The Egyptian Theatre

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6712 Hollywood Blvd. 

Los Angeles, CA  90028   | map |

(323) 466-3456  

Website: american | Cinematheque on Facebook

|  film schedule  | film & tour calendar  | Egyptian on Facebook  |
  tour & "Forever Hollywood" information  |

Opened: October 18, 1922 by Sid Grauman with Douglas Fairbanks as "Robin Hood" on the screen. The score was by Egyptian musical director/composer Victor Schertzinger.

The Egyptian was Grauman's first venture outside downtown Los Angeles and was made possible by developer C.E. Toberman. The structure reportedly cost $800,000.  In many early press accounts, the theatre is referred to as Grauman's Hollywood Theatre.

Mary Mallory, in a 2012 Daily Mirror article about the theatre, quotes Grauman talking to L.A. Times film critic Edwin Schallert about his plans for something more elaborate than most theatres. He as he envisioned it:

“An Egyptian garden is to be one of the main attractions at the new Hollywood Theater. The interior decorations will be in keeping with this outward scheme, and particularly effective will be the colorful lighting plan.”

On a Theatre Talks post theatre historian Cezar Del Valle excerpts an article from the October 13, 1922 issue of the Hollywood newspaper Holly Leaves:

 "Grauman's Hollywood will be the first photoplay theater in the West to maintain a policy of reserving every seat for every performance. For the convenience of Los Angeles patrons a downtown box office will be maintained at Barker Brothers', and seats will be on sale two weeks in advance.

Two complete shows will be given daily, a matinee at 2:15 and an evening performance at 8:15. The scale of prices for the matinee will run from 50 cents to $1.00 and the evening prices from 75 cents to $1.50.

Every production will be presented with an elaborate musical accompaniment by an orchestra which is now being organized and which it is hoped to make one of the representative musical organizations of the West.

It is Grauman's intention to show the biggest feature attractions of all producers at the Hollywood Theater, the opening feature being Douglas Fairbanks in 'Robin Hood,' which has been [?] as the really big photoplay triumph of 1922.

Each production will be preceded with a prologue in keeping with the atmosphere of the story in which players who starred in the picture will be seen in their identical roles. 'Robin Hood' is to have the most elaborate prologue accorded [?].

The Nottingham castle set, which drew thousands to the Fairbanks-Pickford studio is to be duplicated on the Grauman stage, and the $150,000 costumes worn in the play will be used in the prologue, which Sid Grauman has designated as the 'Nottingham Castle Pageant.' More than 200 persons are to take part in the Robin Hood pageant, which will precede every showing of the picture."

A "Robin Hood" ad from the November 17, 1922 issue
of Holly Leaves. It's reproduced in Cezar Del Valle's
 Grauman's Egyptian post on his Theatre Talks blog.

full size view

The opening night was the first real Hollywood premiere. The staff included usherettes in elaborate Egyptian costumes and robed Bedouin sentinels patrolling the parapet walls.

"An Eyeful of Usherets [sic] Parked in an Oldsmobile. These lovely
ones appear in person at Sid Grauman's new Hollywood Egyptian
Theatre, where Douglas Fairbanks's 'Robin Hood' is being produced.
If you can't find the way to your seat they'll help you."

The illustration is from Mary Mallory's Daily Mirror
article "Hollywood Heights - The Egyptian Theatre. "

Ms. Mallory discusses the opening:

"Director Fred Niblo acted as master of ceremonies for the premiere, with Los Angeles Mayor Cryer, Rupert Hughes, Jesse L. Lasky, Hollywood Chamber of Commerce’s George Eastman, and builder Charles Toberman making speeches, along with actor Charlie Chaplin. Cecil B. DeMille presented Sid Grauman with a laurel wreath on behalf of the Hollywood film community. Floral arrangements honoring Grauman and his theatre decorated the forecourt.

Both inside and out, the site highlighted Egyptania. The walls of the auditorium featured hieroglyphics, with the ceiling painted to resemble the night sky. The constellations would change as the lighting effects altered and shifted. The forecourt featured oriental shops down its promenade, with an Egyptian village replicating one by the Pyramids, attracting attention. Rug makers and other artisans intrigued filmgoers."

