Grauman's Chinese Theatre -- forecourt

the grauman's chinese pages:
main Grauman's Chinese page  |  street view timeline  |
   forecourt  |  lobby  |  lounges  |
auditorium  |
  upstairs  |  stage  |  basement  |   attic  |

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The "heaven dog" is guarding the
doors if you try to sneak in.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007



The middle of the courtyard used to have a
 
free-standing boxoffice but it wasn't original

photo: Bill Counter - 2007


Here on the far right we see a bit
of the original 1927 boxoffice.




An ornamental detail on the front doors.

photo: Don Solosan / LAHTF




Looking west from the forecourt toward
the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007


[ click on any of these photos to enlarge ]



The stairs leading up from the west side
 of the forecourt to the offices, private
 boxes and booth upstairs.


photo: Bill Counter - 2012




Constance Talmadge.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007




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forecourt views  1927 - 1963




1927
This photo of the forecourt is in the

California State Library photo collection.   
full size view | data page




1927
A view of the forecourt from the west. It's a photo
from the California State Library collection.   
An usherette points to a sign for the theatre's opening
attraction "King of Kings." Ken McIntyre has the photo
on his Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. 
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The photo above also appears in the Bruce
Torrence Hollywood Photographs collection.



1927
The staff lined up to serve you in a shot on
Photos of Los Angeles added to that
Facebook collection by Ken McIntyre. 
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The photo above appears online in the Bruce
Torrence Hollywood Photographs collection.




1927
Those usherettes got into all sorts of trouble.
Here, in a photo from the Bruce Torrence
 Hollywood Photographs collection, they're
  up on top of the entrance vestibule.
 full size view





1927 
Gloria Swanson with Sid Grauman in a view
on
Vintage Los Angeles. Ms. Swanson
was one of the first to add her footprints.

full size view



1928
A look down from the pagoda into the forecourt
 during a premiere.  The photo appears on the
 Facebook page Photos of Los Angeles.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The photo above is part of the Bruce Torrence
 Hollywood Photographs collection.

Chinese Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner says: "I have determined
that this photo was PROBABLY taken during the premiere of a picture
called 'The Trail of '98,' on May 7, 1928. My reasons are these:

 The four palm trees at center forecourt - the photo must have been
 taken prior to the engagement of 'White Shadows in the South Seas',
 August 3, 1928, where the rear two have been removed, and a
grass shack had been erected in that space.

 So, only four premieres were held during this timeframe:
 'King of Kings,' 'The Gaucho,' 'The Circus' and 'The Trail of '98.'
 
I rule out 'The Gaucho,' as its premiere picture shows the stenciled
canopy in place. I also rule out both 'King' and 'Circus' because
 this photo is really not crowded enough for pictures with
 such large public interest."



1930
A lovely forecourt view  from Ken McIntyre
on Photos of Los Angeles. It's a nice display
 but, alas, we don't know for what film.
Chinese Theatre historian Kurt Wahlner suggests it
might be for "The Big Trail." The photo is part of the
 Bruce Torrence Hollywood Photographs collection.

See Kurt's Grauman's Chinese Timeline.


1930s?
An undated view from the USC Archives gives us a nice
panorama up Hollywood Blvd. and a great look down at the
lush foliage in the forecourt and atop the walls encircling it.
full size view



A detail looking down into the forecourt
 from the USC image above.
larger view

1937
| boxoffice and forecourt  - Los Angeles Public Library |



1940s
On the Grauman's Chinese page of the site
 Scenes of L.A. During WWII is this shot by
Dennis Lewis, Sr. showing the canopy leading
 to the entrance doors from the boxoffice.
    full size view

The photo above also appears on
the TCL Chinese Facebook page.



1940s ?
On Christopher Crouch's Cinelog we see this
undated Christmas view of Sid Grauman in the
forecourt. The photo is from the collection
 of Jefferey Hawkins.
 full size view | on FB/LATheatres



1940s ?
A postcard map showing hand and footprint
locations.
It's from Martin Turnbull's blog
 "
The Garden of Allah Novels." See his post
"
The Most Famous Slab of Concrete in the World"
for a history of Sid Grauman and the Chinese.
larger card view




1943
A view from the Theatre Talks collection
 of Cezar Del Valle showing Monty Woolley
 imprinting his beard in the cement. 
full size view

More forecourt views on Cezar's Tumblr blog:

  | 1927 scrapbook page -- forecourt photos  Part 1  - Part 2 |

Cezar is a Brooklyn-based theatre historian with
 a fondness for los Angeles theatres. Thanks, Cezar!



