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Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Hollywood History at Grauman's Chinese Theatre

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Grauman's Chinese Theater

Grauman's Chinese Theater

© Betsy Malloy 2003

One of the most popular sights in Hollywood, Grauman's Chinese Theatre is best-known for the hand- and footprints in its forecourt. No matter how much tourists claim that they're not star-struck, within a few minutes, they're sticking hands and feet in the prints and snapping photos.

This theatre is also one of the most beautiful and best-preserved of the movie palaces from Hollywood's golden era. With its Chinese theme and gold-and-red decor, the interior often upstages the films on the screen.

Because Grauman's is such a popular spot for movie premieres, you may find the forecourt filled with cameras, light, carpets and technicians. Getting there in the morning will give you the best chance of avoiding this disruption.

You'll almost always find street performers on the sidewalk in front, dressed up as everything from Homer Simpson to Wonder Woman. If you take a picture with them, keep in mind that they're making a living posing with you and give them a small tip - a dollar will do.

Scenes from the Chinese Theatre

Enjoy some of our best shots in this Chinese Theatre Photo Tour

Grauman's Chinese Theatre Footprints

Since 1927, when Hollywood "It" couple Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks placed hands and feet in wet cement, more than 200 prints have accumulated in the Grauman's Chinese Theatre forecourt.

Besides the assortment of expected human hands and feet, three horses have imprinted their hooves here: Gene Autry's "Champion" Roy Rogers' "Trigger" and Tom Mix's "Tony."

You'll also find prints of Groucho Marx's and George Burns' cigars, John Wayne's fist, Whoopi Goldberg's dreadlocks, Jimmy Durante and Bob Hope's noses, robot R2D2's tread marks, Al Jolson's knees, Roy Rogers' and William Hart's six-guns.

With limited space, Grauman's only adds new prints only once or twice a year. The ceremony is fun to watch and it's a good opportunity to see stars in person, so you may want to find out how to see one.

In case you wonder about the "Sid" mentioned in many early inscriptions, he's Grauman's Chinese Theatre creator Sid Grauman.

Grauman's Chinese Theatre Tour

Tours are offered 7 days a week, but it's just as easy to buy a ticket to see the film currently playing. It's worth the price to go in, sit down and enjoy the decor, even if you leave before the film starts. Just be sure that you ask at the box office if the movie you choose is being shown in the main theatre.

If you're a big fan and really curious, you may also enjoy reading Hollywood at Your Feet: The Story of the World-Famous Chinese Theatre. Its photos and informative captions depict every contributor to the forecourt masonry. Compare Prices

Movie Premieres

Grauman's Chinese Theatre opened on May 18, 1927, with the premiere of Cecil B. DeMille's The King of Kings. Fans lined Hollywood Boulevard to see the stars who turned out for the event. Today, Grauman's Chinese Theatre is sill among the most sought-after theatres in Hollywood for studio premieres. Tickets to these events are by invitation only, but you can watch from the street. It's easy to tell if one is planned by all the activity and setup out front - and if you check movie schedules online, you may notice no regularly-scheduled films from mid-afternoon through evening. These gaps are easier to see at moviefone.com, entering zip code 90028.

Review

We rate Grauman's Chinese Theatre 3 out of 4. It's a Hollywood icon and reading the inscriptions is fun.

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Details

  • Hours: Forecourt open 24 hours, theatre open daily
  • Reservations: Not required
  • Cost: Fee for tours or just buy a movie ticket to see the interior
  • Location: Northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive, driving directions below
  • How Long: Allow about half an hour to see the footprints
  • Best Time to Visit: Any time, but the facade is especially pretty at night

Getting to Grauman's Chinese Theatre

Grauman's Chinese Theatre
6925 Hollywood Boulevard
Hollywood, CA
323-463-9576
Chinese Theatre Website
Grauman's Chinese Theatre is at the northeast corner of Hollywood Boulevard and Orange Drive. From US 101, take the Highland Avenue exit and go south. The Hollywood and Highland parking lot is most convenient. The entrance is on the right about half a mile down the hill.

The Los Angeles MTA (Metro Transit Authority) Red Line Hollywood and Highland stop is just steps away.

Other attractions near Grauman's Chinese Theatre include Hollywood Walk of Fame, Hollywood and Highland, the Dolby Theatre and Hollywood Boulevard.

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