The cover of the opening night program. It's on
 "Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre," a post on Christopher
Crouch's Cinelog. Normally focusing on Orange County
theatres, Mr. Crouch takes an occasional foray into Hollywood.
 full size view

Also on Cinelog:
 | page 3 - "Greeting" | page 4 - "New Policies" |
| page 9 -  "Staff and Prices" | page 12 - "Masters in Charge of Music" |
 | page13 - "Robin Hood" credits  | full program (PDF):  Egyptian Album  |

  Thanks, Christopher!

A "Robin Hood" ad that ran in the the newspaper
Holly Leaves on November 3, 1922.
full size view

The ad is featured in a post on the Theatre Talks blog
about the October 18, 1922 Opening of the Egyptian Theatre.
The post also features a photo of the rear of the auditorium.

The October 20, 1922 report of the newspaper Holly Leaves about the opening of the theatre is excerpted by Cezar Del Valle in his Theatre Talks blog post:

 "A new era in the world's motion picture theaters and in the cinema art dawned Wednesday evening, when the new temple of art, Grauman's Egyptian Theater in Hollywood, was dedicated with the world premiere of 'Robin Hood,' the masterpiece of Douglas Fairbanks. Every one of the 1742 seats were filled, and an even if the seating capacity were ten times greater, the house doubtless would have been filled, so great was the demand for tickets.

There was a regular metropolitan 'opening night' with a jam of people and motor cars outside and extending in all directions, while the great court had rows of people on either side of the aisle kept open by khaki-clad soldiers. Hollywood Post American Legion Band was in the court and gave a band concert before the program. The picture stars were wildly greeted and numerous flashlights taken of the kaleidoscopic human spectacle.

Otto Olesen's great government searchlights played upon the heavens and added much to the spectacular effects.

Before the picture, Arthur Wenzel, publicity director for the Grauman theaters announced that Fred Niblo would officiate as master of ceremonies. Mr. Niblo was a witty and facetious mood as he presented Mayor George Cryer of Los Angeles; George J. Eastman, president of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce; Jesse Lasky, vice president of Famous Players-Lasky Company; Rupert Hughes, author and director, and Charlie Chaplin as surprise speakers. All were applauded to the echo with a double measure for 'Charlie.'

Then Cecil de Mille was presented and after a brief happy speech, he called for Sid Grauman, builder of the Egyptian playhouse. Mr. Grauman was greeted by a storm of applause and was tendered the rising salute. He made a few appropriate remarks and expressed feelingly his appreciation for all that had been said.

All speakers heaped encomiums on Douglas Fairbanks for his marvelous production. The prologue was beautifully presented and delighted the house. The music proved a wonderful setting and the composer-conductor Victor Shertzanger [Victor Schertzinger] was given an ovation. Handsome souvenir programs in brochure forms were given to every first night person."

Architects: Meyer & Holler. The original plan was for a Spanish style theatre but before construction began it was decided to change it to an Egyptian theme.   There had been numerous archeological discoveries that served to whet the public's appetite for Egyptian style.

The stylistic change proved to be extraordinarily prescient on Grauman's part when the public was whipped into an Egyptian frenzy by the discovery of King Tut's tomb by Howard Carter the month following the theatre's opening.

Mary Mallory, in her Daily Mirror article, refers to the 1990 Bernadette M. Sigler and Kevin Stayton book, "The Sphinx and the Lotus: the Egyptian Movement in American Decorative Arts, 1865-1935" which heralds Grauman's as the first full architectural expression of the Egyptian decorative scheme in this country.  The book notes that the theatre, inside and out was "Supposedly based on temple ruins at Thebes, the exterior boasted crouching sphinxes and Egyptian head pilasters." The proscenium was crowned with the "winged scarab Khepri."

Many Egyptian themed theatres across the country would follow including the Egyptian in Long Beach and two in Pasadena, the Uptown and the theatre that's now the called the Academy.

Cezar Del Valle notes in another Theatre Talks blog post that a month before the opening, the Egyptian was already inspiring religious fervor. He excerpts an article from the September 9, 1922 issue of the newspaper Holly Leaves reporting on a talk at the Krotona Institute on "Temples and religions of Egypt during the reign of Queen Hatsheput" by Captain Stuart Corbett, a "noted Egyptologist":

"Grauman’s Hollywood Theatre may not last a century but its art was old when the pyramids were built. The careful attention given to detail may be traced in the hieroglyphics on the walls. The reproduction of the cartouche from the royal scarab, bearing the inscription, 'O Let me not my Heart bear Witness against me,' is wonderfully exact in detail.

