I have only been to the historic Chinese theater once during a brotherhood retreat out in Hollywood in the middle of the night. It was one of those moments when you see something you’ve read about or seen on TV in person for the first time. What I find interesting about the theatre itself is that is adds to the weirdness of Hollywood. The architecture is as interesting as the people you find walking down Hollywood Boulevard. When you stand in front of the massive theater, you almost feel as though you’re famous too, sharing the spotlight with all the memorable celebrities that have made their mark there. From serving as a public first-run movie theater to premiering many of Hollywood’s best films, the theater will always be an historic and cultural landmark for Hollywood and the entertainment industry.
The history of the theater dates all the way back to 1922. It was built by a man named Sid Grauman who wanted to open another theater following the success of his popular Egyptian theater. The exterior is meant to resemble a giant red Chinese pagoda. It features a huge Chinese dragon across the face of the building with two Ming Dynasty Lions guarding the entrance to the theatre. Since its opening, it’s been the host of countless historical premiers including the 1977 launch of The Star Wars movie. It’s even hosted a few academy award shows. Recently, the owners partnered with the IMAX corporation to create the single largest IMAX auditorium in the world. Yet, the theater isn’t only known for it’s massive movie premiers. It is also known for the nearly 200 Hollywood celebrity handprints, footprints, and autogrpahs in the concrete of the theatre’s forecourt. People front around the world who visit the landmark will match their feet or hands to that of their favorite celebrity. These handprints, footprints and autographs represent the history of the theater in a big way, showcasing the countless celebrities that have made a huge impact in the entertainment industry as well as the culture of Hollywood and Los Angeles.