worked at the Chinese theater. The photos include rare shots of Sid Grauman's personal office, and the interiors and exteriors of both
the Chinese and the now-demolished Chinese Twin theater (which opened in 1979). There's even a shot of me on the forecourt the morning of George Lucas & Steven Spielberg's footprint ceremony! Most of the photos
were taken to compare and contrast the architectural features of the two buildings--had I known what the future held in store for these monuments, I would have taken a lot more!
TRIVIA NOTE: Charles Nelson was the Talent Quest winner whose hand & footprints used to be in the east forecourt where the current entrance to the Chinese 6 Theaters complex now exists. They have been moved to a different spot on the forecourt--but not removed like many suspected.