Another notable bit of detail is the lighting system. Scientists and historians agree that the Egyptian temples were illuminated by a light said to have been handed down to the high priests of Egypt by the priests of Lost Atlantis. This effect is beautifully brought out by the hidden illumination in the Grauman Hollywood Theater, enhancing  the beauty of the architecture and giving it an artistic and almost religious atmosphere.

In conclusion the speaker complimented Mr. Grauman on the realization of his ideals in giving to Southern California the most beautiful and artistic cinema temple in the world."

A USC photo lists some of the subcontractors for the project.  Raymond Kennedy, who would later work on the Chinese, was responsible for the decorative aspects of the building. Hodgetts & Fung (Craig Hodgetts, Ming Fung) were the architects for the American Cinematheque renovation.

The new theatre got profiled in the March 1923 issue of Architect and Engineer with an article titled "A Theater Designed in the Egyptian Style."

Meyer & Holler's main floor plan from Architect and Engineer.
larger view | on Internet Archive

A 1924 photo of Pacific Electric Red Cars taking 180 boys
from the Pasadena YMCA to the opening of John Ford's "The Iron
 Horse" at the Egyptian. It's from the Mt. Lowe Preservation
Society collection on the Pacific Electric Railway website.
full size view

Seating: Originally 1,771 on one level, reseated in late 40s for a capacity of 1,538. After the TODD-AO installation, the capacity was 1,318. Following the D-150 renovations in 1968 the capacity was 1,340 despite the addition of a main floor projection booth. The pit was covered and the screen was pushed farther back.

The 90s renovation by American Cinematheque resulted in a substantial downsizing to 616 seats plus the addition of a second 78 seat screening room in space excavated at the rear of the main floor. The building is now fully handicap accessible according to Margot Gerber, the theatre's director of marketing and promotion.

Stage specs: Originally about 25' deep and 71' wall to wall. The proscenium was 41' wide. Grid height was 54'.  See the auditorium page for more details.

Status:  American Cinematheque acquired the building in 1996 and opened the renovated theatre in 1998. The auditorium now is a smaller box enclosed by the shell of the original theatre. The programming is a mix of revivals, foreign films, indies and various festivals in all formats including 70mm. The current screen size is 27' x 53'.

In 2016 the Hollywood Foreign Press association gave the theatre a $350,ooo grant, administered by the Film Foundation, for booth upgrades including a new digital projector and modifications so the theatre could show nitrate prints. A later $500,000 grant will go toward roof and wall repairs, recovered seating, some entrance terrazzo and other repair work. Deadline had an August 2016 story on the project.

Grauman's Egyptian was the first real movie palace in Hollywood. His close connections with studio heads allowed him to succeed as an independent exhibitor. It also didn't hurt that he did a great job of creating a romantic atmosphere with decor, costumed staff and elaborate prologues along with the feature picture.  Among the dancers in the prologues who went on to bigger things was Myrna Loy.

The films were accompanied by Jan Sofer conducting the "Hollywood Symphony Orchestra" with, in addition, numbers performed on the Mighty Wurlitzer.

A nursery (adjacent to the ladies room) was provided for parents to leave their children. The opening program noted that "kiddies may be parked there with safety and convenience."  On the staff, in addition to a nurse and storyteller in the nursery, were "Twenty-eight Egyptian Ladies in Waiting, Four Lobbymen, Three Porters, Footmen, etc." -- all costumed by Western Costume Co.

The opening program noted that "nothing but masterpieces of the cinema art" would be shown at the Egyptian where each "would have its world premiere months before being shown at any of the downtown theatres."

At the beginning, the Egyptian was running only 2 shows a day (with reserved seats) at legit prices and getting long profitable runs from its pictures. In the first 3 years of operation, the Egyptian Theatre ran only 4 movies. "Robin Hood" ran nearly five months. The next three were "The Covered Wagon" (April 10, 1923), a seven month run of "The Ten Commandments"(opening December 4, 1923) and Douglas Fairbanks in "Thief of Bagdad" (opening July 10, 1924).

These were followed by "Romola" (opening December 6, 1924), John Ford's "Iron Horse" (February 21, 1925) and Chaplin's "Gold Rush" (June 24 1925).  Each picture was accompanied by an elaborate Grauman prologue, usually as much of an attraction as the film itself.