1944
In this photo from the Bruce Torrence
 Hollywood Photographs collection we're
 looking over at the original boxoffice in the
northeast corner of the forecourt.
 full size view



c.1946
A fine look into the forecourt that
 appeared for sale on eBay.



c. 1949
Longtime doorman Joseph Lockard Martin, Jr. is seen
here in a photo from Christopher Crouch's profile of him on
Cinelog. Crouch reports that "Lock" Martin had a role in
 "The Day The Earth Stood Still" as well as television work.
on Cinelog | on LAtheatres.blogspot



c.1950
The pagoda gets a paint job in this photo from
 the Los Angeles Public Library collection.
 It's by Ralph Morris, one of a set of four.
c.1950
Another shot from the Ralph
 Morris set linked above.



early 50s
An undated Ralph Morris photo in the
Los Angeles Public Library collection.
full size view

Also in the collection:



early 50s
An undated Ralph Morris photo in the
Los Angeles Public Library collection.
full size view



1953

From the UCLA Library's Los Angeles Times archive
 "Changing Times" comes this view of  Marilyn Monroe
and Jane Russell doing handprints at Grauman's Chinese.
full size view

The photo also appears on Martin Turnbull's blog post
about the Chinese Forecourt. More images of this
ceremony are available via Google.

1955
 | Jayne Mansfield  - Photos of Los Angeles |



1958 
A lovely view of what the forecourt looked like
during the run of "Windjammer." It's on the Chinese
Theatre page of In Cinerama, a production of
Cinerama and Cinemiracle historian Roland Lataille.
 He credits it to a now vanished Picasa user.
 full size view


1963
   | handprints - Jack Lemmon, Deborah Kerr - LAPL |




more grauman's chinese pages:
main Grauman's Chinese page  |  street view timeline  |

lobby  |  lounges  |  auditorium  |  upstairs  |
|
  stage  |  basement  |   attic  |





The top of the pagoda at night.

photo: Don Solosan / LAHTF


The Los Angeles Historic Theatre Foundation works to preserve
historic theatres in the Los Angeles area by supporting events, offering
 tours and promoting awareness of the architectural merit of these treasures.
www.lahtf.org | group Facebook page | official FB page

[ click on any of these photos to enlarge ]



A detail of some of the column ornament.

photo: Don Solosan / LAHTF



More forecourt ornament.

photo: Don Solosan / LAHTF



A wonderful night view looking
up from the entrance.


photo: Don Solosan / LAHTF



A view from the far west side of the
forecourt looking along the west side of
the building toward the stage door
.


photo: Bill Counter - 2012




The footprints are a big attraction. 
Here's Maurice Chevalier.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

Of course, there are scandalous reports of re-arrangements
over the years with a few stars' imprints being hauled off to storage. 


The Chinese Theatre website compiled by theatre historian
Kurt Wahlner includes lists of the films that played the Chinese
 year by year as well as an alphabetical film list.

 "Hollywood At Your Feet: The Story of the Chinese Theatre
Footprints" (available on Netflix) offers lots of newsreel footage of
footprint ceremonies -- many with Sid Grauman supervising.


Check out the footprints map on Seeing Stars
See Martin Turnbull's
post "
The Most Famous Slab of Concrete in the World" for a
history of Sid Grauman and the Chinese Theatre footprints.


The Wikipedia article on "List of Handprints" also has a full
 rundown of dates of events in the forecourt.