A 1925 ad, courtesy of Ken McIntyre. "Romola"
was the fifth feature to play the theatre.
larger view

The eighth film to play was "The Big Parade" (opening November 2, 1925).

The program for "The Big Parade" in 1925 from the
Silent Film Still Archive.
Note that Grauman's "1918 Review"
was advertised as having  "100 - people on the stage - 100." He
didn't exaggerate. Lots of extras were hired on a daily basis.

The inside of the program.
larger view

An ad for the run of "The Big Parade" on the side of
"America's First Trans-Continental Trackless Train."  It's in
 the California State Library collection.The photo was evidently
 taken in Sierra Madre -- at least we have a guy's name
embossed on the card from that town.
Thanks to Godzilla, who included the photo above
in his Noirish Los Angeles post #10861.

"The Big Parade" was followed by the only double feature to play during Grauman's tenure. So, of course, he held a massive double premiere. The films (opening May 14, 1925) were "The Black Pirate," in Technicolor, with Douglas Fairbanks and "Sparrows, " with Mary Pickford.

A look at Sid Grauman (second from left)
 and his staff at the theatre in 1926 from Bruce
Torrence's Hollywood Photographs collection.
Check out the costumes for the usherettes.
full size view | data page

Another shot, from Wendylou Napoles on
 Photos of Los Angeles, of Sid and his staff in
the forecourt. That's Sid third in from the left.
 full size view | on Photos of LA

Vitaphone at the Egyptian: The Egyptian was one of the first Los Angeles theatres to be wired for sound and hosted the west coast premiere of Warner's "Don Juan, " opening August 20, 1926.  The equipment was shipped west on a special express car so the film could run simultaneously with the New York engagement.

A great 1926 view of the dignitaries in front of the
 railroad car carrying the Vitaphone equipment west
 for "Don Juan" at Grauman's Egyptian.
full size view

The photo above is from the site George Groves -- the story
of Oscar winning sound pioneer George R. Groves (1901-1976).
The photo was once on the site's "Don Juan" page. 

Another photo in front of the car that brought the gear west.
The photo is from the Vintage Photographs and Postcards Flickr
 album of Tom Wilson, a collector of old projection equipment.
 Left to right are Jack L. Warner, Sid Grauman, Col. Nathan
Levinson and Ray Schrock. Kneeling (and guarding the cargo
with shotguns) are Bill Guthrie and a Captain Carillo.

Trucks from the Warner studios loaded with the sound
equipment for the Egyptian. Note the Western Electric
horns on top of the load of the truck on the right. The
 photo is from the Vintage Photographs and Postcards
Flickr album of Tom Wilson.

The Warner studios on Sunset advertising "Don Juan"
at the Egyptian. It's a photo from Cezar Del Valle.
full size view

We don't know specifically what gear was in the booth for the
 "Don Juan" engagement -- whether in addition to the Vitaphone
turntables Sid also got  sound-on-film attachments so he could
run Movietone optical sound format shorts or not.

Here, from Wikipedia's article on Vitaphone is a 1926
demonstration by Western Electric Engineer E.B. Craft
(left) using a turntable geared to a Simplex projector --
 but without a sound on film attachment.  The photo
 is from the University of San Diego

The program for "Don Juan."
It's one of many interesting items once on
 the Cinema Treasures page on the Egyptian. 
full size view | program inside

The inside of the Egyptian's "Don Juan" program from
the University of Exeter Bill Douglas Cinema Museum.
full size view

Shocking as it was, there was no Grauman prologue. Evidently he thought the Vitaphone was novelty enough. Vitaphone short subjects were added to the program starting October 27th. These shorts were cranked out by the Warner Bros Vitaphone division in large numbers in the mid and late 20's and largely consisted of musical performances and recorded vaudeville routines.

For more about Vitaphone, see the page on the Warner Hollywood.  Wikipedia also has a nice article covering early sound film technology.

Next up was Syd Chaplin's "The Better Ole" (opening November 17, 1926) -- again with no prologue. Some patrons complained about that. Actors who were out of work perhaps complained the loudest. The prologues were reinstated for Sid's final two presentations.

"Old Ironsides" (opening January 28, 1927) was known for (in some theatres) its use of Magnascope, whereby at a climactic scene (such as a ship coming toward you) the masking opened and the picture got larger and larger.  Then back to the regular format until the next "big" scene.  It's unknown whether Grauman used the technique or not at the Egyptian. "Topsy and Eva" followed (opening June 16, 1927) as Grauman's 13th and final presentation at the theatre.

Opening of the Chinese:  When Sid moved up the street to the Chinese (which opened May 18, 1927), the Egyptian became a move-over house operated by West Coast Theatres, soon to be called Fox West Coast.  It went dark July 20, 1927 and a few days later reopened under West Coast management with continuous performances and no more Grauman prologues. 

The circuit had actually bought a half interest in the theatre back in 1922, shortly after the opening. Holly Leaves had the "Big Theater Merger" story in their November 24, 1922 issue.  Grauman's name stayed with the building for a number of years although he was no longer involved in the operation. It was still being called "Grauman's Egyptian" in the 1928 Fox ads.  They had a nice tagline: "Where The Stars See The Pictures."

The Egyptian in the '40s:

  "The EGYPTIAN was in excellent condition then.
They had just taken the monkeys out when I got there."    

--Cashier Totty Ames, talking about coming to work
at the Egyptian in 1943. Totty appears in "Hollywood
Remembered: An Oral History of its Golden Age"
by Paul Zollo, Cooper Square Press, 2002. [p. 193]

The forecourt used to have cages with various animals and men in exotic garb walking the parapets. See the forecourt page for many vintage photos.

In 1944 the Egyptian again became a first run venue as a showcase for MGM product. Long a favorite house for Hollywood premieres, the Egyptian has had an amazing number of great runs of important pictures.

The Egyptian Theatre history continues in the right column...

The Egyptian, Sid Grauman's first Hollywood theatre,
was a major first run house for over four decades.

It's now operated by the American Cinematheque.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

In the photo we see the replica of a vintage vertical sign for
the theatre that was installed during the American Cinematheque
renovations. There wasn't one when the theatre opened in 1922.

[ click  any of these images to enlarge ]

After years of being enclosed, the Egyptian's
 forecourt is once  again open after the
 American Cinematheque renovations.    

photo: Bill Counter -- 2007

Deep in the forecourt near the entrance.    

photo: Bill Counter -- 2012

See the page on the forecourt for lots of views of this area.

A look at the Egyptian's auditorium from the top row.

photo: Wendell Benedetti

on the LAHTF Facebook page - 2012

See the auditorium and lobby pages for many more interior views.

The Egyptian vertical sign in 2010.

photo: Bill Counter

The stagehouse of the Egyptian. 

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

The Consent Decree:  In 1949 management of the Egyptian was taken over by United Artists Theatre Circuit as a result of consent decree rulings forcing Fox West Coast to cede control of a number of prime Los Angeles venues. The Egyptian was one of them. Loew's State downtown (which Fox had been managing for Loew's) also ended up under United Artists management.

Until this time United Artists had not actually been operating theatres themselves. The corporation had existed, separate from the UA distribution company (but with some overlap in management and shareholders) since the 20s. Any theatres in which United Artists had had an interest were being managed for them by Fox West Coast.

Included in this group were the Four Star and the United Artists theatres in Inglewood, in Pasadena, in East Los Angeles and downtown. These and others now became managed directly by the newly active United Artists Theatre Circuit. 

UATC gave the Egyptian quite a remodel in 1950, including modern art in the lobby and the towering new facade out at the street. What's left of this company is now a part of Regal Entertainment Group.

TODD-AO at the Egyptian:  The Egyptian was equipped for the 70mm TODD-AO process for a long roadshow run of "Oklahoma" (on a deeply curved screen perhaps 60' in width). It was the second TODD-AO installation in the country (the Rivoli in New York was house #1).  The premiere of "Oklahoma" was November 17, 1955 with public performances starting November 18.

The invitation to the premiere of "Oklahoma" at the Egyptian Theatre
 "located in the Oklahoma Territory In the Heart of Hollywood." It's in the
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences collection and appears
on their website in an article "Rounding Up the Cast of Oklahoma."

full size view | the AMPAS page

Thanks to Michael Hudson-Medina for
sending the AMPAS article our way.

Tickets for the show at the Egyptian. The illustration
is from page 7 of the TODD-AO section on
American Widescreen Museum.