 

forecourt views  1970s - 2015




1970s ?
Ken McIntyre added this forecourt postcard to his
Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page. The display
 was a series of plaques celebrating Academy Award
winners year-by-year. These were also featured in at
 least one National General souvenir book. 
full size view | on LAtheatres.blogspot



1974
A look at the forecourt on the Facebook page
Vintage Los Angeles. It's a Johns Burwell photo. 
full size view



1970s ?
A view on Photos of Los Angeles by Russ
Halford looking down at the forecourt.
full size view



1977
On Photos of Los Angeles of we get this view
 of a 50th anniversary showing of "King of Kings."
full size view | on FB/LATheatres



1979
A fine look down into the forecourt on
 Vintage Los Angeles as they set up for the
premiere of "Hurricane." The photo is from
 the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres


1980
A column capital detail by
Franciscophile posted on Flickr.
full size view

1991
  |  forecourt view - Photos of Los Angeles  |


1992

An exterior detail from 
Berger Conser
Architectural Photography
. It's from the book
"The Last Remaining Seats: Movie Palaces of
Tinseltown" by Anne Conser and Robert Berger. 
 full size view  | more on the book 




2007
A view of the pagoda at night taken by
Hagoody that's part of his Flickr album.
full size view




2007
A close up shot of one of the guardian "Heaven
Dogs" posted by Tom O'Neil on Flickr.
full size view


2007
A dragon detail by Glowfish
on Flickr.
full size view



2007
A look by Floyd Bariscale at the entrance doors. See
his
Chinese Theatre  page on Big Orange Landmarks
 
and the Chinese Theatre set on Flickr for more terrific views.  
full size view




2011
A pan and tilt 360 degree tour of the forecourt by Bryan
Groulx is featured on the amazing site 360 Cities.
take the ride



2011
A nice look down from the pagoda on the
 TCL Chinese Facebook page for a premiere
 of something called "Abduction."



2012
  A look at the entrance doors by Wendell
Benedetti on the LAHTF Facebook page.
full size view



2012
A detail of the capital on a column of
the pagoda by Kathy Dominic.
full size view



2014

 This photo is by Kurt Wahlner, curator of the
 site graumanschinese.org, gives us a look at the
professional signage at the theatre's entrance.
 It's the newly trendy blackboard look.

See Kurt's superb page on Signage at the Chinese.



2014
 The squatters and riff raff have taken over the forecourt.
The August evening photo is by Kurt Wahlner, historian
of all things related to Grauman's Chinese.

Kurt notes that our spray paint artist in the photo
above is on top of the footprints of Anthony Hopkins,
Nicholas Cage, and the "Giant" trio of George Stevens, Rock
Hudson and Elizabeth Taylor.



2015
The base for an IMAX laser projector up in the air.
 The photo is from the set about the installation by
 Escott O. Norton on the Los Angeles Historic Theatre
Foundation Facebook page. Thanks, Escott!
full size view | the set on the LAHTF page



2015
A side view of one of the projectors in the
forecourt. The unload was done in the middle
of the night to avoid attention.
full size view | the set on the LAHTF page



2015
Another view of one of the projectors
getting strapped up ready for a lift by the
crane. It's an Escott o. Norton photo.
full size view | the set on the LAHTF page



2015
Ready for a lift up to the 2nd floor door
near Sid Grauman's old office. Thanks, Escott!
full size view | the set on the LAHTF page


the boxoffice



1940s
On the  Grauman's Chinese page of the site
 Scenes of L.A. During WWII is this nice photo
by Dennis Lewis, Sr. showing the boxoffice appearance
in the 40s.  Note the canopy to the theatre entrance. 
full size view

The view above also appears on the blog
"The Garden of Allah Novels."

40s boxoffice  |

The original boxoffice was at the rear of the forecourt -- this
one in the photo above was a 1934 addition when the theatre
 abandoned two-a-day shows and went to a "grind" policy. The
 first one at this location, according to Kurt Wahlner, was
 bombed during the run of "Funny Lady" and replaced
with a larger version. It was removed in 2001.

For an entertaining romp, see
Kurt's Grauman's Chinese Timeline.



2007
This new boxoffice just east of the theatre serves
both the Grauman's Chinese and the Chinese 6,
upstairs in the mall. Photo: Bill Counter. 
full size view



2013
A peek into the original boxoffice, now Starline Tours
booth. The photo is part of a Curbed L.A. photo gallery
 by Elizabeth Daniels. Adrian Glick Kudler wrote the
story: "Touring the Chinese Before it Closes..."
33 photos on Curbed L.A. | this one on FB/LATheatres



2013
Another view of the original boxoffice (and
the safe) by Elizabeth Daniels.
photo set on Curbed L.A. | this one on FB/LATheatres



2013
The original boxoffice in the northeast corner
 of the forecourt -- now an office for Starline
 Tours. Photo: Bill Counter