The first print of "Oklahoma" at the Egyptian was without sound. It was synced to separate 35mm mag reproducers for the 6 channel stereo. Later "Oklahoma" opened at the United Artists downtown while continuing at the Egyptian. It got a 51 week run at the Egyptian.

Full size frames from a 65mm print of "Oklahoma"
 on page 4 of the TODD-AO section on the American
Widescreen Museum website. 
Also see the "Oklahoma"
page.  Later prints were on 70mm stock with 6
channel sound on magnetic stripes.

During the 1955 work for TODD-AO the theatre suffered a substantial loss of decoration at the proscenium. The 3 manual 15 rank Wurlitzer organ was removed from the theatre.

Here's a Los Angeles Public Library photo
of ladies up admiring the neon on the Egyptian
marquee for the 1955 roadshow presentation
 of "Oklahoma" in TODD-AO.
full size view

"South Pacific," the third TODD-AO film, opened at the Egyptian May 22, 1958 for a 44 week run. (The Carthay Circle Theatre got the second film, "Around The World in 80 Days.")

The TODD-AO process was born out of Mike Todd's frustrations with the expense and inherent problems with Cinerama. Wide film was nothing new. There was a flurry of activity in the late 20s and early 30s and it might have become the new standard except the depression doomed further experiments. The Warner Hollywood ran several films in the 65mm Vitascope process and both the Chinese and the Carthay Circle had projectors to run the 70mm Fox Grandeur process. 

TODD-AO was noteworthy because its film format became the 7omm industry standard and the projector designed for it won an Academy Award. The aspect ratio is 2.21 to 1.  Some later 70mm processes such as Ultra Panavision used anamorphic lenses to get a wider aspect ratio.

TODD-AO was similar to previous wide film efforts only in that it was shot on 65mm film stock like Vitascope and other efforts. Release prints were 70mm to allow soundtrack room outside the sprocket holes.  TODD-AO used a wide aspect ratio like several of the late 20s processes.

It used 5 perforations per frame and was originally envisioned to run at 30 fps for improved picture quality.  Only the first two features were shot at 30 fps -- for "South Pacific" and later it was 24 fps.  The screen was deeply curved, similar in size and curvature to a Cinerama installation. TODD-AO, however, used a single sheet rather than the narrow vertical strips favored by Cinerama.

The process borrowed the technique of mag striping on the film for stereo sound that was pioneered by Fox's Cinemascope. Where the 35mm Cinemascope had 4 tracks, TODD-AO had 6. There were two tracks outside and one inside the sprocket holes on each side. 5 channels were for behind the screen and one for surround speakers.

The illustration is from page 4 of the TODD-AO
section of American
Widescreen Museum's
section on TODD-AO.

The process was originally to be called "Magna," which was the name of the company set up to develop the system and produce the films. It ended up as TODD-AO because Todd, ever the showman, wanted his name on it. American Optical, who developed the optics, wanted recognition also.

Phillips of Holland was commissioned to design a new projector for the process that would also run 35mm with either optical sound tracks or 4 channel magnetic.  Originally the projector heads were made in Holland with the bases and magazines manufactured by American Optical in the United States.

The projectors currently in the Egyptian booth (from a theatre in New Orleans) are a later version of the original TODD-AO machines.

A look at one of the early TODD-AO projectors from
 "The Story of the DP70 Projector" on the wonderful
website  Note the two motors --- one
for 24 fps, one for 30 fps. Later models just had one
 motor and a clutch.  full size view

Large screens, big arc lamps and short projection throws resulted in lots of focus drift from the beginning of a reel to its end. Some of the projectors were equipped were equipped with motor driven "focus drift compensators" that reset at the end of each reel. Note also that the top motor in the photo above has a pulley so it could be synched via Selsyn motors to a separate sound reproducer.

See the American Widescreen Museum's TODD-AO section for a great history of the process. The other wonderful reference on 70mm is the site which is all about the TODD-AO projector and later 70mm processes.  See the DP70 Projector section for as much detail as you can absorb.  And check out the separate TODD-AO section. For information on 70mm runs and theatres equipped for the process in the Los Angeles area, see the From Script To DVD section "70mm in Los Angeles."

 See our Movie Links page for information on other projection technology.

More 70mm at the Egyptian: Other 70mm reserved seat runs included:

"Ben Hur" - MGM, MGM Camera 65
-opened November, 1959 and ran 98 weeks
"King of Kings" - MGM, Super Technirama 70
- premiere October 12, 1961
"Mutiny on the Bounty" - MGM, Ultra Panavision 70
- premiere November 15, 1962
"The Cardinal" - Columbia, blowup from 35mm scope
- opened December 20, 1963
"South Pacific" - Magna Pictures reissue, TODD-AO
- opened April 1, 1964 - not a roadshow engagement
"My Fair Lady" - Warner Bros., Super Panavision 70
- opened October 28, 1964 - ran 68 weeks
"Hawaii" - United Artists - blowup from 35mm Panavision
- opened October 13, 1966 for a 52 week run
"Around The World in 80 Days" - Magna Pictures / United Artists reissue,
TODD-AO - opened March 15, 1968 - not a roadshow engagement
"Funny Girl" - Columbia, blow up from 35mm scope - opened October 9, 1968  -- after the D-150 remodel - a 61 week run

Dimension 150 at the Egyptian: A 1968 remodeling increased the screen width to 75 feet for a D-150 system installation.  The 1955 TODD-AO remodel had left much (but not all) of the sides of the proscenium and the stage in place. 

In the new round of renovations the remains of the proscenium as well as the stage were removed and the orchestra pit was covered. The new screen went almost to the theatre's back wall.  A new projection booth was installed on the main floor.  The remodel was accomplished in six weeks. 

The D-150 screen being installed. It's a photo on
the Egyptian Theatre page of the website From Script
to DVD, from a 1969 Motion Picture Herald Article.
slightly larger view | screen fully installed

Roland Lataille's In Cinerama website has a page about the Egyptian that includes a January 29, 1969 Motion Picture Herald article about the remodeling: part 1 | part 2

Dimension 150 was a process developed by Dr. Richard Vetter and United Artists Theatre Circuit. It involved extreme wide angle camera lenses, a screen and masking system and projection lenses designed to give a sharp image on a deeply curved screen.

It was installed in many UA roadshow houses (such as Cinema 150 in Seattle) as well as venues operated by other circuits.  The Rosemary Theatre in Ocean Park was used as a test house for the process.

"The Bible" (1966) and "Patton" (1970) were the only features actually filmed in the Dimension 150 process. See the American Widescreen Museum's extensive coverage of the process and a few more resources on our Movie Links page. Also see the Dimension 150 section on Roland Lataille's comprehensive In Cinerama website.

Adding Egyptian 2 and 3:  In 1972 United Artists Theatre Circuit added 2 smaller theatres, the Egyptian 2 & 3, in a store building to the east of the theatre. The original theatre remained a single auditorium.  That building is now a little black box theatre and is not part of the American Cinematheque campus.

Later Years at the Egyptian: The Egyptian enjoyed long runs of major films such as "Marooned" (Columbia, world premiere December 13, 1969 - a 23 week 70mm reserved seat run), "Alien" (Fox, 1979), "The Empire Strikes Back" (Fox, 1980) and "Return of the Jedi" (Fox, 1983).

Until the theatre's closure, the Egyptian was operated by United Artists Theatre Circuit playing lots of Fox product -- especially after the 1977 "Star Wars" snafu at the Chinese. Frequently the Egyptian played day-and-date with the United Artists downtown.

In its last days prior to closure in 1992 United Artists was running the Egyptian as a $1.50 admission grind house.  Through the efforts of the Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation and other organizations, the Egyptian was designated a Los Angeles Historic-Cultural Monument on September 23, 1993.

Hollywood 90038 took this great photo of the
earthquake damage to the Egyptian Theatre along with
a view of the repaired stagehouse and side wall.   
 full size view

The Egyptian in the Movies:

Alice Faye plays Molly Adair, who gets an Egyptian premiere
her first talkie "Common Clay" as the film-within-a-film in
"Hollywood Cavalcade" (20th Century Fox, 1939). Thanks to
the Egyptian for the photo -- this lobby card appeared on
 the Egyptian Theatre's Facebook page
larger view |
on Facebook

 The lobby card gives us a better look at the entrance than
the actual shots that are in the film. But the film (
also starring Don
Ameche, Buster Keaton and Al Jolson)
does give us a Bedouin patrolling
 the rooftop -- and it's in
Technicolor! See our Theatres in Movies
 post for several color frames showing the Egyptian.

Jeanne Moreau and Donald Sutherland are in the
middle of Hollywood Blvd. as we look toward the Egyptian
 in a shot from Paul Mazursky's "Alex in Wonderland" (MGM,
 1970).  The photo appears on page 39 in the Arcadia
Publishing book "Location Filming in Los Angeles" by
 Karie Bible, Marc Wanamaker and Harry Medved.
larger view | on Google Books

See our Theatres In Movies post about
 "Alex in Wonderland" for several more shots that include the
 Vogue Theatre and the New-View/Ritz Theatre.

We get a brief look at the Egyptian's boxoffice as
Richard Gere cruises down Hollywood Blvd.
in "American Gigolo" (Paramount, 1980).
larger view

Earlier in "American Gigolo" we get a view from above of
Westwood Village and the Fox Westwood Village Theatre.
 See our Theatres In Movies post for that one.

In Barry Levinson's "Jimmy Hollywood"
(Paramount, 1994)
with Joe Pesci and Christian
Slater we end up at the abandoned Egyptian Theatre.  
larger view

A look at one of the "singing boxes" on the
Egyptian sidewall in "Jimmy Hollywood" as Joe
 Pesci contemplates his next move.
larger view

Joe Pesci taking a look at the strange entrance
doors to the auditorium in "Jimmy Hollywood."
larger view

A look up the aisle toward the lobby
doors in "Jimmy Hollywood."
larger view

See our Theatres in Movies post about "Jimmy
Hollywood" for more views in the Egyptian as well as a
couple shots featuring the El Capitan and the Galaxy 6.

We visit the Egyptian in the Steven Peros film "Footprints"
(Our Gal Pictures, 2009) where our amnesiac heroine, Sybil
Temtchine, meets up with a former star played by Pippa
Scott ("The Searchers,
" "Auntie Mame").
"Footprints" begins in the forecourt of the Chinese. See our
 Theatres In Movies post for more shots from the film.

Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan buy a ticket for a show
 at the Egyptian in Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris's
 "Ruby Sparks" (Fox Searchlight, 2012). Personal problems
 intervene and we don't get to come back for a show.
 larger view

 "Ruby Sparks" also visits the Billy Wilder Theatre.
See our Theatres In Movies post for a couple shots there.

We get some lovely 1959 background footage as we drive
down Hollywood Blvd. near the beginning of Warren Beatty's
 "Rules Don't Apply" (20th Century Fox, 2016). Sights include the
 Egyptian Theatre facade with signage up for "Ben Hur" and a bit
 of the Vogue Theatre. We also get another trip down the
same stretch of the street later in the film.

More Egyptian Theatre information:  Parts of the opening night program are on a Cinelog post by Christopher Crouch: "Hollywood's Egyptian Theatre." There's also a link to the full 52 page brochure in PDF format via the OC Cinema website. 

See Charles Beardsley's "Hollywood's Master Showman - The Legendary Sid Grauman" (Cornwall Books, 1983) for a nice rundown of the productions at the Egyptian during Grauman's tenure.  Our dates on the early shows are from his research.

Information on 70mm roadshow runs at the Egyptian is on Michael Coate's terrific site

Sandi Hemmerlein ran a nice photo story on the occasion of the Egyptian's 90th anniversary on her blog Avoiding Regrets.

See the page on Cinema Treasures for a nice history of the Egyptian by Howard B. Haas and Ken Roe plus miles and miles of  additional comments.  And now lots of photos as well.

Go to the Cinema Tour page for more photos of the Egyptian Theatre. Seeing Stars has a page on the Egyptian as does Wikipedia.

See Vanity Fair's 2008 article by Bruce Handy on Egyptomania as decor in movie theatres: "Watch Like an Egyptian." Also view the 2008 photographs of various Egyptian Theatres by Tim Street-Porter.  There are oodles of Egyptian photos on Flickr.

EC & M has a 1998 article about the electrical portion of the Egyptian renovation. has a 1998 article about the reopening.

about the photos from other websites...

 We've tried to give appropriate credit.
The links near the images will direct you to a full size version
on the website hosting it.  Please contact us if there are incorrect
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concerning reproduction or other use.

more egyptian theatre pages:
street view timeline  |
  forecourt  |  lobby areas  |
auditorium  |  booth  |